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Basil Bunting on Creative Writing

Hanif Kureishi isn’t the first author to cause outrage with off the cuff remarks about creative writing (see this Guardian article). Over 40 years ago Basil Bunting (probably deliberately) blew up the English department at the University of Victoria over the same issue. At that time the department was dominated … Read More

Basil Bunting and Biography

The old man in August Kleinzahler’s beautiful poem ‘The Bench’ is the poet Basil Bunting, the location Victoria, British Columbia, during Bunting’s disastrous winter at the University of Victoria in 1971-72 (LRB, 9 January). After a spectacular falling out with Robin Skelton, Bunting was left isolated, lonely and bitter, but … Read More

Basil Bunting’s anniversaries

Mark Ford, in his review of A Strong Song Tows Us  in The Guardian, makes a connection that I haven’t seen anywhere else. “Of course,” he writes, “this biography has been written because in 1965 Bunting published Briggflatts, considered one of the greatest poems of the century.” Strangely enough it had … Read More

2,221 forgotten poets of the First World War

Liam Guilar’s thorough and thoroughly positive review of A strong song tows us in Lady Godiva and Me is a delight. Towards the end of his review Guilar raises some interesting points about how poets’ reputations are built and how the fact that they (sometimes) survive is at the mercy … Read More

Basil Bunting at Tom Pickard’s trial

Liam Guilar, in his review of A Strong Song Tows Us, was sorry that I missed one of his favourite Basil Bunting stories: “It’s a fine book. There are a couple things I was surprised to miss: one of my favorite Bunting stories is about his appearance at Tom Pickard’s … Read More

Basil Bunting and Lorine Niedecker

In his Spectator review of my life of Basil Bunting, A Strong Song Tows Us, Wynn Wheldon asks if we ‘really need to read correspondence from someone who “nearly met Bunting”’, offering this as evidence that the book was ‘not terrifically well edited’. In my view A Strong Song Tows … Read More

Basil Bunting: Bunting’s saqis

I was grateful for Matthew Sperling’s positive review of A Strong Song Tows Us in Literary Review and like him hope for a revival of interest in this great poet. I should clarify my position on one point that Sperling raises, not because it represents a mild criticism of my … Read More