Redgrove, Peter (William) 1932-2003

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REDGROVE, Peter (William) 1932-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 2, 1932, in Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, England; died June 16, 2003, in Falmouth, England. Educator and author. Redgrove was a prize-winning poet and fiction author whose interest in science and psychoanalysis infused his writing. Attending Queen's College, Cambridge, he studied natural sciences but did not graduate. Instead, he met and befriended poet Ted Hughes and decided to pursue the writing life. His first job out of school in the late 1950s was as a copywriter and scientific journalist for the London Times, and he also earned money as a research chemist. His first collection of verses, The Collector and Other Poems, was published in 1960. Finding success as a writer, he supplemented his income by teaching until the mid-1980s. He was a fellow in poetry at the University of Leeds from 1962 to 1965 before becoming resident author and senior lecturer in complementary studies at the Falmouth School of Art, where he remained from 1966 to 1983; he was also a professor of literature at Colgate University from 1974 to 1975 and was a visiting poet, tutor, and lecturer at a number of other colleges and universities. As a writer, Redgrove composed everything from novels and plays to radio and television scripts and nonfiction psychology books, but he is most remembered for his work as a poet. His verses reveal an ongoing interest in nature and science and are often flavored with humor and the natural world's importance to the human spirit. Among his many verse collections are The Mother, the Daughter, and the Sighing Bridge (1970); Happiness (1978); In the Hall of the Saurians (1987); Assembling a Ghost (1996), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award; Orchard End (1997); What the Black Mirror Saw (1997); Selected Poems (1999); and From the Virgil Caverns (2002). His first novel, In the Country of the Skin (1972), won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and his radio scripts, including The God of Glass (1977), Martyr of the Hives (1980), and Florent and the Tuxedo Millions (1982), were often prize winners as well. Redgrove's interest in psychoanalysis—he practiced as a lay psychoanalyst for a time—also led to his writing of The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman (1978), a collaboration with his second wife, Penelope Shuttle, and The Black Goddess of the Sixth Sense (1987). His other work includes the novels The Beekeepers (1980) and The Facilitators; or, Madam Hole-in-the-Day (1982), and the plays Three Pieces for Voices (1972) and The Hypnotist (1978). Redgrove was prolific, and though he was perhaps not as often well recognized as contemporaries Hughes and Thom Gunn, he was still one of England's most respected poets and was honored in 2001 with an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield.



Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2003, p. B14.

New York Times, June 19, 2003, p. C13.

Times (London, England), June 18, 2003.

Washington Post, June 23, 2003, p. B6.