So sad to hear yesterday of the death of Dennis O'Driscoll. I was fortunate to hear him read some of his intelligent, witty and humane poems on a couple of occasions, as well as give a talk about Stepping Stones, his book of interviews with Seamus Heaney, and I hate the thought that he'll never come to Bristol, a city he professed to love, again.
But what I'll remember most is his generosity. The way he would write a personal message in large letters alongside his signature in the book you'd just bought. How, in that moment, it was you who was the person of interest, not him. How, upon encountering him at the door of the Arnolfini bookshop last September, he was more anxious to stay and chat to me and my companion, Pameli Benham, than go back to his hotel room to rest in preparation for the evening's reading. How, when we each gave him a copy of our poetry collections, he said he would go back and read them - and did. And sought us out later to comment on them.
We didn't have him long enough.