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This report is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

Our Own Mags Neil Powell
The section of 'Other Lives', after the main obituaries in the Guardian, sometimes includes subjects whose death could only be of interest to their family, their friends and possibly their pets; just as often, though, these brief lives seem at least as vivid and engaging as those of the supposedly important persons noticed above. I was especially touched, the other week, by John Mole's piece about May Ivimy, who has died at the considerable age of 98. She was a poetry-lover - 'poetry-obsessive' would hardly be too strong - of a kind now almost non-existent: she left school at fifteen and worked as a secretary in wholly unacademic contexts; thus, she never mastered (or succumbed to) the habits of critical discourse or, really, English prose style. But, loyally supported by her husband Ray Badman, she bashed away with a manual typewriter and a Gestetner duplicator, running the Ver Poets group in St Albans, publishing magazines and broadsheets and anthologies, and serving as a council member for the Poetry Society in its glory days at Earls Court Square. I remember that the cover of Poetry Post, Ver Poets' somewhat eccentric newsletter, was adorned with a strange cartoon of a bearded dog-faced man, though whether he was the poet or the postman wasn't clear. Once I visited the Badmans' house in St Albans for a meeting of the Ver Poets, to whom I may have read some poems; I was very young at the time, which probably explains why they all seemed rather ...


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