John Heath-Stubbs Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Heath-Stubbs
English poet and translator, 1918–2006
John Francis Alexander Heath-StubbsOBE (9 July 1918 – 26 December 2006) was an English poet and translator. He is known for verse influenced by classical myths, and for a long Arthurian poem, Artorius (1972).
Heath-Stubbs was born at Streatham, London. The family later lived in Hampstead. His parents were Francis Heath-Stubbs, a non-practising, independently wealthy solicitor, and his wife Edith Louise Sara, a concert pianist under her maiden name, Edie Marr. His boyhood was largely spent near the New Forest.
The Stubbs family were gentry from Staffordshire; Heath-Stubbs's great-great-grandfather Joseph, a younger son, married Mary, the only child of a judge named Heath, this eventually becoming part of the family name. Heath-Stubbs stated in his autobiography Hindsights (1993), "In my grandfather's day, the last of the Heaths made us Stubbses her heirs, so long as we changed our name to Heath-Stubbs." Furthermore, "according to family tradition", they were related to the pamphleteer John Stubbs, who was sentenced to the loss of his right hand by Queen Elizabeth I for his opposition to negotiations for her marriage to Francis, Duke of Anjou, and yet remained a staunch royalist. "Family pride, combining with a poised self-irony" marked Heath-Stubbs's poem Epitaph, beginning, "Mr Heath-Stubbs as you must understand/Came of a gentleman's family out of Staffordshire/Of as good blood as any in England/But he was wall-eyed and his legs too spare."
By that time Heath-Stubbs had recognized his homosexuality, though his love for the poet and artist Philip Rawson was returned only in the form of strong friendship. Heath-Stubbs in the early 1940s reverted to regular Anglican worship.
Although diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 18, a condition he inherited from his father, he was able to read with his left eye until 1961, but was completely blind from 1978. Nonetheless, he continued to write almost to the end. A documentary film about him, entitled Ibycus: A Poem by John Heath-Stubbs, was made by the Chilean director Carlos Klein in 1997.
John Heath-Stubbs died in London on 26 December 2006, aged 88.
As a Romantic poet, Heath-Stubbs's diction was strong, yet subtle. Running through his work was a nostalgia for "classicism". He was consciously literary and his work elaborately wrought rather than spontaneous, which meant his was not the kind of poetry likely to have mass appeal. However, his devotion to the craft of poetry makes his work impressive. As Edward Lucie-Smith put it, "Few writers of his time had a deeper knowledge of the English language, or cared for it more devotedly."