"I was born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford, where I read English. During my time as a student I started writing poetry seriously and worked with Michael Schmidt, a fellow-undergraduate, with whom for a time I co-edited Carcanet – which was then a magazine and not a publishing house... After two years of postgraduate research at Wadham and Wolfson Colleges, Oxford, I moved to Manchester (where I still live) to lecture at the University, ending (30 years later) as Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies. In 1977 I met and fell in love with my muse and future wife, Amanda, and the same year I published my first full-length collection of poems, Fools’ Paradise. That book has been followed by five other books of poems: Tourists (1987), A Prismatic Toy (1991), Selected Poems (2000) and – published by WAVE Books in Australia – the first four sections of my long poem-in-progress on the life of the Buddha, Touching the Earth. My new major collection, Playing With Fire, was published by Carcanet Press in 2006.
"In the late 1970s I became interested in Thomas De Quincey, ‘the English Opium-Eater’, essayist and friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge. I wrote a biography of him, published in 1981 as The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey. Later I edited his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings for the Oxford World’s Classics series in 1985, and later still I piloted The Works of Thomas De Quincey, a 21-volume complete edition of his writings, produced by a team of eleven editors under my co-ordination and published in 2000-03.
"Alongside this work I published in 1993 A Literary Guide to the Lake District, a systematic and – I hope – entertaining guide to the area’s literary connections from the earliest times to the present day. It won the ‘Lakeland Book of the Year’ award in 1994. A new updated edition appeared in 2005 from Sigma Press... In 1983 I met the poet and scholar Kathleen Raine (1908-2003), who started publishing my poetry and other work in her review Temenos. When the journal was revived for its second series as Temenos Academy Review I acted as deputy editor, and when Kathleen Raine relinquished the journal in 2000 I became editor, a post which I held until 2003. During the same period I acted as Academic Director of The Temenos Academy, an educational charity founded by Kathleen Raine to offer ‘teaching in philosophy and the arts in the light of the spiritual traditions of east and west’.
"I believe that for the practice of poetry or any other art, or even for living a reasonably sane life, it is vital to have contact with the ‘deep imagination’ – the place where our individual insight and creativity connects with universal archetypes and spiritual dimensions. My work for Temenos hopes to foster this. In 1997 I edited The White Goddess by Robert Graves to make this important and inspiring book accessible in an accurate text to readers and poets. For more than twenty years I have practised (and at times taught) meditation under the auspices of the Samatha Trust. I see all these activities, together with my creative work, as tending in the same general direction. The ‘Links’ on this website will supply more information if you need it.... I’m now working on a new collection of poems, provisionally entitled ‘Luna Park’. My other major project is a new biography, Charles Williams: The Last Magician (contracted to Oxford University Press). Williams was, I believe, a great poet, writing on Arhurian themes, but he has been largely forgotten. He was also an occultist, a Christian theologian, a dramatist and author of seven extraordinary novels which still have a ‘cult’ following. I want to revive interest in him and his work. The biography is a very big undertaking – he was a complex and protean man who left a mountain of written material behind him – but I am working at it as fast as I reasonably can and hope to have a draft by the end of 2010 or thereabouts."
Resources and articles
- Grevel Lindop About, organizational web page, accessed July 1, 2012.