Obituaries: Derek Stanford
Saturday 31 January 2009
I feel bound to add to James Fergusson's scholarly obituary of Derek Stanford (9 January), since I had been acquainted with Derek since the early 1970s, when I joined his Poetry Writing Class at the City Lit in London, writes Julie Whitby. He didn't merely "subsist" in this capacity; as tributes from some of his ex-pupils avow, he was a brilliant lecturer, working by encouragement rather than overt criticism. James Berry (one-time winner of the National Poetry Competition) and dozens more benefited from his inspired instruction.
Although his friend Robert Nye wrote that he would never become famous, he was not without fame in the Forties: apparently Evening Standard placards once read "Stanford on Herbert Read".
Stanford's take on the Muriel Spark affair was that he wrote to all the literati asking for cash for her when she believed she was being poisoned by T.S. Eliot, so that she might recuperate somewhere. When he dumped her, she pursued him down Kensington High Street shrieking the clichéd "I gave you the best years of my life!"
He became an extremely modest and spiritual man in his last years. He had resumed writing poetry when our relationship began years ago, and after nearly losing his life in 1999 he concentrated solely on writing fine poetry, published in the Times Literary Supplement and elsewhere. As well as the two Beardsley books mentioned by James Fergusson, his last published verse collection was The Memorare Sequence (Poetry Salzburg, 1997). His was indeed an Indian summer: he was composing poetry and working on a short story right up until his death.
Further, although he published no single book of ghost stories, his "erotic" tales of paranormal experience are in 15 ghost-story anthologies, and he believed that they contain some of his most original work.
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...