|"Seeing things in their proper perspective is the improper privilege of the Unafflicted"
In 1964 Basil Payne won a Guinness International poetry prize, followed by another Guinness International prize in 1966. He received the Governor's Special Citation for unique contribution to the
Arts in New Jersey, USA, 1975.
In the 1960's, Basil Payne frequently wrote theatre reviews and second leaders (editorials) for The Irish Times. In the early 1970's he was the film reviewer for RTE Radio.
As much at ease with the spoken word as with the written text, he was acclaimed for his live presentations of poetry with musical accompaniment, among others the solo presentation Be Free With Me, premiered at the Abbey Theatre,
Dublin in 1984, and the solo recital Songs of Love, premiered at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, 1989.
Basil Payne spent several years as a lecturer in English literature at colleges in the USA, including Rutgers University and the University of California. He lives in Dublin and has seven children.
His lecturing career suffered following the publication in 1979 of the Dictionary of Irish Literature (ed. Robert Hogan, see literary assassination). He
received several Irish Arts Council bursaries in the 1980's, but this lifeline was then cut, at a time when lesser poets were awarded lifetime grants as members of the Aosdána.
Two important works remain unpublished.
Most of the poems by Basil Payne below are in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. This requires the free Acrobat Reader plug-in, which you can download here:
Dark and Light Fantastic (unpublished)
These extracts were published in the Belgian literary magazine Écritures no. 13 (2001).
Clap Hands Beat Time
A Homage to Henry
Written in 1992, on the twentieth anniversary of the John Berryman's death.
An Answer to Exile (unpublished)
Mona Lisa and Demons at Penn Station, New York
Afflicted and Unafflicted on Fifth Avenue, New York
Abraham Lincoln and the Suicide March of Lemmings From Sonnet to Syllable
From Syllable to Sonnet
The True Survivors
Night Train from Chicago
Another Kind of Optimism (1974)
Twice upon a time
Kavanagh a la Carte No One to Wave At
Love in the Afternoon (1971)
Lines in Memory of My Father
Carters The Book A Hard Night's Daze Last of the Magi, Maybe
Sunlight on a Square