A note from Mick Imlah
I thought I might say something more here. But saying something about so perfectionist a poet and editor has made me freeze - as though I were trespassing on one of his areas of special interest, Tennyson, cricket or Walter Scott, and he were still looking over my shoulder with a hard pencil in his hand.
So this will be no new obsequy.
The only thing I have for a blog is a note already written, sometime in the early 1980s, and inserted in one of my three copies (yes, Imlah in unexplained triplicate) of his first book, The Zoologist's Bath and other adventures.
I was a features editor on The Times in those days and the note consists of a set of points which I must have thought I'd ask him about, perhaps for an interview, perhaps because I wanted him to judge some competition, maybe for some other reason long ago lost.
1) no poems which look like rubble
2) eat cheese to stir up dreams
3) the glamour of not travelling
4) in alleys and toilets in places like Norwood
I never did get to ask him about rubble, cheese and the facilities of south east London. I'm not sure we ever did meet until I joined him at the TLS.
Twenty five years ago he did leave a message at the side of my desk, in large clear letters written on the side of a corrugated cardboard box.
All it said was that he'd passed by and I'd missed him.
He had, I did and I do.