John Hewitt (1907-87)


Life
[John Harold Hewitt], b. Belfast, 96 Clifton Park Ave.; son of principal of Agnes St. Methodist Primary School, a man of ‘sensible religion’; descended from family with earlier Quaker connections settled in Armagh, c.1610; his great-grandmother died of fever contracted caring for famine victims, 1847 [‘And that chance meeting, that brief confrontation, / Conscribed me of the Irishry forever’]; his grandfather John Hewitt was a seedsman, who moved to Scotland and returned to Belfast, 1885; his children incl. Robert, Hewitt’s father, with his wife Elinor (née Robinson, m. 12 July 1900); Robert attended teacher-training college in Dublin, and took his first post at Sandy Row Nat. School (Hurst St.); Elinor’s brother John ran the family foundry and built houses for his mother and himself; not baptised due to his father’s dispute with the Methodist minister;
 
ed. Agnes St., briefly at Belfast Acad. Inst., 1919-20, and thereafter at Methodist College, 1920-24, under the headship of James Watson Henderson (memorialised in ‘A Great Schoolmaster’); attended courses in Belfast College of Technology in his final year before entering QUB, where he studied History; spent 1927-29 at Stranmillis TTC, and grad. QUB, 1930; visits Paris with his father, 1929; writes letters on poetry to Belfast Telegraph, June-Dec. 1926; exchanges caustic correspondence with Thomas Carnduff on the Belfast Poetry Circle, in Belfast Telegraph, 30 July 1926; sees exhibition of Nathaniel Hone, 1926; attends Northern Ireland Labour Party Annual Conference as Belfast City delegate, 1929 and 1930; wrote “A Chant for the Worlds of the World on the 13th Anniversary of the Revolution”; resists advocacy of Workers’ Republic in party constitution; travelled to Paris alone, Aug. 1930, and visited Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Co.;
 
appt. Art Assistant at Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, Nov. 1930, then located at Stranmillis, continuing there during 1930-57; m. Roberta Black, while already co-habiting at 45 Malone Rd., May 1934; assisted National Council for Civil Liberties investigation into B Specials; poems in Poems of Tomorrow (1935); issued The Bloody Brae, a verse-play written in 1936 in amends for historical guilt incurred by planter stock in Cromwellian period and 18th century (later broadcast and produced by Lyric Players, Belfast, 1954, and published in Threshold, 1957); met George Orwell, 1936; agreed to edit Irish Democrat, 1937 (‘Proletarian writers of Ireland Unite! We must mobilise against War and fascism’); lectures to troops and joins civil defence, 1939-45; visits Glens of Antrim; formulates regionalist aesthetic; fnd., with others, of Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA), and fnd. with others Belfast Peace League;
 
served as ass. ed. of Lagan, 1945-46; promoted belief in cultural regionalism as a precondition to any form of constitutional settlement in ‘Regionalism: The Last Chance for Ulster’ (incl. sentence, ‘I have turned to the land because men disappointed me’); issues No Rebel Word (1948); involved with PEN, in Belfast; taken from MA thesis on ‘Ulster Poets 1800-1870’, 1951; contrib. with other to The Arts in Ulster (1951); failed to secure directorship of Ulster Museum and Art Gallery, 1953, causing depression and marital problems; poetry ed. of Threshold, 1957-62; publ. poem “The Colony” appeared in The Bell (Summer 1953); unfinished autobiography, “Planter’s Gothic”,. in The Bell (Summer & Autumn 1953); appt. Director Coventry Art Gallery [var. Herbert Museum, Coventry], 1957-72 (‘One of the best things that happened to me’); became friends with E. P. Thompson and other left-wing intellectuals;
 
