Sunday, 4 December 2016

Birth of Evil (aka the Origin of Billy the Kid)

Lost in gutter talk,
The history books
Suggest it was his two brothers
Who took him to the fair
At Longford Park
Boasting of dead fireflies
Instead of fish in little bags,

And follicles of lights
In the ghost house
Almost invisible from
The roller coasters
Descending from the sky
Like space rockets
Replacing sledges.

Crossing the meadows
Blanked in snow
With echoing laughter
The reports stated
Then missing balls
At coconuts stall
Then footballs

Before proclaiming
It was fixed
And gave up wandering
Over to the roller coaster
Leaving Billy stood there
Protesting it wasn’t

Sucking cheap gobsuckers
Hiding his tears
Turning a perfect illustration
Into a pastoral scene
Of fireworks
Kissing the moon

Tying themselves up
In his mouth
As a attendant said
‘Six shots for two quid, son’
Accompanying over each shot
‘Lower, lower, lower’

Crossing shots over the tins
Like pennies in keyholes
Wrestling with uneven prayers
Chiselling his nerves
Over sweatshop erected fingertips
‘Lower, lower, lower’

Knifing through
His childhood
One shot after
The other
With each target
He shot through.

(According to the history books Billy the Kid 
was a known hitman in Stretford in the 1970s) 

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Ghost of Dukinfield Cemetery (New Poem)

Catching her tears in the breeze
From one row of headstones to the next
Some days you would see her ghost
Walking up and down
Like a private on patrol.

Entwined with the sun
Just before sunrise
Creeps over the hill
Cascading into a silent film
As the shadows sank away

Repeating his name over
Like a broken tape machine
Caught up in a tangle
Of half forgotten prayers
In at least two different languages

Echoing in the wind
Butterfly shaped with regrets
In a tidal mystery of anger
If things had been
So very different

Over skeletons of feelings
Before they turned
Into scraps of meanings
After the burnt out end of summer
Into a willow shaped autumn

Following him
To the grave
Within weeks
Filled with nothing
But regret

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Summer will rise again

Two short poems from my recently released book 'the end of summer' (
Summer will come again
and the rain will stop spraying
the air like spilled pepper.
Leaves will stop crunching on the floor
and sleet will stop reducing
your shoes to tears.
The wind still stop slamming
shut your back door
and poppies will stop dancing
in the wind.
The mood will soften before
totally changing
and the blood in the sky
will change to a different texture,
Stripping away
the mistakes of the past.

There is no summer left
like a seaside shop on reduced hours
with one eye on the horizon.
No more summer
with the heavens thumping themselves
together trying to wake the sun up.
No more summer
and no more blue whispers in the sky
wanting to keep on dancing.
No more summer
pressed up to your nose
whispering I love you in your ears,
Or a gate which had been
swinging open
which now shatters like glass.  

Monday, 17 October 2016

The End of Summer is now available

As advertised previously, my second full length collection ‘The End of Summer’ has now been released by Goya Press.

Originally released in a hard to find limited print on demand run last year, this new version specially released by Goya Press contains new artwork, specially re-edited by the author and new additional material , the book was written over a five year period from 2011 to 2016.

Quoting what was wrote on Amazon the book was originally started as a creative way to show how the writer was dealing with a newly diagnosed major change in health, the book developed over time to talk about the change in season, in this case from the end of Summer into the beginning of Autumn, mirroring much more than just a change but an emotion that overcomes us all at major turning points in our lives.

Told often in taut, short little pieces, the book invites comparisons with the poet Hugo Williams but also shows a love of music through two of the author’s own favourite music groups with July Skies and Epic 45, which explores the Englishness of the countryside in sparse, echoing brush-strokes which often need more than one read to breath the images he portraits.

With an introduction by noted American writer, Amanda Silbernagel. ‘The End of Summer’ is a book that tunnels into memories, creating new emotions at the end of it.

