Michael Laskey was born in 1944, read English at St John’s College, Cambridge, and then worked for ten years as a teacher in Spain and England. He has lived in Suffolk since 1978, at first looking after his three sons full time – his wife worked as a GP – and as they grew up, doing increasing amounts of his own writing as well as freelance work in schools and in the wider community, including undergraduate teaching at UEA and tutoring regularly for the Arvon Foundation. He was one of the founders of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 1989, and directed it through its first decade. He also co-founded the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll in 1991 and edited it for fifty issues and twenty-one years until 2012, initially with his friend Roy Blackman and, after his death, with Joanna Cutts. He continues to publish pamphlets both under the Smiths Knoll and his own Garlic Press imprint. In 2012 he edited a 32-page pamphlet The Very Selected Edward Thomas for Smith/Doorstop.
As a poet he has published three pamphlets – Cloves of Garlic (1988), In the Fruit Cage (1997) and Living by the Sea (2007) – and five full collections: Thinking of Happiness (Peterloo, 1991) which was a PBS recommendation; The Tightrope Wedding (Smith/Doorstop, 1999), also a PBS recommendation and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize; Permission to Breathe (Smith/Doorstop, 2004); The Man Alone: New & Selected Poems (Smith/Doorstop 2008); and Weighing the Present (Smith/Doorstop, 2014). In the spring of 2005 he was awarded an Arts Council International Writing Fellowship at the Banff Centre in Canada.
It wasn’t of course. You grew
it out quite soon. Too much
of a fiddle with work
and two small boys. Maybe
you weren’t so keen on the look
anyway, though I loved
all those curls, such flamboyance.
No need for the golden
photo of the three of you
on the verge of the faded
I haven’t forgotten it yet.
How much more permanent
than that can you get?
Copyright © 2014 Michael Laskey
Weighing the Present (Smith/Doorstop, 2014)