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A Tribute to Lawrence Upton



Lawrence Upton, who died in February 2020 aged 70, was a poet, publisher, sound artist, graphic artist and performer. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was prominent in the British Poetry Revival, as well as being involved in the Association of Little Presses, Writers Forum and the Poetry Society (where he served as deputy chair between 1974 to 1978).


After studying English Literature and History at Kingston Polytechnic, and studying for an MA in English and American Literature at King’s College London, he became a teacher and performance sound poet, performing with PC Fencott and cris cheek in the sound poetry group jgjgjg and also as a solo performer.


In the early 2010s, I corresponded with him via email, discussing many things relating to the UK avantgarde poetry scene, and also about his association with the poet and founder of Writers Forum, Bob Cobbing, with whom he collaborated on a number of projects.


Around the time of our email correspondence, I published his Commentaries on Bob Cobbing as an ebook with Argotist Ebooks, which can be found here.


I also published a poetic work of his, Memory Fictions, which can be found here.


He said he wanted to also write an article for The Argotist Online about a (then) fracas concerning Writers Forum, in which he felt that certain people involved with Writers Forum were attempting to remove him as its director. He’d written about this on Writers Forum’s blog but felt that a formal and detailed article by him concerning the situation would better advertise the unfairness of his treatment. And that as The Argotist Online reached a wider readership than Writers Forum’s blog did, it would be the best place for his case to be heard.


I said that I’d be interested to read anything he wrote, and would likely publish it once the aforementioned ebooks had been published. Unfortunately, after they had been published he changed his mind about writing the article. I think by then he might have had a rapprochement with the various parties involved.


His Writers Forum blog post about the situation can be found here.


And just in case that link becomes inactive at some stage in the future, a link to a PDF of the blog post can be found here.



Following are some of his friends and colleagues tributes to him.  



An essay by Robert Hampson:


Lawrence Upton: ‘the stuff of things’ 



A reminiscence by Peter Finch:


The Good ElfA Bit of a Journey: Some memories of Lawrence Upton 1949-2020



A reminiscence by Richard Kessling:


Upton. A friendship



A poem by Scott Thurston:


For Lawrence Upton



An image made on site in November 2020 at Carshalton Beeches in the house formerly occupied by Lawrence Upton by cris cheek


A Candle for Lawrence Upton