(Press copies are available)

Some thoughts by fellow writers:

These are highly evocative poems, each one painting a distinctive picture in the mind. There are some beautiful images, loaded with melancholy and nostalgia, and some effective descriptions that come from left field.
Karen Little, Author of Filled with Ghosts, shortlisted for Saboteur Award, 2016.

A very special collection capturing the both the every-moment of perpetual seasons as well as the vital minutiae of daily life, all wrapped up a whirl of words like autumn leaves kicked up by the last of summer’s winds. Andy takes nature’s contradictions and her false promises and casts them over our human condition as hopeful and nostalgic disciples of the glorious sun and the beautiful snow. Nestled in the middle sits Andy’s powerful five-part reflection on the 2011 Manchester Riots which seem to burst from the pages like a thunderstorm, soaking us all to skin, only to be blown away again by the ebb of time and memory. This is how Andy’s poems work; brief illuminations as the sunlight breaks through the cloud, inviting contemplation and rewarding frequent repeated reads. Each piece is its own finely-cut gem awaiting your discovery, each as precious as the last. Set some time aside and dive in, before the light fades…"
Dave Hartley, Author of Spiderspeed

Andy N is a true innovator and emerging powerhouse in the poetry genre. He combines haunting and vivid imagery with historical anecdotes that create a unique experience for any reader.

Andy's style mimics some of the compositions we revere from yesteryear, shedding a shadowy light on personal experiences as well as the tales of many others 'in a candid way signature of his style and touch.
Keith Fuchs aka Myth the Poet

Brave, human and elegant. Touching the sensitive parts of the marvels of schools, parks, funerals, rain, cars, rock t-shirts and mercy. To connect the personal and universal my friend the poet has been busy, digging into the mystery of the ordinary life. 'Words soaked in the northern seasons. Imagery animating the deserted and people landscapes of woods, roads and bridges. Moments in the moonlight. Scenes fading into scent and tears 'runs hot and cold with the warmth of family and the icy nothing of the waiting grave. Pleased to be a fellow Mancunian and a fellow writer with a man who possesses such a voice.
Jude Cowan Montague, The News Agents

Andy writes the type of poetry that you feel as well as read. Every poem is beautifully crafted and perfectly emotive. I can’t recommend Andy’s poetry enough. There are readers out there who struggle with poetry but these words can speak to anyone and I can promise they will leave you craving more
Stephanie Williams

Andy has a way of turning the seasons into his canvas. He writes with such rawness about love and loss and connects grandiose images to delicate moments with skill and ease. The back and forth pattern between the natural and the intimate is melodic. His use of photographs interspersed between the poems provides a lovely picturesque context into the poet’s emotions. Andy balances the serious with the humourous throughout his work.

In his poem, “Out of Reach,” he begins the poem “Our hotel room felt like/ a battered birdcage,” but then juxtaposes those beautifully somber lines with ones that read, “like one of your/ constantly starving cats” written just two lines below.

To use his own words, Andy’s poetry is “buried in silent magic.” Reading The End of Summer is like looking in the mirror, and rediscovering yourself in “a wordless language.” There are poems in this book for all readers, all seasons, and all stages of love and loss."
Jocelyn Mosman, Author of Soul Meets Body.

A wistful collection, laced with melancholy and longing.
Emma Whitehall

What does autumn mean to you? This collection observes the changing seasons of life, and how even the distant prospect of change can shape your present. So, so, relevant to us all. Haunting.

