Peter Mulligan reviews Eddie's Own Aquarius, ISBN 10-0-9551584-0-0, £20.00
EDDIE LINDEN has lived a full life. Now over 70, in his youth he had been homeless, begged and borrowed and lived on the floors of those who felt sorry for him and who could put up with him.
As a young man he joined the Glasgow branch of the Connolly Association and later, when he moved to London, he made contact with the organisation's head office. He became active in the west London branch and distributed the Irish Democrat< around the Paddington area.
I remember him as an irascible young man full of argument, vigour and vision. When he hardly had a penny to his name, he decided that he would start his own poetry magazine. He was searching for a stabilising purpose.
Again, he begged and borrowed, and badgered the great poets of the day to contribute and subscribe.
Aquarius, the first edition of which appeared in 1969, was born out of his enthusiasm and gave him the purpose and stability he was searching for. The fact that he has managed to produce 26 volumes and get so many established figures, or should we stay establishment figures, to contribute their work and their time speaks for the determination of the man.
A book of poetry, literary criticism and art, Aquarius, which continues to be edited by the enigmatic Eddie, a man with a history in the London left and literary circles, is a long-established and well-respected literary project.
Now the man and the book have merged into one with this special issue - a homage to Eddie from the great, the good and the emerging new generation of poets.This volume is dedicated to Eddie, who calls himself "a lapsed-catholic-Irish-working-class-pacifist-communist from Glasgow," on his 70th birthday.
Mike Donaghy whose obituary appeared in the Irish Democrat last year initiated this volume, which includes contributions from over 120 poets, artists, politicians and photographers. Completed by two friends, Constance Short and Tony Carroll it features poems, recollections and drawings by, among others, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Bruce Kent, Clare Short, Danny Abse, Tom Paulin, Craigie Aitchison and Gerald Mangan. among a host of others. The introduction and translations come courtesy of Sean Hutton.
Get a copy now from the Four Provinces Bookshop. It will keep you amused for a year.
Connolly Association, c/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD
Copyright © 2007 Peter Mulligan