Skip to main content

Forbes, Peter 1947–

Forbes, Peter 1947–

PERSONAL: Born January 11, 1947, in Burton, England; son of Leonard and Winifred Forbes; divorced; children: Neil, Ian. Ethnicity: "English." Education: University of Bristol, graduated, 1967. Politics: "Left of center." Hobbies and other interests: Guitar music.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Poet. Queen Mary University of London, London, England, Royal Literary Fund fellow, 2004–. Affiliated with a British publisher of science textbooks during the 1980s.

WRITINGS:

The Aerial Noctiluca: Poems, 1976–1980, Poet and Printer (Middlesex, England), 1982.

Abolishing the Dark (poetry), Peterloo Poets (Cornwall, England), 1984.

(Editor) Poetry Review: New Generation Poets, Poetry Society (London, England), 1994.

(Editor and author of introduction) Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry, Viking (London, England), 1999.

(Translator) Primo Levi, The Search for Roots: A Personal Anthology, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2002.

The Gecko's Foot: Bio-Inspiration—Engineering New Materials and Devices from Nature, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006.

Editor, Poetry Review, 1986–2002.

SIDELIGHTS: British poet Peter Forbes earned a degree in chemistry but pursued a career in poetry in addition to one in science publishing for several years. In Abolishing the Dark Forbes makes clear his belief that the two fields are, on a deeper level, not incongruous; science, after all, is the study of life forms in the universe, and thus not unfamiliar ground for the poet. Abolishing the Dark is divided into sections bearing such titles as "The Elements and Their Humours" that reflect this idea, and contains poems dealing with the magic and the mystery of science. Forbes also explores more personal subject matter, such as the operation performed on his infant son's tiny heart in "Poem for Ian." Bernard O'Donoghue wrote in a Times Literary Supplement review that "Forbes is too fond of poetic formality" at times, but concluded that, on the whole, Abolishing the Dark "carries the promise of a notable poet." An assessment from British Book News critic G.B.H. Whightman ended on a similarly positive note: Forbes, Whightman wrote, "is best when he tartly observes the queerness in the familiar and gently places our concerns against the universe's timetable."

Forbes also devoted himself to editing collections of British verse and to his work as editor of Poetry Review. One of these, Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry, received a certain amount of press attention. It is divided into sections bearing such headings as "Death Fugue: The Holocaust, 1933–1945," and "All the Lonely People: The Individual," that reflect the events and philosophies of the century. Forbes chose poems from a wide range of international writers that attempt to condense the major sorrows and achievements of "a secular and highly mobile age, when the timeless repetition of seasons and religious rites have lost their force," as he wrote in the introduction. Scanning the Century includes selections from W.H. Auden, Anna Akhmatova, Bertolt Brecht, and Wole Soyinka, among others.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Forbes, Peter, Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry, Viking (London, England), 1999.

PERIODICALS

British Book News, September, 1984, G.B.H. Whightman, review of Abolishing the Dark, pp. 564-565.

Spectator, May 28, 1994, William Scammell, review of Poetry Review: New Generation Poets, pp. 36-37; March 27, 1999, P.J.J. Kavanagh, review of Scanning the Century, p. 39.

Times Literary Supplement, April 2, 1982, review of The Aerial Noctiluca: Poems, 1976–1980, p. 392; December 14, 1984, Bernard O'Donoghue, review of Abolishing the Dark, p. 1456; June 25, 1999, Stephen Knight, review of Scanning the Century, p. 25.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Forbes, Peter 1947–." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Forbes, Peter 1947–." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/forbes-peter-1947

"Forbes, Peter 1947–." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/forbes-peter-1947

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.