The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

McAULEY, James ( 1917-76) was born at Lakemba, New South Wales. He wrote his first poems as a teenager at Fort Street High School and his first journalism for student publications while at the University of Sydney ( 1935-40). In 'Self-Portrait, Newcastle 1942' he described himself at a frustrated time in his life, teaching dull classes in his first job, talking anarchism with friends, and reading Rilke. That year he married.

In 1943 McAuley was transferred to the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs, and a first visit to New Guinea the following year began a long-standing concern with the affairs of that country. The next year saw his first fame, or notoriety, when (with Harold *Stewart) he perpetrated the Ern Malley hoax, in the magazine * Angry Penguins, publishing the quasi-apocalyptic poems (titled The Darkening Ecliptic) of an imaginary Australian modern bearing a resemblance to George *Barker and Henry *Treece.

McAuley's traditionalist antipathy to modernism was to be thoroughly documented in subsequent critical writing, particularly The End of Modernity ( 1959). A Roman Catholic convert (in 1952), McAuley held many hieratic, anti- egalitarian views; but his more personal writings also revealed a man of considerable compassion and affection. These qualities mark the best of his poetry in Under Aldebaran ( 1946), A Vision of Ceremony ( 1956), Captain Quiros ( 1964). Surprises of the Sun ( 1969), and Time Given ( 1976). The widely anthologized 'Because' (remembering his parents), 'Pietà' (remembering the death of a day-old son), and 'Terra Australis' are written in the rhyme and iambic metre McAuley preferred. His symbolism is most effective when at its lightest.

A prolific critic ( The Grammar of the Real, 1975) and editor ( A Map of Australian Verse, 1975), James McAuley founded the Sydney magazine Quadrant in 1956 (remaining its sole editor till 1963) and from 1961 was Reader in Poetry at the University of Tasmania. Collected Poems ( Sydney, 1993) is introduced by Leonie Kramer, who edited James McAuley: Poetry, Essays and Personal Commentary ( St Lucia, Qld., 1988); this has a valuable introduction and notes. There are useful books on McAuley by Vivian Smith ( Melbourne, 2nd edn., 1970) and Peter Coleman ( Sydney, 1980), and helpful essays by David Bradley in Geoffrey Dutton (ed.), The Literature of Australia ( Melbourne, 2nd edn., 1976), and by Judith Wright in Preoccupations in Australian Poetry ( Melbourne, 1965). [MHu

MacBeth, George (Mum) ( 1932-92), was born in Shorts, Lanarkshire, the son of a miner and an antique-dealer's daughter. When MacBeth was 3 the family moved to Sheffield, where he was educated at the King Edward VII School, later going to New College, Oxford. From 1957 he lived in London as a producer of talks and poetry programmes for BBC radio, and was an influential member of the *Group; from 1976 he earned his living as a free-lance writer. MacBeth's first two marriages, to Elizabeth Robson and Lisa St Aubin de Téran were both dissolved; in 1989 he married Penelope Ronchetti-Church and settled in Ireland, where he died of motor- neurone disease three years later.

MacBeth's admirers have seen a boldly experimental and playful poetic intelligence behind his copious output in a wide variety of styles and forms, while others have found in it a succession

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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Selection of Anthologies xi
  • Key to Contributors xiv
  • Alphabetical List of Contributors xvii
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 80
  • D 113
  • E 143
  • F 156
  • G 179
  • H 206
  • I 247
  • J 251
  • K 266
  • L 284
  • M 318
  • N 375
  • O 393
  • P 407
  • Q 436
  • R 437
  • S 468
  • T 533
  • U 555
  • V 557
  • W 562
  • Y 593
  • Z 599
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