Riley, John

(1937-1978)
   Born and raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, he served in the Royal Air Force from 1956 to 1958, graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1961, then worked as a teacher in the Cambridge area. There he became associated with the Cambridge Group of the British Poetry Revival, with poets such as Andrew Crozier and Peter Riley (see entries). In 1968 he moved from Cambridge to teach near Oxford, and in the same year he co-founded the Grosseteste Press and started the magazine Grosseteste Review. He retired from teaching and returned to Leeds in 1970 to be a full-time writer. He was robbed and kicked to death at night near his home. Riley's poetry was influenced by the Black Mountain poets of North Carolina and by the Russian essayist and poet Osip Mandelshtam (1891-1938), whose poetry he translated into English. His Collected Works (1980) includes the first full printing of his important long poem Czargrad. Some of his poems: "A Sequence," "After the Music," "I shall not weary you with poems," "Pentecost," "Quiet, willows and primulas are growing," "Views of Where One Is," "Waves lap against rock."
   Sources: A Various Art. Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville, eds. Carcanet Press, 1987. Selected Poems of John Riley. Michael Grant, ed. Carcanet Press, 1995. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Yorkshire Post 28th October 1978 ( John Riley's murder) (http://www.ypn.co.uk/). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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