Christopher Logue - Career

Career

He was a playwright and screenwriter as well as a film actor. His screenplays were Savage Messiah and The End of Arthur's Marriage. He was a long-term contributor to Private Eye magazine, as well as writing for Alexander Trocchi's literary journal, the Merlin. Logue won the 2005 Whitbread Poetry Award for Cold Calls. His early popularity was marked by the release of a loose adaptation of Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems, later released as an extended play recording, Red Bird: Jazz and Poetry, backed by a jazz group led by the drummer Tony Kinsey.

One of his poems, Be Not Too Hard, was set to music by Donovan and heard in the film Poor Cow (1967), and was made popular by Joan Baez on her eponymous 1967 album, Joan. Another well-known and well-quoted poem by Logue was Come to the Edge, which is often attributed to Guillaume Apollinaire, but is in fact only dedicated to him. It was originally written for a poster advertising an Apollinaire exhibition at the ICA in 1961 or 1962, and was titled "Apollinaire Said", hence the misattribution. His last major work was an ongoing project to render Homer's Iliad into a modernist idiom. This work is published in a number of small books, usually equating to two or three books of the original text. (The volume, Homer: War Music, was shortlisted for the 2002 International Griffin Poetry Prize.) He published an autobiography, Prince Charming (1999).

His lines tended to be short, pithy and frequently political, as in Song of Autobiography:

I, Christopher Logue, was baptized the year
Many thousands of Englishmen,
Fists clenched, their bellies empty,
Walked day and night on the capital city.

He wrote the couplet that is sung at the beginning and end of the film A High Wind in Jamaica (1965), the screenplay for Savage Messiah (1972), a television version of Antigone (1962), and a short play for the TV series The Wednesday Play titled The End of Arthur's Marriage (1965).

He appeared in a number of films as an actor, most notably as Cardinal Richelieu in Ken Russell's film The Devils (1971) and as the spaghetti-eating fanatic in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky (1977). Logue wrote for the Olympia Press under the pseudonym Count Palmiro Vicarion, including a pornographic novel, Lust.

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