Basil Bunting



Basil Bunting is buried in the Quaker graveyard at Brigflatts, Cumbria, England.

Grave of Basil Bunting

As a young man Bunting led an itinerant lifestyle and met many of the great modernist writers. Between 1923-1924 he was the assistant editor of the Transatlantic Review in Paris. He later followed his mentor Ezra Pound to Rapallo in Italy where he met W.B.Yeats and American poet Louis Zukofsky.

During the 2nd World War he was sent to Persia as an interpreter and it was here that he met his second wife Sima Alladadian, a Kurdo-Armenian. However, in 1952 he was expelled from Persia and returned to his home town of Newcastle.

Brigflatts Friends Meeting House


                          Entrance Gate to Burial Ground

For the next twelve years he worked as a local journalist and languished in virtual obscurity until, in 1964, a young Newcastle poet named Tom Pickard was inspired to contact him. This reinvigorated Bunting as a poet and in the next year he wrote his acclaimed semi auto-biographical  poem Briggflatts which was inspired by the Northumbrian landscape. Pickard subsequently rented Morden Tower from Newcastle Corporation and turned it into a poetry centre where Bunting gave frequent readings.

In 1968 Bunting was appointed to the Northern Arts Literary Fellowship at Durham and Newcastle Universities.

He died at the age of 85 after a short illness.

There is a memorial to him in the Durham University Botanic Gardens.

Shepherds follow the links,
sweet turf studded with thrift;
fell-born men of precise instep
leading demure dogs
from Tweed and Till and Teviotdale,
with hair combed back from the muzzle,
dogs from Redesdale and Coquetdale
taught by Wilson or Telfer.

From Briggflatts






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