Michael Horovitz

Michael Horovitz OBE (born 4 April 1935)[1][2] is a British poet, editor, artist and translator. He founded the literary periodical New Departures in 1959, and in the following decades organized many "Live New Departures" events featuring poetry and jazz performances.

Michael Horovitz
Born (1935-04-04) 4 April 1935 (age 85)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Notable worksChildren of Albion (editor)
SpouseFrances Horovitz
ChildrenAdam Horovitz

Life and careerEdit

Michael Horovitz, born in Frankfurt,[3] was the youngest of 10 children who were brought to Britain from Nazi Germany by their parents, both of whom were part of a network of European-rabbinical families. Horovitz studied at Brasenose College, Oxford, from 1954 to 1960.[4]

In 1959 he founded the periodical New Departures while still a student,[5] publishing William S. Burroughs, Samuel Beckett, and Stevie Smith. He continued to edit it for 50 years, coordinating many "Live" New Departures, Jazz Poetry SuperJams and Poetry Olympics festivals. Though initially associated with the British Poetry Revival, Horovitz became widely known on his appearance at the International Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 June 1965, alongside Allen Ginsberg and Alexander Trocchi.

In 1969 Penguin Books published Horovitz's Children of Albion anthology. Introducing him to New York City in 1970, Ginsberg characterized him as a "Popular, experienced, experimental, New Jerusalem, Jazz Generation, Sensitive Bard".[6]

In 1971 Horovitz published The Wolverhampton Wanderer, an epic of Britannia, in twelve books, with a resurrection & a life for poetry united, with an original dustjacket by Peter Blake. The book is a collection of British artists of the period, with illustrations and photographs by Michael Tyzack, Peter Blake, Adrian Henri, Patrick Hughes, Gabi Nasemann, Paul Kaplan, John Furnival, Bob Godfrey, Pete Morgan, Jeff Nuttall, David Hockney, as well as Horovitz, and others. It is, among other things, a visual and literary elegy to the culture surrounding association football up to the 1960s, celebrating not only Wolves and its supporters, but also Arsenal, Spurs, and legendary teams from the North. Horovitz's Growing Up: Selected Poems and Pictures, 1951–79 was published by Allison & Busby in 1979.

In 2007, Horovitz published A New Waste Land: Timeship Earth at Nillennium, described by D. J. Taylor in The Independent as "a deeply felt clarion-call from the radical underground", and by Tom Stoppard as "A true scrapbook and songbook of the grave new world". In January 2011 Horovitz contributed to an eBook collection of political poems entitled Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State, edited by Alan Morrison.[7]

Horovitz stood for election as Oxford Professor of Poetry in 2010 (supported by Tony Benn),[8] writing in The Guardian: "I would most likely pitch some of my lectures around the legacies of my closest comrades in the broad continuum of poetry, from David and Solomon to James Joyce, Sappho to Bessie Smith, Beowulf to Lead Belly, medieval troubadours to the beat generation, Keats to Bob Dylan and Blake to Beckett. If elected I will want to do a lot in addition to the official briefs, including publications of student and other poets and performers from both town and gown constituencies; also workspaces and playshops emphasising the autonomous validity of, as well as the connections between all art media and all stage and page poetries, via magazines, anthologies, Live New Departures, Jazz Poetry SuperJam and Poetry Olympics productionsextending communal paths my bardmobile has struck over the last five decades."[9] In the event. Horovitz came second, out of 11, to Geoffrey Hill.[10]

Horovitz fronts the William Blake Klezmatrix band in which he plays the anglo-saxophone, an updated and extended eunuch flute of his own devising.[4]

To celebrate Horovitz's 80th birthday, a limited-edition album was produced of a 2013 recording of his poem sequence "Bankbusted Nuclear Detergent Blues", on which he is accompanied by Paul Weller, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to the English poet Frances Horovitz (1938–1983); their son Adam Horovitz (born 1971) is also a poet, performer and journalist.

Michael Horovitz's home is in Notting Hill, London.[4][12][13]



  • Declaration (1963)
  • Strangers (with Maria Simon; 1965)
  • Nude Lines for Larking in Present Night Soho (Goliard Press, 1965)
  • High Notes from when I Was Rolling in Moss (Latimer Press, 1966)
  • Poetry for the People (Latimer Press, 1966)
  • Bank Holiday: a New Testament for the Love Generation (Latimer Press, 1967)
  • Love Poems: Nineteen Poems of Love, Lust and Spirit (New Departures, 1971)
  • The Wolverhampton Wanderer (Latimer, 1971; ISBN 978-0901539144)
  • Growing Up: Selected Poems & Pictures 1951–79 (Allison and Busby, 1979)
  • Midsummer Morning Jog Log (with Peter Blake; Five Seasons Press, 1986, ISBN 978-0950460680)
  • A New Waste Land: Timeship Earth at Nillennium (New Departures, 2007, ISBN 978-0902689183)
  • Wordsounds and Sightlines: New and Selected Poems (New Departures, 1994, ISBN 978-0902689206)

As editorEdit

  • Children of Albion: Poetry of the Underground in Britain, New Departures 1-24 (Penguin Books, 1969, ISBN 978-0140421163)
  • Poetry Olympics Anthologies 1-3
  • A Celebration of & for Frances Horovitz (1938–1983) (New Departures, 1984, ISBN 978-0902689121)
  • The POW! (Poetry Olympics Weekend) Anthology
  • The POP! (Poetry Olympics Party) Anthology
  • The POM! (Poetry Olympics Marathon) Anthology (New Departures, 2001, ISBN 978-0902689213)
  • The POT! (Poetry Olympics Twenty05) Anthology (New Departures, 2007, ISBN 978-0902689251)
  • Jeff Nuttall's Wake on Paper: A Keepsake Anthology of the Life, Work and Play of a Polymath Extraordinaire
  • Grandchildren of Albion: An Illustrated Anthology of Voices and Visions of Younger Poets in Britain (New Departures, 1992, ISBN 978-0902689145)

As translatorEdit

On artEdit

  • Alan Davie (1963)
  • Michael Horovitz Goes Visual
  • Michael Horovitz: Bop Paintings, Collages & Picture-Poems

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Poetry Olympics.
  2. ^ Michael Horovitz at Discogs.
  3. ^ "Michael Horovitz Biography", jrank.orf.
  4. ^ a b c Willis, Tim (15 June 2010). "Portrait of the beatnik as an old poet". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  5. ^ John-Paul Pryor, "Michael Horovitz: Grandfather of Albion", Dazed, March 2010.
  6. ^ Michael Horovitz, "The Beat goes on", openDemocracy, 12 February 2004.
  7. ^ The Recusant eZine.
  8. ^ Alison Flood, "Michael Horovitz looks to 'shake up' Oxford poetry professor race", The Guardian, 29 April 2010.
  9. ^ Michael Horovitz, "Out of the poetic mire", The Guardian, 28 May 2010.
  10. ^ Alison Flood, "'A poet of great eminence': Geoffrey Hill's landslide victory restores prestige to Oxford professorship", The Guardian, 18 June 2010.
  11. ^ "Michael Horovitz 12" LP (Limited Edition)", 2016.
  12. ^ "British beat poet Michael Horovitz still writing and performing", BBC News, 6 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Poetry Happenings with Michael Horovitz", The Poetry Society, Young Poets Network, 2012.

External linksEdit