Friday, November 15, 2013

Ian M Emberson (1936-2013): In memoriam

Image © Ian M Emberson (click on image to view larger size)
from his 1981 collection "Doodles in the margins of my life".

Ian was born at Hove, Sussex in 1936. but by the time I first got to know him in the early 1970s he was living in the village of Thurstonland near Huddersfield where he worked as a music librarian.

We came together through the Pennine Poets which met originally at Elland Library and then in later years at the home of Mabel Ferrett in Heckmondwike.

As well as writing poetry he was also an artist who in the early years I knew him specialised in "scraperboard".

He illustrated and designed the cover for Steve Sneyd's collection A Mile Beyond The Bus. He made a series of illustrations for this collection which were carefully cut out and stuck onto the pages which were sent to the printer for copying.

Ian's poem "Jill & Sylvia" which I published can be seen on the Pickings site. It ends:
bends the sycamores
and tosses fireweed widowed of its flowers;
it blows the fluffy seeds
— to other fields
— to other worlds.

I was saddened to hear from his wife Catherine that Ian had passed away on 4th November 2013. His funeral takes place on Monday 18th November at St Mary's Parish Church in Todmorden.

The entrance to St Mary's, Todmorden. Image © Gerald England
(click on image to view larger size).

Ian was a life member of the Brontë Society and Isobel Stirk has written about him on the Brontë Parsonage Blog.

Information and samples of his varied work can be found on the Ian Emberson website which I hope will be preserved.

"Doodles in the margins of my life" from which I've scanned the illustration above is dedicated to his mother, Beth and Robert.
Now doodling ends
but yet it seems
wasteful to leave
this page all empty whiteness;
... as blank
as still unfootstepped snow
your tread-marks mother
... lie beyond -
dimming and distancing,
evanescent, unexperienced,
snowfields of eternal time.
Although not be able to attend the funeral on Monday I will be thinking of him and Catherine.

For The Weekend in Black and White.


  1. When someone passes, I try extra hard to focus on this things that they did that made the world better for others. This is a beautiful tribute.

  2. I know you are sorry to have to miss the funeral of your friend. I feel sure many lovely things will be said about his life and the body of work he contributed.The viewer can just tell that St. Mary’s Church is a beautiful place for the service, and and the churchyard cemetery would be a lovely place to be buried. I went back and read about scraper board. It is interesting how the artist uses it.

  3. A fine post, and a great memorial to your friend.

  4. Sorry you lost a friend. Love all the poems (especially the first one - it fits with the images you responded to on my blog post Beach Walk!) and also the sketches. The 2nd on is quite detailed! Thank you for sharing.