Laurence Lerner

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Laurence (David) Lerner (born 12 December 1925) is a South African born British literary critic and poet and novelist. He was born in Cape Town to parents of Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry, and educated at the University of Cape Town and Pembroke College, Cambridge.

He was lecturer in English, at the University College of the Gold Coast, 1949–53, tutor then lecturer in English, Queen's University, Belfast, 1953–62, lecturer then reader then professor of English, University of Sussex 1962-84,[1] and professor of English, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1985-95. He won the 1991 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award.[2]

He was also a Governor of Leighton Park School, the Quaker school in England. He was at one point associated with the group of poets known as The Movement.



Here is a poem by Laurence Lerner (not infringing copyright, since submitted by the author, who holds the copyright!)

Kaspar Hauser

All that long time there was the place I was,
All that long same, the dark and constant same.
I came to being and it bit my eyes.

I want to be a rider like my father.
A soldier was my father was a horseman.
I want to be a rider and I want

Out of that same he carried me upstairs,
Out of that dark and then I stood to lean;
The soft ground stood and hit me where I fell.

When it was hunger time they put soft life
Into my mouth. It moved. The warm flesh tore
Under my teeth. This could be me I'm eating.

I spat and called: I loved that time, those horses,
The brittle bread, the water, the soft dark,
The stiff floor always there, the always steady

Till I was carried to the bumpy world:
The air threw needles at my eyes. I fell.
Where were my walls, my horse to push, and where -

I want my floor my bread my dark my always -
I want the same the only same the only -
I want to be a rider like my father

See also[edit]