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Robert Greacen was born in Derry in 1920. He studied at Methodist College , Belfast , and Trinity College , Dublin . He worked for the United Nations Association in London and subsequently became a lecturer in adult education. His poetry collections include The Bird (1941), One Recent Evening (1944), The Undying Day (1948), A Garland for Captain Fox (1975), I, Brother Stephen (1978), A Bright Mask (1985), Carnival at the River (1990), Protestant Without a Horse (1997) and Lunch at the Ivy (2002). In 1995, his Collected Poems won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry. His autobiography, Even Without Irene , was published in 1969 and revised in 1995, while another volume, The Sash My Father Wore , appeared in 1997. In 1949, at the request of T.S. Eliot, he co-edited the Faber Book of Contemporary Poetry with Valentin Iremonger. He has published several volumes of criticism, and won bursaries from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1971 and 1984. Greacen published his last collection, Robert Greacen: Selected & New Poems (Clare: Salmon), in 2006. A member of Aosdána , he lived his last years in Dublin where he died aged 87 on 13 April 2008.
'The Man Who Weeps: December 1940'
'... Pause and think:
But, in the unrelenting end,
Weeping is the refuge of us all.'
©Greacen, Robert. Collected Poems, 1944-1994. Belfast: Lagan Press, 1995, p. 23
NB: 'Boyd' in stanza 2 of 'John Hewitt' is playwright John Boyd (d). Boyd (b.1912) was born in Belfast into a working-class Protestant family. He played a central part in north's literary life Co-founded Lagan with John Hewitt and Sam Hanna Bell. Became a BBC Northern producer in 1947. See Collected Plays (2 vols., 1981-82). His autobiography, The Middle of My Journey. Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1990, deals with his life in the Belfast of the 1930s through to the l950s.