contrib. art criticism for The Studio, Irish Times, Belfast Telegraph, Art News, and Birmingham Post; contrib. “Frontier” to Poetry Ireland, 1962; joins Fabian Society, Birmingham, 1965; ed. and intro. Poems of William Allingham (1967); interest in multi-cultural integration stimulated by Lewis Mumford’s Culture of Cities; issues Collected Poems (1968); conducts ‘The Planter and the Gael’ poetry tour with John Montague throughout Northern Ireland under auspices of Arts Council, 1970; his poetry anthologised by Brendan Kennelly in Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970); returned to Belfast on retirement, beginning a period of intense poetic activity, 1972; published Rhyming Weavers and other Country Poets of Antrim and Down (1974), taken from his MA thesis; anthology and critical account of peasant verse flourishing in the North of Ireland in the 19th century among whom Henry MacDonald Flecher, David Herbison, Alexander MacKenzie, James MacKowen, and James Orr;
 
suffered the death of his wife Roberta, d. 1975; death of his sister Eileen, d. 1975; writer in residence at QUB, 1976, 1979; hon. docts. NUU 1974, QUB 1983; Freeman of City of Belfast, 1983 [var. 1981]; Gregory medal of IAL, 1984; called by Terence Brown ‘the chronicler of a people’s identity crisis’, though Andrew Waterman acidly remarks that ‘only Ulster could mistake Hewitt for a major figure’; acted in 1947 BBC version of MacNeice’s The Dark Tower; his main collections are Conacre (1943); Collected Poems 1932-67 (1968), and The Day of the Corncrake, Poems of the Nine Glens (1969); contrib. “No Rootless Colonist”, an autobiographical article, to Aquarius, 5 (1972) - named after a phrase in Ferguson [note]; poetry collections, Out of My Time (1974), Time Enough (1976), The Rain Dance (1978); rejected MBE, 1980; issued Kites in Spring (1980), sonnets of Belfast childhood with family photos; further collections, Mosaic (1981); Loose Ends (1983); made Freeman of Belfast, 1983;
 
issued Freehold (1986) [the title poem ‘Freehold’ [composed 1944-45], sequel to “Conacre”, explores his allegiances]; was awarded an honorary D.Litt. by NUU (1974) and by QUB (1983); Fellow of Museums Assoc.; MIAL, 1960; memorial cairn erected in Glens of Antrim nr. Ossian’s Grave; his personal library of 5,000 volumes is held as a special collection at Univ. of Ulster, Coleraine, and includes first editions of virtually every collection of Irish poetry published from the 1950 to his death, as well as many older works, chiefly of Irish literary interest; a plaque was unveiled in Coventry in 1998; he is the butt of satirical portrait in F. L. Green’s Odd Man Out (1945); Across the Roaring Hill: The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland, ed. Gerald Dawe and Edna Longley (1985) is a festschrift for Hewitt; Frank Ormsby edited his Collected Poems in 1992; a Selected Poems was issued by Ormsby and Michael Longley in 2007. DIW DIL ORM HAM OCIL FDA
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The John Hewitt International Summer School
& The John Hewitt Annual Spring Festival
 
˜
The Hewitt Collection (University of Ulster)
The Hewitt Collection holds over 5,000 books and journals, with its emphasis on Anglo-Irish literature, is an invaluable resource for the academic community. It includes rare volumes from the 18th-c. “weaver-poets” and literary journals edited by Hewitt, as well as those to which he contributed. The library also preserves first editions of virtually every collection of Irish poetry since the 1950s.
 

