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Neil Curry Papers

Date range: 1960-2012

Medium: Archive

Neil Curry (b. 1937) is a poet, author, critic, translator and playwright based in Cumbria. After attending Bristol University, he spent some time teaching in Canada before returning to England as a teacher. His verse translation of Euripides’ The Bacchae was performed on stage in 1960 and on BBC television in 1963. This was followed by several other Euripides translations, including Antigone (produced on BBC TV in 1962) and The Trojan Women (performed and published in 1964). His interest in classical translation was further pursued in The Bending of the Bow, a version of the closing books of The Odyssey, which was published in 1993 by Enitharmon Press, publisher of much of Curry’s poetry. His other translations include work by Israeli poets Amir Or and Agi Mishol (published as Miracle and The Swimmers in 1998) and selections of work by the French poet Jules Supervielle (2013).

Curry’s first poetry collection, The Plain People, appeared in 1969, with the second, Between Root and Sky, being published in 1982. The 1980s saw his work gain wider recognition; he won the Poetry Prize at Cheltenham Literary Festival in 1986, and his 1988 collection, Ships in Bottles (Enitharmon), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His 1992 collection, Walking to Santiago, was inspired by his 500-mile walk along the famous medieval pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. Further collections have included Fourteen Steps Along the Edge (1998), Tidelines (1999), The Road to the Gunpowder House (2003), Other Rooms (2007), Some Letters Never Sent (2014) and Keeping Company with Mrs Woolf (2018).

Neil Curry’s edition of Norman Nicholson’s Collected Poems was published by Faber in 2008. This marked a highly significant contribution to Nicholson studies, and Curry has also published essays and given many talks on Nicholson’s work. He is a Life Vice-President of the Norman Nicholson Society.

As a critic, Curry has also published studies of Christopher Smart, Alexander Pope, George Herbert, William Cowper, and Six Eighteenth-Century Poets, a volume of shorter critical studies published in 2011. His topographical book The Cumbrian Coast was published in 2007.

Curry has also held various residencies in the USA, including periods spent at the Djerassi Institute, Yaddo and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

The collection includes:

  • Papers relating to the preparation of Norman Nicholson’s Collected Poems, edited by Curry, and further Nicholson-related material including correspondence, papers relating to the Norman Nicholson Society and photographs;
  • A group of some twenty autograph and typescript letters, postcards and Christmas cards sent to Neil Curry by the poet Kathleen Raine;
  • Notebooks and drafts of poetry, from Curry’s early work to more recent collections like Some Letters Never Sent;
  • Notebooks and drafts of critical writing, including material relating to William Cowper, George Herbert and Curry’s Six Eighteenth-Century Poets;
  • Drafts of translations and theatrical material, as well as autobiographical writings and essays;
  • Personal correspondence;
  • Typescripts and cuttings of reviews, essays and articles.

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