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David Tipton obituary

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My friend David Tipton, who has died aged 78, was a writer, translator, publisher and teacher. In Peru in the 1960s he began translating some of the country's poets, including Antonio Cisneros, often working with other translators such as CA de Lomellini, Maureen Ahern and Will Rowe. He kept up his contact with Latin American writers, occasionally revisiting Peru. His seminal publication was Peru: The New Poetry (London Magazine Editions, 1970), which he co-edited and co-translated.

Born and educated in Birmingham, David did his national service in Malaya before training as a teacher. He taught in Argentina, returned briefly to the UK, where he married Eva in 1956, and then spent several years teaching in Peru.

When Eva died suddenly in 1970, he returned to England with three young children. He taught in Sheffield and became a highly competent single parent. Subsequently he studied for an MA at the University of Essex and finally settled in 1978 in Bradford, which remained his home.

David was a prolific writer of poetry, prose and fiction, usually with an autobiographical leaning. His work is characterised by muscular, energetic language, vivid description and conversational speech rhythms, strongly influenced by the American Beat poets. Millstone Grit (1972) is his masterpiece, an extended poem of grief and recovery based on the loss of his wife.

In 1974 he set up Rivelin Press, publishing many little-known and undiscovered poets, and in the late 1980s he established Redbeck Press, which published writers such as Ian McMillan, Moniza Alvi, Bill Broady, Alan Whitaker and Jim Greenhalf. Two notable anthologies, Spirit of Bradford (1997) and The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry (2001), were runners-up for the Raymond Williams community publishing prize. David rarely made money from his literary activities and continued to support himself and his family through supply teaching. He had several relationships after he was widowed, and had two more children.

A convivial host, a fine cook and a cat lover, he enjoyed swimming, visiting his local and a flutter on the horses – at which he was amazingly successful. He was interested in many sports and in politics, his views idiosyncratic but very much to the left.

David had lived for many years with his partner, Jane Ramsden. She survives him, along with his children, Michi, Jane, Patrick, Jonathan and Kristina.


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