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Durham University

Basil Bunting Poetry Centre

Basic Bunting - A Basic Chronology

Most of the major works on Bunting include biographical material: this page is intended to give the most basic information only.

1900 - March 1st, Basil Cheesman Bunting born in Scotswood-on-Tyne, Northumberland, the son of Thomas Lowe Bunting, a local doctor, and Annie Cheesman, from a local mining family.

1912-17 - Educated at the Quaker schools of Ackworth and Leighton Park.

1918-19 - Arrested as a conscientious objector, and sentenced to imprisonment at Wormwood Scrubs and Winchester prisons.

1920-22 - Begins to engage in London literary life. Studies at the London School of Economics, but leaves without a qualification.

1924 - Works in Paris for Ford Madox Ford on the transatlantic review, through his emerging friendship with Ezra Pound, who he visits in Rapallo.

1925 - Death of his father. Bunting returns to England.

1927 - Earns a living as a music journalist in London, until support from Margaret de Silver enables him to pursue his own writing.

1928 - Lives and writes in a shepherd's cottage in the Simonside Hills, Northumberland.

1929 - Returns to Rapallo, to work for Pound. Marries Marian Culver.

1930 - His first pamphlet collection of poetry, Redimiculum Matellarum, privately published in Milan.

1931 - His daughter Bourtai born in Genoa. His work is included in Louis Zukofsky's "Objectivists" issue of Poetry, and subsequently in An "Objectivists" Anthology.

1933 - The Buntings leave Rapallo for the Canaries. His work is included in Pound's Active Anthology.

1934 - His second daughter Roudaba born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

1937 - The Buntings separate. Bunting's son Rustam born in Wisconsin. Bunting returns to England and sails on the South Coast for some months.

1938 - Studies seamanship at Nellist's Nautical School in Newcastle upon Tyne.

1940 - Divorced from Marian. Enlists in the RAF, having been rejected by the Army and the Navy on grounds of his poor eyesight.

1942 - Transferred to Persia as a translator on the strength of his knowledge of classical Persian.

1945-48 - By the end of the war has risen to Squadron Leader, and is retained on the British Embassy staff in Teheran.

1948 - Marries Sima Alladadian. Leaves the Embassy and works for The Times.

1950 - Daughter, Sima-Maria, born. His first full-length collection of poetry, Poems 1950, is published by The Cleaners Press, Galveston.

1952 - Expelled from Persia by Mossadeq, the family return to Throckley, Northumberland. His son, Thomas Faramaz, is born. Bunting finds it hard to support his young family. His first son, Rustam, dies.

1954 - Takes job as sub-editor on the Newcastle Journal, subsequently transferring to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. His eyesight deteriorates.

1963 - Begins to be sought out be a younger generation of poets such as Jonathan Williams and Gael Turnbull.

1964 - First meeting with Tom Pickard, who stimulates Bunting to write again, and helps in his re-discovery through the Morden Tower, run by Connie and Tom Pickard.

1965 - His first major publications in Britain: The Spoils (Morden Tower Book Room); First Book of Odes and Loquitur (both Fulcrum Press). First performance of Briggflatts at the Morden Tower, December 22nd.

1966 - Publication of Briggflatts (Fulcrum Press). Receives Arts Council Bursary and retires from the Evening Chronicle.

1967 - Teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Operations for cataracts restore his eyesight.

1968 - Publication of Collected Poems (Fulcrum Press). Appointed to Northern Arts Poetry Fellowship (1968-70) at the Universities of Durham and Newcastle.

1978 - Collected Poems republished by Oxford University Press. Although his poetic status is now recognised fairly widely, he is to be faced with increasing poverty, and has to move house on several occasions.

1984 - Moves to Whitley Chapel, near Hexham, Northumberland, his final home.

1985 - 17th April, dies in Hexham General Hospital.