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Bunting, Basil (1900-1985)

The British Library has an extensive collection of published works by the English poet Basil Bunting (1900 - 1985), including relatively rare materials. The finding list below is derived from Explore the British Library but includes extra annotations.

Translations by Bunting
Other works with contributions by Bunting
Critical studies, tributes and biography

Other links include:

The Basil Bunting Poetry Centre
The British Library Manuscript Collections: Literary theatrical collections
The British Library National Sound Archive
Eric Mottram Collection at King’s College London (Contains correspondence with Bunting)
The UK National Register of Archives




Briggflatts. London: Fulcrum Press; printed at the Goliard Press, [1966]. Cup.510.dak.6
The large format first edition of what is widely regarded as Bunting's greatest work. The design is intended to evoke the illuminated style of the Lindisfarne Gospels, with whose intricate design Bunting compared Briggflatts.

Briggflatts. (Second edition.) London: Fulcrum Press, 1966. Shelfmark: X.908/10021

A Note on Briggflatts. [Durham]: Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, 1989. Shelfmark: YC.1990.a.4831
A 4 page pamphlet, published posthumously, in which Bunting gives context to the poem.


Collected poems. London: Fulcrum Press, [1968]. Shelfmark: X.900/3982
Collected, edited and sequenced by Bunting himself.

Collected poems. (New edition.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. Shelfmark: X.981/21011
A new edition supervised by Bunting himself.


Complete poems, associate editor Richard Caddel. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 2000. Shelfmark: YC.2000.a.2226
Supersedes the Oxford University Press edition of 1994 (Shelfmark: YK.1995.a.232; Humanities Reading Room copy at: HLR.821.914BUN). Preserves Bunting’s sequence of Collected poems, but adds further poems as appendices.


A Dog’s nose: Basil Bunting 1900/1985, compiled by Michael Farley. Leicester: Taxus, 1986. Shelfmark: Cup.510.dmt.16

First book of odes. London: Fulcrum Press: London, [1966]. Shelfmark: X.902/274

Loquitur. London: Fulcrum Press, [1965]. Shelfmark: X.902/295

Ode II/2. London: Fulcrum Press, 1965. Shelfmark: C.161.f.1(58)
1 folded sheet.

Poems: 1950. Galveston: Cleaners' Press, [1950.] Shelfmark: 11658.ff.24


Redimiculum Matellarum. Milan: Grafica Moderna, 1930. Shelfmark: Cup.403.s.20
Bunting’s first collection. The title apparently means "a necklace of chamberpots".

The Spoils. Newcastle upon Tyne: Morden Tower Book Room [1965.]. Shelfmark: X.909/6393
This sequence of poems, Bunting’s only major work explicitly about the Middle East, also contains a photographic portrait of Bunting.

Two poems. [London]: Unicorn Press, 1967. Shelfmark: Cup.510.atd.1

Uncollected poems, edited by Richard Caddel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Shelfmark: YC.1991.a.4338
These were later incorporated in Complete poems entered above.

What the chairman told Tom. Cambridge, Mass.: Pym-Randall Press, 1967. Shelfmark: Cup.510.paf.2


Basil Bunting on poetry, edited by Peter Makin. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Shelfmark: YC.2000.a.13413
This collects transcriptions of important lectures on the poetry and poets Bunting admired.

Presidential addresses: an artist's view on regional arts patronage. [Newcastle upon Tyne]: Northern Arts, [1976]. Shelfmark: YA.1995.a.20364
An 11 page pamphlet collecting several of Bunting's speeches as President of Northern Arts.

Presidential addresses: an artist's view on regional arts patronage. [Newcastle upon Tyne]: Northern Arts, [1977]. Shelfmark: YA.1995.a.20362
Despite the identical title to the preceding item, this is a different, 7 page, pamphlet collecting further speeches by Bunting as President of Northern Arts, including his resignation speech. It was published to accompany the Northern Arts Gallery Current British Art Exhibition.

Three essays, edited and introduced by Richard Caddel. Durham: Basil Bunting Poetry Centre, 1994. Shelfmark: YK.1995.b.164

 Translations by Bunting

Horace, Version of Horace [Odes. Book 2, no. 14]. Holborn: in officina Guidonis Londinensis [i.e. Guido Morris], 1972. Shelfmark: Cup.410.f.631
A 4 page booklet.

