John Drinkwater


Biography of John Drinkwater

John Drinkwater (1 June 1882 – 25 March 1937) was an English poet and dramatist.

Drinkwater was born in Leytonstone, London, and worked as an insurance clerk. In the period immediately before the First World War he was one of the group of poets associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock, along with Rupert Brooke and others.

In 1919 he had his first major success with his play Abraham Lincoln. He followed it with others in a similar vein, including Mary Stuart and Oliver Cromwell. In 1924, his Lincoln play was adapted for a two-reel short film made by Lee DeForest and J. Searle Dawley featuring Frank McGlynn Sr. as Lincoln, and made in DeForest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

He had published poetry since The Death of Leander in 1906; the first volume of his Collected Poems was published in 1923. He also compiled anthologies and wrote literary criticism (e.g. Swinburne: an estimate (1913)), and later became manager of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

He was married to Daisy Kennedy, the ex-wife of Benno Moiseiwitsch.

Papers relating to John Drinkwater and collected by his stepdaughter are held at the University of Birmingham Special Collections.

John Drinkwater made recordings in Columbia Records' International Educational Society Lecture series. They include Lecture 10 – a lecture on The Speaking of Verse, and Lecture 70 John Drinkwater reading his own poems.

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Deer

SHY in their herding dwell the fallow deer.
They are spirits of wild sense. Nobody near
Comes upon their pastures. There a life they live,
Of sufficient beauty, phantom, fugitive,
Treading as in jungles free leopards do,
Printless as evelight, instant as dew.
The great kine are patient, and home-coming sheep
Know our bidding. The fallow deer keep
Delicate and far their counsels wild,

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