Just finished reading your book, and wow, I expected to feel emotional after that but not so much!
I like the recurring theme of the end of summer throughout the poems, it somehow feels as if it is a summer difficult to let go.
I loved that piece from "Journey":
"And the air smelling pepper before chocking out soot like it was holding onto the sky,
Asking you to wait behind the line while dancing on diamonds as the journey home never felt more far away." I found it very evocative and I could perceive the painful and anxious waiting of the arrival.
I found the poem "Womb" very enigmatic, and I liked a lot the sharp contrast between the sunrise and the war, and not being able to forgive, it is a poem made of multiple flavours.
Among my favourites:
-"Almost from the beginning", I like a lot the imagery and the way it's written, as if the most important part is timidly left at the end.
-"The end of summer", I love the imagery, so evocative and intense, it feels as if it was an animated painting!
-"Migration", really resonates with me and reminded me of some old memories which are painful looking at, and that I somehow left there, in the places where I have been living.
-I particularly loved the second part of "Summer will rise again", the imagery is so intense and I was really able to picture the images and the feelings you were describing, I felt them on my skin and nearly shivered, as if I was feeling the cold after summer breeze on the seaside, and the sense of loneliness of desert streets, closed shops and ended love! I loved it!
-"End of the world", very evocative of smells, colours and imagery
-"Staircase in the Wind", it's just so beautiful and so unconventional!
-"Threads of a Jumper", moved me and resonated with me and my past memories... I sometimes too think about all the people in my past, and all the memories spent together, which some of them are gone, and I find myself somehow crossing them out my life with a sharp, painful final gesture.
-"Swallows and Amazons", I just love it!
-Nice turn in the end of "Next Summer", which caused a nod in my throat and nearly made me cry, so beautifully painful the end, so intense and melancholic... it felt nearly unfair to have it at the end of the book, and to be left with that bunch of unspeakable tears.
Thank you very much for sharing this with me, if felt as a nice present to enjoy in autumnal nights, just now that the summer ends.

Poets, and indeed a discerning public, know instinctively that poetry is much more than structured words.  Poetry is communication, it is compassion, and perhaps most of all community.  Over the last decade or so, Andy N has emerged as a poet with belief in the People`s voice.  His provision to young people in particular, (but not exclusively), of a platform for their work through his Spoken Label has the true respect of his peers.

Some poets write for specific, (often literary), audiences - many indeed never revealing anything of their inner selves in the process.  We never truly know what they`re thinking as they strive hard to impress with their knowledge.  These traits cannot be attributed to Andy N - his writing is reality itself, aimed at real people with real problems in an unforgiving World.  His observer`s pen reveals a tender and touching vista of freshly remembered past friendships, fading souvenir shops signalling The End of Summer and indeed the spontaneous fire-starting, (which was the Manchester riots 2011), graphically described in Edges of the Flames 1 to V - which surely must rank as a modern urban masterpiece.  (II. The looters who breathed white-hot flames with the rage of splattered hammers.  III.  Their cigarette lighter humming for a second before being thrown in cars.  IV.  Flames danced high a hip-hop re-imagining of The Wicker Man in the fire.)

We all seek clues in order to make some sense of our busy and sometimes muddled lives.  Andy`s clues are different, a treasure hunt rather than detective novel.  His great talent is to watch and walk away unseen.  Furthermore, he`s a poet unafraid to reach for and describe moments he can`t quite hold on to.  Happiness`s and intensities quietly slipping away, poignant memories in hotel rooms - all with the apparent absence of regret of the accurate observer.  Andy`s words are often adventure(s) best left unexplored - memories ...gathered in forgotten shadows.  In his own words he unpicks the lock (of his heart) and walks away without regret.

The End of Summer is a collection ranking Andy N with a new wave of People`s Poets freeing themselves from an overbearingly literary approach to the poetic art.  Our Summer`s are indeed ending - at least as we knew them.  No longer can July and August be regarded as prime English holiday months.  We should treasure the memories portrayed in this book - for all too soon global warming will disrupt them forever,  Indeed, we are left weeping daily for the return of Summer.

