Barry MacSweeney

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Barry MacSweeney (July 17, 1948 – May 9, 2000) was an English poet and journalist.

Life and work[edit]

Barry MacSweeney was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. He worked as a professional journalist throughout most of his life. He met poet Basil Bunting when they were both working at the Newcastle Evening Chronicle in the mid-1960s, and formed part of a local group of poets including Tom Pickard, Jon Silkin and Jeremy Prynne. He taught journalism and tutored in creative writing in the 1970s and worked as voluntary tutor in adult literacy in Newcastle in the late 1980s. Alcoholism, which he struggled with "from the age of sixteen"[1] and related ill health led to his death in May 2000. In the last 9 months of his life he acted as a mentor and editor to West Cumbrian poet, Emma McGordon and relaunched his Blacksuede Boot Press to publish her first pamphlet collection The Hangman & The Stars, just two weeks before his death. Correspondence between the two is held by Newcastle University's Barry MacSweeney Archive .

Literary works[edit]


  • The Boy from the Green Cabaret Tells of his Mother (1968)
  • The Last Bud (1969)
  • Joint Effort (1970) [with Pete Bland]
  • Flames on the Beach at Viarregio (1970)
  • Our Mutual Scarlet Boulevard (1971)
  • 12 Poems and a Letter (1971) [with Elaine Randell]
  • Just 22 and I Don't Mind Dyin': The Official Poetical Biography of Jim Morrison, Rock Idol (1971)
  • Brother Wolf (1972)
  • Fools Gold (1972)
  • Five Odes (1972)
  • Dance Steps (1972)
  • Six Odes (1973)
  • Fog Eye (1973)
  • Black Torch (1973)
  • Far Cliff Babylon (1978)
  • Odes (1978)
  • Blackbird [Book 2 of Black Torch] (1980)
  • Starry Messenger (1980)
  • Colonel B (1980)
  • Ranter (1985)
  • The Tempers of Hazard (1993; pulped same year) [with Thomas A. Clark and Chris Torrance]
  • Hellhound Memos (1993)
  • Pearl (1995)
  • Zero Hero [with Finnbar's Lament and Blackbird] (1996)
  • The Book of Demons (1997)
  • Pearl in the Silver Morning (1999)
  • Postcards from Hitler (1999)
  • Sweet Advocate (1999)
  • Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 (2003)
  • Horses in Boiling Blood: MacSweeney, Apollinaire: a collaboration, a celebration (2003)


  • Elegy for January: A Life of Thomas Chatterton (1970)

Poetry and artwork[edit]

  • Your Father's Plastic Poppy (1969)
  • Ode to Coal (1978)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Patrick McGuinness, "All the broken dollpeople, Poetry, 19 December 2003.

External links[edit]