Moore, Nicholas (writer)

Reference: MS 2765 Date: 1947-1953Extent: 1 folder
Nicholas Moore (16 Nov 1918–26 Jan 1986) was an English poet, best known for his association with the 1940s New Apocalyptics movement. Born the elder son of the classicist and Cambridge philosopher George Edward Moore (1873–1958) and Dorothy Ely, he was also the nephew of the poet, artist and critic Thomas Sturge Moore (1870–1944), and the maternal grandson of editor and writer George Herbert Ely (1866–1958).

Interested in writing poetry from an early age, Moore was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and Leighton Park School in Reading, before later studying for a year at St Andrew’s University where he met the poet G. S. Fraser. He then left to study at Trinity College Cambridge.

During his years as an undergraduate, Moore began his own literary review, Seven, working there as both editor and co-founder. After his graduation he continued to live in Cambridge, publishing pamphlets as part of Tambimuttu’s Poetry London imprint along with the works of George Scurfield, G. S. Fraser and Anne Ridler. He would later become Tambimuttu’s assistant, and eventually went on to work for Charles Wrey Gardiner’s Grey Walls Press.

A conscientious objector, much of Moore’s verse was published in the war years. In the 1940s alone he published seven collections and two pamphlets of poetry, including works such as The Island and the Cattle (1941), A Wish in Season (1941), The Cabaret, the Dancer, the Gentleman (1942), and The Glass Tower in 1944, which included illustrations by a young Lucien Freud.  Many of these poems are addressed to his wife Priscilla, with others dedicated to jazz musicians and the American poet Wallace Stevens.

During this time Moore’s reputation grew significantly, where he was lauded as a contemporary of Dylan Thomas, and won several prizes for his works. W.H Auden awarded him the Patron Prize from Contemporary Poetry in 1945, and in 1947 he received the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize from Poetry Magazine. By the beginning of the next decade, however, he had begun to find difficulty in publishing his work after his poetry was now considered out of fashion. He instead studied as a horticulturist, becoming an expert in the field and writing the book The Tall Bearded Iris (1956) during this time.

After a series of personal setbacks, Moore became increasingly reclusive during the 1960s, suffering ill-health and becoming confined to a wheelchair due to complications from diabetes. However, this also allowed him more time to write, and he came to public notice again in 1968 after sending thirty-one entries, all under pseudonyms, to a translation competition for the Baudelaire poem Spleen (III) held by the Sunday Times. Written within the space of just two months, these poems were eventually collated into a single collection, Spleen, published in 1973.  Moore continued to write poetry until his death in 1986, and in 1990 a selection of his poetry, Longings of the Acrobats, was published posthumously.

This collection includes 5 signed typescript poems by Moore; 5 letters and 9 postcards from Nicholas Moore to Ian Fletcher; 1 printed poem by Nicholas Moore, To the Muse and Benefactrice of Poetry, translated from the Latin and adapted to the times by Nicholas Moore, MenCard 2nd Series 12, published by The Menard Press.

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