Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Jonathan Williams 1929-2008

In late August 1992 we visited Jonathan Williams and Tom Meyer (above) in the Yorkshire Dales. We were met at Dentdale station and taken back to Corn Close via a restaurant (JW paid for everything for our whole visit: it was what a Southerner would do). At Corn Close we were installed in the ‘barn’, a rebuilt interior used as a studio and living quarters during the winter months. Up the hill, the sitting room of Jonathan and Tom’s cottage contained a large cutout of Colonel Sanders, and a work and living area set up with computers and books. From a high window in the rear wall you looked up a steep fell. He played us recordings of Debussy and Vaughan Williams and rummaged for books of interest including a great pair of volumes inscribed by various artists, writers and musicians including Pound, David Hockney, Zukofsky, Hugh Kenner, Guy Davenport and many of the great dead. He gave us several books including Tom’s Sappho and his own great collection of Portrait Photographs. Earlier he’d written to us in Manchester: ‘I like reading the Independent every morning and love watching “Coronation Street”: almost better than real life and it only takes 90 minutes a week.’

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