Michael Roberts (Michael William Edward Roberts) Biography
(1902–48), (Michael William Edward Roberts), New Signatures, New Country, The Faber Book of Modern Verse
British poet, critic, and editor, born in Bournemouth, educated at King's College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge. After working as a school-teacher, he joined the BBC's European Service during the Second World War, and became Principal of the College of St Mark and St John in Chelsea in 1945. As the editor of New Signatures (1932) and New Country (1933) he gave a corporate identity to the group of poets whose leading members were W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and C. Day Lewis. In 1936 he edited The Faber Book of Modern Verse. His own poetry, initially tending towards the restrained accomplishment of These Our Matins (1930), his first collection, grew more individual in tone and technically freer with Poems (1936) and Orion Marches (1939). An ability to combine intellectually contemplative and observational elements characterizes the best of his verse. His experiences as a climber provided imagery for many of his poems, including the memorable ‘La Meije 1937’ and ‘The Secret Springs’. Collected Poems was published in 1958. He also produced several wide-ranging and challenging books on cultural concerns, notably The Recovery of the West (1941), an analysis of the inadequacy of prevailing social attitudes, and The Estate of Man (1951, edited by J. B. A. Smith), which anticipates the urgent ecological concerns of later generations. Among his other works are the critical studies Critique of Poetry (1934) and T. E. Hulme (1938).
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