Tributes to poet Geoff Stevens following his death at 69

A poet, editor and artist who started a nationally-acclaimed poetry magazine has died at the age of 69.

Photograph of poet Geoff Stevens who died on Feb 2 2012

A poet, editor and artist who started a nationally-acclaimed poetry magazine has died at the age of 69.

Tributes were today paid to Geoff Stevens, who was one of Britain’s most published poets.

The former Wednesbury Grammar School and Wolverhampton College  pupil spent his working life as a development chemist and was employed at various local companies including Robinsons, Raleigh and Metal Closures.

His main passion however, was his poetry.  He started by writing entertaining dialect poems, but it was after discovering the work of Dylan Thomas, when he was in his 30s, that he started producing more serious work.  By the late 1990s he was being published in small press poetry magazines in the UK and abroad at the rate of more than 200 poems a year.

Mr Stevens published many small collections of work during his lifetime, but it was in 2004 that his first major collection, The Phrenology of Anaglypta was published, this was followed by  A Keelhauling through Ireland and Islands in the Blood. His last collection Sleeping With You and Other Night-time Adventures came out in November, 2011.

In 1976 Mr Stevens met Olive Hyatt, at the Dudley Writers Group and they started the Purple Patch Magazine – described by the Guardian newspaper as a national treasure.  Mr Stevens, from Griffiths Road in West Bromwich, died on February 2 of cancer. He leaves behind his partner of 17 years, Geraldine Wall and his daughter Catharine.

Ms Wall said: “Often he would furiously scribble poems when we got back and I would read them with astonishment that his mind had wrought something so complex and multi-layered out of what I had simply thought was a nice day out.  Geoff was eccentric, infuriating, hilarious and passionate and one of the most loving people I have ever known.”

Mr Stevens funeral will take place from 1pm on February 17 at Sandwell Valley Crematorium, on Newton Road, West Bromwich.

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