John Pudney (John Sleigh Pudney) Biography
(1909–77), (John Sleigh Pudney), Spring Encounter, Dispersal Point, Beyond This Disregard, Almanack of Hope, Low Life
British poet, born in Langley, Buckinghamshire, educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. After working as a producer with the BBC, he began a career in publishing in 1950. Spring Encounter, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1933. During the Second World War he gained a wide readership with a succession of volumes reflecting his experiences of active service with the Raf. The six collections he published between 1939 and 1945 include Dispersal Point (1942), Beyond This Disregard (1943), and Almanack of Hope (1944). He produced many poems which were felt to speak for the majority of those serving in the armed forces; ‘For Johnny’ exemplifies the profound elegiac simplicity of his best work. Pudney was a prolific author, publishing works on aviation and historical subjects, in addition to numerous novels, biographies, and collections of short stories. Among the volumes that sustained his reputation as a poet were Low Life (1947), The Trampoline (1959), and Selected Poems: 1967–1973 (1973), which contained more flexibly innovative work. Collected Poems appeared in 1957. Thank Goodness for Cake (1978) is his autobiography. See also war poetry.