Manuscript of 'Torrey Canyon', Jack Clemo
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Reginald John 'Jack' Clemo (1916-1994), poet, was born in Cornwall and lived there for many years until he moved to Weymouth in 1984. As a child he experienced two periods of complete blindness, and he left school at the age of twelve. He began to write at the end of his schooldays, but for many years his only vehicle for publishing his verse and stories was a local newspaper. In 1948 he published a novel, 'Wilding Graft'. This was followed in 1949 by an autobiography, 'Confession of a Rebel', and in 1951 by his first volume of poetry, 'The Clay Verge'. Further volumes of poetry in 1961 'The Map of Clay', and in 1967 'Cactus on Carmel', furthered his reputation as a poet. He published a theological volume, 'The Invading Gospel' in 1958. By 1955 he was totally blind; although periodically he was able to hear music faintly, he could never again recognise speech. His later works include 'The Echoing Tip' (1971) and 'Broad Autumn' (1975). He was awarded a Civil List Pension in 1961 in recognition of his literary achievements. In 1981 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter. In 1968 he married Ruth Peaty (1923-2007), a laundry worker from Weymouth.