When I learned of Ted's death it came as a
complete shock. I had been talking on the phone with him the day before
about the future of the Poetry Kit website and his hopes for the future.
He was ill and had been ill for a number of years but he was often getting ill
and then recovering so it lulled you into believing that he was going to be
around for a long time yet. It was not to be and Ted's untimely death
leaves a void personally and professionally which will be very hard to fill.
Poetry kit will continue and his ideas and plans will be implemented. And
through it we will remember his foresight in producing an information site for
poets which has been a help for so many. Ted will be missed but he
will also be remembered.
- Jim Bennett JAN 2004
In October 2000 Ted was interviewed as the
first featured Poet on the PK Poetry List Website, this is what he said about
himself and poetry.
I was born in Hull in 1937, but in 1939 my parents moved
to the nearby
seaside town of Withernsea. So I spent my early days
playing happily on
the beach, and the nights being entertained by the sight
bombers flying into the searchlights and anti-aircraft
fire over my
birthplace. At age 11 I spent one term at the local
I loved, then we moved back to Hull and I got a place at
the old and
venerable Grammar School, which I hated. From there I
went to university
in Nottingham (BSc Metallurgy), then in 1959 to London,
where I have
lived and worked more or less ever since. In 1976 I
married Maria Teresa
Although I was born with a severe kyphoscoliosis my
parents and teachers
never encouraged me think of it as a handicap, and so
until 12 years ago
I led an active working life - technical writer, PR,
analyst, businessman, globe-trotter. Then my health began
deteriorate. I had to slow down. For 8 years I worked as
network manager at my local university, finally taking
I have always read and written poetry, although for many
years I binned
all that I wrote. Only when my working life slowed down
did I begin to
write regularly and with some purpose. Apart from the
we were obliged to learn at school - poems about
highwaymen and heroic
admirals - my first real contacts with poetry came via T
S Eliot, W H
Auden, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, Ted
Hughes, Tom Gunn
and the Beats. Then one day in Foyles bookshop in London
I picked up a
new collection by a poet living in Hull - Philip Larkin's
Weddings". Standing in the shop I read the first poem. It
train journey I had made many times as a child, from my
home town to my home by the sea. I recognised every
detail, and it was
then that I knew that poetry really could be about the
experiences of everyday people like me.
Today there are many influences. The most thumbed books
on my shelves
are collections by Elizabeh Bishop and William Carlos
there are many others. Most prominent I suppose are those
worked with in workshops - especially Matthew Sweeney, Jo
Sujata Bhatt, Katherine Gallagher. But I'm an eclectic
reader, and the
true list is long.
I try to write every day. Usually it's on some unfinished
reworking an old poem. If I need to start something new,
enough if I get a first line, phrase or image. I'm a very
often just one or two lines a day. These days I never
start with the
subject of a poem. I start with a seed and see where it
one line at a time until I think I've finished. This
means a single
short poem can take days or weeks to complete. It also
rewriting. I hardly ever get a poem fully formed, out of
Why do I write poetry? One answer is that having tried
stories and plays, I find I can't write anything else.
The true answer
is that I love the compactness of poetry, it's Tardis
quality of being
much bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.
The text of the interview and some of Teds Poems can be
Last Arm Pointing by Ted Slade
A collection of Ted Slade's
poetry published as a pamphlet by
Flarestack Publishing, May 2001.
"'The Last Arm Pointing'
sequence from his Flarestack collection of the same title
(2001) tellingly pictures some of the ironies around
the pain of disability and the courage required to
TED SLADE 1939-2004
information or to buy Last Arm Pointing
REMEMBERING TED SLADE
Katherine Gallagher - Remembering Ted Slade ......
It's impossible to think of Ted but as there at the wheel of the Poetry
Kit, always ready with a helpful comment or two. Sometimes a quip. He was
strong on irony. 'The Last Arm Pointing' sequence from his Flarestack
collection of the same title (2001) tellingly pictures some of the ironies
around the pain of disability and the courage required to fight it. Here
are the first three stanzas of 'On First Seeing Olivier's Richard III':
I wondered how he'd do it
- how would he get that knotted mass
of cartilege and bone to hang
from his shoulder, dragging his spine
ino a lazy S? Which shoulder
would he choose? Or would it be
one of those Mr. Punch jobs,
dead centre and rising
like a mountain peak behind his ears?
