Basil Bunting (1900-1985)

[“Basil Bunting and Allen Ginsberg in Tom and Connie Pickard’s flat, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, 22 May, 1965.]

Allen Armstrong writing in the Sunday Sun 23 May 1965 described the scene: ‘Mr Bunting, a Newcastle journalist, and one of Britain’s foremost modern poets, was sitting at the time, on the settee next to Ginsberg. America’s original “Angel-headed hipster” flopped forward and lay with his head in Bunting’s lap. He giggled. Bunting smiled. The young admirers laughed”

[ Basil Bunting: A Northern Life, Richard Caddel and Anthony Flowers, New Castle Libraries, 1997]

England’s great literary modernist, Basil Bunting was born on this day.
Allen: “I’ve taken his model syntactical swiftness as corrective of my own “too many words”. The story of their legendary Mordern Tower meeting can be read here. A consummate sonic poet, as well as a poet of condensare, pith and precision, the poems benefit from being heard (hence, the sounding available above – and also, the invaluable gathering of materials at Pennsounds – and also, here).
His Complete Poems were published in 2000 by the Northumbrian press, Bloodaxe (and in America by New Directions Books). Forthcoming from Flood editions in 2012 is a book of translations, Bunting’s Persia.

For further Bunting resources, we happily point you to the Basil Bunting Poetry Centre at Durham University.

[Allen Ginsberg, Basil Bunting, Northumbria, 1973. Probably snapped by Tom Pickard with Allen’s camera. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

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