From Dr Bernard Palmer
Sir, - Dr Martyn Halsall's admirable feature on Norman Nicholson
(Features, 28 March) at once
recalled for me Nicholson's invaluble services over many years as a
Church Times reviewer of books on poets and poetry.
I cannot remember precisely when he was enrolled among the
paper's reviewers, but he was certainly writing for me from the
1960s onwards - when I took over as Editor and abandoned the
CT's practice of anonymous reviews - under his own
His reviews were always impeccable. He wrote with all the
authority of an expert on his subject, but wore his learning
lightly. He was immensely readable, even by those knowing little or
nothing of poetry. The same qualities were apparent in his
occasional feature articles, such as the masterly obituary of T. S.
Eliot, which appeared in the issue of 8 January 1965, and ran to
nearly 2000 words.
In those days before email, I acknowledged all reviews by
letter. Nicholson responded to each of my letters with a chatty
note accompanying his next review, and I felt I was getting to know
him quite well. I met him on two or three occasions, and during a
Lakeland holiday in the summer of 1976 I was entertained to a meal
at his home in Millom, prepared by his charming wife, Yvonne. By
the time of his death in 1987, though our acquaintance had been but
slight, I regarded him as a real friend.
151 Rickstones Road
Witham, Essex CM8 2NH