Sunday, February 7, 2010

John Rety, 1930-2010 (R.I.P.)

My old friend, John Rety, died. Heart attack. He was the publisher of 2 of my books (Tahitian Journals, and Glimpses of India and Nepal) with the press in London (Kentish Town) he founded, Hearing Eye, which published over 150 books and chapbooks of poetry by a wide variety of mostly British authors. His Torriano weekly Sunday night poetry reading series flourished for over 20 years, and an anthology, IN THE COMPANY OF POETS, published some of the poets who read there. He lost most of his family to Hungarian Fascists in WWII, and as a teen he was sent to England, where he lived for all of his life. A political activist and serious anarchist, he actually chaired anarchist meetings at the Lamb and Flag pub, and during the 1960's edited FREEDOM, the British anarchist weekly newspaper. Always active in anti-war causes, he participated in the fast at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, in protest against the Vietnam War. He was a graded chess player, who played internationally on the British Seniors Team. Essayist, poet, translator of Hungarian poets, editor, publisher, and activist, John was also a great friend to the down-and-out. He is survived by his son, Jacob, and his son's mother, Laura; his wife, Susan, and their daughter Emily, and his grandchild. Deep condolences to his family and friends.