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Charles Causley Biography

(1917–2003), Farewell Aggie Weston, Union Street, Johnny Alleluia, Secret Destinations, A Field of Vision, Collected Poems

verse poetry british experience

British poet, born at Launceston, Cornwall, educated at Launceston College and Peterborough Training College. Between 1940 and 1946 he served in the Royal Navy, an experience informing many of his earlier poems, and was a teacher in Cornwall until he became a freelance writer in 1976. Among his numerous collections of poetry are Farewell Aggie Weston (1951), Union Street (1958), Johnny Alleluia (1961), Secret Destinations (1984), A Field of Vision (1988), and Collected Poems (1992). Much of Causley's work is notable for its fluent adaptations of ballad forms and other traditional modes of verse. He creates an accessible poetry of common experience in which there frequently exists a latent irony between the archaism of form and the unsettling modernity of content. ‘At the British War Cementery, Bayeux’ and ‘Song of the Dying Gunner’ are two well-known examples of his ability to combine conventional rhythms with sharp authenticity of detail and stringency of tone and feeling. His later verse has been acclaimed for its development of verse forms of greater substance and complexity than he had generally employed hitherto. Causley is among the most highly regarded of contemporary authors of verse for children, volumes of which include Figgie Hobbin (1970), The Young Man of Cury (1991), and All Day Saturday (1994). His plays include How Pleasant To Know Mr Lear (1948), and a collection of short stories entitled Hands To Dance (1951). See also topographical poetry.

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