Richard  Berengarten


4 June 1943, London

ALSO KNOWN AS Richard Burns, Li Dao
EDUCATION Pembroke College, University of Cambridge; University College London
NOTABLE WORKS Avebury, Black Light, The Manager, In a Time of Drought, The Blue Butterfly, Under Balkan Light, Manual, Notness
POSITIONS Bye-Fellow, Downing College, Cambridge; Poetry Editor, The Jewish Quarterly
ADDRESS 51a Argyle Street, Cambridge, CB1 3LS, UK
TEL 044 (0)1223 212973
MOBILE 044 (0)7732 414 078

Richard Berengarten is an English and European poet, scholar, essayist and editor. Having lived in Italy, Greece, the USA and former Yugoslavia, he now resides in Cambridge, England where he teaches for several colleges of the University. His perspectives are international and his writing is strikingly original. His subjects deal with historical and political material, inner worlds, relationships and everyday life. His work is marked by its multicultural frames of reference, depth of themes and variety of forms.

He has been a key presence in contemporary poetry for the past 40 years, and his poems have been translated into more than 90 languages.

"The Blue Butterfly and In a Time of Drought (published in 2006) not only confirm Berengarten’s reputation as a significant European writer but, in their handling of universal themes, herald his status as a great poet."
     - Aleksandar Petrov, poet and literary critic


Richard Berengarten is a dedicated internationalist and his horizons are wide. He was born in London in 1943 into a family of musicians. His interests in Chinese culture and philosophy began in the early 1960s, when he was studying English literature at Cambridge University. He was introduced to the Yijing in 1962. Since then, he has continued to explore the book, while living in Italy, Greece, the UK, the USA, former Yugoslavia, and other countries.

In Venice in 1965-6, he was briefly apprenticed to the English poet Peter Russell, a close friend of Ezra Pound. In Greece, he witnessed the military coup d’état and in response wrote The Easter Rising 1967; and he came under the influence of the Greek poet George Seferis. Returning to Cambridge, in 1970 he met the Mexican poet Octavio Paz, who became his friend and mentor. In 1975, he launched and coordinated the first international Cambridge Poetry Festival. In the 1980s, he lived in Serbia and began writing The Blue Butterfly (2006). In recognition of that book, in 2012 he became an honorary citizen of the Serbian city of Kragujevac.


In recent years, he has lived and worked mostly in Cambridge, where he teaches at several colleges of the University, including Downing and Peterhouse. In 2015, he co-organised the first Xu Zhimo Poetry Festival at King’s College, For this meeting of English and Chinese poets, he made a new translation of Xu Zhimo’s poem ‘Second Farewell to Cambridge’. Berengarten is a prolific poet, always seeking new themes. Changing will be the eighth volume in his Selected Writings.


Eric Gregory Award (1972)

Keats Memorial Prize for Poetry (1972)

Art Council Writer’s Award (1973)

Keats Memorial Poetry Prize (1974)

Duncan Lawrie Prize, Arvon International Poetry Competition (1982)

Yeats Club Prize, poem and translation (1989)

Yeats Club Prize, translation (1990)

Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize for Poetry (1992)

International Morava Poetry Prize (Serbia, 2005)

Veliki školski čas award (Serbia, 2007)

Manada Prize (Macedonia, 2011)




from Shearsman Books at

Book With No Back Cover

Book in Spanish
Luz negra / Black Light, bilingual edition. Translation by Paul Scott Derrick and Miguel Teruel:

Book in Greek
Mavro fos / Black Light, bilingual edition.
Translation by Nasos Vayenas and Ilias Lagios

Book in Galician
O voar da bolboreta azul / Selected Poems, bilingual edition.
Translation by Loreto Riveira and Fernando Lavandeira

Book in Serbian
Do videjnja Danice / Goodbye Balkan Belle, bilingual edition,
Translation by Vera V. Radojevi?:

Books that are now rare (For the Living, Learning to Talk, and Keys to Transformation,
and Croft Woods
- only a few copies remain) may be ordered from



A book launch and a reading from CHANGING

Richard Berengarten gives an illustrated talk with readings from his new book of poems, followed by discussion ...

The reissued version of the Critical Companion on my work has just appeared from Shearsman Books...