Joseph Macleod (1903-84) was born in Ealing, and educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford. Both his parents were Scottish. He was a lifelong friend of Adrian Stokes and Graham Greene. His work was admired by Basil Bunting and J.H. Prynne. From the age of 13 he was preoccupied with the poetic drama. He qualified as a barrister, but never practised.
In 1930, Faber published his modernist zodiac poem The Ecliptic. From 1930 he was working as an actor and producer for the avantgarde legend Terence Gray at the Festival Theatre, Cambridge, and in 1933 he became the lessee. He wrote several plays at this time. The lease ran for two years and ended badly. The surrealist myth-epic Foray of Centaurs, his next book, was not published. The “Posthumous poems of Joseph Macleod”, of 1937, in his papers, shows his frustration with the literary politics which sidelined him. After a radical move to the Left, and an increasing interest in radio and cinema, he struggled with the problems of a documentary response to contempor-ary history and the politics of the media.
He went on publishing poetry under the name Adam Drinan: The Cove (1940), The Men of the Rocks (1942), Women of the Happy Island (1944) — then, as Macleod, The Passage of the Torch (1951), Script from Norway (1953), An Old Olive Tree (1971). Other works are preserved in his papers in the National Library of Scotland.
He was an announcer for BBC radio from 1938 to 1945, and also scripted and presented programmes. He lectured on, and wrote numerous books on, theatre history. He moved to Scotland, and in 1946-47 he was managing director at Scottish National Film Studios. In 1946-7 he was chairman of Huntingdonshire Labour Party. He composed light music, and published a book on the sisters D’Aranyi, musicians. He lived in Florence from the middle 1950s.