Then there were the legs.
How would he get those elegant pins
- the ones he'd used in Hamlet
and Henry V - to twist and lope,
lose inches from the thighs?
And would both hands be the same size?
Or would one be shrunken and cramped,
inadequate to the holding of swords,
the balancing of crowns
or the wooing of maidens?
My schoolmates knew, of course,
as they showed me, aping my jagged
shape and halting gait
when the teachers drilled us into line
outside the Regal.
Ted's poems met life head-on. He was especially good on sequences
and some of his finest poetry is in the series
themed around science: 'We Be Dragons' . He was always on the side of those
misjudged through ignorance and
arrogance, as for example in 'The Last Testament of Giordano Bruno' :(
'Roast my broken body on your pyre/and feed my guts as offal to your
hounds') and 'Hiroshima Heritage': ('Here in this shadow lies the
proof,/if proof you need,/that e equals mc squared.')
He could be witty and humorous as in 'Goodbye, Mrs. Haut-Sinclair'.
He could write tender love poems as in one of the best poems, 'Sprout
Days'. (...How I saw you, young,/striding away across the fields./And how
in the night, listening/for your footfall,/ I heard the bark of a fox,/like
a dying cough.' )
I once asked him to share a reading at the Poetry Cafe and he said
it was difficult for him to travel down to London, but that he might be
able to read if there was an event up in New Malden at some stage. Sadly,
it never happened.
I was delighted when he interviewed me for the Poetry Kit - a very
kind and extremely useful gesture for my poetry. Ted was always
supportive, listing workshops, readings, and books - it was the same for
many, many poets. He will be missed in countless ways.
Since his death last week, I've been amazed at how many people I've
talked to knew Ted and regularly wrote to him. He was for poetry and poets.
He saw the Poetry Kit expand, and win awards. He
was proud of it and we were proud to know him. Thanks Ted.
Ted had produced some advanced copies of what was to be his
second collection of poetry. The following review was prepared for
Poetry Kit Magazine and was to have been published this month.
reviews an advance copy of
Lines by Ted Slade
Plane Tree £TBA
In an attempt to move away from what he
calls “the directly autobiographical” Ted Slade has adopted the persona of his
own younger sister for this, his second, collection. Each piece has a date for a
title, indicating the date of a letter, or phone call, from his mythical, or
real, sister, located somewhere near the rest of his extended family, in their
home town, near the seaside.
Most of the works are, roughly, sonnet
length, and benefit from being read aloud to fully appreciate the rhythm and
timbre of the phrasing. Although not without humour, the tone of the whole
collection is dark, reflective and full of longing. Succinct, cryptic, but
always accessible, each episode takes a wry look at some event from home, often
including the death, or demise, of some person, or thing. One piece deals with
the erosion of cliffs, and adjacent gardens, with the opening lines,
night the sea ripped the beach from its bed
We heard the screams
but know too well not to
seem to render the rest of the poem unnecessary, such is the power of the
imagery. Black and white photographs, from the author’s family archive, add to
the mood of this sombre, thought-provoking, but very readable, collection of
Barry Jones - Liverpool
POEMS IN REMEMBRANCE
- For Ted
- by James Bell
Breath and murmur
tell sudden songs
vanish with moonlight
summer day dreams
dance for gentle sleep
- Vital Statistics
- by Gary Blankenship
My birth was recorded
in pencil on the bottom of a page,
written upside down
to keep my entry separate.
The land does not care
about the details of my birth,
whether I walk gravel roads,
through new plowed fields,
hoe in hand;
whether marsh squishes between my toes,
clear ground beyond.
Water, forgetful, does not care.
Air surrounds me
as if I’m chained and shackled,
a prison with no escape but one;
but air cares no more
for the details of my birth
than the land or water.
My passing may be written
in the way of an ordinary death,
or pass unnoticed,
the binding cut so clean
no vibration signals my departure.
The land may notice for less time
than it takes for a virus to sneeze.
Water, without memory, will find me
and assist worms in their work.
Air will not care,
at least not after the smell
by Kathleen G. Loucks
- Your Family,
- People you meet,
- Siblings, parents,
- Cousins, strangers.
