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Keith Bosley was born in 1937 at Bourne End in the Thames Valley, the son of a railway signalman. He attended Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow and gained an honours degree in French at the University of Reading, where his teachers included Michael Hamburger, Frank Kermode, A. G. Lehmann and Luigi Meneghetto. He also spent a month at the British Institute in Paris and a year at the University of Caen, where he prepared a dissertation on Pierre Emmanuel. Since his mid teens he has been a church organist in Maidenhead, Marlow, Caen and Slough, where he still lives.
For over 30 years he combined a career at the BBC World Service in London with a literary one and produced 27 books, including a few collections of poems and many works of verse translations. Among these were the only books in English of Pierre Jean Jouve, anthologies of Russian underground poetry, classical Vietnamese poetry, Oriental poetry, a Finnish opera, and a book by Jerzy Ficowski.
He has made an edition of the French Baroque poet La Ceppède, selections of Camões and Pessoa, and an anthology of German love poetry. His principal productions have been the latest Penguin edition of Mallarmé, the Finnish epic The Kalevala and The Kanteletar (both published by Oxford University Press in the World’s Classics series), and anthologies of Finnish poetry and Finno-Ugrian folk poetry.
He is a Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.