John Hewitt (John Harold Hewitt) Biography
(1907–87), (John Harold Hewitt), Conacre, No Rebel Word, Collected Poems, Out of My Time
Northern Irish poet, born in Belfast, where he was educated at Queen's University. In 1930 he began working in Belfast Museum and Art Gallery and was for many years Art Director of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry. Conacre (1941) and No Rebel Word (1948) established the rationally discursive manner of his best-known verse, which makes accomplished use of rhymed traditional forms. His numerous further collections include Collected Poems (1966), Out of My Time (1974), The Rain Dance (1978), and a volume of autobiographical verse entitled Kites in Spring (1980). His poetry, in which Seamus Heaney discerned an ‘Augustan poise married to an inward elegiac note’, recurrently displays his concern with the historical and cultural identity of Northern Ireland's Protestant communities. Among his prose writings, selections from which make up Ancestral Voices (edited by Tom Clyde, 1987), are numerous essays advancing regionalism as a viable solution to the divisions within Ulster. Hewitt's work provided an important precedent for the emergence of Ulster poetry in the 1960s. The Collected Poems of John Hewitt (1991) were edited by Frank Ormsby.