Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Mick Imlah (1956-2009)

Mick Imlah died on 12 January, aged just 52. His first collection of poetry in 20 years, The Lost Leader (Faber, 2008) had recently been published and had won the Forward Prize. He had also been shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize. His death is a terrible loss to contemporary poetry. The Lost Leader is a huge and powerful poetic history of Scotland. I print one poem from the collection:


Love moves the family, but hate
makes the better soldier;
why would the boxer scatter his purse,
sell up his soul, be Ugolino evermore,
for the soft-hard piece of his rival’s ear—
were it not for the lovely taste of hate;
if it didn’t award him a pleasant pillow
of hate to soften the stone of his cell?
Dante, who loved well because he hated,
Hated the wickedness that hinders loving

Read reviews here, here, here, and here. Read obits here, here, here, and here. And this.


Bo said...

God that's awfully young to die. And he looks terribly handsome in that photo.

Miglior acque said...

Andrew Motion has a piece about them being in Oxford together and how he was the only arty type he knew who played rugby! It's quite funny actually. I can just imagine all these weedy types reading bad poems to eachother (probably not true, that's just pure bitterness on my part) while Imlah heads off to play. There are some rugby related poems in the collection.


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