I'm extremely sorry to be saying that longterm Bobcat Terry Kelly has died, aged 57. I've written more about this here on my Facebook page, but here on this blog post I hand over to guest writer Roy Kelly (no relation), who knew Terry better than I did and who, especially, kept abreast of Terry's wide knowledge of, and writing about, poetry:

Terry knew and read a tremendous amount of poetry, and had much wider interests than me, even though I write poems.  He was particularly interested in Ian Hamilton, and poetry associated with his circle, and was really pleased when a posthumous big collected volume of him came out and he got a chance to review it in London Magazine, where over the last at least four years, and possibly more, he had had become a regular.  He liked too Craig Raine, Derek Mahon, Seamus Heaney and Hugo Williams, and was able to review his then latest volume (I Knew The Bride), weaving into it a skilful, knowledgeable round up of Hugo's whole career and technique and development. Recently he had reviewed Clive James The Kid From Kogarah, and poetry by David Harsent and Robin Robertson, and the big T S Eliot collected volume so eagerly awaited by aficionados. In his early reporter life he worked with and later championed a poet called Barry McSweeney, also a huge Bob fan, who had a difficult life but produced a lot of poetry. Terry was involved in a memorial type volume for him, including essays. He really did know an awful lot and liked an awful lot. 

Of late he was really proud of the London Magazine work because at first I think it was for nothing but developed into him being a rated and paid reviewer. He knew the whole modern British and American poetry scene very well. He liked what was the Hamilton template, the short, slightly obtuse lyric, but was also way open to modern American forms. He was endlessly getting books and telling you of his haul, either as review freebies or what he'd bought. Poetry totally engaged him. In some ways the literary life seemed more real to him than actual life, which was probably a help in the trial of his last fourteen months. He had also recently starting reviewing for a newish thing called The Next Review and was very pleased about that.
A major poetic interest, too, was the work of Philip Larkin. He wrote articles for About Larkin, the journal concerned with Larkin's work and life, reviewing there and elsewhere new Collected editions, and writing knowledgeably about the choices different editors of the volumes made. One of his most recent reviews was of the new book of photographs taken by Philip Larkin, and the connection that could be made with his poems.

I should say too he was always very kind. I think that was a big aspect of his character. He was a networker and a giver, and, that old-fashioned word, a gentleman. Unasked for and unexpected at different times he gave me various books that he knew I would like. He did love Bob Dylan and his work and thought he was a genius, and probably didn't think plagiarism was relevant to whether he was or not, unlike me, but he knew and was interested in everything poetic really. I mean everything. He was much more than someone who was crucial to a Bob Dylan magazine [The Bridge]. Though of course he was always that.

1 comment:

  1. Very sad to hear this. I knew him a little as apart from us both being Bob fans, he wrote for one of our local papers the Shields Gazette and wrote a piece on a short film I worked on when I was still at Comprehensive. I went to one or two of the Newcastle meetings of The Bridge - at The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle. The times I met him I always found him to be an absolute gentleman. Rest in Peace Terry.