John Hewitt was born in Belfast in 1907, and educated at Methodist College and Queens University.
From 1930 he worked in the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery and in 1957 he became the Art Director of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. He returned to Belfast on his retirement in 1972.
He published some twenty books and pamphlets. His books include Collected Poems 1932-1967 (London, Macgibbon & Kee, 1969): The Day of the Corncrake : Poems of the Nine Glens (Belfast, Blackstaff Press, 1969); An Ulster Reckoning (Blackstaff Press, 1971); The Chinese Fluteplayer (Blackstaff Press, 1974); Scissors for a One-Armed Tailor: Marginal Verses 1929-1954 (Blackstaff Press, 1974); Time Enough: Poems News and Revised (Blackstaff Press, 1976); Loose Ends (Blackstaff Press, 1983); Freehold and Other Poems (Blackstaff Press, 1986); The Collected Poems of John Hewitt, edited by Frank Ormsby and Michael Longley (Blackstaff Press, 1991); and Selected Poems, edited by Frank Ormsby and Michael Longley (Blackstaff Press, 2007).
Two Plays: The McCrackens and The Angry Dove, edited by Damien Smith, was published by Lagan Press, Belfast, 1999.
His other publications include a book on the rhyming weaver-poets of Antrim and Down, and monographs on the artists John Luke and Colin Middleton.
He died in 1987.
For greater detail see Writing from the North of Ireland by Sarah Ferris