21 November 2011
A genuine poet has passed through the world. Shelagh Delaney exercised a wide influence with the shock of plain language, and shafts of satiric wit, into a severe and donnish 1950s world where working-class people had thus far been assumed to be simplistic, flag-waving cannon-fodder. Her writing was a magnificent confession of life as it was commonly lived in her hometown of Salford, with all of its carefully preserved monotony. She was attacked for immorality, which, then as now, is proof that you have hit on something.
'A Taste of Honey' was a sentiment that had not been expressed before its time - far more real than life.
It was the Salford of sagging roofs, rag and bone men, walk-up flats, derelict sites, rear-entrance buses, and life in tight circumstances.
Shelagh Delaney did not become fat with success, or become a celebrity, because she was of richer intellect.
She has always been a part of my life as a perfect example of how to get up and get out and do it. If you worry about respect you don’t get it. Shelagh Delaney had it and didn’t seem to notice it.
Los Angeles, November 2011.