i. m. tom leonard (1944-2018)

The wonderful Maria Sledmere asked me to write for the festive issue of Spamzine (‘a print publication of poet-internet poetry’) and I was honour to write about the much-missed working-class intellectual, Tom Leonard (1944-2018). I was prompted to write for the anniversary of his passing, but in reality I had thought of him and his work so frequently during 2019 that the date wasn’t so much the prompt as was his constant presence. And it was presence that I wanted to meditate on in this essay – his extraordinary feel for the touch of the real – together with my somewhat-vague but persistent sense of his work’s overlapping with my thinking about the radical work of caring and home-making, which of course now figures prominently in my experience. So this is an essay on Tom, on light, on presence and on mothering. You can read it here.