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John James

John James


John James was born 1939 in Cardiff and educated by the De La Salle Brothers at Saint Illtyd's College there. He left in 1957 to read Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Bristol and later undertook postgraduate studies in American Literature at the University of Keele. He was a founder of The Resuscitator and R Books in Bristol in 1963; he edited Avocado in 1976, and was Arts Council Creative Writing Fellow, University of Sussex, 1978–79. For many years he was Head of Communication Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.


Berlin Return, 1984

This recording of Berlin Return was made in 1984, and remastered from audio cassettes in 2007.


1967        mmm ... ah yes London: Ferry Press
1967        The Welsh Poems Lincoln: Grosseteste Press
1968        Trägheit Pampisford and Cheltenham: R Books
1969        The Small Henderson Room London: Ferry Press
1970        In One Side & Out The Other, with Andrew Crozier and Tom Phillips, London: Ferry Press
1973        Letters From Sarah Cambridge: Street Editions
1975        Striking the Pavilion of Zero London: Ian McKelvie
1977        A Theory of Poetry Cambridge: Street Editions
1978        War London: Avocado
1979        Toasting Falmer: Gardner Centre Gallery
1983        Berlin Return Matlock, London and Liverpool: Grosseteste Press, Ferry Press and Délires
1988        Lines for Richard Long London: Silver Hounds
1988        The Ghost of Jimi Hendrix at Stokesay Castle Cambridge: Avocado
1991        Dreaming Flesh Cambridge: Street Editions
1992        Kinderlieder Cambridge: Avocado
1996        Schlegel Eats A Bagel Cambridge: Equipage
2002        Collected Poems Perth, Australia, and Cambridge, England: Salt

Anthology appearances

1969        Children of Albion, ed. Mike Horovitz, Harmondsworth: Penguin
1971        Mondstrip: neue englische Prosa, ed. Rolf Eckart John, Frankfurt: März Verlag
1976        New Directions in Prose and Poetry, ed. James Laughlin, New York: New Directions
1978        Green Horse: An Anthology by Young Poets of Wales, eds. Meic Stephens and Peter Finch, Swansea: Christopher Davies
1984        Matières D' Angleterre: Anthologie bilingue de la Nouvelle Poésie Anglaise, eds. Pierre Joris and Paul Buck, Amiens: Les Trois Cailloux
1986        With a Poet's Eye: A Tate Gallery Anthology, ed. Pat Adams, London: The Tate Gallery
1987        A Various Art, eds. Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville, Manchester and New York: Carcanet
1988        The New British Poetry 1968-88, eds. Gillian Allnutt, Fred D'Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram, London: Paladin
1992        Poets on Writing: Britain 1970-1991, ed. Denise Riley, London: Macmillan
1996        Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology, ed. Iain Sinclair, London: Picador
1997        'Warning Letters and Dream Ratios: contemporary English Poetry' ed. Rod Mengham in Comparative Criticism Vol. 19 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
1999        Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970, eds. Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain, Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press
2000        Twentieth-Century English Poetry, Full-Text Database, Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey
2001        Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, ed. Keith Tuma, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press

Heinrich von Kleist, The Prince of Homburg, a version, première The Cottesloe, The National Theatre, London, 22 April 1982


"John James is an extremely enjoyable and charismatic poet. His work is like a vigorous breath of fresh air, full of variety, humour and surprise. It has a strong sense of lyricism and energy, a striking mixture of the experimental and the immediate that brings to mind the work of Mayakovsky or the New York poets of the 1950s and 60s... At his best he can sustain the kind of lyric flight that places him firmly in the tradition of the Coleridge of the 'Conversation Poems' and the Wordsworth of the Two-Part Prelude... he is probably the most approachable of the experimental poets who, since the late 60s, have been associated with the idea of a Cambridge school. His directness and charm, his sense that experimentation can have both an urgency and a lightness of touch are very much to the fore throughout his work." --Charles Bainbridge, The Guardian

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