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Neil Powell

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  • NEIL POWELL was born in London in 1948.  He was educated at Sevenoaks School, where he founded and edited the award-winning magazine Verve and wrote on jazz as a ‘young critic’ for The Daily Telegraph; and at the University of Warwick, where he read English and American Literature (BA, 1966–9) followed by postgraduate research on English Literature (MPhil, 1969–71).  Between 1967 and 1970 he was editor of Tracks, and in 1969, while still an undergraduate, won a Gregory Award.  He taught at Kimbolton School and St Christopher School, Letchworth, where he became Head of English; he was the founder-owner of The Baldock Bookshop in Hertfordshire; and since 1990 he has been a full-time author and editor, living in Suffolk.

    His books include eight collections of poetry – At the Edge (1977), A Season of Calm Weather (1982), True Colours (1991), The Stones on Thorpeness Beach (1994), Selected Poems (1998), A Halfway House (2004), Proof of Identity (2012) and Was and Is: Collected Poems (2017) – as well as Carpenters of Light (1979), Roy Fuller: Writer and Society (1995), The Language of Jazz (1997), George Crabbe: An English Life (2004), Amis & Son: Two Literary Generations (2008) and Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music (2013).  He edited and introduced the Selected Poems of Fulke Greville (1990), the anthology Gay Love Poetry (1997), the Collected Poems of Donald Davie (2002) and the Collected Poems of Adam Johnson (2003).

    He has contributed to numerous journals and newspapers including Agenda, Critical Quarterly, Encounter, Gay Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Listener, Literary Review, The London Magazine, New Statesman, PN Review, Poetry Review, The Spectator, The Sunday Telegraph and The Times Literary Supplement; to reference books such as British Writers, The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, The Dictionary of Literary Biography, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry and The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; to various anthologies; and to BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.  He was for fifteen years Co-ordinating Editor of PN Review.

    Literary Agent Natasha Fairweather, Rogers Coleridge & White, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN (020 7243 9517);

    'Throughout there are poems to and for friends and yet, paradoxically, Powell has the air of an outsider, solitary and watchful.' 

     D A Prince, the North

     ''Neil Powell's Was and Is: Collected Poems gathers together a lifetime of walking, seeing, reading and rhyming the landscapes of eastern England, and in particular the coast of Suffolk. The author's world of friends and books has a wide historical horizon, haunted by literary ghosts from George Crabbe to W.G. Sebald. This is a rich book full of the light of the changing seasons, the rhythms of weather and sea, and the little details of human life that add colour to every corner of these skilful, evocative, and painterly poems.''
    Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod (UEA), Poetry judge of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards

    'Like ordinary people, poets long to be loved. But all that is necessary is that they should be understood.'
    Roy Fuller
         'His poetry has a rewarding range and depth, though memory and our ambivalent handling of memory is what he is best at. He is an elegiac poet, and in some ways a more valuable poet of loneliness than Larkin. Any younger reader who hasn't yet cottoned on to Powell should find this carefully considered 'Collected' rewarding: his is a quiet insistent voice at the heart of the tradition.'
    John Fuller

    'Neil Powell's poems are lucid, elegant, formal and humane .'
    Peter Scupham
    'An exceptional poet of place, and of the East Anglian coast in particular: Neil Powell's Selected Poems thoroughly defines the peculiar atmospheres of that bleak landscape and seascape...'
    New Statesman
    Awards won by Neil Powell Winner, 2017 East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (Was and Is) Winner, 2017  East Anglian Book Awards (for Poetry)
    (Was and Is)
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