Andrew Motion Biography
(1952– ), Poetry Review, The Pleasure Steamers, Secret Narratives, Natural Causes, Love in a Life
British poet, biographer, and critic, born in London, educated at University College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry in 1975. After lecturing at the University of Hull, he edited Poetry Review until 1983, when he entered publishing, becoming an editor with Faber and Faber in 1989. In 1995 he succeeded Malcolm Bradbury as Chair of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. The Pleasure Steamers, his first substantial collection of poetry, appeared in 1978. Subsequent volumes include Secret Narratives (1983), Natural Causes (1987), Love in a Life (1991), and The Price of Everything (1994); a collected edition of his verse entitled Dangerous Play was produced in 1984. His characteristic technique of suggesting narrative coherence through imaginative correspondences of imagery and atmosphere was established early in his work. The suppleness and economy of his style is highly appropriate to the detached elegiac tenor of much of his verse. Natural Causes contains ‘This Is Your Subject Speaking’, a finely judged elegy for Philip Larkin, whom Motion knew at Hull; Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life, his highly regarded biography of Larkin, appeared in 1993. His works as a critic include The Poetry of Edward Thomas (1980) and Philip Larkin (1982). His novels The Pale Companion (1989) and Famous for the Creatures (1991) successively chart the growth to early adulthood of a main protagonist named Francis Mayne. Among his other publications is the biographical study The Lamberts: George, Constant, and Kit (1986). With Blake Morrison, he edited The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry (1982).