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Works
Poetry
  • Conacre: A Poem (Belfast: [priv.] 1943), 10pp. [ded. John Betjeman];
  • Compass: Two Poems (Belfast: [priv.] 1944), 10pp.;
  • No Rebel Word: Poems, intro. by Geoffrey Taylor (London: Frederick Muller 1948), 56pp. [incl. ‘Once Alien Here’];
  • Those Swans Remember (Belfast: [priv.] 1956), [2], 6pp. [wrappers];
  • An Ulster Reckoning (Coventry [priv.; 5 Postbridge Rd. 1971), [2], 16pp.
  • The Chinese Fluteplayer (Lambeg: To Morrows Press [1974], [15]pp. [ltd. edn. of 200.]
  • Scissors for a One-armed Tailor: Marginal Verses 1929-1954 (Belfast: [s.n.], 1974), [16]pp. [25cm].
  • Out of My Time: Poems 1967-1974 (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1974), [3]-62pp.;
  • Time Enough: Poems New and Revised (Blackstaff Press 1976), [5] 119pp.;
  • The Rain Dance: Poems New and Revised (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1978), [6], 50pp.;
  • Kites in Spring: A Belfast Boyhood (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1980), [7], 64pp.;
  • Mosaic (Belfast: Blackstaff Press [assisted by NI Arts Council 1981),48pp.;
  • Loose Ends (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1985), 52pp.;
  • Freehold and Other Poems (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1986), 72pp.;
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Selected & Collected edns.
  • Collected Poems 1932-1967 (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1968), 144pp.;
  • John Hewitt & John Montague, The Planter and the Gael (NI Arts Council 1970), 23pp. [infra];
  • Alan Warner, ed., Selected John Hewitt (Blackstaff Press 1981), 119pp.;
  • Frank Ormsby, ed. & intro., The Collected Poems of John Hewitt (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1992), lxxiv,708pp. [intro. & chronology uses John Hewitt Collection at University of Ulster];
  • Michael Longley & Frank Ormsby, Selected Poems of John Hewitt (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 2007), xxvii, 140pp.
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Drama
  • “The Bloody Brae”, inThreshold, Vol. I, 3 (Autumn 1957) [based on massacre of Catholics at The Gobbins, Antrim, ‘supposed to have taken place in 1642’
  • Two Plays, ed. & intro. by Damian Smyth (Belfast: Lagan Press 2000), 122pp. [being The McCrackens, on James Hope, and The Angry Dove, on Columcille].
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Miscellaneous
  • ‘The Lint Pulling’, in The Ulster Young Farmer (Oct. 1948) [Library of Scotland; prose?]
  • ‘The Rhyming Weavers’, in Fibres, Fabrics & Cordage (q.d.) 8pp. [offprint in Exeter Lib. Special Colls.]
  • ‘Ulster Poets 1800-1850’ [paper to Belfast Literary Society, 2 Jan. 1950] (Belfast: [priv.] 1950), [1-2] 3-26, [1]pp.
  • with Sam Hanna Bell & Nesca A. Robb, The Arts in Ulster: A Symposium (London: Harrap 1951), 173p., ill., ports.
  • Coventry: The Tradition of Change and Continuity (Coventry Corp [PR Dept]: 1965), 64pp. [text by Hewitt].
  • ed. & intro., Poems of Allingham [An Chomhairle Ealaíon Ser.] (Dublin: Dolmen; Oxford OUP 1967), 102pp.;
  • ‘The Folded Dream: The Printed Words of AE’, in The Arts in Ireland, No. 3, 1973), [p.52];
  • ed., The Rhyming Weavers and Other Poets of Antrim and Down (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1974), 135pp., ill. [Rowel Friers]; and Do. [rep. edn.], with a foreword by Tom Paulin (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 2004), xiv, 191pp.
  • Colin Middleton (NI Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon [ROI] 1974),72pp.;
  • with Mike Catto, Art in Ulster (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1977), 2 vols. [Hewitt, Vol. 1: Paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture for the last 400 hundred [sic] years to 1957, with biogs. of the artists by Theo Snoddy; Cato, Vol 2: A history of painting, sculpture and printmaking, 1957-1977]
  • Critical appreciation in Judith C. Wilson, Conor: The Life and Work of an Ulster Artist [William Conor] (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1981);
  • Alicia Boyd: a retrospective exhibition of paintings completed since 1938, Arts Council Gallery, Belfast, April 1983 (NI Arts Council), [20]pp. [text by Hewitt];
  • The Day of the Corncrake, Poems of the Nine Glens (Glens of Antrim Hist. Soc., 1969), 80pp. ill. by Charles McAuley [24pp. of pls.], and Do. [rev. edn] (1984).
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Criticism
  • Ancestral Voices: The Selected Prose of John Hewitt, ed Tom Clyde (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1987), xv, 159pp. [Bibl., pp.158-59]: contains ‘Planter’s Gothic: An Essay in Discursive Autobiography’; ‘“The Bitter Gourd”: Some Problems of the Ulster Writer’; “No Rootless Colonist”, &c.]; ‘Poetry of Ulster, a survey’, in Poetry Ireland, No. 8 (January 1950), pp. 3-10; ‘Ulster Poets 1800-1850’ [paper to Belfast Literary Society, 2 Jan. 1950] (priv. 1950); ‘Ulster Poets 1800-1870 (MA Diss., QUB, 1951); ‘The Course of Writing in Ulster’, in Rann, No. 20 (June [var. Spring] 1953), pp. 43-52; also 1958 essay, ‘Irish Poets Learn Your Trade’].
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Autobiography
  • ‘Planter’s Gothic’, An essay in discursive autobiography’, printed chapter by chapter in The Bell (Jan., Summer & Autumn 1953);
  • ‘Childhood Chapters’, manuscript title for 211pp. typescript [in 38 chps.], ‘
  • North Light’, 3 chaps. of a biography published in Threshold [‘How It All Started’; ‘The Free Library’; ‘My Application Goes In’], all incl. in Tom Clyde, ed., Ancestral Voices (1987).
 
