David Constantine

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David Constantine at Durham Book Festival in 2015

David John Constantine (born 1944) is an English poet,[1] author and translator.[2]


Born in Salford, Constantine read Modern Languages at Wadham College, Oxford, and was a Fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford, until 2000, when he became a Supernumerary Fellow.[3] He lectured in German at Durham University from 1969 to 1981 and at Oxford University from 1981 to 2000.[4]

He was the co-editor of the literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation. Along with the Irish poet Bernard O'Donoghue, he is commissioning editor of the Oxford Poets imprint of Carcanet Press and has been a chief judge for the TS Eliot Prize.[5]

His collections of poetry include Madder, Watching for Dolphins, Caspar Hauser, The Pelt of Wasps, Something for the Ghosts, Collected Poems and Nine Fathom Deep. He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet.

In 2015, the film 45 Years, based on Constantine's short story "In Another Country", enjoyed critical acclaim. The film stars Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. Rampling was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.

Constantine is also author of two novels, Davies and The Life Writer, a biography, Fields of Fire: A Life of Sir William Hamilton, and multiple collections of short stories, including Back at the Spike, the highly acclaimed Under the Dam (2005) and The Shieling (2009) and the award-winning Tea at the Midland and Other Stories.

Awards and honours[edit]


  • A Brightness to Cast Shadows (1980), Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 9780906427156
  • Watching for the Dolphins (1983)
  • Early Greek Travellers and the Hellenic Ideal (1984)
  • Davies (1985)
  • Selected Poems (1991)
  • Back at the Spike (1994)
  • Caspar Hauser (1994)
  • The Pelt of Wasps (1998)
  • Something for the Ghosts (2002)
  • Under the Dam (2005)
  • The Shieling (2009)
  • Tea at the Midland and Other Stories (2012)
  • Poetry: The Literary Agenda (2013)
  • In Another Country: Selected Stories (2015)


  • Hearn, Sheila G. (1981), review of A Brightness to Cast Shadows, in Murray, Glen (ed.), Cencrastus No. 5, Summer 1981, pp. 51


  1. ^ Carol Rumens, "Poem of the week: Frieze by David Constantine", The Guardian, 22 June 2009.
  2. ^ Katherine Bucknell, "The Boys in Berlin: Auden's Secret Poems", The New York Times, 4 November 1990.
  3. ^ "Supernumerary Fellows". The Queen's College Website. Archived from the original on 21 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Bloodaxe Profile". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  5. ^ Louise Jury, "Judges in rapture as poet Duffy wins T S Eliot Prize", The Independent, 17 January 2006.
  6. ^ "David Constantine wins Queen's gold medal for poetry". 18 December 2020.
  7. ^ Liz Bury, "David Constantine comes in from the periphery to win Frank O'Connor award", The Guardian, 1 July 2013.

External links[edit]