- Compare your
- If you will;
- To the music scale
- Some are on the high
- Some are on the low
- When you attain
- Those are the
- Long after they are
- Their music still
- In a memory, In your
- As Harmony.
by Jim Bennett
I dreamed of a poet who died today
his words strangled in my throat
left paper imitations
to tease us
like clouds on imaginary landscapes
I dreamed of an artist who died today
images in dust
hang on a plaster wall
pictures of a place
illuminated by his light
I dream of a man who died today
breathed his city one last time
and then is carried shoulder high
who cry his name
I dreamed that Ubu died today
- The Death of Père Ubu
- In The Word
-------To Ted Slade
by Barbara Phillips
you lived in the word
and the word lived in you
somewhere out there you walk in sounds
images and thoughts put in our heads
when you wrote and spoke
what you saw in your heart
it was in the art of what rests and always will
in shadows and in light
forever bright forever still
in the circle of your traces
on this earth which is ours
for too few rhymes and songs
we reach through spaces we can't see
to keep you close in our embraces
By Chris Slade
This new friendship. This journey on which we were just setting out.
How will we work it now you've...well...gone?
It was going so well. That's the way I saw it anyhow
It had only been a year - we two - back in each other's circle...
Same planet - different orbit. Though I'll never know now what your
thoughts might have been..
This 44 year gap in our 'acquaintance', for that's all you'd ever say it
...it closed at dad's (your Uncle Bud's), funeral - as he leapt 'on-flame'
to the ether.
He didn't half want to go..."Why don't they just let me slip away?"
And then It was you I wanted to know amongst those finger buffet scoffers.
Those ribboned aces never knew that Bud just kick-started their Lancasters
and 'Spits' at Leconfield and Liberia.
Bud's morphine muted passing proved positive,and thankfully at last -
(he might remember now) - he helped kick-start too this belated kinship
Jack would have been pleased about that...(Bud too I know)
"a good trade" he'd have called it. "I'm knackered anyway".
I was always curious about our respective dads - they only ever sent
Christmas cards...no letters. No love.
Bud gave me a book before he swapped "heaven's hopper" for the "take &
"Eer-yar" he wheezed...this is more up your street than mine..."
"Yer what?..."Poetry?...No... I can't make head nor tail of it. Like
Shakespeare...Where's me glasses?"
and, with that ,the "Last Arm Pointing" welded that closing gap between us
I read 'Mystery Tour' to Bud...about Jack's 'motorised passing' and he
cried. So it was up his street. after all.
Your words filled me in on distant memories...made solid.
Missing chunks I'd seen but never written down
Of Withernsea and its winter isolation
of Jack, his life - and how it intertwined with yours.
I've not found too much yet about Phyllis. Is there a darker story there?
Who'll tell me now?
Your final work, tireless as ever, from your New Malden 'crow's nest'...
was steering your second collection to print...and then...
Your literally-literal Mugs and Sweats - flying off the shelves of a
Disabled? Pah! Why should they ever know the what & why behind the who
Your 'disability'...would only 'publicly' let you down if your trike
sustained a puncture in Richmond Park.
"Hi Cuz...Where do I go to get mugs and sweat shirts printed?"
And, whilst I was looking through directories & old invoices,
you whizzed across the earth on the wings of your laser guided mouse.
By the time I'd got the phone numbers of long distance, half remembered
you had designs submitted, distribution and royalty deals sorted and were
planning the next big thing.
Your freehold on the planet was the web...your very own super-short cut.
Who needs invalid cars when you can 'fly digital'?
You were a lover of the dub-dub-dub which loved you back in floods.
Now, even when your body has deserted you - it still throws us pages and
pages - of you - and about you.
The Noddy Holders and Wes the Western Gun-slinger, pale by comparison,
they'd envy your PR knack.
Instead of trying to phone, (these heavenly BT - or is it ET-connections
often end in wrong numbers)...
and, because a lot of the time talking took it out of you, I'll keep
writing like I did before.
Replies would be good. But I often used to write out of turn anyway.
So yes, things could get a bit one sided...forgive me if I 'go on'...and
But I'll keep writing to Ted@poetrykit.org
and read the answers in your books and old e-mails of the family's past.
Cheers Ted...Lots of love Chris (Cuz) Slade.
In the company of words, untroubled,
his companions robust, long lived,
as bright and as grim as he desired.
Others, like minded, shared the awe,
watched the joy, delight blend.
