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Radical poet: Douglas Dunn

 
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alan stewart



Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Posts: 979


Location: Born Glasgow/living in West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:58 am    Post subject: Radical poet: Douglas Dunn  Reply with quote

Douglas Dunn was born in 1942 and grew up in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire.  It was a part rural, part urban community and latterly Dunn would allude to the "colloquial, vernacular, no-nonsense style of life" he experienced there.
Dunn went on to Renfrew High School and then Campbell Senior Secondary School in Paisley.  Though he excelled in English he didn't go off to University. He went to work in a local library instead.
However he subsequently attended the School of Librarianship in Glasgow and in 1964 got a librarians post in Ohio.  There alas a friend was killed in a car crash and Dunn himself got call up papers for Vietnam.
On his return he applied to study English at Hull before graduating in 1969 with a first class degree.  He then started working in the University Library under the aegis of Philip Larkin.  He shared Larkin's love of jazz although their political outlooks were very different.
Dunn became a full time writer in 1971.  His wife, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 1978, died in 1981.  Dunn's poignant book of poems about her passing, ELEGIES, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Prize in 1985.
In 1985 a collection of short stories, SECRET VILLAGES, also appeared to general acclaim.  Mostly set in Scotland, the tales "present he little eccentricities and petty vices of characters" in typical small communities with "an affectionate irony and humour."
Dunn eventually settled in Tayport with his second wife and became Professor in the School of English at St Andrew's University.
In LANDSCAPE WITH ONE FIGURE he writes..

Shipyard cranes have come down again
To drink at the river, turning their long necks
And saying to their reflections on the Clyde.
"How noble we are."

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