Thursday, October 29, 2009


Poet Will Inman

Poet Will Inman died October 3, of Parkinson's disease, at the age of 86. Although he published a number of books through during his life, his poetry mostly didn't receive higher-profile publication, due in part, no doubt, to his progressive activist politics. I've known of him for many years, though have only read a scattered few poems of his that I've been able to find in anthologies and magazines.

Found a nice obituary for him in the online Arizona Daily Star, here.

And, a small well-picked sampling of his poems, here.

And another touching tribute to him, in Issa's Untidy Hut, blog of the literary magazine Lilliput Review, here.

Thanks to Jaded Prole of the blog Blue Collar Holler (of which I'm also a blog member), where I first saw word of this.

I recently learned of your friend Mr. Inman and I am very interested to know more about him, especially regarding his works "I Am The Snake Handler" and "Lament and Song". It seems that he may have published these in Crescent City, Florida, my home town and I am interested in writers who worked there, being a writer myself. Any help would be most appreciated.
I unfortunately can't claim that Will Inman was a friend -- I didn't know him personally. As I say in my blogpost here, I had know of him for many years.

I believe the title you're referring to is "I Am the Snake Handler and Lament and Psalm." When I Googled I found several references to that title under his name -- it appears to be the full title of a book he published through New Athenaeum Press in Crescent City, Florida, in 1960 (according to a couple of the references).

When I Googled New Athenaeum Press separately, without any other names with it, I found references to a number of other books, by various poets and writers, that New Athenaeum published in the 1950's and 1960's.

I don't know if Inman ever lived in Florida -- the short articles about him at the links in my blogpost don't mention Florida, and it may simply be that the publisher of one of his books was located there.

Will Inman published a number of books during his lifetime. After I learned of his death, I went looking, and ordered a copy of Surfings: Selected Poems of Will Inman edited by David Ray and Michael Rattee, published in 2005 by Howling Dog Press. As of this fall, at least, the book is still in print.

Most of what little I know about him otherwise is in the articles at the links in my blogpost.

Thanks for your comment here.
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