I made a day trip to NYC yesterday, to meet Sandeep Parmar, currently the world's foremost authority on poet and fantasist Hope Mirrlees. Sandeep has edited a collection of Hope's poetry (with James Byrne) which will be published late in 2011 (such are the vicissitudes of university press publishing) and is working on an eventual biography of the great lady.
Will Ms Parmar's bio be as good as my own Hope-in-the-Mist, you ask? Far better! She has access to papers that were not available when I was writing, and of course she has those strong academic research skills which I lack. And she can write. She very courteously gave me an advance peek at her introduction to the poetry volume, and it has the easy flow and felicity of phrasing that makes nonfiction a pleasure to read.
Sandeep and Marianne and I spent four hours sitting at a sidewalk table at a small restaurant in the West Village talking about Mirrlees's writing and life. It was the sort of literary afternoon a writer lives for.
And have you noticed that George Scithers died last Monday . . . ?
Because the Philadelphia Inquirer sure hasn't. It's Friday, and not so much as an obituary has appeared.
This is shameful. It's a disgrace to Philadelphia, and a sad indicator of how far a once-great newspaper has fallen.
If you agree with me, and can articulate it politely, the Inquirer's general phone number is (215) 575-6484. The editor in charge of content is Wendy Warren at (215) 575-6410. The News Channel Manger is Frank Kummer at (215) 575-6467. The Living Channel Manager is Lissa Atkins at (215) 575-6528.
The mailing address is: Philadelphia Inquirer
P.O. Box 7788
Philadelphia, PA 19101
Pass this information along to anybody else you know who might be willing to let the Inquirer know that there are real and positive reasons why a Philadelphian who gave much of his life to science fiction literature should have his passing acknowledged by his home town newspaper.
George did a lot of good in his life. His passing should be at least noted.