A Britsih poet
, born in Leeds
on 30 April 1937. His most famous single poem
" (1985), about obscenities spray-paint
ed on his parents' grave
s. He was spoken of as a possible successor to Ted Hughes
as poet laureate
, but made clear his attitude with a scathing verse attack on the monarchy
, and on the new laureate Andrew Motion
He is also a translator and playwright; his plays include Phaedra Britannica (1975); Yan Tan Tethera (1983); and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus (1990), in which archaeologists are searching at the papyrus graveyard of Oxyrhynchus for the lost play Ichneutae (The Trackers) of Euripides. His translations include the Oresteia and a modern version of the Mystery Plays.
Tony Harrison lives in Newcastle. He writes in a voice that is clearly, unmistakably his Yorkshire accent, but without being "dialect". He has lived and taught in Nigeria, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, and Brazil. His second wife is the singer Teresa Stratas.
The poet Simon Armitage recalls* being inspired by seeing a television program of Tony Harrison, years before he knew the name, in which Harrison was in a pub, reading his poems (primarily "v."), and the boozers in the pub were crying.
* In a New Statesman article in 1997.