What better than to sum up Andy N`s talents than with a quote.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Albert Einstein 1929

Lead us with your imagination Andy N - the pleasure of the journey will be all ours.
Potting Shed Pete

Andy N delved deep into The End of Summer…, with Parts 1 and 2 of Summer will Rise Again.  Again, more wonderful lines of seasonal sorrow: ‘There was no more summer left, no more blue whispers in the sky’ really grabbed my ear. There was also a beautiful personification of Summer itself, speaking to us with enormous sadness as if regretful of its impending demise.
John Keane

Like the second album the second collection is probably the most difficult. With echoes of the first Andy smoothes this transition, blending light with dark. It may be 'The End of Summer ', But the collection doesn't herald a winter of discontent.
Gordon Zola

Andy's collection feels crisp like the fallen leaves, that have started to colour in the autumn sun. A perfect read for shorter days and for cosy nights infront of the fire.
Marie Lightman

A captivating mix of emotion and greatly entertaining.
Katie Haigh

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Past Lives (A Series of journeys from past lives)

Breathing through the lines
Echoing across
The outer door
And the swallow shaped clouds
Each life builds
Like a wall
Branching out at interludes

Starting off
Somewhere near the South Pole
When you were a wanderer
Lying with orchestral cells
Of caves
Fighting for food
Each night.

A sickly babe
Born to a
Rich nobleman’s family
Not long after
The Romans fled
And drown in a river
Like a unwanted kitten,

A forgotten soldier
Loyal to Cromwell
Who gave no quarter
And died in
A blacken inn
On the verge of recruitment
In a vicious mugging.

The wife of a pirate
Whose name I can’t pronounce
At the turn of
The 18th century
In Cornwall
Who was hung
For a crime she didn’t do.

A Soldier whose
Name I won’t repeat
Who fought all day
At the battle of Alamo
In 1836
And killed himself
In disgust of what he did.

Breathing through
Each of their experiences
And emotions
My soul falls
Into line with them
Across hungered words
And laboured ships

Across the depths
Of broken memories
Sinking under frozen grounds
And pocket marked voids
Pressing compounded feelings
Into your thoughts
Like secrets in tiny safes.

Clawing caressed emotions
In mumbled
And forgotten tongues
Curving into thoughts
Dancing in your sleep
Building on each life
One after the other.

(A audio version of this piece can be heard at

Friday, 19 August 2016

Holidays to Wales (II)

Walking in a waking dream
Our footprints led all the way down
From the edge of the caravan
Onto the pier about half a mile away
Like a long lease
In a symmetry of shadows 
Just past sunset

Watching the waves 
Trimming their flow in the air
Over the tip of the moon
Before holding their breath
Half stroke before poking through  
A imaginary broken window
And crashing back to the ground

Laced in broken crystals 
Hinged wide open 
Smeared in a lace of slight mist 
Shifting away from the past
And in a chattering future
Underneath clocks of stone 
And memories of first love 
Met on a sullen beach in Wales

In kiss that seemed that lasted
Over a decade  
Floating in imaginary theatres 
In a flotilla of paper boats 
Dim in a reflective gaze
Leaving us both breath-taken
Becoming the other in translation.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Pennies from Heaven (New Poem)

Returning to emotions
After running away 
For two weeks (or 10 days)

The tide hasn’t changed across
Where I used to sit
Once upon a time, 

Faint little lighthouses
Turned on at 7.45am
And turned out with a shrug at 4pm,

Compliance cultures 
Or moaning about life
Below the poverty line, 

Blackened chairs
Mourning in desolation
Grasping the lights,

Watching the sun
Leap across a blank page
On the back of an envelope

Erasing all that went before
Across digital powered
Security announcements

But never your words
That fall into my eyes
Like pennies from heaven. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sadness (New Poem)

Embracing sadness
You tell me
It is in your heart
As much as your soul,

Unstitching itself
On boat shaped stones
Underneath the pier
Lost in the sunset

Absent-minded like
Placing imaginary notes
Wrote in feelings
Across the wind

Changing directions
Within second
Swaying wearily
Back up the hill

Singing unwritten songs
On the other side
Of the ridge
In half kindled feelings

With no sails
On the horizon

No catharsises

In remains of churches.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Strangers in the night

Standing there like stranger at a bar
There are three Irish fairies
Tied together
Which clearly want to go home,

