Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Raymond Garlick 1926-2011
I learned today of the death of the poet and critic Raymond Garlick. Born in 1926 in London he spent most of his life in Wales, making a significant contribution to the literary culture of this country. An acquaintance of John Cowper Powys and a friend of R S Thomas, he was, if less famous than them, in some ways more influential. In 1949 he founded the magazine Dock Leaves which was later renamed The Anglo-Welsh Review. Much later, long after he had ceased to have any formal connection with the magazine, I took over the editorship from Gillian Clarke. Shortly afterwards I received in the post a copy of an issue of Dock Leaves inscribed in Raymond Garlick’s distinctive black calligraphy ‘To Greg Hill, editor of No 78 from Raymond Garlick, editor of No.8’. It was accompanied by a letter wishing me well and remembering a brief meeting in a poetry reading a few years before. I received other letters from him over the years and was pleased to be able to publish some if his work in the magazine.
A brief account of his career and publications can be found on the Academi website:
No doubt better informed obituaries will appear in due course. In the meantime I want to record here my appreciation for the encouragement he gave to me as a literary editor and also to the work he did, together with Roland Mathias, in defining the canon of ‘Anglo-Welsh’ literature via the magazine he founded, in the publication of the anthology Anglo-Welsh Poetry 1480-1980, and his Introduction to Anglo-Welsh Literature. The concept of a literature that is both of Wales, and in English, alongside Welsh literature which is of Wales and in Welsh, was an insight which created a conceptual framework for many of the Welsh-indentifying English-language writers who contributed to his magazine and its successors. But he must have the last word:
I speak from Dyfed, Wales within Wales, world
Within world, within whose heart lay curled
The flower from which Four Branches were unfurled –
A green and mighty myth where princes pass
And galleys glide as on a sea of glass,
And poetry the wind that stirs the grass.