Sound & Film
  • Shadow and Substance (London: Audio Arts 1980);
  • I Found Myself Alone (NI Arts Council 1978) [film on Hewitt].
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Articles (Selected)
  • ‘The Bitter Gourd: Problems of the Ulster Writer’, in Lagan, No. 3 (1945), pp.93-105;
  • Belfast’s Art Gallery’ , in The Studio (Jan. 1947), pp.14-24 [copy in Ulster Mus.]
  • ‘Overture for Ulster Regionalism’, Poetry Ireland, 1 (April 1948), p.14;
  • ‘Awareness of Time’, in Poetry Ireland, No. 3 (Oct. 1948), p.7;
  • ‘The Rhyming Weavers’, in Fibres, Fabric and Cordage, XV, 7, 8 & 9 (1948) [offprint in Jordanstown Library];
  • ‘Poetry of Ulster, A Survey’, in Poetry Ireland, 8. (Jan. 1950), pp.3-10;
  • ‘Writing in Ulster’, in The Bell, XVIII, 4 (July 1952), 198ff.;
  • ‘Irish Poets Learn Your Trade’, in Threshold, 2, 3 (Autumn 1958), pp.62-71;
  • ‘Ancestral Voices’, in Rann, No. 13 (?1951), pp.21-24;
  • ‘The Course of Writing in Ulster’, in Rann, 20 (?1953.), 43-52;
  • ‘Journey of Discovery into the Literature of Ulster’, in Belfast Telegraph (24 Nov. 1958);
  • ‘Letter to the World’, in Threshold, 1, 4 (Winter 1957), pp.74-85;
  • ‘R. N. D. Wilson, An Obituary’, in The Dublin Magazine, 28, 2 (April-June. 1953), pp.54-55;
  • ‘Alec of the Chimney Corner’ [i.e., Alexander Irvine], in Honest Ulsterman (1968) [rep. in Threshold, 35 (Winter 1984/85), pp.40-46];
  • ‘The Family Next Door’, in Threshold, 23 (Summer 1970), pp.14-15, also in Evening Press [Dublin] (17 Aug. 1970) [autobiog. dealing with Catholics in his Belfast childhood];
  • ‘James H. Cousins’, in Irish Press (21 July 1973), p.10;
  • ‘Austin Clarke’, in Threshold, No. 25 (Summer 1974) [q.pp.].
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Bibliographical details
John Hewitt
& John Montague, The Planter and the Gael (NI Arts Council 1970), a programme of poems presented by the Arts Council in 1970 in a number of towns in Northern Ireland, consisting of an anthology of the two poets’ work ... provid[ing] illuminating insight into the cultural complexity of the Province. Poems included are, “Once Alien Here”; “The Green Shoot”; “The Glens”; “An Irishman in Coventry”; “Gloss, on the Difficulties of Translation”; “The Man from Malabar”; “The Long Bridge”; “The Search”; “The Watchers”; “My Grandmother’s Garter”; “Betrayal”; “No Second Troy”; “The Colony”; “Conversations in Hungary, August 1969”. Woodcut ills. taken from John Derricke, The Image of Irelande, 1581 Biog. as supra. Bibl. incl. Conacre; Compass; Those Swans Remember; No Rebel Word; Collected Poems (London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1968). [Linen Hall copy.]

