poet and lecturer, born in Bromsgrove, educated at Keble College, Oxford. His first volume of poetry was For the Unfallen (1959), followed by King Log (1968), Mercian Hymns (1971), which consists of prose poems celebrating Offa, ‘a presiding genius of the West Midlands’, and Tenebrae (1978). His early works show the influence of Blake and A. E. Housman; his language is rich and complex, and his themes predominantly historical and religious, many of the poems brooding over the violence of the near and distant past. His long poem The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy (1983) is a densely allusive meditation on the life, faith, and death of the French poet. Canaan (1996), in which distinct poetic sequences are interwoven, mulls over the political and religious history of England, and denounces the corruption of recent public life. Among other volumes are Collected Poems (1994) and Without Title (2006). The Lords of Limit (1984) and The Enemy's Country (1991) are critical works describing the social context of poetry, and the responsibilities of the poet. His version of Ibsen's Brand was produced at the National Theatre in 1978.