Peter Reading was born in Liverpool, England, in 1946 and studied painting at the Liverpool College of Art. He was one of the most inventive and challenging poets in England. His language was brilliantly original, compassionate, and laced with acid humor. Mr. Reading was the first writer to hold a one-year writing Lannan residency in Marfa, Texas. In June of 1999 Mr. Reading read from his work composed during his residency, as part of Readings & Conversations.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in his native England. Reading is one of Britain’s most controversial poets: angry, gruesomely ironic, hilarious, heartbreaking, and prolific. His work was experimental, playing with formal traditions of English in liberating ways, and he has produced a body of work that is frequently interrelated across book titles. His poetry has been collected into three volumes by Bloodaxe (UK) and critical assessments of his work have been written by Neil Roberts, Sean O’Brien, and Anthony Thwaite. “Anger is a country Peter Reading has been colonising for years. . .his anger is expressed with classical clarity. Rage against the state of the nation, yes, but also rage against the darkness of death, exile, and inability to show love.” - The Observer (London)
He has published over 20 books of poetry since his first, Water and Waste, in 1970, when he was 24 years old. Other works include Work in Regress; Collected Poems, Volumes I and II; Perduta Gente; Evagatory; Stet; Ukulele Music; and Nothing For Anyone. Mr. Reading has been praised as the “unofficial laureate of the British down-and-out” and “the elegist of a dead-ending century.” Employing traditional and innovative verse forms as well as colloquial and formal language, he has confronted issues of urban violence, environmental catastrophe, terminal illness, and homelessness.
Mr. Reading received the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry in 1990 and again in 2004. His other honors include the Cholmondeley Award, the Dylan Thomas Award, and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry.
Peter Reading died 17 November 2011.
Peter Reading elsewhere on Lannan.orgPeter Reading, 2004, (Literary: Awards, Fellowships, and Grants)
Peter Reading, 1999, (Residency)
Peter Reading, 1990, (Literary: Awards, Fellowships, and Grants)
Peter Reading Lannan Podcast EpisodesPeter Reading, Vendange Tardive (2010), Reading - Video
Peter Reading, -273.15 (2005), Reading - Video
Peter Reading, ∂ (2003), Reading - Video
Peter Reading, Civil (2002), Reading - Video
Peter Reading around the WebPeter Reading Obituary on TheTelegraph.com
BBC Audio from "Last Word" with Ian McMillan on Peter Reading