Three football figures
Of now retired Spanish footballers
And two pigs
Both of which I am convinced
Are odd little jokes
Friends got for me travelling,

A Edward Sissorhands figure
Which I accidentally nicked
At a bookshop in Brighton
And which I am too
Embarrassed to return

A tiny Cadburys Chocolate Van
Which is more years older
Than I know
That my Uncle gave me
A week before he died
And has followed me
Through three addresses since
(And four removal vans)

An Indian goddess
That I have no memory off
And am half convinced
appeared on-top
of my bookcase
almost by magic,

a Kabuki figure
which keeps falling
down the back
no matter what I do
leaving me thinking
it’s a ninja in disguise

Pebbles picked up
From Poole Beach
At last 15 years ago
Which my then
Said was a heart stone
And would give me
Endless luck,

Pens that ran out
Of ink years ago
Writing bad poetry

And now Shift uncomfortably
With each footstep
Wondering whether
I would throw them out
Like a bad afterthought

Or tinker with the order
Like members of
A rock band
Replacing each other

Brazen in the shadows
In forgotten
holes of memories

Running through
Imaginary fingers of my hair
Every time I look at them

Naked through journeys
Away from myself

And into time. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dreaming of a different kind of realism

catching silent pictures
across circular fields
suspended like a hammock
dangling between trees

floating in the mood
your camera snaps truths
feathered within
the early morning light

splicing feelings
beyond grey templates
and mashed up feelings
dreaming of silence

building footprints
in the shadows
or the mud across
each picture took

writing a different
kind of poetry
every time you press
that button.

(For Sara)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Amanda Steel - after the zombies (book review)

I used to read horror stories all the time when I was younger in my teens (yes, I know that was a few years ago) but quite quickly it became the same old rubbish, formulatic rubbish which I quickly out-grew.

Fast forward towards my mid to late 20’s, I got into more adult based comics such as Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer, both of which took horror into a very much mature way with characters which you could see and relate to much more strongly than the horror authors I won’t name I used to read in my teens.

Nowadays, of course horror has spun off into different directions, with a spell of horror been popular with the field of Vampires, and now Zombies.

Of course, thinking about Zombies it’s easy to think of the success of the Walking Dead, of which I watched the first three or so series and have read the comics at some point too.

Of course, thinking about the above – it is easy to dismiss anything that comes along in that field as a cash in etc which I think completely misses the point certainly in the case of Amanda Steel’s novella ‘after the zombies’.

This short novella is about a small circle of survivors suriving a zombie attack in my hometown, Manchester, UK. Although the central trio of characters, Grace, Mark and Luke are all very well wrote and developed which is a major plus certainly in any book of this genre, what really impressed me in particular was the flashbacks that came throughout the narrative and really added to the story instead of delaying the narrative.

The pacing is spot on throughout the book and considering how slow a reader I am with books nowadays, caused me to struggle to put the book with and certainly acts as a really good start to a series.


The book can be bought here -

I met Amanda fairly recently and was gifted a copy by the Author. The review is not influenced by the Author and reflects my own thoughts and opinions only. 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Write Out Loud, Stockport, March 2016 write up

A few of you will know I have been regular visitor to Stockport’s Write Out Loud, Stockport for some years now and cover for John Keane (the orgainsator) for when needed.

Enclosed below is the report for March’s meet up when I covered for John with the collage poem, which each member of the people there for the night write a line reacting to what they have just heard.

1st Round

Nigel started things off like a bullet for March’s Write Out Loud, Stockport with a mystery poem which whether meant to or not started off a theme of mystery poems leaving the audience to work out who was the mystery person they were talking about. On Nigel’s poem ‘Verdict Suicide’ the mystery was Marilyn Monroe, one of Hollywood’s great icons from the 1960’s (which was this month’s theme) with snappy lines throughout of Scandals and Tablets scattered throughout, like with the death of Diana many years later which for me still hasn’t been solved to this very day. Excellent.

