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Douglas Dunn (Douglas Eaglesham Dunn) Biography

(1942– ), (Douglas Eaglesham Dunn), Terry Street, The Happier Life, Love or Nothing, Barbarians

Scottish poet, born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, educated at the Scottish School of Librarianship in Glasgow and the University of Hull; he subsequently worked in the University's Brynmor Jones Library as an assistant librarian under Philip Larkin, with whom he became well acquainted. He was a freelance writer from 1971 to 1991, when he was appointed to a professorship at the University of St Andrews. Terry Street (1969), his first collection of verse, contained acutely observed evocations of working-class life together with imaginative treatments of cultural and personal preoccupations which anticipated the thematic scope of The Happier Life (1972) and Love or Nothing (1974). The political concerns informing his earlier work become explicit in Barbarians (1979), which uses verse of great accomplishment to present parables of the deprivation inherent in the hierarchical structure of society. St Kilda's Parliament (1981) indicates a broadening of the imaginative compass of his writing in such pieces as the ‘poem-films’ ‘Valerio’ and ‘La Route’, and also contains notable examples of his highly developed abilities as a lyrical and discursive poet. He left Hull and returned to Scotland after the death in 1981 of his wife Lesley, whom he commemorates in Elegies (1985; Whitbread Book of the Year Award), which was acclaimed as the finest poetic embodiment of grief since Tennyson's In Memoriam. Selected Poems: 1964–1983 appeared in 1986. Northlight (1988) combines an unusual range in treatments of local, political, historical, and aesthetic concerns with a striking degree of technical virtuosity. Further collections include Dante's Drum-Kit (1993). Among his other works are Secret Villages (1985) and Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1994), collections of short stories; and his verse translation of Racine's Andromache (1990). He has also edited numerous books, including Two Decades of Irish Writing (1975), A Rumoured City: New Poets from Hull (1982), and The Faber Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (1992).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) Biography to Dutch