Al­varez, po­etry critic and best-sell­ing au­thor, dies at 90

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE -

Al­fred Al­varez, a critic and au­thor with a non-lit­er­ary streak who helped shape the mod­ern po­etry canon in his na­tive Eng­land, ex­plored every­thing from oil dig­ging to poker and wrote a best-sell­ing his­tory of sui­cide brack­eted by his at­tempt on his own life and the death of his friend Sylvia Plath, has died. He was 90.

Al­varez died Mon­day in Lon­don of pneu­mo­nia, ac­cord­ing to his lit­er­ary rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Aitken Alexan­der As­so­ci­ates.

Writ­ing al­ter­nately as A. Al­varez or Al Al­varez, he had a long, pro­duc­tive and con­tro­ver­sial ca­reer. He be­gan as a highly in­flu­en­tial critic, who as po­etry edi­tor of the Ob­server, was an early cham­pion of Plath, her then-hus­band Ted Hughes, John Ber­ry­man and oth­ers he be­lieved would en­liven con­tem­po­rary po­etry. He would go on to write novels and po­ems and to com­plete non­fic­tion books about life “be­yond the fid­dle” of the book world, whether rock climb­ing (“Feed­ing the Rat”), swim­ming (“Pondlife”), the search for oil in the North Sea (“Off­shore”) or poker (“The Big­gest Game In Town”).

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