"He was a quester of labyrinths of the self, a voyageur on inflowing rivers. To attune oneself to his wavelength was to share 'tremulations on the ether' (as D.H. Lawrence puts it) of a creative psyche." -- Friend and critic Jack Stewart

"He was perhaps the last link with pre-war British surrealism as exemplified by Herbert Read, David Gascoyne and Conroy Maddox, being initiated in the group after a visit to the London Surrealist Exhibition in 1936." -- Friend and former student Jack Green

Michael Bullock died in hospital in London, England, on July 18, aged 90, survived by his daughter Miriam, son Marcus, granddaughters Susannah and Zoe, grandson Daniel, and great-granddaughter Gabrielle.

Born on April 19, 1918 in London, England, Michael Bullock lost his mother when he was ten months old, an event to which he later ascribed much significance as a sexual questing male. He studied at Hornsey College of Art. From 1952-1968, he worked as a freelance writer and translator. In 1968, Michael Bullock came to Canada as a Commonwealth Fellow at UBC, encouraged to teach at the university by J. Michael Yates. "The name Vancouver meant almost nothing to me," he once recalled. "I looked it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica, where I read that 'Stanley Park is the largest urban park in the world.' I immediately cabled my acceptance of the invitation."

In 1969 he was the McGuffey Visiting Professor of English at Ohio University. In 1970 he joined the Creative Writing Department at the University of British Columbia. At UBC he was also head of the translation program, retiring as professor emeritus in 1983. In 1994 he was New Asia Ming Yu Visiting Scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Greatly influenced by surrealism in his early years, Bullock wrote a surrealistic novella, Randolph Cranstone and the Glass Thimble (1977), that was a British New Fiction Society Book of the Month. He has translated many books and plays from French, German and Italian including André Carpentier's collection of Gothic tales, Bread of the Birds (Ekstasis, 1993). He is the subject of a critical book by UBC English professor and friend Jack Stewart, The Incandescent Word, published in 1990. In 1998, his Selected Poems 1938-1993 were published in China, chosen and translated by Dong Jiping. In 1999, The Walled Garden (Ekstasis) was published in China by Guang-Xi Nationalities Publishing. It was his fifth title to appear in Chinese. Ajmer Rode of Vancouver provided a Punjabi translation for One Hundred and One Surrealistic Poems, published in Amritsar in 1996.

Bullock celebrated his 85th birthday in the United Kingdom with a three-week retrospective exhibition of his books and artworks, under the title Michael Bullock and his Universe, at the Volume Gallery in London. A new poetry collection Colours was launched as both a printed book and as a CD. He marked his 90th birthday in England with the release of Seasons: Poems of the Turning Year, a collection of short nature-inspired poems. Bullock published more than 50 books of literature, many of which were self-published.

His long-time friend and artistic cohort Lori-ann Latremouille and her husband Angus Bungay presented a memorial gathering of friends on Saturday, August 16th, in the UBC Botanical Gardens, one of Bullock's favourite 'nature' haunts, with eulogies by Jack
Stewart, Andrew Parkin and his Hong Kong-based Chinese translator Serena Jin-In. "The loss of his mother in infancy," Stewart said, "left an emotional void he always sought to fill." Butterflies flitted during the informal proceedings and koi was released into the pond. At this gathering publisher Ron Hatch stressed the importance of Bullock as a translator in several languages. This event was followed by a reception in the Old Barn Community Center, during which two short films by Angus Bungay were shown, mainly focussing on Bullock's books 'Wings of the Black Swan' and 'Colours.'


1938 Transmutations (London: Favil Press) out of print -
1961 Sunday Is a Day of Incest (London: Abelard-Schuman) out of print -
1963 World Without Beginning Amen (London: Favil Press and Barrie & Rockcliff) out of print -
1969 A Savage Darkness out of print -
1978 Black Wings White Dead available $ 5.00
1981 Lines in the Dark Wood available $10.00
1982 Quadriga for Judy available $10.00
1983 Prisoner of the Rain: poems in prose available $10.00
1985 Brambled Heart available $10.00
1987 Dark Water available $10.00
1988 Poems on Green Paper available $10.00
1990 The Secret Garden out of print -
1990 Avatars of the Moon out of print -
1992 The Walled Garden available $10.00 / $26.00 (hc)
1993 Labyrinths available $ 8.00
1993 The Sorcerer with Deadly Nightshade Eyes available $ 8.00
1993 The Inflowing River available $10.00
1994 Moons and Mirrors available $12.00
1994 Dark Roses available $12.00
1996 Stone and Shadow available $12.00
1998 Sonnet in Black and Other Poems available $12.50
1999 Erupting in Flowers: poems available $10.00
2000 Nocturnes: poems of night available $12.00
2001 Wings of the Black Swan: poems of love and loss
2003 Colours (Rainbird) $30 0-9684894-3-5
2008 Seasons: Poems of the Turning Year (Rainbird Press, 4890 Mackenzie Street, Vancouver BC V6L 2R6)


Selected Works 1936-1996, ed. Peter Loeffler and Jack Stewart (Third Eye, 1998).
Sokotra: A Play. (Rainbird Press, 1997).
Voices of the River: A Fantasia. (Rainbird Press, 1996).
The Invulnerable Ovoid Aura: Poems and Stories. (Third Eye, 1995).
The Incandescent Word: The Poetic Vision of Michael Bullock. (Third Eye, 1990).
The Story of Noire. (Third Eye, 1987)
Sixteen Stories As They Happened (Vancouver: Sono Nis Press, 1969)


Winner of the Canada Council French Translation Award (now superseded by the Governor General's Award) for Stories for Late Night Drinkers by Michel Tremblay, 1979.
British New Fiction Society Choice for Randolph Cranstone and the Glass Thimble, 1977.
Winner of the Schlegel-Tieck German Translation Prize for Report on Brunoby Joseph Breitbach, 1966.

[LITHIS / BCBW 2008] "Poetry" "Translation"