The Poetry Society is very sorry to report the death on 17 October 2021 of John Gohorry, poet, critic, and longstanding member of both The Poetry Society and Poetry ID (North Herts Stanza). His fellow Stanza member David Smith said, “John was a brilliant poet – thoughtful and precise in his writing which he worked on daily. He rarely missed a Poetry ID meeting but for exceptional circumstances. He will be much missed.” Nicola Jackson added, “John was the most marvellous mentor to all of us newbies, and he was unstinting and generous in his support of poetry and poets. He was a marvellous teacher and a lovely man.”
John was born Donald Smith in Coventry in 1943 and after graduating with a BA in English from University College London and later an M.Phil for his thesis on Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, he taught, until retirement in 2006, as a lecturer in further and higher education. His poetry, short fiction, and articles appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, London Magazine, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. He published many pamphlets and collections, initially with Peterloo Press and later with Shoestring Press, as well as Smokestack, Lapwing and Arenig. In The Poetry Review, Stephanie Norgate praised his satirical pamphlet A Manager’s Dog (Shoestring): “as they say of novels, I couldn’t put this down.” His most recent publications are Exploring Psalmanazar (Shoestring, 2020), and A Coventry Crucible (Lapwing, 2021), written with his lifelong friend John Lane – a celebration in poems and prose of Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021. John won the 2008 Keats/Shelley Memorial Association Poetry Competition with his poem ‘Lost’ and he was commended in the Stanza Poetry Competition 2017 with his poem ‘Cavafy’s Barbarians’. Together with Kaye Lee, Wendy Klein and Konstandinos Mahoney he recorded poems that were aired on London Underground during National Poetry Day 2017.
The Poetry Society sends condolences to John’s family and friends.