Aidan Andrew Dun spent a fantastical childhood and adolescence in the West Indies and knew his calling for poetry from an early age.
Returning to London as a teenager to live with his inspirational grandmother, dancer Marie Rambert, he attended Highate School but left without A-levels after taking (perhaps too seriously) the role of the rebel-chieftan Aufidius in Coriolanus.
After several years travelling the world with a guitar AAD was drawn back to London to explore the psychogeography of Kings Cross, magnet to other visionaries before him. Vale Royal (published by Goldmark, 1995) written and recited in the form of a quest, dreams of transforming an urban wasteland into a transcultural zone of canals at the heart of London. Vale Royal was launched to critical acclaim at the Royal Albert Hall and earned AAD the title Voice of Kings Cross. In following years AAD has recited at the Royal Festival Hall, the Ledbury, Cheltenham, and Swindon literary festivals.
Launching his second epic poem Universal – India Cantos (Goldmark) in 2002 he accomplished an American tour, reading in New York, Santa Fe and San Francisco (at City Lights Bookshop). AAD has read alongside David Gascoigne, Ben Okri, Iain Sinclair and Andrew Motion.
In 2008 and 2012 he lectured at the British Library on The Kings Cross Mysteries.
Numerous short (and some longer) poems have appeared in The London Magazine, English, The Cortland Review, The Salzburg Review, Tears in the Fence, Resurgence, Scintilla et al. In 2005 AAD undertook a special commission for the Wordsworth Trust.
Unholyland appeared in 2016 (from Skyscraper in the UK and Interlink in the USA) a verse-novel in 800 sonnets set in Palestine/Israel. Heathcote Williams described Unholyland as ‘a pyrotechnic, apocalyptic dance…. a powerful meditation on the place where civilization began and where it could end.’ In a private letter to AAD poet Tom Paulin said of the work: ‘I was deeply moved by Unholyland – it has extraordinary energy, wit, knowledge, and beautifully marries the vernacular with rhyme. It reads beautifully and is like nothing else I’ve read.’
In 2018 AAD was commissioned to write a poem for The New English Ballet as part of the Armistice Centenary celebrations. The poem, titled An Armoured Inkwell, featured in the film of a ballet called Remembrance, largely based on the wartime romance of Marie Rambert and Ashley Dukes.
In 2012 a triad was installed at London’s newest open space: Granary Square, N1. The inscription – in granite – runs 70 feet along one side of the square and reads: “Kings Cross, dense with angels and histories, there are cities beneath your pavements, cities behind your skies. Let me see!” This triad, from an unpublished long poem titled The Brill, was originally spray-painted on the walls of Battle Bridge just before it was demolished. The developers somehow noticed it there and contacted AAD to ask if they could install the poem in Granary Square.
Vale Royal moves with the ease and clarity of a fresh spring over ancient stones, making its myths casual even colloquial – an impressive achievement.
Aidan Andrew Dun is a visionary, a pied piper of modern poetry…
KATE KELLAWAY – THE INDEPENDENT
Dun stands apart from all schools and schisms…He is the carefully regulated trickle of water that cracks stone.
He has an extraordinary sense of the past. He’s one of those people, along with Blake and Chatterton and others, who are like a divining rod for history.
Aidan Andrew Dun is a poet … in the tradition of William Blake, and has a vision of London – and indeed of the world – which draws strength and fire from that association. He is simultaneously a one-off and in excellent company.