James Kirkup

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James Falconer Kirkup, FRSL (England, 23 April 1918 – Andorra, 10 May 2009) was a prolific English poet, translator and travel writer. He was brought up in South Shields, and educated at South Shields Secondary School and Durham University. He wrote over 30 books, including autobiographies, novels and plays. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1962.

Early life

During World War II he was a conscientious objector, and worked for the Forestry Commission and on the land in the Yorkshire Dales and at the Lansbury Gate Farm, Clavering, Essex. He taught at The Downs School in Colwall, Malvern, where W.H. Auden had earlier been a master. Kirkup wrote his first book of poetry, The Drowned Sailor at the Downs, which was published in 1947. From 1950 to 1952 he was the first Gregory Poetry Fellow at Leeds University, making him the first resident university poet in the United Kingdom.Clifford Dyment, Roy Fuller and Montagu Slater (editors), New Poems 1952 (1952), p. 163.

In 1952 he moved south to Gloucestershire and became visiting poet at Bath Academy of Art for the next three years. Moving on from Bath, he taught in a London grammar school before leaving England in 1956 to live and work in Europe, the Americas and the Far East. In Japan, he found acceptance and appreciation of his work, and he...
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