Tag Archives: deaths

Thoughts of Craig Arnold

  
Rebecca Lindenberg, Craig’s partner, has posted a letter on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog.  It is believed Craig injured his leg, fell from a cliff and could not have survived the fall.
  
Poet Annie Finch has written a post for Craig here.
 
My love and thoughts are with Craig’s son, Rebecca, Chris and Craig’s family and friends.

J G Ballard, 1930 – 2009

 
“J G Ballard, the author who has died aged 78, was best known for his two fictionalised autobiographies, Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women; the former, which told of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp outside Shanghai, became an international best-seller and was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg.”
 
Read J G Ballard’s obituary in The Telegraph.

Nicholas Hughes’ death

  
“The son of the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath has taken his own life, 46 years after his mother gassed herself while he slept.
  
Nicholas Hughes hanged himself at his home in Alaska after battling against depression for some time, his sister Frieda said yesterday.”
   
Read Ben Hoyle’s article in The Times.
 
Dermot Cole’s thoughtful post about Nicholas Hughes is worth reading.
   
Read Edward Byrne’s post at One Poet’s Notes.

John Updike (1932 – 2009)

“A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.”

“Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day’s progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.”

“Writers take words seriously – perhaps the last professional class that does – and they struggle to steer their own through the crosswinds of meddling editors and careless typesetters and obtuse and malevolent reviewers into the lap of the ideal reader.”

“The writer must face the fact that ordinary lives are what most people live most of the time, and that the novel as a narration of the fantastic and the adventurous is really an escapist plot; that aesthetically the ordinary, the banal, is what you must deal with.”

“The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one’s obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.”

“I would especially like to recourt the Muse of poetry, who ran off with the mailman four years ago, and drops me only a scribbled postcard from time to time.”

“From earliest childhood I was charmed by the materials of my craft, by pencils and paper and, later, by the typewriter and the entire apparatus of printing.  To condense from one’s memories and fantasies and small discoveries dark marks on paper which become handsomely reproducible many times over still seems to me, after nearly 30 years concerned with the making of books, a magical act, and a delightful technical process.  To distribute oneself thus, as a kind of confetti shower falling upon the heads and shoulders of mankind out of bookstores and the pages of magazines is surely a great privilege and a defiance of the usual earthbound laws whereby human beings make themselves known to one another.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W D Snodgrass dies

“These trees stand very tall under the heavens.
While they stand, if I walk, all stars traverse
This steep celestial gulf their branches chart.
Though lovers stand at sixes and at sevens
While civilizations come down with the curse,
Snodgrass is walking through the universe.”

– W D Snodgrass, from “These Trees Stand …”
  (Heart’s Needle, 1959)

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, William De Witt Snodgrass, died this morning after a four-month battle with inoperable lung cancer.

Read more about W D Snodgrass here.

Read “Heart’s Needle” here.

Read Ms Baroque’s wonderful post about W D Snodgrass here.

Poet Mick Imlah dies

 

The poet Mick Imlah, whose volume of poetry, The Lost Leader (Faber), won the 2008 Forward prize for best collection and is shortlisted for tonight’s TS Eliot prize, has died, aged 52.

Click on the above link to read today’s article in The Guardian.

Read Peter McDonald’s review of The Lost Leader in The Guardian here.

Order your copy of The Lost Leader (Faber) here.

Live every day like your hair was on fire

“Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T S Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers …”
– Bob Dylan

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
– Eskimo proverb

“There are so many little dyings that it doesn’t matter which one of them is death.”
– Kenneth Patchen

“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”
– Edvard Munch

“I want a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman.  I want to hedge my bets.”
– Wilson Mizner

“I meant, said Ipslore bitterly, what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile? 
Death thought about it, Cats, he said eventually, Cats are nice.”
– Terry Pratchett

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice; there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”
– Frank Zappa

“I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return.”
– Frida Kahlo

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.”
– Jim Morrison

“For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean.  As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it.  That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge.  When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water.  We call this the moment of death.  That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves.”
– Bill Viola

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. ”
– Crowfoot

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
– Meister Eckhart

“… and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
– William Shakespeare

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting …”
– Walt Whitman

“He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.”
– William Shakespeare

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

“Live every day like your hair was on fire.”
– Zen proverb

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field

 
White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field
Mary Oliver
 
Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings – five feet apart –

Read more …

Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

Sadly, I’ve just heard English poet, playwright and children’s writer, Adrian Mitchell, has passed away.

“I want to speak, to sing to total strangers.  It’s my way of talking to the world or a small part of it.  So I use the language I use to my friends.  They wouldn’t believe me if I used some high flown literary language.  I want them to believe me.”

– Adrian Mitchell (in an interview with Nick Watson originally published in The Argotist magazine in February 1996.)

News about Adrian Mitchell on Bloodaxe’s website here.

Watch Adrian Mitchell reading “Telephone”, “Especially When It Snows” and “Death is Smaller Than I Thought” here.

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Ted Hughes on Adrian Mitchell:

“Adrian Mitchell is no more naive than Stevie Smith, but like her he has the innocence of his own experience … real inner freedom and the courage of his own music.  Among all the voices of the Court, a voice as welcome as Lear’s fool … Humour that can stick deep and stay funny.”

John Berger on Adrian Mitchell:

“Nobody else writes like him.  And it is becoming more and more evident that his achievement endures … Nobody has ever departed with such language for such a destination … Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination … Against the present British state he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”

Angela Carter on Adrian Mitchell:

“Joyous, acrid and demotic tumbling lyricist Pied Piper determinedly singing us away from catastrophe.”

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Read more about Adrian Mitchell here.

Listen to Adrian Mitchell’s audio recordings at The Poetry Archive.

An interview with Adrian Mitchell at The Poetry Archive.

Adrian Mitchell reads his famous poem protesting the Vietnam war,”To Whom It May Concern”, here.