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Observations placeholder

Walter J Turner - The Hunter 1916



Type of Spiritual Experience


Walter James Redfern Turner (13 October 1889 – 18 November 1946) was an Australian-born, English-domiciled writer and poet.

Born in South Melbourne, the son of a church musician – organist at St Paul's Cathedral, he was educated at Carlton State School, Scotch College and the Working Men's College. In 1907 he left for England to pursue a career in writing.

There he met and befriended a number of literary intellectual figures, including Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, and Siegfried Sassoon, who was a close friend of Turner, at least for a while. Turner, his wife, and Sassoon all cohabited a house on Tufton Street before Sassoon moved out in 1925.  Turner married Delphine Marguerite Dubuis (died 1951) on 5 April 1918, in Chelsea.

During the period from the First World War until the mid-1930s, he was known primarily as a poet. His 1916 Romance ("Chimborazo, Cotopaxi....") is probably the best remembered of his poems, but The Hunter (1916) and The Dark Fire (1918) reflect his experiences on the Western Front.

In 1918 he joined the staff of the Spectator and became its literary editor in 1942. He enjoyed a brief success as a playwright with The Man Who Ate the Popomack (1922). The Seven Days of the Sun (1925) is an experimental series of free-verse meditations.

More conventional verse is contained in In Time Like Glass (1921), Landscape of Cytherea (1923), Songs and Incantations (1936), and Fossils of a Future Time (1946). "His best work is marked by the luminous brilliance of imagery characteristic of his evocations of exotic landscapes. Several of his poems show a strong poetic interest in metaphysical speculation".

W B Yeats represented him generously in his Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936), (while omitting several authors very much better known today for their verse, such as Wilfred Owen).

Turner died on 18 November 1946 of a cerebral thrombosis.

A description of the experience

from The Hunter

And are they birds or souls that flit
Among the trees so silently
And are they fish or ghosts that haunt
The still pools of the rookery?
For I am but a sculptured rock
As in that magic place I sit.......


The source of the experience

Poet other

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps





Communing with nature