Born in York to Scottish parents, the family returned to Glasgow while William Price Turner was but an infant. He left school at 14, though continued an informal education among a milieu of ambitious and austere literary folk, steeled by a vision of war for which they had been too young to become involved in. These included Jimmy Burns Singer and James Russell Grant.
In 1951 he founded, edited and, for the first few issues, hand printed, his magazine, grandly titled The Poet, which he continued with until 1957. He was in contact with other young editors around the UK, such as Jon Silkin, who similarly ran Stand from 1952, Derek Maggs, editor of Zebra and John Sankey, who ran The Window. Turner cited Howard Sergeant as a key influence, having founded the magazine Outposts in 1943, of which Turner claimed to have never missed an issue. The tentacles of communication ran far further though, and the magazine had an international draw, including poetry from notable names in America and Europe. These connections also gave him incentive and opportunities to publish his own poems widely in various periodicals, which he did.
He published his debut pamphlet, First Offence, in 1954 and his collection, The Rudiment of an Eye, the following year.
Turner found himself briefly working for the BBC before leaving Glasgow to follow literary friends, James Kirkup and John Silken, as the 5th Gregory Fellowship at Leeds University from 1960-2. Here, he actively attempted to bring students to poetry, running daily workshops and seminars of popular if severe criticism, often from his flat.
This period was followed with a pair of more satirical and acerbic titles, The Flying Corset (1962) and Fables from Life (1966) while he remained in Leeds, where he became a crime fiction reviewer for the Yorkshire Post.
He turned to writing thrillers of his own in the late 60’s, which brought him a modicum of success, and it was for these he reverted to the less ostentatious name of Bill Turner, which he would later use for his poetry from 1979 onward.
In 1970 he won the Scottish Arts Council Publication Award for his collection The Moral Rocking Horse and returned to Glasgow, where he held a writing fellowship at the University between1973 and 1975.
His selected work was published in the 1980s and he continued to contribute and enter competitions, often anonymously, until the end of his life.
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