Author Tags: Music, Poetry
A scholarly authority on Alfred Lord Tennyson, Martin Gray of Victoria edited the Penguin Classic annotated edition of Tennyson's Idylls of the King. He has also written verse biographies of the painters Amedeo Modigliani and Jackson Pollock, race car driver Gilles Villeneuve, and musician Charlie Parker; and published poems about Osip Mandelstam and César Vallejo. Jackson Pollock: Memories of Arrested Space was published by Santa Monica Press in 2003. Using biographical riffs in poetry, Gray consulted many sources for Blues for Bird (Santa Monica Press 2002, $25.95), a verse narrative about Charlie Parker. “Bop music was revolt / against the big band sound / against arrangers and / their ersatz harmonies / saccharine at best / no Tin Pan Alley tropes.” The tribute arose from a shorter version of the same name that was published by Ekstasis Editions in 1993. The illustrations in the later edition are by Paul Jung. The Kansas City saxophonist known as Bird died in 1955 at age 34. “Music is our own experience,” he once said, “your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”
DATE OF BIRTH: 30 November 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH: Harrow Middlesex UK
ARRIVAL IN CANADA: 1952
ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1990
ANCESTRAL BACKGROUND: Scottish English
EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: teacher (university and school)
AWARDS: Placed first, seventh international Reuben Rose poetry competition, 1996.
Jackson Pollock: Memories Arrested in Space, Santa Monica Press CA 90406, 216 pages, 2003.
Blues for Bird, Santa Monica Press CA 90406, 286 pages, 2001
Modigliani, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria BC, 96 pages, 1997.
Blues for Bird (earlier version of above), Ekstasis Editions, Victoria BC, 88 pages, 1993.
Death of Villeneuve, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria BC, 1992.
Penguin Classic edition of Tennyson's Idylls of the King,
Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1983.
Thro' the Vision of the Night, A Study of Source, Evolution and Structure in Tennyson's Idylls of the King,
Edinburgh University Press and McGill-Queen's University Press, Edinburgh and Montreal, 1980.
Tennyson's Doppelganger: Balin and Balan, The Tennyson Society, Lincoln, England, 1971.
Poems, Serif Books, Edinburgh, 46 pages, 1958.
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS: Editor, Gage Publishing, 1952-1954; schoolteacher, Jamaica, West Indies, 1954-1957; graduate student, 1957-1959; schoolteacher, 1959-1962; assistant professor, McMaster, 1962-1967; literary researcher with scholarly support from the Canada Council for 2 1/2 years, 1967-1971; illness, 1972-1973; vititing professor, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 1973-1974; researcher and scholar, 1974-1976; visiting professor, University of Guelph, 1977; researcher and scholar, 1978-1982; care of parents, 1982-1984; independent studies and poetry, 1984-1989; sessional, University of Calgary, 1989-1990; sessional, Royal Roads military college, 1991; full time poet since.
[BCBW 2005] "Music" "Poetry"