Oh, but the sharing increased
the pleasure; an ambient truth.
Here then the gift so permanent
and mutual. So warm the echo,
I should have spoken before.
I was too comfortable, I suppose,
and unable. Intimidated
by such generosity, unexpected.
I can be foolish, too small,
until time runs out - as now.
rip bulkeley - back room poets
repairing our links --
that constant warmth and handshake
have changed their address
Ted Slade was one of those people who was unstinting in his support of
Ted, you made things worth carrying on with, even when things got so
difficult. I will miss your presence dreadfully, and I think many many
other poets will feel the same way as I do.
river of stars -
i wave both hello & goodbye
to one blinking
- Bill Webb
- I haven't had time to peek in for a while but I am
too shocked at Ted's passing.
From the encounters I had with him he was always a kind hearted man with
amazing sense of humor. I am personaly grateful for the encouragement he
to me and to the times he made me laugh.
I want to express my sincere wishes for comfort and healing to those that
close to Ted. I know his loss will be a long empty road to travel.
May Ted's spirit and the memories of him help bring you all peace,
- Gary Blankenship
Bremerton, Washington, USA
- Without folks like Ted Slade, we do not exist as
communities that stretch
from his Islands to the Pacific, Australia and around to the Islands
It is the Teds that bind us together - that give poets the opportunity to
improve craft and poetry to once more be a major art.
I wish I had known him better, but I do know what he did and the others he
impacted with his grace.
May he always inspire us to be better.
- David Bircumshaw
- In a world of egotists and self-seekers there are
few who show that openness
to others that Ted so sublimely had. He did his work for love of the art,
not self-love. The Poetry Kit remains as his monument, a site dedicated to
opening doors, not closing them. May it long continue in his remembrance.
Ted, you were a star.
- Gerald England
- I've corresponded with Ted Slade only by email. He
was also courteous and quick to update changes to information. He built
his website up gradually into an excellent resource. I once posted a poem
to a mailing list and Ted replied soliciting the work for his site. Six
hours later it was published which for me is something of a record. Thanks
Ted, you will be remembered.
- Ronnie Goodyer
- A good friend by email, inspired me as poetry
editor. I'll remember the advice, humour, and carry on with the dignity
he showed. May he stay in the light.
understand why the site was closed all week... such a wonderful person you
could always be sure of a reply and everything so useful to us all..
How sad to hear Ted Slade's death. He really did a great job. My deep
condolences. I hope that the newsletter will continue.
- Mike Horwood
- I would like to say that I was very sorry to learn
of Ted Slade´s death. I never met or had any direct contact with him and
can't offer any personal tribute, of course, but I was a regular user of
his Poetrykit website which was, and still is, one of the best of its
kind. I certainly appreciate the great deal of work he must have done to
set it up and maintain it.
have been enjoying The Poetry Kit Newletter for some time now, and was
saddened to read of Ted Slade's passing. Please be so kind as to extend my
heartfelt condolences to Ted's friends and family. I think he did a truly
wonderful job with this concept, and has left a lasting legacy!
Brooklyn, New York
As a receiver of Poetry Kit I was
saddened to hear of the death of Ted Slade. I was also grateful that
his hard work was going to be continued. As a poet and editor, work
such as The Poetry Kit seems vital for the continuation and survival of
poetry. The website is a monthly reminder of what's out there, who's
reading, and how wide spread poetry is. I have recommended the site to
my writing students, and to fellow poets. I have been grateful when it
has listed events in which I have taken part, and always appreciated
Ted's generosity of spirit, both in setting the site up, and
continuously supporting the work of poets. When the magazine I edit,
The Coffee House, first came out, The Poetry Kit was one of the first
places in which it was listed. I will miss Ted Slade's presence on the
poetry scene, and celebrate his continuing legacy.
THOM WORLD POET
virtual was our friendship
yet his positivity was real
as was his service to poetry
there is a loss we can never replace
wish i had met him face to face!
I never met Ted but we emailed each other
a few times. Because of the distance it is obvious I could not
participate in many of the events, but it was great to see the
newsletter. I am glad he did it. I know that if I lived in England I
would have liked to meet him.
