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Anthony Thwaite (Anthony Simon Thwaite) Biography

(1930– ), (Anthony Simon Thwaite), The Listener, New Statesman, Home Truths, The Owl in the Tree, Inscriptions

poetry poems century victorian

British poet, born in Chester, educated at Christ Church, Oxford. After lecturing in Tokyo for two years, he became a producer for BBC radio in 1957, working under Louis MacNeice, a period alluded to in his poem ‘For Louis MacNeice’. He subsequently held a succession of editorial positions with The Listener, New Statesman, and Encounter and became editorial director with André Deutsch publishers in 1986. Collections of his poetry include Home Truths (1957), The Owl in the Tree (1963), Inscriptions (1973), Victorian Voices (1980), Letter from Tokyo (1987), Poems, 1953–1988 (1989), and The Dust of the World (1994). The restraint and accomplishment of his early work indicate his association with the Movement; the detached disenchantment in poems reflecting ordinary urban experience suggests particular affinities with the poetry of Philip Larkin, whose Collected Poems (1988) and The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin (1992) Thwaite edited. In The Stones of Emptiness (1967), which reflects his experiences of living in Libya, the imaginative use of historical materials emerges as a characteristic of his verse; ‘The Letters of Synesius’, a sequence largely in the phlegmatic voice of a fourteenth-century bishop, anticipates his growing use of the dramatic monologue. Victorian Voices forms a detailed recreation of nineteenth-century social and cultural conditions in the monologues of a series of fictitious and historical Victorian figures. Among his travel books are a work on Libya entitled The Deserts of Hesperides (1969) and Odyssey: Mirror of the Mediterranean (1981). His critical writings include Poetry Today 1960–1973 (1973) and Twentieth-Century English Poetry (1978).

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