Peter Didsbury Biography
(1946– ), A Rumoured City: New Poets from Hull, The Butchers of Hull, The Classical Farm
British poet, born in Fleetwood, Lancashire, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Until 1981 he was a schoolteacher in Hull, since when he has been an archaeologist by profession. His poetry first attracted wide critical notice when it appeared in Douglas Dunn's edition of A Rumoured City: New Poets from Hull (1982), which was published in the same year as his first collection, The Butchers of Hull. The imaginative and chronological juxtapositions in Didsbury's writing, coupled with shifts of discourse which have drawn comparisons with John Ashbery, are among the qualities productive of appreciative but slightly bewildered critical responses typified by Ian Crichton Smith's reference to his ‘extraordinarily bizarre, eloquent poems’. Personal experience is combined with literary and historical material in much of his best writing; the accessibility and intermittent humorousness of his poetry holds its complexity and seriousness, frequently of a theological order, in check. The Classical Farm (1987) and That Old-Time Religion (1994) extended the range and fluency of his work.