I only knew
Ted in the last couple of years, and wrote this for the Lit-net
sadness. Earlier this month Ted Slade, founder and editor of the excellent
Poetry Kit website www.poetrykit.org, died. I knew Ted late in his life,
but it is clear the world as well as poetry is a lesser place with his
loss. Best to his colleagues, friends and family.”
Ted Slade was a tireless advocate who will be sorely missed. In a world
dominated by Mammon Ted showed that dedication and love can bring far
more. He bravely struggled through life, full of encouragement and
enthusiasm. I'm glad to see that his work will be continued, that he has
sparked off the next generation of poets.
Author Publishing Ltd
New York City
delighted that you have elected to keep the work that Ted started going. He
pioneered the genre, so to speak, setting a tone of objectivity and
information "overload" as the way to go. Most important, he focused on
readings, without which poetry's essential public side would never
flourish. And he tried to expand his listings to other parts of the
English-speaking world. I spoke with him by phone and corresponded here and
there by e-mail and found him to a tough-minded but fair individual. I
think he told me he had a physical handicap and that that was one of the
reasons he started Poetry Kit. It may sound odd to say but thank goodness
for whatever his handicap was. Otherwise, we might not have his and now
your site. I know you'll maintain the standards he set and probably exceed
them with your own ideas. I hope you'll be able to devote as least as much
space as he did to the U.S. Whatever you do, I'll continue to eagerly
await your coverage and I'll try not to forget the man who started it all.
I leave with one request: Kindly include a biographical sketch of Ted in a
future issue. I'd like to know more about the man's background.
I was flabbergasted when I read That Ted
Slate had died. I didn't know him personally but he did welcome me
warmly and rapidly on the site.
I was very thankful and I felt his
generosity and free spirit.
- Gabriel Griffin
- for Poetry on the Lake
It is with great sorrow that we learn of Ted Slade's death. Author of what
is the most useful and informative pages on or off the web for poets and
poetry lovers, Ted was not only extremely efficient but also friendly and
cheerful in his e-mails. And a very fine poet himself. Our deepest
sympathy goes to his family.
Publisher, Map of Austin Poetry
with dismay and sorrow that I accidentally learned of Ted's death this
morning, when I logged onto poetrykit.org looking for a reference.
I never met Ted Slade in person, had no idea of his age or health. What I do
know about Ted is that he was dedicated to the dissemination of the poetic
art, and his Poetry Kit became an established network for poets around the
Four years ago, I published a sestina by Ted in the Map of Austin Poetry
e-newsletter, and later included the poem in Best of MAP Featured Poetry
Volume III, released in September 2003. I offer it here in remembrance:
Galileo Meets His Inquisitors by Ted Slade
Let us introduce you to the humble
thumbscrew. Note the sharp precision
of its spikes. With just a few rotations
of this lever, we can break any bone we choose.
You might consider this an appropriate moment
to reflect upon the wisdom of your views.
Let me introduce you to my views
of Jupiter, whose spinning moons should humble
any critic. Consider them only for a moment:
see how they move - such heavenly precision
cannot be denied. How can you ask a man to choose
to disregard the fact of these rotations?
Perhaps instead a few rotations
of the strappado will clarify your views
of the heavenly motions. Or else we'll choose
the rack to stretch your mind to humble
thoughts. You'll appreciate the fine precision
of its gearing, the power of its turning moment.
The phases of Venus are at this moment
disputing your logic with their rotations.
My telescopes are made with such precision
they can provide the most astounding views
of other worlds, and though I am your humble
servant, science is the master I must choose.
And fire the method we must choose,
that master of persuasion which in a moment
can reduce the proudest men to humble
compliance. God has decreed the heavenly rotations.
His is the Truth, whatever the distorted views
seen through your glasses. This precision
you claim is nothing compared to the precision
of Creation. You have no option but to choose
renunciation of your views.
For it would take us just a moment,
our instruments a few rotations
to render you forever humble.
© Ted Slade
Humbly tendered on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004,
I have only just learned
of Ted’s death, which ends one of my oldest Web-only friendships. We never
met or spoke to each other, yet there was always a true feeling of
friendliness in whatever he did – and did very promptly and efficiently as
regards his site. Many years ago I met a New Zealand backpacker in the
middle of Dorset. We chatted for a while, wished each other a good day’s
journey, and never met again. Yet we had become friends. I instinctively
look out for him when I pass the spot. That’s how I feel about Ted.