Full colour head and shoulders of the poet wearing a casual brown jacket, turtle neck jumper (pale blue) with grey shirt beneath. He has dark framed spectacles, grey hair swept back from his forehead, which is slightly freckled, and a short grey beard. He is looking at the photographer appraisingly and could be wearing the beginning of a smile. Behind him is what seems to be the wall of a church, with a fragment of stained glass window to his left.Geoff Lander lived in Bexleyheath, from where he could see Canary Wharf—‘more’s the pity’, said Geoff. He sang, as a dedicated amateur, in light opera, choirs and church events.

In his youth, he did a degree in chemistry at the architecturally disastrous York University (before the trees had grown there). He was involved in research in London for a while but realised it wasn’t for him. The only place to find paid work (‘you studied what?’) seemed to be computing, in which field he was incompetent for years until a stroke put paid to stamina.

To help his dead fingers he started writing out other people’s poems (which he knew only as lyrics through English song). Having stood on Wenlock Edge too many times (but possibly one up on Housman) he started writing his own poems, encouraged from Scotland by Helena Nelson and from the grave by John Betjeman.

A tiny fraction of his poems are ‘out there’, in publications such as Lighten Up Online and Snakeskin, but he wrote for amusement only. His hand fully recovered.

He died in 2023, and will be missed by many.


The Lesser Mortal, HappenStance Press, 2018