By 9th September 2014Uncategorised

Yet again my flag is at half mast. The last time I saw Graham Joyce was at Joel Lane’s funeral, a dreadful continuity. In fact, I think we sat together, and I left with the highest hopes after he described the new treatment he was receiving. He seemed little different to the Graham I knew before he was ill. He’d been through torments to get that far, but he was back – eyes glittering, that weathered and warm smile that made everyone around him smile too – and I have refused to believe that he wouldn’t make it. He was just too vivid. How he has faced his illness has left me in awe, as did the poetry and insight in his writing. 

My heart feels waterlogged tonight, but I will continue to laugh long into the future at Graham’s impression of a crap poet that didn’t deserve arts funding – that was the first time I had a proper conversation with him, years ago, in the bar at Alt Fiction in Derby. I still recall it now whenever I smell a fraud in the arts and I start to grin. Graham had a marksman’s eye for the disingenuous and he was a natural leader (the good kind that we have too few of). And I’ll always be grateful for a compliment he paid me four years ago because it will always do me the world of good. He was an inspiration on and off the page to so many that knew him. His family and his closest friends must be in pieces and they have my thoughts.

I think this is the only pic I have with Graham, at WFC in 2013. Taken on a happier day than this one.
Picture credit: Peter Coleborn

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