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Tom Paulin (Tom Thomas Neilson Paulin) Biography

(1949– ), (Tom Thomas Neilson Paulin), A State of Justice, The Strange Museum, The Book of Juniper

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Northern Irish poet and critic, born in Leeds; he grew up in Belfast and was educated at the University of Hull and Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1972 he became a lecturer at the University of Nottingham. A State of Justice (1977), his first collection of poetry, was followed by The Strange Museum (1980), The Book of Juniper (1981), Liberty Tree (1983), Fivemiletown (1987), Selected Poems, 1972–1990 (1993), and Walking in Line (1994). Stylistically, Paulin's poetry has developed from the disciplined brevity of his earlier work towards the more conversationally idiosyncratic manner that emerged in The Liberty Tree. There is a distinct continuity in his concern to comprehend and define socio-political conditioning and the possibilities of independence. The analytical dimensions of his writing take on emotional urgency from his sense of personal implication in the fraught culture of Northern Ireland. Fivemiletown is remarkable for the interplay of a sombrely sceptical realism and a lucidly playful candour. His critical works include Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Perception (1975) and Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State (1992). Among his dramatic works are The Riot Act (1985), an adaptation of the Antigone of Sophocles, which was staged by the Field Day Theatre Company in Londonderry, of which he is a director. He is the editor of The Faber Book of Political Verse (1986) and The Faber Book of Vernacular Poetry (1990).

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