Basil Bunting

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Basil Bunting
BornBasil Cheesman Bunting
(1900-03-01)1 March 1900
Scotswood-on-Tyne, Northumberland, England, UK
Died17 April 1985(1985-04-17) (aged 85)
Hexham, Northumberland, England, UK
Resting placeQuaker graveyard at Brigflatts, Sedbergh, Cumbria, England[1]
OccupationPoet, military intelligence analyst, diplomat, journalist
Alma materLondon School of Economics (did not graduate)
Period1930 - 1985
Literary movementModernism
Notable works"Briggflatts" (1966)
SpouseMarian Culver (1930-1940)
Sima Alladadian (1948-1979)

Basil Cheesman Bunting (1 March 1900 – 17 April 1985) was a British modernist poet.

He was born in the northeastern part of England on March 1, 1900. His family were Quakers. As a young man during World War I, he refused to be in the military or help the war effort. He spent 122 days in prison.[2]

In 1923 he met poet Ezra Pound in Paris. In the time before World War II, he travelled to London, Germany, Italy, the United States, and the Canary Islands. Sometimes he worked as a sailor. Pound supported his poetry.[3] Through Pound he met poet Louis Zukofsky and writer James Joyce.[4] In 1930 his first book, Redimiculum Matellarum, came out.[3] In 1931 Zukosfsky included one of Bunting's poems in his "Objectivist" group in Poetry magazine.[5] In 1933 many of his poems were printed in Pound’s Activist Anthology.[3]

When war began, he joined the British Royal Air Force. He knew the Persian language and worked in Persia for the British government during and after the war.[3] Around 1950 he quit his government post to work for the Times newspaper. He had to leave Persia in 1952 when someone said he was a British spy. He returned to England for the rest of his life.[2]

In 1966 he published Briggflats, his most important book. It is a long poem of 700 lines. It has been explained as "a romantic celebration of seasons, homecoming, and love, intensely musical."[4]

Books[change | change source]

  • Briggflatts is the subject of Bunting's most famous poem.
    Redimiculum Matellarum (1930)
  • Poems (1950) revised as Loquitur (1965)
  • The Spoils (1951)
  • First Book of Odes (1965)
  • Ode II/2 (1965)
  • Briggflatts: An Autobiography (1966)
  • Two Poems (1967)
  • What the Chairman Told Tom (1967)
  • Collected Poems (1968)
  • Version of Horace (1972)

References[change | change source]

  1. Poets' Graves. "Basil Bunting 1900–1985". Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brunner, Edward (2006). "Bunting, Basil". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Corcoran, Neil (2013). "Bunting, Basil". Oxford Reference - The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Caddel, Richard (2004). "Bunting, Basil Cheesman (1900–1985), poet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30875. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 26 January 2023. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. "The Word by Basil Bunting". Poetry Magazine. 26 January 2023. Retrieved 26 January 2023.

Other websites[change | change source]