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Ways of Seeing: the last words of Rick Vick

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A new book by Rick Vick, which he collated in the last months of his life, has been released posthumously by Chapeltown Books.

Entitled Ways of Seeing, all profits from the book will be going to the Nelson Trust, a charity dear to Rick’s heart, having worked for them as a writing tutor for many years. 

Rick’s niece Fern Devine said: “We decided early on that all the royalties from the sale of Ways of Seeing would be donated to The Nelson Trust. Rick found working with them, and other charities, to be truly fulfilling.”

Ways of Seeing was not quite complete at the time of Rick’s death, so it has been polished for publication by poet Philip Rush and editor of The Phare magazine Steven John. “Rick was well known in the local area for supporting not just creative writing, but the arts as a whole,” said Steven John. “He was a much-loved character and helped put Stroud on the cultural map of England.”

This reporter knew Rick well, and can confirm that he was a driving force in the writing community of Stroud; his genial, generous and sometimes slightly anarchic workshops brought out the best in numerous writers, either at the early stages of their writing, or offering more experienced writers a much needed lift at times when they were at a low creative ebb. 

Rick also worked for many years with Stroud Arts Festival, now in its 75th year, and helped seat it back at the heart of the community, and there are many small projects in the Stroud District who have profited from his interest and the funding the Arts Festival gave to help them to fruition. 

Rick also appeared in two Nick Broomfield projects in the last few years; the film Marianne and Leonard, about Leonard Cohen and his time on Hydra, where Rick had lived for over a decade, a showing of which at the Lansdown Hall was Rick’s final public appearance, and the recent Arena film on BBC2, My Father and Me, about Broomfield’s father, whom Rick had known well, having been at school with Broomfield. My Father and Me should, at time of writing, still be available on the BBC iPlayer. 

Rick’s work as an encourager and programmer of the arts in Stroud meant that sometimes his own writing got put on the back burner. This reporter, as someone who had spent many happy hours arguing about and discussing poetry with Rick over the last 20 years, is delighted that a final book has been released, as Rick had begun to really hit his stride as a writer in the last five years of his life. 

Ways of Seeing is available from all the usual online resources, but if you can purchase it direct from the publisher or from your local bookshop, more of the profit will go to the Nelson Trust. For more information, visit the dedicated Facebook page that has been set up to disseminate information about the book: https://bit.ly/2Piz4iI

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