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Tom Paulin

From Academic Kids

Tom Paulin (January 25, 1949 - ) was born in Leeds, but grew up in Belfast. A fiercely independent voice in British poetry, Paulin is frequently acclaimed for the rich quality of his poetic language. He is also well-known for his fierce political views, which stem directly from the political situation in Northern Ireland.

His Life and Work

Paulin was educated at Hull University and Lincoln College, Oxford. He worked at the University of Nottingham, first as a lecturer and later as a Reader of Poetry, from 1972 to 1994. He is currently the GM Young Lecturer in English Literature at Hertford College, Oxford.

In 1977 he won the Somerset Maugham prize for his poetry collection A State of Justice. More recent work has included The Invasion Handboook (2001). Paulin is also well known for his critical work, including Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State. Of late, he has championed the work of literary and social critic William Hazlitt, and has taken part in a successful campaign to have Hazlitt's gravestone refurbished.

In Britain, Paulin is most widely known for his appearances on the late-night BBC arts programme Late Review, where he has established a reputation, not only for his acerbic judgements, but also for the unusual quality of some of his language, for instance, describing the sound of Blur's '13' album as "like barbed wire at the bottom of a pond", as well as his frequently bad-tempered arguments with guests, such as Germaine Greer. Paulin continues to be a regular contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review arts programme.

Accusations of antisemitism

Paulin attracted controversy in 2002 after his invitation to deliver the prestigious Morris Gray Lecture at Harvard was cancelled and then subsequently reinstated after complaints about his supposed anti-semitism, after he gave an interview to the Egyptian state controlled newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly. He argued under questioning that suicide bombings were wrong because "...attacks on civilians in fact boost morale... Hitler bombed London into submission but in fact it created a sense of national solidarity" rather than because of the death of innocents that ensues. Most controversially he said of Brooklyn-born Jewish settlers. "They should be shot dead, I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them." [1] (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2002/580/cu2.htm).

Bibliography

  • Theoretical Locations, Ulsterman Publications, 1975
  • Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Perception, Macmillan, 1975
  • A State of Justice, Faber and Faber, 1977
  • Personal Column, Ulsterman Publications, 1978
  • The Strange Museum, Faber and Faber, 1980
  • The Book of Juniper, Bloodaxe, 1981
  • A New Look at the Language Question, Field Day, 1983
  • Liberty Tree, Faber and Faber, 1983
  • Ireland and the English Crisis, Bloodaxe, 1984
  • The Argument at Great Tew: A Poem, Willbrook Press, 1985
  • The Riot Act: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone, Faber and Faber, 1985
  • The Faber Book of Political Verse, (editor), Faber and Faber, 1986
  • Fivemiletown, Faber and Faber, 1987
  • The Hillsborough Script: A Dramatic Satire, Faber and Faber, 1987
  • Seize the Fire: A Version of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Faber and Faber, 1990
  • The Faber Book of Vernacular Poetry, (editor), Faber and Faber, 1990
  • Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State, Faber and Faber, 1992
  • Selected Poems 1972-1990, Faber and Faber, 1993
  • Walking a Line, Faber and Faber, 1994
  • Writing to the Moment: Selected Critical Essays, 1980-1996, Faber and Faber, 1996
  • The Day-Star of Liberty: William Hazlitt's Radical Style, Faber and Faber, 1998
  • The Wind Dog, Faber and Faber, 1999
  • The Fight and Other Writings by William Hazlitt, (co-editor with David Chandler), Penguin, 2000
  • Thomas Hardy: Poems selected by Tom Paulin, (editor), Faber and Faber, 2001
  • The Invasion Handbook, Faber and Faber, 2002
  • D. H. Lawrence and "Difference": The Poetry of the Present, (with Amit Chaudhuri), Oxford University Press, 2003

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