Boyle, Charles 1951–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

BOYLE, Charles 1951–

PERSONAL: Born January 26, 1951, in Leeds, Yorkshire, England; son of John (a foundry worker and director) and Patricia (Walker) Boyle; married Madeleine Strindberg (a painter), March 22, 1980. Education: St. John's College, Cambridge, B.A. (honors), 1972. Politics: "Non-aligned, but active." Religion: "Ditto."

ADDRESSES: Home—32 Moore Park Rd., London SW6, England. Office—Time & Life Building, New Bond St., London W1, England.

CAREER: Worked as English teacher in Sheffield, West Riding, Yorkshire, England, 1973–74; as publisher's editor in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, 1974–76; as English language teacher in Cairo, Egypt, and Rabat, Morocco, 1976–78; and as publisher's editor in London, England, 1978–84.

AWARDS, HONORS: Cholmondeley Award, Society of Authors, 1981, for poetry; shortlisted for T. S. Eliot Prize, 2001, and shortlisted for Whitbread Poetry Award, 2002, both for The Age of Cardboard and String.

WRITINGS:

Affinities, Carcanet Press (Manchester, England), 1977.

House of Cards, Carcanet Press (Manchester, England), 1982.

Sleeping Rough, Carcanet (New York, NY), 1987.

The Very Man, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1993.

Paleface, Faber and Faber (London, England), 1996.

The Age of Cardboard and String (poetry), Faber and Faber (London, England), 2001.

Author of the pamphlets Cairo Poems and Sequel, American University in Cairo Press, 1977.

SIDELIGHTS: Times Literary Supplement reviewer Peter Scupham commented that Charles Boyle's first book of poems, Affinities, is "marked by a wary and tangential tone." While "vignettes and incidents are deftly held," Scupham explained, "the poet seems uncertain what to do with them." This uncertainty was later noted by reviewer Tim Dooley, also of the Times Literary Supplement, in reference to Boyle's second poetry collection, House of Cards. Dooley cited Boyle's "evocation of particular scenes" that "remains precise and convincing" despite an uncertain framework. The reviewer also noted increased "openness to the unexpected and imaginative freedom" in House of Cards. Dooley considered this to be an improvement over the style of Boyle's earlier poetry, allowing the poet to demonstrate one of his most striking gifts: "the ease with which he combines and moves between formal and informal registers." Nick Laird, of the Times Literary Supplement, reviewed Boyle's poetry collection The Age of Cardboard and String. In his article, Laird called the poems "exceptional." He praised the poet's work for being "coolly, ironically refined, and disarmingly candid and funny." Laird mentioned that the surrealistic tone that permeates Boyle's poetry "is indicative of what is sometimes the only possible emotional response to apprehending a various and difficult world."

Boyle once commented to CA: "I see no good purpose in littering these pages with my opinions (or indeed in ninety percent of the information already recorded). Either what I have to say is there in my work, or I shouldn't be appearing here at all. For the record, if you must, what counts is: kindness, joy, writing well, and, as a precondition of these, survival."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

British Book News, 1987, review of Sleeping Rough, p. 706.

London Review of Books, 1988, review of Sleeping Rough, p. 15.

Times Literary Supplement, January 20, 1978, January 7, 1983; August 26, 1988, Mark Ford, review of Sleeping Rough, p. 941; June 7, 1996, Simon Carnell, review of Paleface, p. 26; July 20, 2001, Nick Laird, review of The Age of Cardboard and String, p. 25.