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Craig Raine (Craig Anthony Raine) Biography

(1944– ), (Craig Anthony Raine), The Onion Memory, A Martian Sends a Postcard Home, Rich

British poet, born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, educated at Exeter College, Oxford. After lecturing at various Oxford colleges from 1971 to 1979, he held a succession of editorial posts in London before returning to Oxford as a fellow of New College in 1991. The Onion Memory (1978), his first collection of poems, rapidly established his reputation as an imaginatively inventive stylist. His characteristic device of basing images and metaphors on improbable but surprisingly accurate correspondences culminated in the bravura performance of the title poem of his second volume, A Martian Sends a Postcard Home (1979), which earned him recognition as progenitor of the Martian school of poetry. Rich (1984), while continuing to display a rewarding fascination with the possibilities of imagery, suggests a growing assurance in the handling of emotional experience. His idiosyncratic sense of humour is also encountered more frequently. The collection contains ‘A Silver Plate’, a prose memoir of childhood, which is in part a mutedly affectionate portrayal of his father. The Electrification of the Soviet Union (1986), a poetic drama commissioned by Glyndebourne as a libretto for music by Nigel Osborne, is an adaptation of Pasternak's novella The Last Summer; the work is the fullest demonstration of Raine's accomplishment in the use of conventional verse forms. His other works include 1953 (1990), a version of Racine's Andromache; and Haydn and the Valve Trumpet (1990), a substantial collection of his critical writings. History: The Home Movie (1994) is a novel-sized poem of twentieth-century history (the histories of his and his wife's families, the Raines and the Pasternaks).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: David Rabe Biography to Rhinoceros (Rhinocéros)