Stand wishes to acknowledge the support of School of English at University of Leeds and the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.






E. A. Markham

E A Markham, who has died suddenly in March 2008 in Paris, was a formidable poet, fiction writer, editor and teacher. He had been a contributor of poetry to Stand since the early 1980s, but most recently, in Vol. 7 no 3 (2007), he gave us nine stories Short Shorts/anti-Parables. He was born in Montserrat in 1939 and came to England in 1956. He had enormous energy and had a charismatic presence. In 2002 Stand organised a reading to celebrate the magazine's 50th birthday. There were readers who had been associated with the magazine since its early days and others who showed directions that might be tempting for the future. Archie arrived late, strode into the theatre through the audience from the back, threw his bag onto the stage and, at least for a few minutes, took over the show. We hoped from then on that he would be one of the writers who would form a bridge between Stand in its heydays as edited by Jon Silkin and Stand in the new millennium. In many ways he formed such a bridge. He had known Jon Silkin for many years and had invited him to read at Sheffield Hallam University shortly before he died. Recordings and verbal accounts of that reading suggest that it was something special. Archie had been one of the leaders in promoting the study of Creative Writing at MA level and in the Department of which he became Professor and Course Leader he built up a powerful group of writers and their students. They made an intelligent and responsive audience. I knew him as a fellow course leader of an MA in Creative Writing and he was an intelligent, imaginative if sometimes unpredictable External Examiner. What was perhaps most valuable in his numerous gifts to students and tutors of Writing was to help them to learn to have faith in genuinely original, risktaking and demanding work. For someone so concerned with living it is interesting that he wrote many poems in memoriam. Often, they live out a dialogue with a supposed listener, alive or dead (or largely imagined); and most of his poems have a certain dramatic quality - a reader will need to fill out the stage in which such words are wanted and enacted. The concluding lines of 'On the Death of George Macbeth' are worth recalling now: This is no public letter, no large statement to rival epitaphs of the great dead - Auden on Yeats; Wallcott on Auden. But real enough to hold at bay coarser thoughts - that with one name cancelledwe of the stranded army shuffle sideways, close up towards the front of the Anthology which you mighthave edited. Your voice was familiar-strange and good to hear. Your poems took risks like all your costumes. You might have performed a little longer, man.

Jon Glover

School of English | Leeds University | Leeds LS2 9JT | England
Department of English | Virginia Commonwealth University | Richmond, VA 23284 | USA
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