For Hewitt.s remarks on George [“Æ”] Russell, see Across the Roaring Hill: The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1985), Introduction [pp.vi-vii; as given under Russell, infra; also longer extract [attached].

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Criticism
  • John Montague, ‘Regionalism into Reconciliation: The Poetry of John Hewitt’, in Poetry Ireland, 3 (Spring 1964), pp.113-18;
  • Seamus Heaney, ‘The Poetry of John Hewitt’, in Threshold, 22 (Summer 1969), pp.73-77, rep. in Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (London: Faber & Faber 1980), pp.207-10;
  • Douglas Sealy, ‘An Individual Flavour, The Collected Poems of John Hewitt’, The Dublin Magazine, 8, 1-2 (Spring/Summer 1969), pp.19-24;
  • Terence Brown, ‘John Hewitt, Land and People’, in Northern Voices: Poets from Ulster (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975), pp.89-97
  • John Wilson Foster, ‘The Landscape of the Planter and the Gael in the poetry of John Hewitt and John Montague, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 1, 2 (Nov. 1975), pp.17-33;
  • Terence Brown, ‘The Poetry of W. R. Rodgers and John Hewitt’ in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing (1975), pp.81-97.
  • J. W. Foster, ‘“The Dissidence of Dissent”, John Hewitt and W. R. Rodgers’, in Gerald Dawe & Edna Longley, eds., Across the Roaring Hill, The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland [essays in honour of John Hewitt] (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985), pp.139-60 [rep. in Foster, Colonial Consequences, 1991].
  • Eamon Grennan, review article on Hewitt’s Out of My Time and Time Enough, in Éire-Ireland (Summer 1977), pp.143-51.
  • Timothy Kearney, ‘Beyond the Planter and the Gael’ [interview with Hewitt and Montague], in The Crane Bag, 4, 2 (1980/1981), pp.85-92.
  • Alan Warner, ‘John Hewitt’, in A Guide to Anglo-Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1981), pp.253-60.
  • ‘John Hewitt - Ulsterman of Planter Stock’,in Studies in Anglo-Irish Literature, ed. by Heinz Kosok [Wuppertaler Schriftenreihe Literatur, Vol. 19] (Bonn: Bouvier Verlag 1982), pp.376-89.
  • Britt Olinder, ‘John Hewitt’s Belfast’, in Maurice Harmon, ed., The Irish Writer and the City (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1984), pp.144-52.
  • Edna Longley, ‘Progressive Bookmen, Politics and Northern Protestant Writers since the 1930s’, in Irish Review, 1 (1986), pp.50-57 [rep. in The Living Stream, 1994, pp.109-29].
  • Martin Mooney, ‘“A Native Node”, Language and Regionalism in the Poetry of John Hewitt’, in Irish Review, 3 (1988), pp.67-74.
  • John Hewitt, 1904-1987 (Belfast: NI Arts Council [1988]), 8pp. [folded sh.], ill. [port.]
  • Fiona Mullan, ‘Paving Unerring Roads, The Poetry of John Hewitt’, in Threshold, 36 (Winter 1985/6), pp.30-43.
  • Threshold, ‘John Hewitt Special Number’, 38 (Winter 1986/87).
  • ‘Hewitt: A Fortnight Supplement’, with Fortnight, No. 275 (July/August 1989).
