Richard Berengarten

Richard Berengarten
Poet Pick

Richard Berengarten (previously known as Richard Burns) was born in London in 1943 into a family of musicians. He studied English at Cambridge (1961-1964) and Linguistics at University College London (1977-78). In 1975, he founded the international Cambridge Poetry Festival, which ran until 1985. He has lived in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Croatia and the USA, and has worked extensively in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and Russia. His poetry integrates English, European, Slavic, Jewish, Mediterranean, Chinese, Japanese and American traditions. His books include: Avebury (1972); Learning to Talk (1980); Roots/Routes (1982); Black Light: Poems in Memory of George Seferis (1983, 1986 and 1995);Against Perfection (1999); The Manager (2001 & 2008);Book With No Back Cover (2003); For the Living: Selected Longer Poems 1965-2000 (2003 & 2008); In a Time of Drought (2006 & 2008); The Blue Butterfly (2006 & 2008); Under Balkan Light (2008); and the ongoing Manual chapbooks (2005-2009). His prose works includeKeys to Transformation: Ceri Richards and Dylan Thomas (1981) and a variety of uncollected essays. He is currently working on a series of theoretical statements entitled Imagems: Towards a Universalist Poetics, and a series of poems based on Yi Jing (I Ching) entitled Two to the Power of Six. The Critical Companion to Richard Berengarten, edited by Norman Jope, Paul Scott Derrick and Catherine E. Byfield, appeared from Salt Publishing, UK (2011), containing thirty-four essays from contributors in eleven countries. Richard Berengarten has translated poetry, fiction and criticism from Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Macedonian and Serbian. He is recipient of the Eric Gregory Award (1972), the Keats Memorial Prize (1974), the Duncan Lawrie Prize (1982), the Yeats Club Prize (1989), the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Award for Poetry (1992), and the international Morava Charter Prize (2005). His book The Blue Butterfly provided the Veliki školski časmemorial-oratorio for Nazi massacre-victims in Kragujevac (Serbia, 2007). A former Arts Council of Great Britain Writer-in-Residence at the Victoria Adult Education Centre, Gravesend (1979-1981), Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame (1982), British Council Lector, Belgrade (1987-1990), Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge (2003-2005) and Project Fellow (2005-2006), he is currently a Praeceptor at Corpus Christi College and Bye-Fellow at Downing College. He also teaches at Christ’s College, Emmanuel College, Jesus College, Pembroke College and Peterhouse, Cambridge. Richard Berengarten has three children and two grandchildren. He lives with his partner Melanie Rein, a Jungian psychoanalyst.

First posted: March 23, 2012

Last modified: April 18, 2016