Saturday, 21 January 2006

Who Is Eddie Linden?

The T.S. Review was invited to a private function at the Poetry Cafe last night in London (Friday) - a celebration of the 70th year of Eddie Linden, and the launch of Eddie's Own Aquarius, wityh introductory remarks by the brilliant poet Alan Jenkins.

The gratis wine flowed thanks to the Christianity of the Irish embassy, and when it was announced they had sponsored it, cries of miracle! miracle! erupted from the packed, mainly Irish audience.

Eddie is the real minor miracle. I finally met the icon last night - he's now a dapper, wizened man, with over-large spectacles - who bears a slight resemblance to Louis Dudek. His most famous poem was written in the early 70s, "City of Razors" - but he yelled it out last night with the same rebel force as once animated his every move. His real fame stems from having - against immense odds (he was often broke) - put out a vast number of issues of the significant little magazine Aquarius - including ones dedicated to George Barker, W.S. Graham, Canadian and Australian poetry.

Eddie's Own Aquarius features new poems (!) written for Eddie by Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, and many others, so you can get a sense of his cultural impact from that. It's a good looking, if expensive item (£20), but bound to be a collector's treasure some time down the road. It was compiled and edited by Constance Short and Tony Carroll, of Dundalk, who were in London for the occasion. The original idea for the book came from Michael Donaghy, the gifted Irish-American poet who died recently in London.
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