Jim Burns (poet)

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Jim Burns is an English poet, writer and magazine editor. He was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1936.

Burns was educated at grammar school,[which?] worked in mills, and joined the army in 1954.[clarification needed] While stationed in Germany, Burns developed a love of jazz and of American writers, accessible through American Forces Network radio and through bookshops stocking new literature for American service personnel. After leaving the army in 1957, he returned to Preston and sought out new writers filtering through to Britain, travelling to Manchester and London to explore those experimental bookshops which stocked the more difficult-to-find ones.

Burns had his first poems published in New Voice magazine in 1962, and soon began writing for and about small poetry magazines in a range of publications including The Guardian, Tribune and Ambit. Several books of his poetry have been published,[1] including two volumes of his selected works.[2][3]

In 1964, Burns launched Move, a poetry magazine featuring British and North American writers (including Chris Torrance, Larry Eigner, Lee Harwood, Bill Deemer, Michael Horovitz, Earle Birney, Dave Cunliffe and Tina Morris) which ran for eight issues (it folded in 1968): it was part of the British poetry revival, lauded beyond the traditional audience of middle class intellectuals in London, Oxford and Cambridge.[citation needed] Burns contributed poetry to many other magazines, and literary reviews and articles to The Guardian, Tribune and New Society. Perhaps his most important contributions were bringing the world of small poetry magazines to a wider audience through regular reviews and columns, and in particular spreading his knowledge of those lesser known North American writers who he felt deserved greater attention.

When the editor of Palantir poetry magazine (published through Preston Polytechnic) stepped down, Burns took over from issue number 3 in May 1976; this gave him the opportunity to direct attention to writers he felt deserved more support. Working on Palantir through to the final (23rd) issue in 1983, he included work from many leading poets (for example, Gael Turnbull, Wes Magee and Edwin Brock), and wrote about the lesser known beat poets.

As of 2014, Burns continues to write on jazz, literature and politics, and has published several essay collections including Beats, Bohemians & Intellectuals (Trent Books, 2000), Radicals, Beats & Beboppers (Penniless Press, 2011) and Artists, Beats & Cool Cats (Penniless Press, 2014).


  1. ^ WorldCat
  2. ^ Burns, Jim (1987). "Out of the Past: Selected Poems, 1961-1986". Hungerford, Berkshire: Rivelin Grapheme Press. ISBN 978-0947612276.
  3. ^ Burns, Jim (2007). "Laying Something Down: Poems, 1962–2007". Nottingham: Shoestring Press.