Al Alvarez on Losing "It"

The list of poetry editors with whom I am not familiar is not a short one, but until I read this appreciation of Al Alvarez in The Scotsman, I only knew his name from my tattered copy of The New Poetry—a book that lived on the transmission hump of my 'lime green 69 Plymouth Valiant and got quite a workout as I waited (endlessly) for my waitress girlfriend to get off shift at the IHOP.

My loss, obviously. How could I have ever lived without reading the man who could write lines like this: "There was more life and liveliness and appetite in [Sylvia] Plath writing about death than there is in the collected works of Philip Larkin writing about what a bitch it is to be alive."

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