Geoffrey Phibbs

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Geoffrey Phibbs (Norfolk,1900-Dublin, 1956) was an Irish poet; he took his mother's name and called himself Geoffrey Taylor, after about 1930. He was brought up in Sligo, and educated at Haileybury.[1]

In 1924 he married the artist Norah McGuinness.

The poetry collection The Withering of the Fig Leaf (1927) was to be published by the Hogarth Press. At the last moment Phibbs became concerned about perceived anti-Catholic sentiment in it, and asked Leonard Woolf to withdraw it.[2] Another collection, It Was Not Jones, was issued by Hogarth in 1928, but under the pseudonym R. Fitzurse.[3]

Also in 1928 Robert Graves visited him in Sligo;[4] in 1929 Phibbs came to London, and his arrival unbalanced the menage of Graves, his wife Nancy Nicholson and Laura Riding. There are many accounts, generally contested, of subsequent events.

After some confusion, Graves and Riding were together in Spain, Phibbs and Nicholson were together in Wiltshire; and Phibbs in 1929 divorced McGuinness.

In 1935 he married Mary Dillwyn, and in 1940 returned to Ireland.[5] He was subsequently known mostly for anthologies, and non-fiction writing. As literary editor of The Bell, he gave significant space to poetry from Northern Ireland,[6] and allowed Roy McFadden a critical voice.[7] His selection, Irish Poems of Today: Chosen from the First Seven Volumes of "The Bell", appeared in 1944. In the same period he met and struck up a strong friendship with John Betjeman;[8] they worked on several poetry collections.


  1. ^ Terence Brown, Ireland's Literature: Selected Essays (1988), p. 142.
  2. ^ Hogarth Press: Commercial
  3. ^ Brown, p. 143.
  4. ^ Ballylickey Manor House Archived July 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Brown, p. 145.
  6. ^ Malcolm Ballin, Regionalism and Realism in the Bell, p. 91, in Patricia A. Lynch, Joachim Fischer, Brian Coates, Back to the Present: Irish Writing and History Since 1798(2006).
  7. ^ Roy McFadden
  8. ^ John Betjeman Letters: Volume One: 1936 to 1951, p. 270.