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John James obituary


The sensual brevity of John James’s poetry reflected his personality. John, who has died aged 79, was stylish, casual, elegant, unstudied. His Welsh-Irish origins, too, underpinned his work.

The only child of Lil (nee O’Reilly), from Cork, and Charlie James, a royal marine, John was born in Cardiff, not long before the outbreak of the second world war. To avoid the blitz on Swansea’s refineries, the family upped sticks for Portsmouth, only to be bombed there. On their return to Cardiff, John was taught by the Lasalle Brothers at Saint Illtyd’s College.

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