  • Richard Kirkland, ‘The Daddy of Us All?’, John Hewitt’s writing and Regionalism in Northern Ireland, in Causeway (Summer 1994), pp.19-23 [a critique of the canonisation of Hewitt as ‘benign protector’].
  • Norman Vance, ‘Contemporary Ireland and the Poetics of Partition: John Hewitt and Seamus Heaney’, in Irish Literature: A Social History (Oxford: Blackwell 1990) [q.pp.].
  • Gerald Dawe & J. W. Foster, eds., The Poet’s Place: Essays in Honour of John Hewitt, 1907-1987 (Belfast QUB/IIS 1991), xi, 300pp.
  • Gerard Dawe ‘Against Piety: John Hewitt’, Against Piety: Essays in Irish Poetry (Belfast: Lagan Press 1995), pp.89-104 [formerly in Dawe and Foster, The Poet’s Place, 1991].
  • Eve Patten, ed., Returning to Ourselves: Second Volume of Papers from the John Hewitt International Summer School [Sixth John Hewitt International Summer School, July 1993] (Belfast: Lagan Press 1995) [incl. keynote address: Norman Vance, ‘Pictures, Singing and the Temple: Some Contexts for Hewitt’s Images’, pp.204-16].
  • John Wilson Foster, ‘The Landscape of Three Irelands: Hewitt, Murphy and Montague’, in Elmer Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry: A Collection of Critical Essays (Macmillan 1996), pp.145-168.
  • Patrick Walsh, Strangers: Reflections on a correspondence between Daniel Corkery and John Hewitt [Ulster Editions and Monographs, Pamph. Ser. 1] (1996), 9pp..
  • Robert Gerald Marsh, ‘John Hewitt and theories of Irish culture: cultural nationalism, cultural regionalism, and identity in the north of Ireland (PhD; Queens’ Univ., Belfast 1996).
  • Steven Matthews, ‘John Hewitt: An Honest Ulsterman’s “Poemosaics”’ [chap.] in Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation: The Evolving Debate 1969-Present (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1996)[q.p.]
  • Peter McDonald, ‘The Fate of Identity: John Hewitt, W. R. Rodgers, and Louis MacNeice’, in Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (Oxford: OUP 1997), pp.10-[80].
  • Britta Olinder, ‘Creating an Identity: John Hewitt and History’, in Ireland: Towards new Identities?, ed. Karl-Heinz Westarp and Michael Böss (Aarhus UP 1998), pp.120-33; Sarah Ferris, ‘John Hewitt’s Disciples and the “Kaleyard Provincials”’, in Irish Encounters: Poetry, Politics and Prose, ed. Alan Marshall & Neil Sammells (Bath: Sulis Press 1998) [Chap. 14; qpp.].
  • Elmer Kennedy-Andrews, ‘Paradigms and Precursors: Rooted Men and Nomads (John Hewitt, Patrick Kavanagh and Louis MacNeice)’, in Writing Home: Poetry and Place in Northern Ireland, 1968-2008 (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer 2008), pp.21-52.
See also ...
  • Robert Greacen, Rooted in Ulster: Nine Northern Writers (Belfast: Lagan Press 2001), 130pp.;
  • Elmer Kennedy-Andrews, Writing Home: Poetry and Place in Northern Ireland, 1968-2008 (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer 2008), xii, 306pp.;
  • Jon Curley, Poets and Partitions: Confronting Communal Identities in Northern Ireland (Brighton: Sussex Academic 2011), viii, 215pp.
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There is a John Hewitt Summer School [link]
 

