John Cotton Biography
(1925– ), Priapus, Old Movies and Other Poems, Kilroy Was Here: Poems 1970–74, Day Book
British poet, born in London, educated at the University of London. He began his career as a schoolteacher in 1947 and was headmaster of Highfield Comprehensive School, Hemel Hempstead, from 1963 to 1985. With Ted Walker, he founded the magazine Priapus in 1962, and was editor of the journal of the Private Libraries Association from 1969 to 1979. Old Movies and Other Poems (1971) was his first substantial collection of verse. His numerous subsequent volumes include Kilroy Was Here: Poems 1970–74 (1975), Day Book (1983), and Oh Those Happy Feet! (1986); Here's Looking at You Kid: New and Selected Poems appeared in 1990. Travel and natural observation are among the themes of his poetry, which also deals recurrently with various aspects of the cinema, a subject he engages with an attractive combination of wit and nostalgia. His other publications include the critical survey British Poetry since 1965 (1973).