Arthur Seymour John Tessimond was born in Birkenhead. He was an only child. He was educated at Charterhouse but ran away to London at the age of 16, only to return home two weeks later. He went to Liverpool University and then moved to London where he worked in bookshops and then as an advertising copywriter. He went into hiding during World War II, as he considered he would not be much good as a soldier. As it happened, he later discovered he was unfit to fight anyway.
He was an eccentric with depressive tendencies whose inheritance went either on night-life or on psychoanalysts. He was given electric shock treatment and this may have contributed to the brain haemorrhage that later killed him. His work shows great clarity and often humour. He wrote about the ordinary and about city stereotypes. Some of his poems are conversation-poems and these often capture his tendency towards melancholy. Three volumes of his poems were published during his lifetime.