Robert Allen, Gone A Year
Robert Allen, the major Canadian poet, pictured, died a year ago, today. He is much missed, and loved. I fondly recall us walking through Soho, in 2005, and stopping to have a beer in a dive. We spoke of poetry, love, and science (a love of his). At the time, I hardly sensed how little time he had. Rob being Rob, he was modest in talking of his own living, as well as dying, and kept that mainly to himself. His extravagant verbal genius was then somewhat paradoxically related to his personal modesty, and perhaps made him less famous than he might have been - he rarely banged his own drum or tooted his own horn - instead advising, encouraging, mentoring, and editing, others. More and more it seems likely he is one of the significant Canadian writers of the last few decades, and certainly from Quebec.