Thursday, October 29, 2009

Will Inman -- Presente

As the days darken, the dying time begins to take its toll. It is with sadness that I received the word that long-time working class poet, Will Inman has died. We had the honor of publishing his work in several issues of the Blue Collar Review including the most recent. May his words live on.

The Wilmington, NC born, Duke University educated (his papers are there), and Tucson, AZ beloved poet recently died after a long illness. Although it had been a long time since he lived in North Carolina, Carolinian's should acknowledge him as one of the most individual, socially conscious, and widely acknowledged poets to have come from our state.

The Arizona Star published an obituary that gives readers a sense of who Inman was and what he accomplished as a poet and activist:

"Over six decades, Inman committed to paper words both tender and nurturing, as well as thought-provoking and spiritual. Yet it was pragmatism more so than poetry that infused his final prose — the obituary he penned for himself earlier this year. Inman died Saturday Oct. 3 after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He was 86.

Inman, born William Archibald McGirt Jr. in Wilmington, N.C., began writing and publishing in the mid-1950s, using his mother's maiden name. In his autobiography, "Memoirs of an Activist Poet," Inman reflected on his diverse experiences: growing up in the South, seeing racism firsthand; his activities as a union organizer and a member of the Communist Party; working as a writer, editor, publisher and teacher; and candid reminiscences of his college experiences and his bisexuality.

Inman earned a bachelor's degree in English from Duke University. He taught at Montgomery College in Maryland and at American University in Washington, D.C., where he was poet in residence.

The University of Arizona Poetry Center 1508 E. Helen St (Tucson) is planning a November 1 memorial to honor Will. More details will be available at poetry center.

An essential collection of Inman's poems can be read here


Blogger Lyle Daggett said...

Really sorry to hear the news about Will Inman. I'd only come across his poetry sporadically over the years -- though he published a number of books,like so many who write politically relevant poetry his work didn't get much high-profile publication, and could be hard to find.

I think I probably first came across poems of his in one or two of the anthologies edited by Walter Lowenfels in the 1960's and 1970's.

I found online a small, well-picked sample of his poems, here.

And another touching tribute to him, in the blog "Issa's Untidy Hut" (blog of the magazine Lilliput Review), here.

Thanks for posting word of this here.

10:08 PM  

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