Charles Tomlinson Analysis

Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Charles Tomlinson has published much work of translation, including Versions from Fyodor Tyutchev, 1803-1873 (1960, with Henry Gifford), Translations (1983), and Selected Poems (1993; of Attilio Bertolucci’s poetry). Among Tomlinson’s many essays of commentary and criticism, the most significant are found in The Poem as Initiation (1967), Some Americans: A Personal Record (1981), Poetry and Metamorphosis (1983), and American Essays: Making It New (2001). As an editor, Tomlinson has introduced British readers to the work of poets previously little known in England. His editions include Marianne Moore: A Collection of Critical Essays (1969), William Carlos Williams: A Critical Anthology (1972), Selected Poems (1976, 1985; of William Carlos Williams’s poetry), Selected Poems (1979; of Octavio Paz’s poetry), and Poems of George Oppen, 1908-1984 (1990). Tomlinson has also edited volumes of translations, The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation (1980) and Eros English’d: Classical Erotic Poetry in Translation from Golding to Hardy (1992). Finally, Tomlinson has collaborated with other poets in writing experimental poetic sequences: the multilingual Renga (1971; with Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, and Edoardo Sanguineti) and the bilingual Airborn = Hijos del Aire (1981; with Paz).


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Charles Tomlinson is generally recognized as a major English poet of the postmodern era. His work in traditional forms with conservative themes has set him apart from apocalyptic poets such as Dylan Thomas, as well as from the poets of the Movement, such as Philip Larkin. Tomlinson, a successful painter, has achieved recognition for his style of precise vision in poetry, and he has been often noticed as a seminal force in bringing the work of William Carlos Williams and other American writers to the serious attention of British poets and critics.

His achievements in poetry (as well as in painting) have won Tomlinson many awards and honors, including the Bess Hokin Prize for Poetry in 1956, a traveling fellowship from the Institute of International Education in 1959-1960, the Levinson Prize for Poetry in 1960, the Union League Civic and Arts Poetry Prize in 1961, the Frank O’Hara Prize in 1968, election as fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1974, an honorary doctorate in literature from Colgate University in 1981, the Wilbur Award for Poetry in 1982, election as an honorary fellow of Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (London University) in 1981, and the Bennett Award for achievement in literature in 1993.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Clark, Timothy. Charles Tomlinson. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1999. Clark gives a brief but wide-ranging introduction to Tomlinson’s career, covering not only his poetry but also his work as a translator, as a graphic artist, and as a collaborator in writing experimental, multilingual poetic sequences. Features a detailed biographical outline, examples of Tomlinson’s graphics, a bibliography, notes, and index.

John, Brian. The World as Event: The Poetry of Charles Tomlinson. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989. John says that Tomlinson’s poetry creates a language of the senses, enlarges definitions, and pursues understanding of experience. Includes a photograph, notes, a bibliography, and an index.

Kirkham, Michael. Passionate Intellect: The Poetry of Charles Tomlinson. Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 1999. This book provides a detailed critical reading of Tomlinson’s poetry from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. Kirkham presents Tomlinson’s work in an “unfolding sequence,” focusing on the poet’s “unified vision of the natural-human world.” Includes a bibliography, notes, and an index.

O’Gorman, Kathleen, ed. Charles Tomlinson: Man and Artist. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1988. Eleven essays, two interviews, a poem, a chronology,...

(The entire section is 454 words.)