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James Kirkup

Related: censorship - banned literature - homoeroticism


James Kirkup (b. April 23, 1918) is a prolific English poet, translator and travel writer. He was brought up in South Shields, and educated at Durham University. He wrote over 30 books, including an autobiography and plays. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, which describes a sexual fantasy of a homosexual soldier for the dead Christ, was banned in 1979 under the UK's blasphemy laws after it was published by Gay News on June 3, 1976.

The blasphemous libel charge named Gay News Ltd and the publisher, Denis Lemon and were brought by Mary Whitehouse, founder and first president of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association. Following the trial (Whitehouse v. Lemon) Lemon received a nine-month suspended jail sentence.

In 1996, Britain's Royal Crown Prosecution Service began an investigation that had been initiated by the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association (renamed MediaWatch), over a hypertext link to Kirkup's poem on the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement's web site. (The site was closed down for financial reasons in March 1996.)

In 1997, the charges against the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement were formally dropped. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kirkup [Mar 2006]

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