Thursday, April 3, 2014

KEN TAYLOR, 1930-April 2nd, 2014

[These posts retrieved from Facebook.]


Sad tho' not unexpected news told me by Loretta who had heard from Robert Kenny : our friend & colleague from the Sixties, fellow poet Ken Taylor, died last night at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond, Melbourne, where he'd been rushed some days ago. He's been in & out of hospitals & emergencies latterly. His friends from the poetry world in recent years have been, in addition to Robert, Ron Pretty, Michael Sharkey, Jennifer Harrison, the late Alan Murphy amongst others... Ken was 83 or 84 years of age, and a boy at heart. Will write more later. A sad day.


I want to mention John Bartlett's blog, which has republished his interview with Ken which appeared in Meanjin in 2003. The address is :

Thanks for contacting me John.

Last Saturday, Terry Gillmore came by, out of the blue, no better way as the decades pass, with the words from imagined conversations the main sharing, --the constant turning over in mind & imagination of the time(s) of our lives, in lieu of the social. A wonderful hour it was, recalling our dead & living friends, setting me off on another spin in & through time! As Ken had it, "the brothers & sisters of La Mama", --reconvened, actors & augurs.

I should have mentioned John Jenkins in my first post of course --& have an idea he went up to Macedon with James Hamilton when James was getting into his Charles Buckmaster & 60s-poetry research, a couple of years ago? I'm sure there are many others who've seen Ken in recent times. Sad & ruminative, I should also have added : in fact the consolation for us who survive the death of friends (& I'm particularly thinking about fellow poets) is the work (to the extent it's intact) --the poems themselves-- & the large estate of memories. We're all in that circle of living/dying in any case (as per John Donne). And for us literary lot, history & biography's our version of immortality. Dear Ken... a life which included poetry, never an academic or a pro... A life lived large & in his own way... I wont be alone in thinking & writing on Ken in the reflective & celebratory period beginning now...

Ive been reading Ken's letter to me, published in The Ear In a Wheatfield, #16, 1975, and the piece I sent from England in June, '75, to Robert Kenny, For the Launching of Ken Taylor's Book, "At Valentines" (published by Contempa). In his letter, Ken writes that working on the book with Robert he "begin[s] to feel another chance -- the second go." And also, "I agree with you completely about writing being a dictation, however before that comes an exercise or two. This is where I must begin again, still in the landscape, but "once more at the cutting edge", the counting again and saddled with the need to change..."

And this paragraph from the piece I sent to the '75 launching, which, interestingly, reflects the mood I'm in right now : "I am as moved to write about Ken Taylor for this event as I am to dwell in the house of poetry itself. For it is all particular, & personal, all of the heart's notation when you know it as a sweetheart, realizing it at the swell of its condition, grasping it as doers of any thorough thing, say, as lovers do, as here we do as writers & readers, & thus consigned we take it on."

[April 3rd, 2014]


Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I knew Ken only through the work, yet everything you say strikes home.

collectedworks said...

Thank you Rosemary... Poets, being a modest crew, are always amazed they have readers personally unknown to them! That poems have their own life is a challenge to the ego; begs question as best time for poet to leave them be! But, that large domain aside, nice to think of his work circulating &, indeed, living on...