George MacBeth 1932-92
[Head prefect Jan to July 1951: see
Prefects - 1949-50 and Prefects - 1950-51]
also George MacBeth by Tony Hanwell.
searches provide the following:
George MacBeth 1932 - 1992
poet, novelist and anthologist
The son of a miner [in fact his father was
a mining engineer - see George MacBeth]
and an antique dealer's daughter, George MacBeth was born in Shotts, Lanarkshire.
His family moved to Sheffield when he was three years old, where he later attended
King Edward VII School. Having contracted rheumatic fever at the age
of twelve, he spent much of his adolescence as an invalid. After going to New
College, Oxford, he moved to London and became an influential member of 'The Group'
- a coterie of poets founded by Philip Hobsbaum and Edward Lucie-Smith. Other
associates included Alan Brownjohn, Ted Hughes, Peter Porter and Peter Redgrove.
Their tendency was to reject the ironic and formal aspects of the Movement to
concentrate on natural, often violent imagery. The Group's works was showcased
in the 1963 'A Group Anthology'.
George MacBeth, 1980s
MacBeth's early work in particular is symptomatic of Group ideology:
an experimental, innovative, extravagant approach, concentrating on themes of
sex, death, war and violence. His first collection, 'A Form of Words' (1954),
was followed by 'The Broken Places' (1963), 'The Night of Stones' and 'A War Quartet'
(1969), 'The Burning Cone' (1970), 'The Orlando Poems' (1971), and 'Shrapnel'
(1973). In 1965, MacBeth read at the Royal Albert Hall, along with Michael Horowitz,
Allen Ginsberg and many others. The event was to have an important influence on
performance poetry and its links to popular music.
His later work, which
tended to be simpler and more reflective, included 'Poems of Love and Death' (1980),
'The Long Darkness' (1983), 'The Cleaver Gardens' (1986), 'Anatomy of a Divorce'
(1988), 'Trespassing: Poems from Ireland' (1991) and 'The Patient' (1992).
MacBeth also published several novels, amongst them 'The Samurai' (1976), 'The
Seven Witches' (1978), 'Anna's Book' (1983), 'Another Love' (1990), and his final,
posthumously published novel, 'The Testament of Spencer' (1992), about a writer
living in Ireland in the closing years of the twentieth century. He wrote works
of non-fiction, including a memoir, 'A Child of the War' (1987) and 'My Scotland:
Fragments of a State of Mind' (1973). He was the editor of several anthologies,
amongst them 'The Penguin Book of Sick Verse' (1963), 'The Penguin Book of Animal
Verse' (1965) and 'The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse' (1969). From 1955-76,
MacBeth produced poetry programmes for the BBC. In 1989, he settled in Ireland
for his final years with his third wife. He died in 1992 from motor neurone disease.
Eye -- The Late MacBeth --
In 1989 the Scottish poet George MacBeth and
his wife Penny moved to Ireland to live in County Galway. A few months later,
George MacBeth was diagnosed as suffering from motor neurone disease, of which
he died in early 1991. Through his poetry, The Late MacBeth provides an anatomy
of a cruel disease and the destruction it caused two people deeply in love. Produced
by Lorelei Harris. ABC Radio National, Sunday, July 10, 8.30pm.
1932-92, Scottish poet, grad. Oxford, 1955. He was until 1976
a producer for the BBC. His best poetry, such as The Broken Places (1963), often
treats violent subjects in a combination of fantasy and reality. He wrote with
wit and vitality, blending an enthusiasm for many formal poetic forms and figures
of speech with an exciting lack of restraint. Other volumes of poetry include
A Form of Words (1954), The Colour of Blood (1967), Collected Poems (1972), and
Shrapnel and A Poet's Year (1974).
(1932-1992) was one of the most gifted, inventive, moving and entertaining poets
of our time. He was also a notable performer of his own work, and a great encourager
of other people's talent - something to which he devoted himself both as BBC radio
producer and as a dynamic figure at literary festivals. He received the Geoffrey
Faber Memorial Award and his Poems from Oby was a Choice of the Poetry Book Society.
As well as publishing over twenty poetry books, he wrote novels and children's
books, and edited several poetry anthologies.
1932 - 92
- A Form of Words. Eynsham, Oxon.: Fantasy
- Jonathan Price, edited by MacBeth and Oscar Mellor.
Eynsham, Oxon.: Fantasy Press, 1954. Fantasy Poets, 20.
