Who is Tristram Cooke?


I have too many heroes and heroines to mention them all. Many of them appear in my poems. I have been a hispanophile and francophile for most of my life. From young adulthood I have been interested in human effort to find a meaning in life(contained in Miguel de Unamuno’s ‘The Tragic Sense Of Life’) and in the response of Albert Camus and J.P Sartre(Jean Paul Sartre) that there is no meaning in life (a viewpoint which I share) i.e. existentialism (contained in Camus’ ‘The Outsider’ and Sartre’s ‘Being And Nothingness’ and other works of theirs).

Many other Spanish,Latin American and French authors have been obsessions of mine,especially Antonio Machado and  Garcia Marquez. Further I am greatly influenced by the British and Irish Romantics(I am an incorrigible Romantic myself).

In film I love the Ealing Comedies,Kitchen Sink dramas of the 1950s and 1960s and 2 films in particular of that era ‘Billy Liar’ and ‘ The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’.I am moved to tears by the entire work of Ken Loach. I am a tremendous admirer of the late Spanish director Luis Buñuel.

My poetry is greatly influenced by Hilaire Belloc,though he followed rules much more strictly than I do.I also regard Orwell’s ‘plain words’ as an important exemplar.

Other books I would recommend(apart from world-famous books)are:’Britain Carries On’ by Osbert Lancaster,’ Down With School’ , illustrated by Ronald Searle ,’ How To Be An Alien’ by George Mikes,’Teaching As A Subversive Activity’ by Postman and Weingartner,’ and Adolph Hitler:My Part In His Downfall’ by Spike Milligan.

My dream was always to be a novelist, not a poet. How things change!

Exclusive Information: 1972-1974 I taught Myra Hindley and the Angry Brigade Women in Holloway Prison.


Tips/advice for writers.

  • Write about people doing things.
  • You’re never too young or too old to write.
  • Love language.


My professions and qualifications

  • A lifelong teacher who came late to writing poetry.
  • 1958-1963 Westminster School
  • 1964-1968Trinity College Oxford
  • 1968 Supply Teacher Enfield Grammar School
  • 1969-1970 Assistant Teacher Borden Grammar School
  • 1970-1971 Student of Education Bristol University
  • 1971-1972 AssistantTeacher Redborn Comprehensive School
  • 1972-1973 Tutor Davies’s  College
  • 1972-1974 Tutor Holloway Prison
  • 1974-2002 Lecturer West Herts College
  • 2000-2002 Co-ordinator of Modern Languages
  • 2002-2004 Tutor Sancho Pancho Spanish School
  • 2004-2006 Spanish Lecturer for A level Years 1 and 2 at Harrow College of FE and HE
  • 2013 Published ‘The Lanes Also Remember’
  • 2014 Published ‘Welcome To The Third World’
  • 2015 Published ‘Staggering Through’
  • BA Second Class Hons (Oxon) Spanish 1968
  • Cert.Ed Bristol University 1971
  • Diploma In Language In The Multiracial Community 1987 Ealing College Of HE
  • MA In Language In The Multicultural Community Thames Valley University 1995
  • MA Hispanic Studies Birkbeck College London University 1998