Query, Terence Brown, ‘John Hewitt’, in DLB [?Dublin Library Bulletin] No. 27, pp.149-54 [Hewitt Collection, UUC], supplies commentary & bibl.

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Commentary
See separate file.

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Quotations
See separate file.

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References
James Simmons, ed., Ten Irish Poets (Cheadle: Carcanet 1974), incls. ‘An Irishman in Coventry’; ‘Gathering Praties’; ‘A Victorian Steps Out’; ‘O Country People’; ‘Because I Paced my Thought’; ‘The Scar’; ‘An Ulster Landowner’s Song’; ‘From the Tibetan’]; see also selection in Frank Ormby, ed., Poets from Northern Ireland (Belfast: Blackstaff 1979; rev. & updated 1990).

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John Montague, ed., Faber Book of Irish Verse (London: Faber & Faber 1974), incls. “The Ram’s Horn”; “The Frontier”; “An Irishman in Coventry”.

Peter Fallon & Seán Golden, ed., Soft Day, a Miscellany of Contemporary Irish Writing (Notre Dame UP; Dublin: Wolfhound 1980), incls. “O Country People”; “The Scar”; “An Irishman in Coventry”; “The Sheep Skull”.

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Terence Brown, Northern Voices, Poets from Ulster (Gill & Macmillan 1975), [chap.:] ‘John Hewitt, Land and People’, with bibl. citations [of poems]: ‘Fame’, in The Bell, Vol. XVI, No. 4 (Jan. 1951), p.13; ‘The Bloody Brae’ [dram. poem], in Threshold, Vol. I, 3 (Autumn 1957), pp.21-29; ‘A Country Walk in May’, in Threshold, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Autumn-Winter 1960), p.30; ‘No Rootless Colonist’, in Aquarius, No. 5 (1972), p.95.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3: selects from No Rebel Word; and Collected Poems [163-66]; BIOG, 170.

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Patrick Crotty, ed., Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1995), selects from Freehold [and Other Poems], II: “The Lonely Heart” [66]; “The Ram’s Horn” [68]; “The Colony” [69]; “Substance and Shadow” [73]; “An Irishman in Coventry” [73]; “A Local Poet” [74].

Kate Newmann, Dictionary of Ulster Biography (Belfast: QUB/IIS 1993), Heaney’s account of Hewitt as ‘the discoverer of the nugget of harmony in the language and ourselves’; also Longley, ‘John Hewitt the poet made himself heard in a land of bellowers without raising his voice. He held out the creative hand rather than the clenched fist.’

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Books in Print (1994), No Rebel Word (London: Frederick Muller 1948); Collected Poems 1932-1967 (London: MacGibbon & Kee 1968); The Day of the Corncrake, Poems of the Nine Glens (Glens of Antrim Hist. Soc., 1969); Out of My Time (Belfast: Blackstaff 1974) [0 85640 067 X]; Time Enough (Belfast: Blackstaff 1976) [0 85640 097 1]; The Rain Dance (Belfast: Blackstaff 1978) [0 85640 152 8]; Kites in Spring (Belfast: Blackstaff 1980) [0 85640 206 6]; Selected John Hewitt, ed. Alan Warner (Blackstaff 1981) [0 85640 244 3]; Mosaic (Belfast: Blackstaff 1981) [0 85640 253 2]; Loose Ends (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985) [0 85640 284 2]; Freehold and Other Poems (Belfast: Blackstaff 1986) [085640 362 8]; The Collected Poems of John Hewitt, ed., Frank Ormsby, ed. (Belfast: Blackstaff 1992) [ 0 85640 459 4]; Ancestral Voices, Selected Prose, ed Tom Clyde (Blackstaff 1987) [0 85640 393 8]; An Ulster Reckoning ((Coventry 1971) [2], 16pp. [0 950 1833 0 X]; The Rhyming Weavers (1979) [0 85640 032 7]

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Hibernia Books (Cat. 19) lists Three poems in Irish Poems of Today (London: Secker & Warburg 1944); two poems and an essay on ‘Painting in Ulster’, in Robert Greacen, ed., Anthology of [Ulster] Writing (Belfast: MacCord 1944); ‘The Swathe Uncut’ and ‘the first Corncrake’, in Threshold (Summer 1967); ‘From the Tibetan’, and ‘Dying Art’, in Honest Ulsterman No. 1 (1968); ‘Secular Burial’, ‘Hospitality for E.K.’ and ‘Elegy for an Enemy’ in Honest Ulsterman No. 2 (1968); ‘The Search’ and ‘Alec of the Chimney Corner’, in Honest Ulsterman No. 4 (1968); ‘From Chairmen and Committee Men’ in Honest Ulsterman 6 (1968); ‘Here at the Tide’s Turn’, and ‘Mosaic’ (Dublin Arts Fest. 1979).

