Paul McLoughlin was a frequent contributor to London Grip both as a poet and as a perceptive reviewer and his recent death is a sad loss to his family and his many friends. Here John Lucas recalls Paul’s rather unorthodox route into poetry
The poet, Paul McLoughlin, has died of cancer at the age of seventy four. He came to poetry as an adult, having left school, which he loathed, at the age of sixteen, and taken a succession of odd jobs, among them greengrocer’s assistant and bookie’s runner, before deciding to be a jazz musician. He accordingly enrolled for music A Level classes at Chiswick Polytechnic, and by the time he graduated from a West London College of Education a few years later was an accomplished flautist. A career in teaching followed, as did his discovery of poetry. He was soon publishing in a variety of poetry journals, and a passionate delight in the poetry of Brian Jones, on whom he began a part-time Ph.D, eventually led to the publication of Brian Jones : New and Selected Poems (Shoestring Press 2013.) By then his own first collection, What Certainty Is Like, had appeared from Smith/Doorstop (1998). It was followed at regular intervals thereafter by further collections, all of them from Shoestring. They include The Road to Murreigh, (2010) for which the poet made a number of line drawings related to the part of Ireland from which his family came, and, most recently, The Hungarian Who Beat Brazil (2017), which among other matters testifies to his relish for football.
[Editor’s note: Some of Paul’s thoughts and recollections about his life as a musician, poet and teacher – all written in his own unmistakable style – can be found at his website]