Posthumous Errata for Tom Raworth
An obituary for Tom Raworth appeared in this Sunday’s issue of The Guardian. His website at present appears to have been taken down: consigned maybe to the transitory dissolution of language, its entropy, to which his poetry was so closely attentive. He had died in early February, but I was either busy or distracted, or likely both, and I missed any notice. The last I had heard from him was a mass-emailed season’s greeting in December, 2015. He was brilliant and under-recognized. His writing has played a sizeable part in my scholarly and teaching life, and his poetry has strongly impacted my own practice.
Some years ago, I mistook at first reading the last text in his 2010 collection Windmill in Flames — an “Errata to Collected Poems (2003)” — for a poem itself, a misprision that I think Raworth might have encouraged. What might or might not constitute a poem, and who might do that constituting, remained a playfully and vitally provocative question for him. In 2012, I was working on a set of still-unseen visual-typographical poems, which I want to call Typos, and one of them is a reworking of this errata page, and my goofy error. I’d like to offer it up here as a tribute to Tom Raworth.