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David Constantine Biography

(1944– ), Argo, A Brightness to Cast Shadows, Watching for Dolphins, Madder, Selected Poems, Davies

poems selected college oxford

British poet, born in Salford, educated at Manchester Grammar School and at Wadham College, Oxford. He lectured at Durham University until 1981, when he became a fellow of Queen's College, Oxford. He became literary editor of Argo magazine. A Brightness to Cast Shadows (1981), his first collection of poetry, was followed by Watching for Dolphins (1983) and Madder (1987); Selected Poems appeared in 1991. Much of Constantine's work draws its strengths from his imaginative engagement with the mythical and religious dimensions of personal experience. Such characteristics co-exist with a strongly observed element of social realism and imagery of marked sensory vividness. His technical accomplishment covers a wide range of forms, extending from fluent use of traditional modes to the rhythmically cadenced lines in which he achieves his most individual effects. His other works include the novel Davies (1985), the critical study Early Greek Travellers and the Hellenic Ideal (1984), the biography Hölderlin (1988), and a long poem about the nineteenth-century German, Caspar Hauser (1994). He is also highly regarded as a translator for his Selected Poems of Hölderlin (1990).

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