Charles Tomlinson


Charles Tomlinson

Alfred Charles Tomlinson, CBE (born 8 January 1927) is a British poet and translator, and also an academic and artist. He was born and raised in Penkhull in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.[1]

Contents

Life

After attending Longton High School,[2] he read English at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he studied with Donald Davie. After leaving university he spent a year in Liguria in Italy and then taught in a primary school. He later became Emeritus Professor of English Poetry at the University of Bristol, England. He and his wife Brenda now live in a Cotswold cottage at Ozleworth, near Wotton-under-Edge.[1] They met as teenagers, and have two daughters and a granddaughter. He is also an artist, and In Black and White: The Graphics of Charles Tomlinson, with an introduction by Nobel prize-winner Octavio Paz, was published in 1976.

Poetry

His first book of poetry was published in 1951, and his Collected Poems was published by the Oxford University Press in 1985, followed by the Selected Poems: 1955-1997 in 1997. His poetry has won international recognition and has received many prizes in Europe and the United States, including the 1993 Bennett Award from Hudson Review; the New Criterion Poetry Prize, 2002; the Premio Internazionale di Poesie Ennio Flaiano, 2001; and the Premio Internazionale di Poesia Attilio Bertolucci, 2004. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences and of the Modern Language Association. Charles Tomlinson was made a CBE in 2001 for his contribution to literature. Charles Tomlinson was made a CBE in 2001 for his lifetime contribution to literature. Charles Tomlinson's Selected Poems, his collections Skywriting, Metamorphoses and The Vineyard Above the Sea, amongst others, are all published by Carcanet Press. His latest collection Cracks in the Universe was published in May 2006 in Carcanet Press's Oxford Poets series.

In his book Some Americans Tomlinson acknowledges his poetic debts to modern American poetry, in particular William Carlos Williams, Oppen, Moore, Zukofsky. In his critical study Lives of Poets, Michael Schmidt observes that 'Wallace Stevens was the guiding star [Tomlinson] initially steered by'.[3] Schmidt goes on to define the two characteristic voices of Tomlinson: 'one is intellectual, meditative, feeling its way through ideas' whilst the other voice engages with 'landscapes and images from the natural world'.[4] Tomlinson's poetry often circles around these themes of place and return, exploring his native landscape of Stoke and the shifting cityscape of modern Bristol.[3] In Against Extremity Tomlinson expresses a distrust of confessional verse and rejects the 'willed extremism of poets like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton'.[4]

In 1991 he recorded all of his published poetry for Keele University. These include his Stoke-on-Trent poems, which are: At Stoke; The Slag Heap; Steel; Canal; Poem for My Father; John Maydew; The Hand at Callow Hill Farm; The Farmer's Wife; Black Brook; The Question; The Shaft; After a Death; Night Ride; Gladstone Street; Etruria Vale; Penkhull New Road; The Way In; The Tree; Midlands; Portrait of the Artist I; Portrait of the Artist II; The Hoard; Consolations for Double Bass; The Rich; Class; The Hawthorn in Trent Vale; Written on Water; The Marl Pits.

Translations

Charles Tomlinson has excelled as an authoritative translator of poetry from the Russian, Spanish and Italian, including the work of Antonio Machado, Fyodor Tyutchev, César Vallejo and Attilio Bertolucci. He has collaborated with the Mexican writer Octavio Paz. He edited the seminal Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation and the Selected Poems of William Carlos Williams.

Works

Further reading

  • O'Gorman, Kathleen. Charles Tomlinson: Man and Artist. University of Missouri Press, 1988.
  • Saunders, Judith P. The Poetry of Charles Tomlinson: Border Lines. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.

References

  1. ^ a b "Charles Tomlinson - In Conversation With David Morley". 1991. http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=2550. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  2. ^ Ousby, Ian (1993). The Cambridge guide to literature in English, page 947. Cambridge University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=oeZ226OlfbkC&pg=PA947&lpg=PA947&dq=%22Longton+High+School%22+1900. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, page 641. Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, page 642. Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, 2007.

External links


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