Brian Hughes founded the Leman Poetry Workshop, together with Karen Mason, in April 2000. And Brian led the group until October 2006.
Brian was born in London in 1926 and trained as a probabtion officer. In 1976, whilst teaching the social sciences at Southampton University, he was seconded to the University of Botswana where he set up the Department of Adult Education. In 1985 he took early retirement in order to devote more time to creative writing, and he settled in Switzerland.
Brian once wrote: ‘I try to make sense of who I am and what I feel, think and see through writing, and particularly through writing poetry. I do other things as well – I cook, swim, travel, love my children and grandchildren, enjoy being happily married, drink a lot of red wine, have fun. But I know that if I stopped writing, I would die.’
Brian was an accomplished writer, creating poetry, novels, essays, short stories, articles and an autobiography. His poems, mostly written in the latter part of his life, have won international recognition and numerous awards, amongst them prizes at the Arvon International Poetry Competition 1998 and the Envoi International Poetry Competition 2000.
The members of the Leman Poets who worked with Brian developed deep respect for him as a man, and a mentor. And the quality, authenticity and unique voice of his poetry, together with his insightful critiques of others’ poems, were all inspirational.
Brian died in March 2007, but his legacy lives on in this group.
The Third Way
Good job we didn’t meet when we were young –
we’d never have made it work. God! the differences!
You so continental, rational – influences
from Rousseau to Sartre. Me, possibly wrong,
but pragmatically wrong – prepared to take a risk
with imagination, chance, debris all around;
whilst you – with Calvin in the background,
keep diaries, timetables and tidy desk.
So meeting in middle age was lucky fate,
each of us having survived the earlier years
of competition, guilt, anger and defeat,
leaving us wary, devoid of hopes and fears
but strangely calm, at ease, without defence,
able to cope with love and live with difference.