the foundations of oppression can't be plucked up without the anger of a multitude

Christopher Logue RIP

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I wrote to Logue in 2007 expressing my admiration and trying to persuade him to perform at Hammer and Tongue. By then it was too late. His wife replied on his behalf and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting a short part from that very kind letter, in which she congratulated me for finding him out “from the more obscure recesses of the lterary world.” She explained his lack of renown: “He has never been a great one for groups or networking and that has undoubtedly diminished his reputation – though it greatly enhanced his private life and saved him from a great deal of boredom”

His autobiography is self-deprecating and most of his comments about himself seem to have been tinged with self-loathing and it is this which seems to get into print. Mark Espiner’s obituary in the Guardian labels him “a sort of magpie of poetry – there are sections lifted from Brecht and others”. He describes his political activism with belittling bathos “he protested with Bertrand Russell against nuclear weapons; but before then, he had served as a soldier in the Black Watch”. His time in army jail came from a “foolish boast”. Ironically for the man who coined the magpie label, most of Espiner’s degrading anecdotes and criticism are “lifted” from Logue’s autobiography. Logue’s powers to diminish his own reputation continue unabated.

I will post my attempt at a proper appraisal of his work as soon as I have a chance to finish it.

Written by angrysampoetry

December 5, 2011 at 2:20 am

Posted in Books / Poetry, Opinions

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] to see that Craig Raine also published an obituary, three days after Mark Espiner in The Guardian passed on the epitaph “magpie poet”. The poet’s War Music editor described him as “Ebullient, impatient, peremptory, candid, rude […]

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