Writer, artist, teacher, and publisher Tom Raworth was born in South London. He attended the University of Essex; in 1970, he earned an MA in the theory and practice of literary translation. As founder of Matrix Press and cofounder of Goliard Press, Raworth was instrumental in bringing an entire tradition of American poetry to English readers. Promoting the work of a number of poets associated with the Black Mountain School, including Edward Dorn, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson, Raworth also published the poetry of Elaine Feinstein, Aram Saroyan, Anselm Hollo, and Zoltan Farkas.
Raworth’s own work has also been identified with the Black Mountain School. He has written over 40 collections of poetry, among them The Relation Ship (1969), winner of the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, and more recently Eternal Sections (1993), Tottering State: Selected Poems 1965–1983 (1984), the 500-plus page Collected Poems (2003), Writing: Poems 1980–2003 (2005), and Windmills in Flames: Old and New Poems (2010). John Olson has noted that in Raworth’s work “words and lines are highly compressed: one perception immediately and directly slides to a further perception, and these perceptions accrue, multiply, ricochet and expand into a domain of accelerated cognition protean and variable as cumulonimbus, or gouache.”
Raworth’s awards included the Cholmondeley Award, the Philip Whalen Memorial Award, and, in Italy, the Antonio Delfini Prize for Lifetime Achievement. He taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa; he also served as poet-in-residence at King’s College, Cambridge University. He lived in Brighton, England.