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PRONI (Northern Ireland) contains c.115 personal, official and legal papers of John and Roberta Hewitt, 1904-1987; c.390 literary, autobiographical and miscellaneous papers, 1928-1987, including 37 diaries and travel notebooks, 1934-1987, and three scrapbooks, 1928-1970; c.1050 letters, 1930-1987, between John Hewitt and notable friends, professional colleagues and publishers; c.100 letters and papers of Roberta Hewitt, 1921-1975; c.2430 miscellaneous letters, mostly to John Hewitt, 1929-1987; and c.290 theatre programmes, 1930-1982. See Rascal - Research and Special Collections, Northern Ireland. [link].

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Notes
Samuel Ferguson
: Hewitt appears to take his phrase ‘no rootless colonist’ from Sir Samuel Ferguson’s poem Mesgreda, in which the final third answers to the title of A Hymn to the River Liffey, containing the lines: ‘For though, for them, alas, nor History past / Nor even Tradition; and the man aspires / To link his present with his country’s past / And live anew in knowledge of his sires / no rootless colonist of alien earth / Proud but of patient lungs and pliant limb / A Stranger in the land that gave him birth / The land a stranger to itself and him.’ Also, ‘The Murmuring Liffey and the banks of Clane’ (Our itals; quoted in Peter Costello, James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1992, p.83; see under Ferguson, supra).

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Mary Robinson, while President of Ireland, paid tribute to victims of Warrington explosion by reciting Hewitt’s poem “Irishry” narrating the death of an ancestor who gave bread to an Irishman with a fever: ‘And that chance meeting, that brief confrontation, / Conscribed me of the Irishry forever. / Though much I cherish lies outside their vision / And much they prize I have no claim to share, / Yet in that woman’s death I found my nation; / The old wound aches and shows its fellow scar.’ (Irish Times, 11 Oct. 1993).

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Aodh de Blacam: For manuscript notations on his copy of A First Book of Irish Literature (1934), see under De Blacam, supra.

Robert Greacen: Greacen writes that ‘He and McFadden try to break / The mould of bigotry’ (see under Greacen, Rx.). See also Greacen’s letter in The Irish Times (18.8.95) defending Hewitt against charges of bigotry made by Thomas Kinsella in The Dual Tradition: ‘... I never heard him utter a sectarian word or cast aspersions on the “native” Irish ... one of the most remarkable and tolerant Northerners of this century [... &c.’; see also under Greacen, supra].

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John Metcalf: in ‘North Down’s Literary Associations’ (Supplement to Fortnight, Sept. 1993), Metcalf notes that Hewitt spent six months in Bangor at his uncle’s house, Ellendene, 22 Ballyholme Rd., a period recalled in poems such as “Kites in Spring” and “Carson at Six Road Ends”.

Paul Durcan: Durcan’s ‘Hewitt’s Achievement’, Cork Examiner (28 Apr. 1980), incl. among review cuttings in John Hewitt Collection at Univ. of Ulster (Coleraine).

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Seamus Heaney: Heaney dedicates “The Schoolbag” to Hewitt: ‘So take it, for a word-hoard and a handsel, // As you step out trig and look back all at once / Like a child on his first morning leaving parents.’ (Seeing Things, 1991, p.30.)

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Namesake(s): An Elegie upon the most pious and eminent Dr. J. Hewitt (London: 20 June 1658), a single-sheet folio headed by an engraving representing the doctor’s execution [copy in British Library]; also [W. Prynne,] Beheaded Dr. John Hewytt’s Ghost pleading: yea crying, for exemplarie justice against the arbitrarie unexampled injustice of his late judges and executioners in the new High-commission or court of justice, sitting in Westminster-Hall, &c. (London 1659) [British Library microfilm]; Certain considerations against the vanities of this world, and the terrors of death, written by Doctor John Hewit, and delivered to a friend, a little before his death on Tower Hill, &c. [verse]. (London 1658), s. sh. folio. [The foregoing listed in COPAC.]

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