poet and novelist, contributed to left‐wing literary magazines, including New Verse, and his first volume, Poems (1939), shows the influence of Auden and Spender. This was followed by several collections of poetry: Collected Poems 1936–1961 (1962) forms a link between the poets of the thirties and the poets of the Movement, in its lucid, ironic, detached tone, and its formal accomplishment. His later volumes, which include From the Joke Shop (1975) and The Reign of Sparrows (1980), frequently strike a more personal note, particularly in the many sardonic reflections on old age and the ageing process. His novels include Image of a Society (1956), which is a portrait of personal and professional conflicts in a northern provincial building society. He was professor of poetry at Oxford, 1968–73, and Owls and Artificers (1971) and Professors and Gods (1973) are collections of his Oxford lectures. He also published three volumes of memoirs, Souvenirs (1980), Vamp till ready (1982), and Home and Dry (1984).