- Lecture to the Trainees: Poems. Oxford: Fantasy Press, 1962.
- The Broken Places: Poems. Lowestoft, Suffolk: Scorpion
Press, 1963, limited issue of 25 copies and trade issue; New York: Walker,
- The Penguin Book of Sick Verse, edited, with an introduction,
by MacBeth. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963; Baltimore: Penguin, 1965.
- Jack Clemo, Edward Lucie-Smith, George MacBeth. Harmondsworth:
Penguin, 1964. Penguin Modern Poets, no. 6.
- The Calf. London:
Turret Books, 1965. Broadside. 50 copies.
- The Doomsday
Book: Poems and Poem-games. Lowestoft, Suffolk: Scorpion
Press, 1965. Limited issue of 25 copies and trade issue.
- The Penguin Book of Animal Verse, edited, with an introduction, by MacBeth. Harmondsworth:
- The Hummingbirds: A Monodrama, designed by
Brian J. Boyle. London: Distributed by Turret Books, 1965. "Reprinted
by kind permission of the Royal College of Art from the Journal Arc, 38 (summer
1965)". 100 copies.
- Missile Commander. London:
Turret Books, 1965. 150 copies.
- The Twelve Hotels.
London: Turret Books, 1965. 100 copies.
- Noah's Journey,
illustrated by Margaret Gordon. London: Macmillan, 1966; New York:
- The Colour of Blood: Poems. London:
Macmillan, 1967; New York: Antheneum, 1967.
1900-1965: An Anthology, edited, with an introduction, by MacBeth. London:
Longmans/Faber & Faber, 1967; revised edition, as Poetry-1900-1975, 1979.
- The Screens. London: Turret Books, 1967. 200 copies.
- The Night of Stones: Poems. London: Macmillan, 1968,
limited issue of 110 copies and trade issue; New York: Antheneum, 1969.
- A Death: A Poem. Frensham, Hampshire: Sceptre Press,
1969. 100 copies.
- Jonah and the Lord, illustrated by Margaret
Gordon. London: Macmillan, 1969; New York: Holt, 1970.
- A War Quartet. London: Macmillan, 1969. Limited issue
of 50 copies and trade issue.
- The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse:
A Critical Anthology, edited, with an introduction, by MacBeth. Harmondsworth:
- The Bamboo Nightingale. Farnham, Surrey:
Sceptre Press, 1970. Broadside. 150 copies.
- The Burning
Cone. London: Macmillian, 1970. Limited issue of 100 copies
and trade issue.
- The Falling Splendour: Poems of Alfred Lord
Tennyson, edited by MacBeth. London: Macmillan, 1970.
Hiroshima Dream. London: Academy Editions, 1970. 250 copies.
- Poems. Farnham, Surrey: Sceptre Press, 1970. 100 copies.
- Snow Leopard. Santa Barbara: Unicorn Press, 1970. Broadside.
375 copies. In Unicorn Folio, series three, number two, British Folio.
- Two Poems. Farnham, Surrey: Sceptre Press, 1970. 50
- Free Form Poetry, by MacBeth and Bob Cobbing. London:
Writers Forum [1970?].
- Free Form Poetry Two: Poems, by MacBeth,
Dom Sylvester Houťdard, and Bob Cobbing. London: Writers Forum, 1971.
Limited issue of 12 copies and trade issue. Writers Forum Pamphlet 8.
- An Interview with Ted Berrigan. London: Ignu Publications,
1971. "This is an abbreviated transcript of an interview with Ted Berrigan
conducted by George MacBeth and broadcast by the B.B.C. in May of 1971."
- The Orlando Poems. London: Macillan, 1971.
- Collected Poems, 1958-1970. London: Macmillan, 1971; New York:
- A Prayer, Against Revenge. Rusden, Northants.:
Sceptre Press, 1971. 100 copies.
- Scene-Machine: A Message
for the Times: An Opera in One Act, by Anthony Gilbert, libretto by MacBeth.
London: Schott, 1971.
- A Farewell. Rushden, Northants.:
Sceptre Press, 1972. 150 copies.
- A Litany. Rushden,
Northants.: Sceptre Press, 1972. 150 copies.
A Verse Lecture. London: Fuller d'Arch Smith, 1972.
- Shrapnel: Poems. London: Macmillan, 1973.
Shirley, Solihull: Aquila, 1973. 500 copies.
- A Poet's
Year. London: Gollancz, 1973.
- My Scotland: Fragments
of a State of Mind. London: Macmillan, 1973.
