W. J. Turner (Walter James Redfern Turner) Biography
(1889–1946), (Walter James Redfern Turner), The Hunter, The Dark Fire, Spectator
British poet, born in Melbourne, Australia, where he was educated at Scotch College before emigrating to London in 1907. His subsequent travels in Europe and South Africa inform much of his poetry. The Hunter (1916) and The Dark Fire (1918) reflect his experiences on the Western Front. In 1918 he joined the staff of the Spectator and became its literary editor in 1942. He enjoyed a brief success as a playwright with The Man Who Ate the Popomack (1922). The Seven Days of the Sun (1925), an experimental series of free-verse meditations, demonstrates his work's affinities with poetic Modernism. More conventional verse is contained in In Time Like Glass (1921), Landscape of Cytherea (1923), Songs and Incantations (1936), and Fossils of a Future Time (1946). His best work is marked by the luminous brilliance of imagery characteristic of his evocations of exotic landscapes. Several of his poems indicate his friendship with W. B. Yeats, with whom he shared a strong poetic interest in metaphysical speculation; Yeats represented him generously in his Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936). His other works include the critical biographies Beethoven: The Search for Reality (1927) and Berlioz: The Man and His Work (1934), and the quasi-autobiographical novels Blow for Balloons (1935) and Henry Airbubble (1936).