Asbestos blamed for death of Rawtenstall poet, 58

John Carley

John Carley

First published in News

A RENOWNED poet’s death was caused by his former career in the building trade, an inquest in Burnley heard.

John Carley, 58, died last New Year’s Eve after a long battle with mesothelioma, a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, East Lancashire Coroner’s Court was told.

He had made a name for himself as a composer of rengu, a form of linked-verse Japanese poetry and was an editor of the online magazine Simply Haiku. But Mr Carley, of Schofield Road, Rawten-stall, had been undergoing treatment for cancer since being diagnosed in 2010.

The hearing was told he had been under the care of specialists at Wythenshaw and Christies hospitals in Greater Manchester, and was latterly a patient at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

In a statement from his wife Mary, it was said that Mr Carley had a ‘hard working life’ before he took up creative writing. The inquest was told he worked 12-hour shifts, five or six days a week, for a plastic injection moulding firm in Birmingham in 1977 and used to return home ‘covered in dust’.

Later he worked on building sites in northern Italy in the mid-80s, where he did a number of jobs involving domestic and business conversions, working on suspended ceilings and fittings, without protective clothing or masks being provided. Mrs Carley said his creative writing car-eer began in 1987. Recording an industrial diseases verdict, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor said his earlier career had exposed him to dust which caused his mes-othelioma, and noted a comp-ensation claim over this had already been settled.

  • Devotees of Mr Carley’s works have been in discussions over the anticipated posthumous publication of a new collection of his poetry, under the title Renku Reckoner, and the possible creation of a related website.

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