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Alan Brownjohn (Alan Charles Brownjohn) Biography

(1931– ), (Alan Charles Brownjohn), The Railings, Sandgrains on a Tray, A Song of Good Life

British poet, born in Catford, South London, educated at Merton College, Oxford. After working as a schoolteacher from 1957 to 1965, he was a senior lecturer at Battersea College of Education until 1979, when he became a freelance writer. He was chairman of the Poetry Society from 1982 to 1988. He is one of the foremost poets to have been associated with the Group. His first substantial publication as a poet was The Railings (1961); succeeding volumes have included Sandgrains on a Tray (1969), A Song of Good Life (1975), A Night in the Gazebo (1980), Collected Poems 1952–1986 (1988), The Observation Car (1990), and In the Cruel Arcade (1994). On the cover-notes to The Railings, Brownjohn identified the principal concerns of his poetry as ‘love, politics, culture, time’, themes which have remained central throughout his work. The socialist beliefs informing much of his verse are inseparable from the individuality and humanity with which he conducts his investigations of the quality of life. Contemplative, documentary, and satirical modes are characteristic of his writing, which is noted for its technical scrupulousness, intelligence, and understated wit. The best-known of his numerous books for children is Brownjohn's Beasts (1970). His first novel, The Way You Tell Them, subtitled ‘a yarn of the nineties’, appeared in 1990. Among his other publications is a version of Goethe's Torquato Tasso (1985) and the critical study Philip Larkin (1975).

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