John Francis Alexander Heath-Stubbs

(9 July 1918 - 26 December 2006 / London / England)

Biography of John Francis Alexander Heath-Stubbs

Heath Stubbs was born in London, and educated at Bembridge School and Queen's College, Oxford. He co-edited Eight Oxford Poets in 1941, with Sidney Keyes and Michael Meyer, and helped edit Oxford Poetry in 1942-43. He lived for a time in the 1950s at Zennor in Cornwall. He was a representative figure of British poetry in the early 1950s, and edited the poetry anthology Images of Tomorrow (1953). he was awarded an OBE and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Although afflicted by blindness from the 1960s, and completely without sight from 1978, he continued to write almost to the end. Ibycus: A Poem by John Heath-Stubbs, documentary film was made by the Chilean director Carlos Klein in 1997.

His diction was strong, yet subtle. Running through his work, like that of most romantic poets, was a nostalgia for 'classicism'. He was consciously literary, and his work was elaborately wrought rather than spontaneous, so it was not the kind of poetry likely to have mass appeal. However, his devotion to the craft of poetry makes his work impressive. Few writers of his time had a deeper knowledge of the English language, or cared for it more devotedly.

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The Poet Of Bray

Back in the dear old thirties' days
When politics was passion
A harmless left-wing bard was I
And so I grew in fashion:
Although I never really joined
The Party of the Masses
I was most awfully chummy with
The Proletarian classes.
This is the course I'll always steer

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