|HE BROUGHT POST-WAR AMERICAN POETRY TO BRITAIN IN A VITAL WAY|
British poet of genius and cultural significance, Tom Raworth has died after a long and protracted illness, aged 78.
Writer, artist, teacher, and publisher Tom Raworth was born in South London and attended the University of Essex. In 1970, he earned an MA in the theory and practice of literary translation. As founder of Matrix Press and co-founder of Goliard Press, Raworth was instrumental in bringing an entire tradition of American poetry to English readers. Promoting the work of a number of poets associated with the Black Mountain School, including Edward Dorn, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson, Raworth also published the poetry of Elaine Feinstein, Aram Saroyan, Anselm Hollo, and Zoltan Farkas.
Raworth’s own work has also been identified with the Black Mountain School. He wrote over 40 collections of poetry, among them The Relation Ship (1969), winner of the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, Eternal Sections (1993), Tottering State: Selected Poems 1965–1983 (1984), the 500-plus page Collected Poems (2003), Writing: Poems 1980– 2003 (2005), and Windmills in Flames: Old and New Poems (2010).
His most recent collection As When was published by Carcanet in 2015. John Olson has noted that in Raworth’s work "words and lines are highly compressed: one perception immediately and directly slides to a further perception, and these perceptions accrue, multiply, ricochet and expand into a domain of accelerated cognition protean and variable as cumulonimbus, or gouache."
Raworth’s awards included the Cholmondeley Award, the Philip Whalen Memorial Award, and, in Italy, the Antonio Delfini Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
He taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa; he also served as poet-in-residence at King’s College, Cambridge University.
He lived in Brighton, England.
photo courtesy of Carcanet.