Moss Rich: An Appreciation
I ﬁrst met Moss Rich around 1990. He looked very like the dormouse at the Mad Hatter’s
Tea Party, except that he was awake. In fact, Moss is very wide awake indeed. I read some
of my work. His critiques were polite, ﬁrm and devastatingly accurate.
This selection of Moss’ work spans 20 years of writing from 1977–1997.
Moss says he started writing poetry in the 1970s. But his wife Millie remembers him
writing her love poems in the thirties. He also composed parodies of famous poems for ads
in the forties and ﬁfties, when he was Advertising Manager with the company that evolved
into Travis Perkins. Moss has a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humour.
He was born in 1910 and showed early promise with a Distinction in English at Central
Foundation School, London EC1. During the Second World War he spent time in the Army
Pay Corps, but left as they couldn’t provide him with strong enough lenses for his
spectacles. On his journey as a poet he moved from Poetry Round in Earl’s Court, London,
to Brunswick Poets and Brighton Nightwriters in Brighton & Hove.
In 1975 Moss wrote a short satirical poem and sent it to Leapman, a leading diarist on The
Times. He printed it and sent Moss a cheque. Moss felt he was on to something and has
continued to win prizes ever since, including a magnum of Champagne from The
Independent’s Limerick Competition.
He’s been published in the Penguin Book of Limericks and numerous anthologies and
If every developing poet needs a mentor, then at a critical point in my own development, for
a while Moss was mine. He always reminds me that poets and poems work best when they
don’t take themselves too seriously. So thanks Moss for your critical discernment and your
Moss wrote almost all his poems to be recited in public. He played a part in the move of
poetry from page to stage that has resulted in the many forms of performance poetry so
enjoyed today. It’s good to know the oral tradition is still very much alive.
As I write Moss is approaching 95 and still recites his verse from memory.
In spite of failing eyesight and hearing, his sense of humour, clarity of thought and lyrical
gift remain undiminished.
– John Davies September 2005
Moss Rich is featured in these anthologies:
Book of Limericks 1983 – ISBN 0713915579
Issue Two 1990 – ISBN 0957 – 7467
Brunswick Poetry Group – limited editions Sweet Fossil Nothings 1994:
Changing Horizons 1995
Coming Up For Air 1997
Out of Thin Air 1998
The High Cost of Loving and Other Works
Shades of Brighton 2000
Poetry Makes Nothing Happen 2003 – ISBN 0-9544299-0-7
Sussex University Centre for Continuing Education:
Pandora’s Books – Hove 1997 ISBN 0953071227
Happenstance – Unsuitable Companions ISBN 978-1-905939-03-9
Collections of Moss’s work
Conduct Unbecoming 1995 ISBN 1 899774 386
Requiem For a Typewriter Poems by Moss Rich ed John Davies 2005 – ISBN 0-95 42443-4-6