Rudi Holzapfel 1938-2005 – Poet, Mentor, Scholar & Bookseller

This week I’m celebrating, for the 15th year, the life and work of my friend and mentor Rudi Holzapfel.

Rudi died of cancer on 6 February 2005 and it seems the time has passed so quickly. He was a wonderful, caring and talented man. I first met him when we worked together in a bookshop – me because I was just starting my career, Rudi because he needed to work while preparing his PhD on the works of James Clarence Mangan.

At the time I had never met anyone who said they were a poet. I came to know him very well both at work and outside when we were able to escape the draconian clutches of the shop owners. I was fascinated by how and what he wrote and was fortunate to witness his work first hand when he wrote a poem ‘The Employee’ based on my work in the store. I still have the original written on a sheet of brown wrapping paper. It was published in the The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970) and has even been set to music – how and to what end escapes me.

He mentored me, critique my writing and pushed me to that goal. As I browse through my collection of his published works I’m saddened that such a great talent has gone for good. But he leaves behind a wealth of wonderful material. Books and audio readings by Rudi can be found at

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