Paul Hadfield was a poet, thinker and educator — and to us also a very good friend. His death on 26 January 2018 after a prolonged and difficult illness most certainly deserves a mention in the magazine to which he thrice contributed. We thus take this opportunity to include a hitherto unpublished poem by Paul. On returning again to “Briggflats” appears after this tribute.
Paul’s early years were spent in northern England and Scotland; his father was an Episcopalian priest whose job took him progressively north, from Lancashire to the Clyde island of Rothesay then on to Oban and eventually Thurso. Paul was forever on the move. Studies in Wales and teaching jobs in England were a prelude to a long career in higher education in Ireland. Paul roamed with intellectual ease through the humanities, finding his real forte in the performative appeal of words, whether on the page — in his very engaging poetry — or on the stage. He taught theatre studies and for 13 years edited Theatre Ireland with his partner Lynda Henderson. For the last 18 years of his life, Paul lived on the shores of Loch Fyne in western Scotland.
We shall remember Paul for his eclectic interests and his intellectual generosity. He introduced us to the music of Arvo Pärt and he was one of the few people we know with whom it was possible to have a good conversation about the ecclesiastical calendar or the Virgin Birth. His was a world which, while deeply rooted in tradition, also had a countercultural streak. Like his favourite poet, Basil Bunting, Paul had little time for southern affectation. He was a northerner at heart.