Tom Paulin


Born 1949 in Leeds, grew up in Belfast. Educated at Annadale Grammar School, Hull University and Oxford University. Taught English Literature at Nottingham University 1972-1994. Since 1994 G U Young lecturer in English, Hertford College, Oxford.

In 1977, he won the Somerset Maugham prize for his poetry collection A State of Justice and later established his reputation as a literary critic with work such as Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State (1992).

In 1980 he became a board member of the renowned Field Day Theatre Company (founded by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea).

Tom Paulin has also been a high profile critic in the media, with regular appearances on the Late Show, Late Review and Newsnight Review on BBC.

“… there was that glorious, historic moment when Heaney published death of a Naturalist (1966). I link that volume with the Divis Street Riots. I remember feeling sympathy for the rioters; it was the summer, after ‘A’ Level exams, that I went with school mates to work in Guernsey and on the camp site we met three guys from the Falls Road and Seamus, from Turf Lodge, showed me his lumpy elbow – he’d a big silver bolt put through his elbow. He’d flung a grating in the riots and the police had pinned his arm behind his back and broken it at the elbow. At night these guys would play guitar and sing traditional songs – ‘I wish, I wish I were a maid again …’ – and after listening to the songs one night in the tent I asked my school mates if they’d seen Seamus’s arm. I remember being greeted with absolute silence. You realised they were all Unionists and that even though you identified with the Northern Ireland Labour Party – you had Unionist sympathies too – you came to see that you could only cross the sectarian divide away from the place – smoking dope and chasin’ wimmen … I chose Republicanism. “
Tom Paulin
From In The Chair: Interviews with Poets from the North of Ireland, ed John Brown (Salmon, 2002)

Theoretical Locations (Ulsterman Publications, 1975)
Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Perception (Macmillian, 1975)
A State of Justice (Faber and Faber, 1977)
Personal Column (Ulsterman Publications, 1978
The Strange Museum (Faber and Faber, 1980)
The Book of Juniper (Bloodaxe Books, 1981)
A New Look at the Language Question (Field Day, 1983)
Liberty Tree (Faber and Faber, 1983)
Ireland and the English Crisis (Bloodaxe Books, 1984)
The Argument at Great Tew: A Poem (Willbrook Press, 1985)
The Riot Act: A Version of Sophocles’ Antigone (Faber and Faber, 1985)
The Faber Book of Political Verse (editor) (Faber and Faber, 1986)
Fivemiletown (Faber and Faber, 1987)
The Hillsborough Script: A Dramatic Satire (Faber and Faber, 1987)
Seize the Fire: A Version of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound (Faber and Faber, 1990)
The Faber Book of Vernacular Poetry (editor) (Faber and Faber, 1990)
Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State (Faber and Faber, 1992)
Selected Poems 1972-1990 (Faber and Faber, 1993)
Walking a Line (Faber and Faber, 1994)
Writing to the Moment: Selected Critical Essays 1980-1996 (Faber and Faber, 1996)
The Day-Star of Liberty: William Hazlitt’s Radical Style (Faber and Faber, 1998)
The Wind Dog (Faber and Faber, 1999)
The Fight and Other Writings by William Hazlitt (co-edited with David Chandler) (Penguin, 2000)
Thomas Hardy: Poems selected by Tom Paulin (editor) (Faber and Faber, 2001)
The Invasion Handbook (Faber and Faber, 2002)
D. H. Lawrence and “Difference”: The Poetry of the Present (co-authored with Amit Chaudhuri) (Oxford University Press, 2003)
The Road to Inver (Faber and Faber, 2004)
Crusoe’s Secret: The Aesthetics of Dissent (Faber, 2005)
Metaphysical Hazlitt: Bicentenary Essays (co-edited with Uttara Natarajan) (Routledge, 2005)
Tom Paulin Reading from his Poems, The Poetry Archive, 2005
The Secret Life of Poems, Faber and Faber 2008
Medea/Eurepedes, translator, Nick Hern Books 2009