Martin who came after that, followed with a much softer, reflective beautifully wrote poem ‘Sunday Tea’ with images like white sandwiches cut into squares, with families getting together every few weeks, something which I think has been lost over time.

Chris changed gears for the evening with a great poem next ‘Life in the 60’s’ with her gentle, reflective humour really producing something special here which I reckon will go down a storm at the upcoming ‘It happened 50 years ago’ (more at the end of the report) showing a sign with her memories of the 60’s that could have only been wrote by somebody that was there.

Dorinda caught me out for a minute or so with her first poem next, which is never a bad thing with me with the mention of a Dansette record player (too young lol), which was a deck that was certainly popular back then. Dorinda’s poem which I think was called ‘Me and Danicette’ was read out like a seven inch single with short snappy lines covering a number of acts that were popular then Cliff Richard, Everley Brothers, Elvis but made sense for me with the length of the songs then. Certainly up their with some of their number 1s.

I, Andy N (standing in for John Keane who was at the theatre) followed Nigel’s lead with another mystery poem on another icon from the 1960’s ‘Neil Armstrong’ the astronaught, of which I wanted to be when I was a child in the 1970’s and 1980’s myself, leaving subtle clues throughout so the poem sounded almost like a waltz.

Dave Keyworth caught me out next as he is very good at doing (going back to our old days at Poetica) with a found poem (a type of poem which is well worth remembering) rebuilding a unperformed Richard Nixon speech, wrote by William Stafford designed to be read out if Neil Armstrong and crew didn’t make it back into a very haunting poem indeed. Excellent.

Maggie was next with a poem which kinda reminded me of both Dorinda’s and Chris earlier efforts called ‘In the 1960’s’ touching on topics on Tony Sheridan, mini skirts and mods and rockers fighting, some of which seems like a alien word to me, but the end of this beautiful poem said ‘these days if you remember the 60’s, you couldn’t have been there’ which made a lot of sense to me.

Getting close to the end of the 1st round, Linda read out next a free love haiku, a major point of the 1960’s which had me thinking for a good few minutes afterwards had me thinking had her and Nigel swapped bodies for a few seconds. Very funny still.

Dave C concluded the first part with a half fragmented, half wrote himself, mixed with a folk singer Ian Campbell which talked about the struggles Harold Wilson had getting re-elected, something that may well mirror the next election in a few years.

2nd Round

The 2nd half by Nigel stepped away from the 1960’s for the first time tonight with a very deep piece called ‘Block of disbelief’ which talked about a deep condition where people can need really convincing to over-come difficulties, something if I am honest a friend of mine could do with reading. Very thoughtful.

Martin then followed up with a poem ‘these hands’ which was one of my favourite poems of a truly excellent night, exploring the conflicting feelings in your hands, anger and emotion, loud and soft, in short sharp bursts which almost reduced me to tears.

Chris admitted as it turned out when it got to her turn next, she had forgot her treasured book of poetry, so read out a poem from memory ‘Your smile’ which is a old favourite of most of ours about her old son, read in a very different way indeed from the way she reads out of her book sometimes. Lovely.

Dorinda followed on with another very reflective poem set in the 1960’s ‘Along Cheetham Hill Road’, an area I used to know really well in the 1980’s and 1990’s, in a letter style speaking to her eldest daughter when she was a child, which was really really skilfully wrote and should be published in a book.

The returning Sheridan Kyte, who hadn’t been at Stockport since 2011 I think was next who I had been speaking to facebook on about the group a few weeks before was next, with a startling poem ‘Can’t I be your drug?’ a free flowing poem – personal and strong with lots of great lines ‘twinkle away from the knowing’ been just one line. It was to hard to believe Sheridan hadn’t wrote anything for years, and had everybody saying it won’t be 5 years again before she visits again.

