Peter Russell

(1921-2003 / Bristol)

Peter Russell
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Irwin Peter Russell was a British poet, translator and critic. He spent the first half of his life—apart from war service—based in Kent and London, being the proprietor of a series of bookshops, editing the influential literary magazine Nine and being part of the literary scene. Bankruptcy and divorce led to several years of travel which took him to Berlin, Venice, British Columbia and Iran, amongst other places. After the Iranian Revolution he settled permanently in Italy, where he spent the rest of his life. He lived in considerable financial hardship and throughout all he lived a life dedicated to poetry. His work never became mainstream, but it is highly regarded in some ... more »

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Best Poem of Peter Russell

In The Campo De La Bragola

Sleep, sleep, with thy broken keys
Till Pilate wash his hands -
The time is cracked and memory flees
Bright afternoons of other lands.

What were thy once-tuned strings,
Childhood and fluting boy? -
Mornings of swift protecting wings,
Noons flecked with joy.

Blindly the hunter bat the twilight scours
In the dark enclosure of the Square;
Green fissured bronze rings out the hours -
The crowding ghosts halt on the stair.

Barbarian night creeps on the town.
The Councillors sit late.
Tiresias has rent his gown,
And the sentries...

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