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Barry Tempest:  

I was brought up in Yorkshire in what was then a small but reasonably thriving mining town, now fallen on very bad times, but I have lived and worked for the last thirty years in Dorchester, close to the sea and under the evening shadow of Maiden Castle. It is a landscape in which the past is subtly always present, an environment that invites connections with places and people distant in both space and time.

For as long as I can clearly remember, my sense of Englishness or Britishness has always been in a European or even wider context; indeed, in many ways, although no great linguist, I feel European first, and it has always seemed to me that that is the only way to make good sense of our history, culture, and identity. These are motifs that recur frequently in my poems.

I am now retired after a career teaching English in secondary schools, further education and, latterly, higher education. It is good to have earned the space just to be a human being, and to find available some of the creative energies which teaching tended to absorb first.

I won the Ottakar’s/Faber National Poetry Competition in 1998, and have had poems regularly placed or commended. While I have always written poetry, I have come late to thinking of myself as a poet.


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