Basil Bunting

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

:: Poet Home :: Poetry :: Short Stories :: Contact ::

Basil Cheesman Bunting (March 3, 1900 – April 17, 1985) was a British modernist poet. He had a lifelong interest in music and this led him to emphasise the sonic qualities of poetry, particularly the importance of reading poetry aloud. Bunting was an accomplished reader of his own work.

Bunting was born in Scotswood-on-Tyne, Northumberland, now part of Newcastle upon Tyne, and educated at the Royal Grammar School there for two years. He then studied at two Quaker schools: from 1912–1916 at Ackworth School in Yorkshire, and from 1916–1918 at Leighton Park School in Berkshire.[1]. In 1918, he was arrested as a conscientious objector and spent time in Wormwood Scrubs and Winchester prisons[2].

During the early 1920s, he became friendly with Ezra Pound who dedicated his Guide to Kulchur to Bunting and Louis Zukofsky, and his early poetry was to show the influence of this friendship. He visited Pound in Rapallo, Italy and later settled there with his family from 1931 to 1933. He was published in the Objectivist issue of Poetry magazine and the Objectivist Anthology and in Pound's Active Anthology. He also worked as a music critic during this time.

During World War II, Bunting served in British Military Intelligence in Persia. After the war, he continued to serve on the British Embassy staff in Teheran until he was expelled by Muhammad Mussadegh in 1952.

Back at the ranch in Newcastle, he worked as a journalist on the Evening Chronicle until his rediscovery during the 1960s by young poets, notably Tom Pickard, who were interested in working with the Modernist tradition. In 1966, he published his major long poem Briggflatts. This was both a kind of autobiography and a celebration of the Northumbrian dialect. The critic Cyril Connolly described it as "the finest long poem to have been published in England since T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets".

  1. ^ Pursglove, Glyn (2002-03-21). Basil Bunting. The Literary Encyclopedia. The Literary Dictionary Company. Retrieved on 2006-05-07.
  2. ^ Myers, Alan (2004). Basil Bunting (1900 - 1985). Myers Literary Guide to North-East England. Centre for Northern Studies. Retrieved on 2006-05-07.
  • Basil Bunting's Grave
  • Basil Bunting Home Page at EPC, Buffalo
  • At Briggflatts Meetinghouse recording read by the author
  • Minor Poet, Not Conspicuously Dishonest Richard Caddel's Introduction to Complete Poems
  • Review of Complete Poems
  • This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from a Wikipedia article. To access the original click here.
    Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
    under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
    or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
    with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
    A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
    Free Documentation License".