I am saddened to hear that Alan Halsey has died, and my heart goes out to Geraldine at this time.
I didn’t really know him very well until he’d married Geraldine Monk and he lived not too far away in Sheffield, and they both stayed with us (once when a double-booking, Geraldine performing with Julie Tippetts, left them without a hotel!) – which was always fun. Much drink given, much taken. Lots of gossip and laughs…
He has one piece on this blog, a charming gift for Patricia Farrell’s birthday, which I don’t believe is collected anywhere: See here: Pages: Alan Halsey: Those acrobats A and Z put on a show for Patricia's 60th (robertsheppard.blogspot.com)
Oh, let’s not forget his incredible investigative editing of the three volumes of Bill Griffiths. See here: https://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2014/03/bill-griffiths-collected-poems-launch.html
I never wrote on his work much, and indeed, only recently so (unless you count 3 poems dedicated to him, a bit on that below). I often found the work difficult, but always witty, even humorous (I adopted one of his techniques that he told my Edge Hill students about on a visit: keeping wordlists: ‘error/terror’; ‘rose/eros’ etc., that I used in Warrant Error – and its title is a blast of Halseyean logopoetry, it strikes me now.) But recently I did write in some detail about his collaborations with Kelvin Corcoran, first in a blogpost in the series about ‘collaboration’,
And finally as part of a critical article on collaboration for English Studies that I write about here:
The poets shuffle out, bloody-eyed,
back to their caves in the anthologies
half a mile north of Neglect,
watched by Eng. Lit. lads on CCTV. (61)
That about sums up Alan’s attitude to the literary world, and to academia! As I say in the review of the book, ‘Those lines are typical of the sardonic humour, which usually jumps out like this, a bolt from the blue, and is one of the pleasures of reading Winterreisen.’ Do, if you haven’t.
The Hello Poem
Hello poem, it’s me again. I’m
the voice that lives upstairs. You
hear me reeling across my floor,
your ceiling, as I dance about my
affairs. And you about yours, not
miming my sound, un-
rhyming your eyes as they rise,
faltering, toward me, from the ground.
Hello poem, it’s me again, the
other side of your world,
speaking long distance
around your curve, racing
like a tycoon’s jet
to overtake the dawn
and possess tomorrow.
Hello poem, it’s me again. You
ran away with yourself to
stage your new self’s forming. I am
the silence that inhabits your zero.
Locating Robert Sheppard
latest blogpost: www.robertsheppard.bogpot.com