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James D. Quinton (1977 - 2012)

A personal memorial and tribute by Adrian Manning

It is with much sadness and shock that I learnt of the death of  James D. Quinton on the 6th September 2012. James was a great poet, an excellent magazine editor and, most importantly of all, a truly lovely man and a much loved friend to many in the world of the small presses.

I first made contact with James in 2003 when he contacted me about his OPEN WIDE MAGAZINE, then in it's early days, and he asked me for some poems. He was complimentary about my work and, as is often the case with small press poets, not overly confident about his own abilities as a poet. In an early e-mail he wrote "With regards to poetry, well I'm not in your league - but maybe one day!" I corresponded with James regularly from that point, traded poems, discussed our influences and the day to day of our life and publishing experiences. It was with great pleasure that, in my opinion, James did not only reach "my league" very quickly, but became one of the UKs most respected and widely published poets both in print and on-line, here and around the world. I was also impressed by his work - it's directness, grittiness and absolute reality about life and the human condition. He matured as a poet, moving away from the Bukowski influence that a lot of us bring into our early work to developing his own voice and creating a body of work that was and remains very much his own. I was so impressed with James's poetry that I asked him to do a broadside with me through Concrete Meat Press and I was very happy to publish Angel In The Appliance.  I included him in my CMP recommends section and my Concrete Meat Sheet but it is with regret that I didn't publish more of his work when he was alive. However, he soon began to be published in many publications and produced some fantastic collections of poetry, short stories and novels - STREET PSALMS, TOUCH, THE CITY IS ON FIRE AND HAS BEEN FOR WEEKS and THE VICTORIAN TIME TRAVELLER.

James also published many other fine poets and great poetry in his magazine and this developed from a small, paper publication to a glossy, bound publication by it's 25th and final issue. James was a great editor and his enthusiasm and encouragement of others not only produced a fine magazine but made poets around the world respect him and want to be involved. When James asked me to co-edit an issue, I willingly took it on, wanting to be involved. This aspect of James's personality is what made him so loved and a number of poets have said to me in the last few weeks that James was a great friend, despite the fact that they had never met in person. This is something special.

James will be sorely missed. Fortunately we do have his poetry and longer fiction work to return to, as well as our personal memories of our involvement with him over the years. Much of James's poetry can be found on line and his books can be purchased on line also. I would recommend anyone to seek out more of his work and to remember him through it.

James will always be a member of the Concrete Meat Press family. In the near future I hope to publish a small chapbook of some of James's poems as a tribute from the press. For now, here is a poem of his, which he sent to me a while back.

Rest in peace, James

 

 

FLAMES

 

hypnotic

wisps of

orange

dance in

the air

 

slivers

of

heat rising

on the

wind

 

hands

held out

 

the dark

of the night

dissolves

 

my eyes

transfixed

 

my thoughts

wander

 

as I

watch

the

flames

 

James D. Quinton