Leslie Norris, Muriel Spark

Recent news of the deaths poet Leslie Norris and fiction writer Muriel Spark.

Norris was a Welsh poet, taking up the mantle of Dylan Thomas, at least as far as using the natural landscape as a grounding to his poetry. He ended up at BYU in the early eighties, which alone should kill any other comparisons (which are inherently unfair) to Thomas. Heard him read a number of times out west, an elegant reader, gentlemanly.

Muriel Spark is someone I admired since I read The Girl of Slender Means as an undergraduate: I liked her piercing comedy, amid the aloof observations, all hovering above the grave, too. Her skinny little novels, too, had such range, even goofiness, in their subject matter--her interests seemed less novelistic to me, but more psychological and poetic. Shimmering and deep.

Both writers lived productively into their 80s, too, which I find comforting and admirable.