by Nigel Walker
Pete Morgan died on 5th July in St Leonard’s Hospice, York after a short illness.
I first met Pete in 1972. He had recently edited the anthology “C’mon Everybody” and published his own first collection. I invited him to perform in Southport and record poems for Radio Merseyside. He responded with enthusiasm and generosity. Our friendship continued from that point and our families got to know each other too when we both resided in Beverley for some years.
He was a great companion and he was never less than thoughtful, hospitable and a gentleman. But never boring and with a wicked sense of humour. On the last occasion I saw him we went for a walk near the hospice he was then in. We talked football and flowers and poetry and we laughed. A full obituary and appreciation by Ian MacMillan can be read at http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/obituaries/Pete-Morgan.6412342.jp and an interview with Pete celebrating his 70th birthday can be viewed at http://www.nouse.co.uk/2009/06/03/celebrating-pete-morgans-poetry .
Pete was an excellent performer as well as a superb writer. Carol Ann Duffy said of him - “His poems are dramatic, formally superb, funny, toughly tender, lyrical and never less than entertaining”.
Let’s hope a farsighted publisher collects his poems for posterity and ensures his rightful place as a major influence in British poetry.
Biography as last submitted by Pete:
Pete Morgan made his first appearance on the UK poetry reading circuit at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, during the 1965 Edinburgh Festival. Since that debut, Morgan has toured throughout the UK: visiting literary festivals, poetry societies, theatres, universities and schools.
The first poetry pamphlet from Pete Morgan appeared from the Kevin Press, Edinburgh in 1969. His work was brought before a wider audience through inclusion in the Poetry: Introduction series from Faber & Faber in 1971. His first full-length collection — The Grey Mare Being the Better Steed — appeared from Secker & Warburg in 1973 when he was hailed by Edna Longley, in the TLS, as 'Morgan, a genuine original'.
In 1976, Pete Morgan became one of the team of six British poets invited to tour the United States as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations. He has also visited France and Spain under the auspices of the British Council. He has held a number of creative writing appointments, notably Arts Council Fellow in Poetry at the University of Loughborough. Two further full-length collections have appeared from Secker and one from Ceolfrith Press.
In 2003 'Away...', a booklet containing poems which resulted from a writer-in-residence post at a psychiatric hospital, appeared from Driftwood Publications, Liverpool. In 2005, August Light, his most recent full-length collection, appeared from Arc Publications.
Pete Morgan currently lives in the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley.
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