Shepherd maintained the best poetry-related blog I know of: his critical voice was one of steady lucidity, checked and balanced by equally attractive traits of passion and reticence. A fine poet himself, his most compelling gift was the generosity of his readings of others, his talent for using his critical rigour as a way of achieving an often tender intimacy with his subjects. The blog is still up this morning (with Shepherd's last entry from August 26th still uppermost) and I hope will stay up for a good while so that we can spend more time in the company of this remarkable man.
Aside from my thoughts being with Shepherd's partner Robert Philen, I feel this morning -- what a weird feature of the blogosphere this is -- that I have lost a friend and colleague, and I'm awfully sad. Coming so soon after the loss of Ken C., and with the heartbreaking unfolding at my dear pal Thomas Moronic's blog of the narrative of his own mother's death last week, things feel pretty gloomy, even in this sunshine.
The voice at the back of my head right now is Cecil Taylor's, from his vocal introduction to 'Elell' (on Garden) -- "Death comes too soon," he announces, almost comically; in how many ways and for how many people that, right this minute, feels true.