Michael Lee 1932 – 2012


This morning I heard that Michael Lee, the founder and guiding spirit of PitWR UK, lost his battle against protracted illness earlier in the month.

I first came into contact with Michael when I wrote to him in 2008 congratulating him on Poems in the Waiting Room (UK).  And his immediate reply was to offer me the NZ (and later the South Pacific) license with his family trust sponsoring the first two NZ editions. Our email correspondence over the years covered poetry, food, the seasons, funding, and any other topical issue that came to mind! Usually my emails began with, How did you, or How can I and he always had an answer. Sometimes it just wouldn’t apply to NZ (copyright laws etc) but we enjoyed our exchanges. I remember telling him about struggling with funding and his reply, We have often been congratulated on the smooth, regular and faultless running of PitWR. But it is like a swan gracefully and serenely swimming on the surface. You do not see the urgent and anxious paddling below the surface to keep the show going. He gave me hope that I could keep the show running in New Zealand. Other times we exchanged menus,  Tonight we are having haggis, neaps washed down with Islay malt. This was not my email to Michael but his to me! And then of course there were always seasonal exchanges. Recalling a visit to his sister in New Zealand Michael emailed me, I quite love the switch of seasons. I do not know now who is up side down. The most terrifying thing I ever saw was Orion upside down in the sky above Christchurch. I had to rush indoors!!  Michael will be missed. Our condolences to his family and friends.

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One Response to Michael Lee 1932 – 2012

  1. Edmund Lee says:

    Thank you so much for this tribute, Ruth. You’ve captured Dad’s humour and style so well. I’m pleased that PiTWR in the United Kingdom will continue as a celebration of all that he achieved.

    Ed (Michael’s youngest, and member of the PiTWR UK committee)

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