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English Poet Basil Bunting, Colleague of Yeats, Pound

April 20, 1985|From Times Staff Writer

LONDON — Basil Bunting, who deprecated himself as a minor English poet, yet has been described as "spectacularly undervalued" by one critic, died Wednesday night in Hexham in northern England. He was 85.

Bunting, who was jailed as a conscientious objector during World War I, spent nearly half his life abroad. In the 1920s he was part of the Paris literary circle that included Ernest Hemingway, and he later moved to Italy, where he befriended W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound, and then to the United States.

His emulation of Pound and of another American poet, Louis Zukofsky, made him more popular in the United States than in his homeland. His first book of poetry was published in America in 1950, but it was not until 1964 that Bunting had a poem published in England.

Bunting spent much of the postwar years teaching in Canada and America, including a brief tenure at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His best known poem is the largely autobiographical "Briggflatts."

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