Monday, 27 July 2015

Lee Harwood, 1939-2015

Very sad to hear that Lee Harwood has passed away, at the age of 76. I can't think of many writers in the last 20 years whose work I've enjoyed more, or re-read more often.

I can't remember who introduced me to his work, but I bought his Collected Poems, from Shearsman Books, back in 2006 and read it cover to cover again and again, so much so that all my memories of that summer are linked to that book. If you haven't already got it, I can't recommend it highly enough - Harwood manages to be both open to the influences of numerous American and European poets, and yet distinctively himself, and distinctively English.

Two other things distinguish his poetry. One is a warm humanism that often focuses on the small details of everyday lives that don't otherwise get written about (or at least, not with dignity). The other is a willingness to embrace joy and wonder when the occasion demands.

But I've said more than enough, given that I never met the man or even heard him read. Here's a piece by the poet and author John Harvey, who did both, and published him.

No comments: