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A Tribute to Joel Lane

Posted by Angela Jarman, 27th November 2013

Joel at Ledbury 2012
Joel at Ledbury 2012

We were devastated to hear of the death of Joel Lane. We have known Joel for many years - we first met him in person at David Morley's wedding when we were working on Joel's first full-length poetry collection The Edge of the Screen, published in 1999. Since then, we have published two further collections, Trouble in the Heartland (2004) and Autumn Myth (2010) and we were currently discussing his fourth collection. He was a delight to work with - open to suggestions, willing to reconsider and revise, and always enormously appreciative of the 'finished article'.

To hear Joel read his poetry was an unforgettable experience. In summer last year, he appeared in one of the 'Twenty Minutes With...' slots at the Ledbury Poetry Festival and read to a packed room. And only three weeks ago, he gave a brilliant reading along with the Polish poet Jacek Dehnel, at the MAC in Birmingham as part of the 'Arc Ventures' tour. It was a Sunday evening, the weather was foul, and the audience tiny - but Joel talked to his work, and read with such passion and sensitivity that it didn't matter that there was only a handful of people in the room. All those present knew that they were hearing a unique and powerful voice; everyone will remember that reading.

That was the last time that we saw Joel - desperately shy, desperately sorry that he hadn't drummed up a larger audience, so welcoming and responsive to his fellow poet, so modest about his own poetic talent, so unwavering in articulating his support for the socially excluded and economically deprived of his adopted home of Birmingham... Joel was a fine and much-appreciated poet. He was a dear man and will be greatly missed.

Tony Ward
Angela Jarman

Some other tributes to Joel from some of his friends and admirers:
This Is Horror
Nine Arches Press
A View from Corona