- The Vision.
Rushden, Northants.: Sceptre Press, 1973. 150 copies.
- Shrapnel and A Poet's Year: Poems. New York: Antheneum, 1974.
- Elegy for the Gas Dowsers. Knotting, Bedfordshire: Sceptre
Press, 1974. 150 copies.
- The Journey to the Island.
Knotting, Bedfordshire: Sceptre Press, 1975. 150 copies.
- The Transformation. London: Gollancz, 1975.
- In the
Hours Waiting for the Blood to Come. London: Gollancz, 1975.
- Last Night. Knotting, Bedfordshire: Sceptre Press, 1976.
- The Samurai. New York: Harcourt, Brace,
Jovanovich, 1975; London: Quartet Books, 1976.
- The Book of
Cats, edited by MacBeth and Martin Booth. London: Secker & Warburg,
1976; New York: Morrow, 1977.
- The Survivor. London:
Quartet Books, 1977; New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978.
- The Saddled Man: A Poem, illustrated by Katherine Kadish.
Richmond, Surrey: Keepsake Press, 1978. 192 copies.
a Heart, illustrated by Robin Lawrie. London: Omphalos Press, 1978;
New York: Atheneum, 1978.
- The Seven Witches. London:
W. H. Allen, 1978; New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978.
- Poem for Breathing. Knotting, Bedfordshire: Sceptre Press, 1979.
- Poems of Love and Death. London: Secker
& Warburg, 1980; New York: Atheneum, 1980, limited issue of 750 copies
and trade issue.
- Typing a Novel about the War. Knotting,
Bedfordshire: Martin Booth, 1980. 125 copies.
- A Kind
of Treason: A Novel Based on the War Diaries of John Beeby. London:
Hodder & Stoughton, 1981; as The Katana: A Novel Based on the War Diaries
of John Beeby, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981.
for Oby. London: Secker & Warburg, 1982; New York: Atheneum,
1983, limited issue of 750 copies and trade issue.
- The Rectory
Mice, illustrated by Douglas Hall. London: Hutchinson, 1982.
- The Long Darkness. London: Secker & Warburg, 1983.
- Anna's Book. London: Cape, 1983; New York: Holt, Rinehart
& Winston, 1983.
- The Lion of Pescara. London: Cape,
- Poetry for Today, edited by MacBeth. Harlow:
- The Cleaver Garden. London: Secker &
- Dizzy's Woman. London: Cape, 1986.
- The Story of Daniel, illustrated by Pauline Baynes. Cambridge:
- A Child of the War. London: Cape,
- Anatomy of a Divorce: Poems. London: Hutchinson,
- Collected Poems, 1958-1982. London: Hutchinson,
- Trespassing: Poems from Ireland. London:
- Another Love Story. London: Bloomsbury,
- The Patient. London: Hutchinson, 1992.
- The Testament of Spencer. London: Deutsch, 1992.
Death of a Ferrari
In Memoriam 840 HYK
It was made for the
manager of Crockfordís,
Driven in a Monte Carlo Rally,
Owned by a salesman,
later, at Maranelloís,
A retired colonel, then me.
I couldnít afford
that wastrel elegance,
I could scarcely carry
The seven-foot, iron exhaust
When it cracked, and broke, in Leeds.
I loved its worn, greyed
The petrol-blue of its hide.
It growled along at a hundred
With its bad brakes, and its leaking seal.
I can hear now
Belly-flustering Ferrari roar
Bounced back off the wall
of the underpass
One night, in Piccadilly. It was like the Blitz.
right. So the door was rusted,
Smoke came out of the dashboard wires
The first time I drove it on the M4.
Who cares? It was a major car.
It didnít crash on the motorway,
Or blow up at a hundred and fifty.
It didnít burn itself out down a cliff
Taking a bend too fast, in Scotland.
It was ditched in a car park
On Willesden Green.
So under the Civic
Amenities Act 1967
Section No. 20
Removal and Disposal of Abandoned
The Transport and Cleansing Division
Of the London Borough
Will sell it for scrap.
Some other owner is responsible,
The next sucker in the line.
But I feel tonight a remote sense of guilt
Mixed with a tinge of outrage
To think of the rationality of that
Ripped into shreds,
The camshaft smashed, the radial tyres
And the little dancing horse stripped from the grill.
had electric windows, in 1961.
It had the original radio, with its aerial.
It could out-accelerate any car in Europe.
They donít come off the floor
like that any more.