poet and critic, born in Chester, and educated at Christ Church, Oxford. His varied literary career has included academic posts in Japan, Libya, and Kuwait, working as a producer for BBC radio, and as literary editor of the Listener; he became co‐editor of Encounter in 1973. His volumes of poetry include Home Truths (1957), The Stones of Emptiness (1967), A Portion for Foxes (1977), A New Country (2000), and A Move in the Weather (2003). An early allegiance to Larkin has expanded into a wide variety of theme and subject matter, ranging from the domestic to the exotic: Victorian Voices (1980) is a collection of fourteen dramatic monologues on lesser‐known Victorian figures. His collected Poems 1953–1983 (1984) was enlarged in 1989 as Poems 1953–1988; Selected Poems 1956–1996 appeared in 1997. His engagement with Japanese culture was reflected in Letter from Tokyo (1987). He edited the Collected Poems of Larkin in 1988 and Larkin's Selected Letters in 1992. He is married to the literary biographer Ann Thwaite.