Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Monday, April 1, 2013

Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens with his wife,
cashing in on their children's
gift of a helicopter ride.

     The online poetry world has suffered a horrendous loss.  Three days ago Paul Stevens lost his long battle with liver cancer.  From his biography on TheHyperTexts we know Paul was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire but lived most of his life in New South Wales, Australia, teaching literature and history.  He was editor of three popular poetry webzines:  Shit Creek Review, The Flea and The Chimaera.  A passionate fighter for equality, Paul was a compelling advocate of progressive causes. 

     Not being inclined to travel to a continent that boasts 17 of the world's 20 deadliest snakes, I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul face-to-face.  Nevertheless, I knew him well from online critical fora such as Eratosphere and the recently rejuvenated Alsop Review Gazebo.

     When the history of online poetry is written Paul Stevens will be mentioned alongside his friend, the late Margaret Ann Griffiths, Peter John Ross, Christine Klocek-Lim, Howard Miller, John Boddie and few others.  Through his critique, especially on Gazebo, he brought to the fore both of the two greatest poems of our time.

     I grieve for his family and friends.  Most of all, I grieve for those who never knew him. 

     Paul will always be Australia to me.

And all the way home:
At last to sail free
Between southern capes
Thick with kelp and wild foam,

With wave awash, surging,
Late sun on the headland,
And shadow down valley
Past all memory.

   - from Map of Tasmania by Paul Stevens, originally published in The Road Not Taken.


  1. Obviously its not easy communicating with squirrels. Its not that easy communicating with poetry editors either. When some writing of mine, perturbed, defensive, iconoclastic, crossed a desk of one of Paul Steven's colleagues he reached out to communicate with the originator. His erudite, mind was orientated just as much towards can-opener poetry as to the fully-fledged metrical sort which I dare say, in his heart of hearts, he preferred. Thank you for this post.

  2. Good points, Damon. One of Paul's most admirable qualities was his rare ability to separate aesthetics and politics. He published the works of many whose philosophies and political leanings were directly antithetical to his own.

    Good hearing from you, Damon. Don't be a stranger!


Your comments and questions are welcome.