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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Alec Choate RIP

Thank you to Prof Dennis Haskell for the following:

Alec Choate
[Australian poet] died peacefully on Tuesday morning, 2nd August, at the age of 95.

Alec Choate was born in England in 1915 but migrated to Australia in 1922. He published seven collections of poetry, including A Marking of Fire (1986), Schoolgirls at Borobudur (1990), Mind in Need of a Desert (1995) and The Wheels of Hama (1997), and was poetry editor for Summerland: A Western Australian Sesquicentenary Anthology of Poetry and Prose (1979). He won the inaugural Tom Collins Poetry Prize, the Patricia Hackett Prize, the 1986 Western Australia Literary Award (for A Marking of Fire) and the 1997 Premier's Book Award for Poetry for his collected war poems, The Wheels of Hama, as well as other awards. Alec's war experiences made him deeply aware of "some curse/of hurt on humankind" and determined to celebrate the "meltingly beautiful" in people and place. "History", he wrote, "is a succession of cages" but his poetry is largely celebratory: "the voice of science itself/cannot help but come to me singing", "a fragment of glass/... is sea-beryl/and bites the sun's edge/like a waking eye" but "lies/in the crucible/of your hands as gold". Writing of a "Botticelli Quilt" Alec Choate commented on "the wistful calm he gave all he touched" and the comment could readily be applied to Alec's own work. He was a lovely man, in poetry and in life.

A service will be held:

Monday, 9th August, Karrakatta Cemetry, 2:30 pm

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