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Vincent Buckley Biography

(1925–89), The World's Flesh, Masters in Israel, Arcady and Other Places

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Australian poet and critic, born in Romsey, Victoria, educated at Melbourne and Cambridge Universities. He is a poet and critic of considerable influence in Australia, not least in his strong sense of Irish ancestry and his involvement with the Catholic Church in Australia. Buckley's poetry engages an impressive range of concerns, from love to politics, horse-racing to history. Both of his first volumes, The World's Flesh (1954) and Masters in Israel (1961), explored the varying manifestations of love, human and divine, and the human embodiment of their relations; other collections are Arcady and Other Places (1966), The Golden Builders and Other Poems (1976), Late Winter Child (1979), and Selected Poems (1981). As a critic Buckley was instrumental in broadening the canon to include less ‘traditional’ Australian concerns: important collections are Essays in Poetry: Mainly Australian (1957), Poetry and Morality (1959), and Poetry and the Sacred (1968). The autobiography Cutting Green Hay: Friendships, Movements and Cultural Conflicts in Australia's Great Decades (1983) traced cultural post-war movements in Australia and Buckley's friendship with writers such as A. C. Hope and James McAuley. Memory Ireland: Insights into the Contemporary Irish Condition (1985) bore powerful witness to Buckley's increasing identification with the past and present of the country where he spent much time in later years, both in person and in the imagination. Posthumously published were Last Poems (1991) and The Faber Book of Modern Australian Verse (1991), with a thirty-page preface surveying Australian poetry from 1920 to 1980.

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