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John Riley Biography

(1937–78), Ancient and Modern, What the Reason Was, Ways of Approaching, That is Today, Collected Works

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography

British poet, born in Leeds, educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1966, he founded the Grosseteste Press with Tim Longville, a leading British small press noted for its editions of poetry. Riley's first collection of verse, Ancient and Modern (1967), showed originality and accomplishment in the use of closely regulated forms. His other publications include What the Reason Was (1970), Ways of Approaching (1973), and That is Today (1978), which display an increasing concern with religious intuitions. While his mature poetry suggests modern American influences in the openness of its forms, the elegant cadencing and lyrical restraint of his best work seem firmly in the English tradition. Riley was killed by muggers in Leeds in 1978. His Collected Works, edited by Tim Longville, and a Selected Poems, edited by Michael Grant, appeared in 1980 and 1995 respectively.

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