A Child of the War

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J. Cape, 1987 - Poets, English - 188 pages
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About the author (1987)

Born in the Scots mining village of Shotts but educated at King Edward VII School in Sheffield, Yorkshire, George MacBeth graduated with first-class honors from New College, Oxford. In the late 1950's, he belonged to The Group, an informal association of young writers, mostly poets, which in 1965 became the more structured Writers' Workshop. For 21 years, beginning in 1955, MacBeth produced programs on poetry and the arts for the BBC. Both the oral presentations of The Group and the BBC broadcasts whetted MacBeth's interest in the oral aspect of his own work. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, along with plays and (beginning in 1975) novels. A prolific poet, MacBeth has worked in an almost chameleonlike variety of forms and styles. This eclecticism has made it difficult to establish a distinctive voice, yet his different styles have influenced numerous contemporaries in England. He has also tried to keep his poems accessible to the general public, and has achieved a reasonably wide popularity. Sometimes didactic, MacBeth often treats his subjects---death and life, war and love, tradition and the present day---with a linguistic playfulness that delights in the resources of language itself. His rephrasing of John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and pseudotranslations of Chinese poetry are memorably comic.

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