G.F., G.J., G.J.F. or Geoffrey Dutton (1924-2010) was born on the Welsh borders of Anglo-Scots parentage and brought up in the Scottish diaspora. Apart from much global travelling, he lived thereafter lived with wife and family in Scotland, the passionate austerities of which compel his poetry – helped by many other lifetime environments, including mountain, sea, forest, industrial tenement, hillside shack, various arts and the intercontinental circuses of biomolecular research.
Major publications fed by what he calls ‘this metaphorical imperative’ cover solo longdistance wildwater snorkel swimming (Swimming Free, Heinemann & St Martins Press, 1972); mountaineering – his ‘classics of wit and humour’ The Ridiculous Mountains (Diadem) and Nothing So Simple as Climbing (Hodder) were combined as third edition in The Complete Doctor Stories (Bâton Wicks 1999 reprint); and his 44-year ‘ecological dialogue’ with a few rocky windblasted East Highland acres led to various articles, radio and TV features and the acclaimed pair Harvesting the Edge (prose and verse, Menard Press 1995, Scottish Arts Council [SAC] Award) and Some Branch Against the Sky (prose, David & Charles and Timber Press 1997).
He wrote much poetry on these explorations but published it rarely: his first collection pamphlet, 31 Poems (Old Fire Station Poets, Oxford, 1977) was followed by three book-length collections, Camp One (Macdonald, 1978: SAC Award), Squaring the Waves (Bloodaxe Books, 1986: SAC Award) and The Concrete Garden (Bloodaxe Books, 1991: Poetry Book Society Recommendation), and what was to be his swansong, The Bare Abundance: Selected Poems 1975-2001 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002: Poetry Book Society Recommendation).
Books by G F Dutton