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Norman Cameron (John Norman Cameron) Biography

(1905–53), (John Norman Cameron), The Winter House, Forgive Me, Sire, New Verse, Horizon, needs

poems poetry verse selected

British poet and translator, born in India, the son of a Scottish clergyman, educated at Oriel College, Oxford. After a posting in Nigeria with the Colonical Service, he spent some time in Majorca with Robert Graves, whom he had met at Oxford, before working as an advertising copywriter in London from 1933 to 1939. Throughout the war he produced propaganda from British Forces' bases in North Africa, Italy, and Austria. From 1947 onwards he worked as a translator. The Winter House (1935), his first collection of poetry, was followed only by Forgive Me, Sire (1950) during his lifetime, although he was well known in literary circles through his frequent publications in New Verse, Horizon, and elsewhere. His carefully crafted poems often take the form of concentrated and fluently developed extended metaphors: his close friend Dylan Thomas remarked ‘A poem by Cameron needs no more than one image; it moves around one idea, from one logical point to another, making a full circle …’ His translations include Selected Verse Poems of Arthur Rimbaud (1942) and his version of Villon in Poems (1952). Among the numerous prose works he translated are Adolf Hitler's Table Talk: 1941–1944 (with R. H. Stevens, 1953) and Balzac's Cousin Pons (1950). The fullest edition of his poetry is Collected Poems and Selected Translations (1990), edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker.

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