Audio Cassette

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 DPW/2/1
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 DWNN/2/1
  • Dates of Creation
      11 January 1985
  • Physical Description
      1 item.

Scope and Content

This is an audio cassette made by David Wright of a conversation he had with Norman Nicholson on 11th January 1985. An extract of this conversation is printed in PN Review,46, Special Issue, Cambridge Poetry Festival, 1985. David Wright, and his wife, had been in correspondence with Norman Nicholson for many years ( see DPW/1-34) and had built a good friendship. Wright begins the interview by asking about a statement in Nicholson's autobiography Wednesday Early Closing in which he mentions that he has lived at this address since before he was born. Nicholson answers that his father moved into the house in 1903 and over the next ten years half the houses became shops as did the Nicholsons'. Therefore, he explains, when he was born the street was changing as the town developed.

Wright asks if his poems are linked with the rise and decline of industrial England. Nicholson answers yes they are, however, he did not realise this at the time. Wright asks if he had any regrets about not going to university. Nicholson answers that he does regret not going to university, however, he comments that he is sure that if he would have done so he would not have become a poet.

Wright then asks which contemporary poets had influenced him. Nicholson answers Auden-definitelyand Dylan Thomas but only during his latter stage. He then refers, in some detail, to T.S.Eliot, claiming Eliot began poetry for me. Partly because it was a completely new perspective as to what poetry was.He continues I was never a modernist. His poetry was absolutely alien to my personality, to my attitude to everything.Other influences he mentions are Edward Thomas, Andrew Young, Robert Lowell and Walter De La Mare for his children's poems.

Other questions refer to his dialect; intellectual company in a provincal town; how he managed financially; his relationship with Eliot; writing for a specific audience and his final question refers to a quote from Wordsworth concerning the definition of a poet.