I was stunned to hear that Reginald Shepherd has just died, though he had been gravely ill for some time, and had even written about it in some detail on his blog.
He was an extraordinary poet and critic, his blog always a real pleasure to read. After an argument on the net, stemming from a misunderstanding, we made up and became friends, exchanging emails on a fairly regular basis. I will miss him.
In a post titled 'Why I Write' Reginald stated 'I write because I would like to live forever'. I have come to appreciate the braveness and honesty of that declaration, a shout, a challenge, a gauntlet thrown at the inevitable. And now that inevitable has arrived, tragically early (he was 6 years younger than me, and probably had a great deal more to say).
If you have not encountered Reginald's poetry or prose, here is the first part of YOU, THEREFORE, addressed to his partner Robert Philen:
You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name...
You can read the poem in full here: http://poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=179292
REGINALD'S BLOG: http://reginaldshepherd.blogspot.com/2007/02/why-i-write.html
The poet and critic Katy Evans-Bush kindly informed me of his death this evening, though I had already come across the news a little earlier on Andrew J. Sheilds blog.