Michie, James 1927-2007 (Jaspistos)

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Michie, James 1927-2007 (Jaspistos)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 24, 1927, in Weybridge, Surrey, England; died October 30, 2007. Poet, translator, editor, and publisher. Michie was nearly seventy years old when he was awarded the prestigious Hawthornden Prize for Literature for his poetry. This was not because of any deficiency as a poet, wrote a contributor to Contemporary Poets, but because his stellar translations of the Roman and Greek masters tended to command center stage. Michie published several translations of Horace, Catullus, Martial, and Euripides, among others, mostly to critical acclaim, while his portfolio of original poetry remained rather slim. His poetry was collected in the modest volume Possible Laughter (1959), then in New and Selected Poems (1983) and Collected Poems (1994). He also produced a verse retelling of Aesop's Fables in 1990, with illustrations by John Vernon Lord. Michie was also known for his acumen in the publishing world. He spent the 1950s as an editor at the London publishing house of William Heinemann, then moved to the publishing company of Bodley Head, where he was the editorial director for nearly thirty years, beginning in 1961. There he acquired publication rights for literary gems like the poetry of Sylvia Plath and the novel Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and he rubbed elbows with other luminaries of the British world of letters, including Kingsley Amis and P.J. Kavanagh, with whom he collaborated on Oxford anthologies of poetry. In his later years Michie worked part-time as a proofreader for the Spectator while his alter ego, under the sobriquet Jaspistos, presented regular, popular literary competitions.



Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Times (London, England), November 8, 2007, p. 70.

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Michie, James 1927-2007 (Jaspistos)

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Michie, James 1927-2007 (Jaspistos)