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Durham University

Basil Bunting Poetry Centre

Some Bunting Quotes

Bunting on Poets and Universities

There were mountebanks at the famous Albert Hall meeting, as well as a poet or two, but the worst, most insidious charlatans fill chairs and fellowships at universities ... or some other asylum for obsequious idlers.

    "Lately a professor in this university"
    said Khayyam of a recalcitrant ass,
    "therefore would not enter, dare not face me."

Bunting on Islam

Sooner or later we must absorb Islam if our own culture is not to die of anaemia.

Bunting on Briggflatts

All old wives' chatter, cottage wisdom. No poem is profound.

Bunting's advice to young poets


    1. Compose aloud; poetry is a sound.
    2. Vary rhythm enough to stir the emotion you want but not so as to lose impetus.
    3. Use spoken words and syntax.
    4. Fear adjectives; they bleed nouns. Hate the passive.
    5. Jettison ornament gaily but keep shape

    Put your poem away till you forget it, then:
    6. Cut out every word you dare.
    7. Do it again a week later, and again.

    Never explain - your reader is as smart as you.