Jack Clemo (Jack Reginald John Clemo) Biography
(1916–94), (Jack Reginald John Clemo), Wilding Graft, The Clay Verge, The Map of Clay
British poet, born near St Austell; he received elementary education at Trethosa village school. During childhood he suffered attacks of blindness, and became deaf prior to the complete loss of his sight in 1955. He began writing in his teens out of what he described as the ‘instinctive effort to come to terms with abnormal circumstances’. His novel Wilding Graft was published to critical acclaim in 1948. The Clay Verge (1951), his first collection of poetry, was followed by numerous further volumes, which include The Map of Clay (1961), Cactus on Carmel (1967), The Echoing Tip (1971), and A Different Drummer (1986), Selected Poems (1988), Approach to Murano (1993), and The Cured Arno (1995). Much of his strongly crafted and austere poetry is of an idiosyncratically religious character, affirming the visionary qualities he located in the bare landscapes around the Cornish clay workings. He also repeatedly dealt with the theme of the compatibility of Christianity and eroticism. The Invading Gospel (1958) revealed his theological conceptions. He published two autobiographical works, Confession of a Rebel (1949) and The Marriage of a Rebel (1980). A further novel, The Shadowed Bed, originally drafted in 1938, appeared in 1986.