North Eastern roots

Basil Bunting, a native North Easterner, was born in Scotswood, UK in 1900. Though he travelled extensively abroad rubbing shoulders with the poetic literati of his day, he returned in later life to his hometown and is now regarded as a significant modernist poet. Bunting’s work, strong in aural traditions and influenced by musical cadence, together with local poetic and narrative traditions and histories, culminated in the publication of his long poem Briggflatts, that he first read at Morden Tower – a medieval turret on the ancient city walls of Newcastle upon Tyne – on 22 December 1965. Bunting was an engaging, accomplished and nuanced reader of his work and his words, his voice and his particularly north east of England sensibilities, have put the region on the literary map of poetry, poetics and poetry publishing.

The Basil Bunting Poetry Centre at Durham University fosters study and research on Bunting, on poets associated with him through the region, and on the modernist/post-modernist tradition. The Centre also continues to promote the practice of “live” poetry reading, which Bunting championed, and gives support to the development of the Basil Bunting Poetry Archive in the University Library.

From the Bloodaxe video archive

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.Thomas Gray, poet