07 June 2018

A dash of Dave McFadden in every reading!

Still getting used to the idea of a world without Dave McFadden. But there is this: thirty of his poetry books, several volumes of fiction and travel writing — he's left us all that, and it's all worth reading again and again.

I have decided that for the next year (at least),  at every reading I give or host, and every workshop I lead, I will read a poem by Dave or a passage of his prose. Because I really believe that Dave is one of those rare writers whose work actually improves the world.

Dave's writing has the incredible ability to actually imbue its sense of wonder, awe, curiosity, and marvelling in those who read it. His writing amuses us, teases us, provokes us, comforts us. Makes us look at the world around us differently.

A couple of months ago I started up a Twitter account called Poetry of David W McFadden (@DWMPoetry). As often as I can, I tweet a few lines of Dave's poetry, hoping that it gets out there and seeps into the world, finding Dave's fans and creating some new fans.

It's a continuation of my project of helping to bring Dave's poetry to a bigger audience. That project began when Paul Vermeersch asked me to edit Dave's selected poems for Insomniac Press back in 2006. The huge and beautiful result — Why Are You So Sad? Selected Poems of David W. McFadden — came out in 2007. It was an incredible and humbling experience working with my literary hero on such a project. It was followed by another book for Insomniac — Why Are You So Long and Sweet? Collected Long Poems of David W. McFadden (2010) — and five entries in my "a stuart ross book" imprint for Mansfield Press: Be Calm, Honey (2008), What's the Score? (2012), Mother Died Last Summer (2013), Shouting Your Name Down the Well: Tankas and Haiku (2014), and what was to be Dave's final book of poetry, Abnormal Brain Sonnets (2015).

How lucky have I been to have found Dave's work, to have become his friend, to have worked with him editorially?

It's a lifelong project. A way of giving back for what Dave's work has brought to me since I was fifteen years old.

Over and out.

06 June 2018

Saying goodbye to the magnificent Dave McFadden

David W. McFadden, October 11, 1940 – June 6, 2018

The sky stretching out forever is me, is me, is me

it made my fingers, grew my hair, animates me

fills me full of light, makes me radiant.

"It's Unbelievable" (1971)

I'll write more later about David. But for now, just sending love and warmth to his wife, Merlin Homer; and to his brother, Jack; his daughter, Jenny; his grandchildren, Chloe and Benny.

Over and out.