poet, translator, and travel writer, born in South Shields, educated at Durham University; he held many academic posts in England and abroad, notably in Japan and Malaya. His volumes of poetry include A Correct Compassion (1952), The Descent into the Cave (1957), Paper Windows (1968), and A Bewick Bestiary (1971). In 1977 his poem ‘The love that dares to speak its name’ (which deals with the homosexual love of one of the Roman centurions for Christ) became the subject of the first prosecution for blasphemous libel for over 50 years, and as a result the editor of Gay News, the periodical which published the poem, was fined and given a suspended prison sentence. Kirkup's autobiographical The Only Child (1957) is an evocative account of a working‐class northern childhood. He has also published several books on Japan, translations, and startlingly frank memoirs about his literary and homosexual adventures (A Poet Could Not But Be Gay, 1991; Me All Over, 1993).