Biography of Edward James
Edward William Frank James (1907–1984) was a British poet known for his patronage of the surrealist art movement.
Edward James was born on 16 August 1907, the only son of William James, an American railroad magnate who moved to England and married Evelyn Forbes, a Scots socialite, who was reputedly fathered by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). He had four older sisters: Audrey, Millicent, Xandra, and Silvia. James was educated briefly at Eton, and then at Le Rosey in Switzerland, then at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Evelyn Waugh and Harold Acton. In 1912 he inherited the 8,000-acre (32 km2) West Dean House in Sussex, on the death of his father.
James' first sponsorship of note was in publishing John Betjeman's first book of poems when at Oxford. He worked with Brian Howard on the Glass Omnibus. After Oxford, James had a brief career as a trainee diplomat at the embassy in Rome. He was asked to send a coded message to London that the Italians had laid the keels for three destroyers, but got the code wrong; the message said "300 destroyers". Shortly after this he was sent "on indefinite leave".
In the early 1930s, James married Tilly Losch, an Austrian dancer, choreographer, actress and painter. He had several productions created expressly for her, the most notable of which was Les Ballets 1933, which included Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya and George Balanchine. He and Boris Kochno commissioned that year Brecht and Weill's last collaboration, The Seven Deadly Sins, which Balanchine produced, directed and choreographed.
James divorced Losch in 1934, accusing her of adultery with Prince Serge Obolensky, an American hotel executive; her countersuit, in which she made it clear that James was homosexual, failed. James was in fact bisexual. After the divorce, James joined a social set in England which included the Mitford sisters and the composer Lord Berners.
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Edward James Poems
I sit down peacefully with my book. Upon the blank page I look. As i tap my pen patiently, patiently, Patiently waiting in my writing nook.
Dreams Of Rage
A grunt. A moan. An exaggerated sound of released compressed air. Your sweet lips parted,
Stop The World
My world is cold, When you are cold. And my eyes, they tear, When you can’t stop the tears.
Medicate me with a peaceful pile of letters, And lead me on my way again. You picked me up when I was down, And you drowned me with your love again.
A New Friend
Shot in a night of impeccable injustice. Overflowed with torment and forgiveness. Placed directed towards my head and waiting. Pushing through the morbid crowd.
I remember speaking to you, Once upon some months ago. Once upon a fairy tale; Once upon the fairest day.
I told you this, And now you’re ill. With sharp confusion, And morning chill.
Scratching And Screaming
All the wonderful music, Wouldn’t dare the clouds to return, Overtop the grave site, And leave me scratching, screaming.
Armageddon And Angels
I watched him land. He closed his eyes, and opened his hands. He stood outstretched,
The full inspiration, Of the beautiful blue. The music of daffodils, The voice that soothes.
The Day Of Smiles
The day I was happy, Was the worst day of your life; And you never thought it would come, But it came after torment and strife.
I came borderline once more. It projected from my mind, For I stepped over the border line again. I took two steps behind,
I sit down peacefully with my book.
Upon the blank page I look.
As i tap my pen patiently, patiently,
Patiently waiting in my writing nook.
Soon ideas I begin to see,
Like ships setting out to sea;
And as my pen moves they flow, flow,
Flow graciously out of me.