Cookson, William (George) 1939-2003

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COOKSON, William (George) 1939-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 8, 1939, in Surrey, England; died of a brain hemorrhage January 2, 2003, in London, England. Editor, poet, and author. As the founder and editor of the distinguished British poetry journal Agenda from 1959 until his death, Cookson pursued a lifelong mission to discover, publish, and critique high-quality poetry wherever it could be found. Inspired originally by his respect for the poet Ezra Pound, a respect undiminished by Pound's waning popularity following World War II, Cookson resolutely ignored the fashions and trends of his day to focus solely on the poetry itself. He published the work of new poets, overlooked or neglected poets, and unknown poets from faraway places. Especially popular among readers were his special editions devoted to the work of an individual poet, such as William Carlos Williams, Hugh McDiarmid, Eugenio Montale, and Osip Mandelstam, and it was considered a high honor among poets to be selected as the subject of an Agenda special edition. Also favoring poetry in translation, he created special issues on works of specific foreign cultures, such as Romanian or Turkish, thus ensuring maximum exposure among the devotees of Agenda. Cookson also wrote poetry himself that was collected in the volumes Dream Traces: A Sequence, Spell: A Sequence, and Vestiges. He also wrote A Guide to the Cantos of Ezra Pound.



Daily Telegraph (London, England), January 4, 2003.

Guardian (London, England), January 7, 2003, obituary by Michael Hamburger and Anne Beresford, p. 18.

Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), January 16, 2003, obituary by Hayden Murphy, p. 24.

Independent (London, England), January 9, 2003, obituary by Michael Alexander, p. 16.

Times (London, England), January 8, 2003, p. 27.