|James Kirkup at the Tokyo grave of|
Lafcadio Hearn, circa 1967.
• Gregory Fellow in Poetry, University of Leeds, 1950-52.
• Visiting Poet and Head of English Department, Bath Academy of Art, Corsham Court, Wilts, 1953-56.
• Lecturer in English, Swedish Ministry of Education, Stockholm, 1956-57.
• Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Salamanca, 1957-58.
• Professor of English, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan,
• Lecturer in English Literature, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, 1961-62.
• Literary Editor, Orient/West Magazine, Tokyo, 1963-64.
• Professor, Japan Women's University, 1964-68.
• Poet in Residence and Visiting Professor, Amherst College, Mass., 1968-69.
• Professor of English Literature, Nagoya University, 1969-72.
• Arts Council Fellowship in Creative Writing, University of Sheffield, 1974-75.
• Morton Visiting Professor of International Literature, Ohio University, 1975-76.
• Playwright in Residence, Sherman Theatre, University College, Cardiff, 1976-77.
• Professor of English Literature, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kyoto, Japan, 1977-89.
Awards and memberships• Atlantic Award in Literature (Rockefeller Foundation), 1950.
• Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, 1964. (See Note 2 below.)
• Japan P.E.N. Club Prize for Poetry, 1965.
• Mabel Batchelder Award, 1968.
• President, Poets' Society of Japan, 1969.
• Sponsor, Institute of Psychophysical Research, 1970.
• Keats Prize for Poetry, 1974.
• British Haiku Society, 1990.
• Scott-Moncrieff Prize for Translation, 1997.
• Japan Festival Foundation Award, 1997. Invited by the Emperor and Empress to the New Year's
Poetry Party at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
In Memoriam: Bertrand Russell, which was later published in The Body Servant, sums up James' philosophy as well as anything. To make the above text easier to read, I have sharpened the type in a photo editor. The smudge looks like blood, but is actually just an "age spot".
To James Kirkup, Poet
I, too, have seen Andorra.
Like the clean-cut men at Creech
who send their missiles
screaming into huts in Swat,
I came by stealth,
with electronic caution;
watched you coldly
through the disembodied eyeball
of a satellite.
I set and carefully reset coordinates,
clicked on arrows,
nudged a needle on a calibrated scale,
refined my focus...
From the smudge of brown and green,
a live topography emerged,
with houses, schools and shops –
the scattered blocks
of some abandoned childhood game –
and streets where traffic stopped
to give my probing cursor right of way.
I found your home,
and heard again, I thought,
the clacking of your ancient instrument,
the ding of carriage bell
that warned your poem of the precipice.
my index finger poised impassively
above the crouching mouse.
And then I moved away.
Alan Ireland, 2008
NOTE 1: Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, is home to the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) that is used to kill people identified as "militants" or "terrorists".
Click here for my memoir of England in the 1950s, and here for my main site.
This site was last updated on April 23, 2013.