'Ubayd Zakani, The Pious cat. London: Rota, 1986. Shelfmark: YC.1988.b.790 A translation of Mush va gurbah. A booklet inserted in the pocket contains the Persian text of the original poem.

 Other works with contributions by Bunting

King Ida's watch chain: a moving anthology. Newcastle upon Tyne: The Morden Tower, [196-]. Holdings: Link 1 (Basil Bunting issue). Shelfmark: Cup.410.g.254

Poetry gala, presented by the Poetry Society, with Basil Bunting... [et al.]. London]: The Society, [1969?]. Shelfmark: YA.1997.a.10307
A pamphlet to accompany a reading presented by the Poetry Society. As well as Bunting, the poets featured are: Spike Hawkins, Christopher Logue, Hugh MacDiarmid, Brian Patten, William Plomer, Stevie Smith, Ezra Pound, Ted Hughes, and Tom Pickard. Each of the poets has a poem reproduced in the brochure. Bunting's is "To a poet who advised me", i.e. Ode 11 of the First book of odes. This copy is signed by Bunting to an undeciphered recipient, with the holograph date of 1978.

Ezra Pound (ed.), Active anthology. London: Faber, 1933. Shelfmark: Cup.403.l.19. Another copy at shelfmark: Cup.403.z.39.

Joseph Skipsey, Selected poems, selected and edited by Basil Bunting. Sunderland: Sunderland Arts Centre and Ceolfrith Press, 1976. Shelfmark: X.909/40649

Louis Zukofsky, An "Objectivists" anthology. Le Beausset: To, 1932. Shelfmark: 20019.h.48
Bunting is the only English figure included within this anthology of otherwise American poets, "The Objectivists".

 Critical studies, tributes and biography

Keith Alldritt, Modernism in the Second World War: the later poetry of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Basil Bunting, and Hugh MacDiarmid. New York: P. Lang, c1989. Shelfmark: YA.1992.a.22037

Keith Alldritt, The Poet as spy: the life and wild times of Basil Bunting. London: Aurum, 1998. Shelfmark: YC.1998.b.6932
A biography of Bunting.

Basil Bunting, Descant on Rawthey's madrigal. Lexington, Ky.: Gnomon Press, [1968]. Shelfmark: Cup.510.sbg.1. Another copy at shelfmark: X.900/15923.
Bunting interviewed by his friend the poet Jonathan Williams.

Basil Bunting at eighty. [Coventry]: [Arts Centre, University of Warwick], [1980]. Shelfmark: YA.1992.b.5932
An 8-page programme for the celebration.

David Burnett, Basil Bunting. [Durham]: [Durham University Library], [1987]. Shelfmark: YC.1988.b.3813
A 12 page pamphlet on Bunting.

Brian Conniff, The Lyric and modern poetry: Olson, Creeley, Bunting. New York: P. Lang, c1988. Shelfmark: YA.1992.a.2819

Victoria Forde, The Poetry of Basil Bunting. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1991. Shelfmark: YC.1992.a.2937
With a substantial biographical element.

James McGonigal and Richard Price (eds.) The Star You Steer By: Basil Bunting and British Modernism. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000. Shelfmark: YA. 2002.a.15107

Peter Makin, Bunting: the shaping of his verse. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992. Shelfmark: YC.1992.a.1097

Peter Quartermain, Basil Bunting: poet of the North. Durham: Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, 1990. Shelfmark: YK.1991.a.1595
A 23-page pamphlet on Bunting’s life and work.

Robert Sanesi, Esercizi con la tigre: su una poesia di Basil Bunting. [Great Britain]: Gower Press, 1986. Shelfmark: YA.1995.a.16627
A short study in Italian of Bunting's 1929 poem "Fearful symmetry", comparing it to William Blake's "The Tyger". Reproduces "Fearful symmetry" in English and in an Italian translation.

Colin Simms,Photosopsis for Basil Bunting. New Malden: Headland Publications, 1975. Shelfmark X.909/30972

Jonathan Williams (ed.), Madeira & toasts for Basil Bunting’s 75th birthday. Dentdale: Jargon Society, 1975. Shelfmark: YA.1990.a.20239

Carroll F. Terrell. Basil Bunting: man and poet. Orono, Me.:National Poetry Foundation, [1981]. Shelfmark: YA.1989.b2819


Roger Guedalla, Basil Bunting: a bibliography of works and criticism. Norwood, Pa.: Norwood Editions, 1973. Shelfmark: X.981/4977