I then carried on with another poem on another hero of mine from the 1960’s, Scott Walker (whose career is worth reading about in great detail on wikipedia - called ‘Make it easy on yourself (Scott in the 1960’s) of which I am tempted to write a poem once I get other commitments out of the way writing wise will become a 6 or 7 poem sequence for myself. For this one, I talked about this poem using titles of many of his hits from the 1960’s to circle a warning before things would change in both the world and his own career.

Dave K then delivered our third poem of the night on space missions, which alas I can’t remember what the title of from my notes (sorry Dave) talking about I think in some depth about the landing, my favourite part talking about sand land absorbing their land. Very emotive indeed.

Maggie changed the mood of the night again, talking it back to Dorinda’s previous poem in a way talking about a trip to what I think was Ireland in the 1950’s to her Aunt Dolly’s which was that well detailed, it really mad me feel like I was there.

The Collage Poem was next, read by myself which was great fun to read with a very bit in the middle, of which both me and Sheridan are convinced Mr Nigel wrote, but of cause we can’t prove it (:

Linda read out a very clever technical poem called ‘Boot Camp’ which was about lent from her upcoming Holy Man collection, telling the poem from selected days, like Day 1, Day 4, Day 7 etc in a very diary style which had me recommending to her straight to put that in the book.

End of round 2 was dear Dave C who read out what he said was a made up rhyme of TV programmes from the 1960’s which were all Westerns (kudos to Nigel and Linda for spotting this).

3rd Round

Nigel dealt out his second mystery poem of the night ‘Assassination guaranteed’ which covered the killing of JFK, which I think made the companion piece to his previous piece about Marilyn, which considering the links that existed between them both and told in only a skilful way that only Nigel could display. Top stuff.

Martin read out a poem next which I think was called Penguins, which he described as a personal history but am prepared to be corrected on that which drew comparisons from at least one person about Mike Harding – Nuns at School, but I personally found particularly interesting with the comparison to Angelic accountants and the Holier than thou. Very very interesting.

Chris read out her second poem from memory again ‘when I feel bad’ which again left me sat thinking wow, even though it was a old poem which most of us would have heard before seeing her do the poems from memory was brilliant. Really enjoyed it, Chris.

Dorinda read out another poem from just up the road, a sequel almost to Cheetham Hill Road, with the setting talking about Moxley Road, Crumpsell (which I seem to recall was also the title) and was also her first family home, bringing back memories of my favourite family home back in the early 1970’s with memories of cold fires etc. Very moving.

My third and final poem of the night was an extract from my napwrimo (National Poetry Writing Month) sequence for April, Ghost Story III, which covers in part the legendary Manchester Rat People, and the hint of a forthcoming war. (More details –

Dave K lightened things with a lovely, beautiful spring poem after that called ‘I miss daffodils’ which was designed to subvert the idea of Spring, which worked wonderfully. Very skilful writing indeed.

Maggie for her last poem of the night talked about a ‘Hot Summer’ (1960s) set in St Anne’s and a secret collaboration in the 1960’s before wistfully honestly with an ending ‘Time moves on’ which brought a lump to my throat again. What an emotional evening indeed.

Linda took us on another trip to the seaside with a very lyrical trip indeed, starting a revolution on the sea with a new way of loving and living before proclaiming she was the only Christian in the world. Stirring again.

Dave C had nothing to share but told us a little bit about football banter back in the 1960’s to conclude a really enjoyable evening.

The theme for next month, April is a quiz poem perhaps on a famous person following from what Andy and Nigel did this month.

P.R. is now underway for the event ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’ for Saturday 26 March 2016 and 09 April 2016 at Stockport Art Gallery between 3.30pm and 4.30pm with a additional workshop ran between 10.30 to 12.30 also on 09 April 2016.

More details can be read here:


Collage Poem

These words capture our emotions
Bruising the pain into happiness
Stepping into shadows of unsolved mysteries
Shine our milky moonlight up
All you need are hands
And all mankind is displayed within them
Great memories of yesterday
Terrible things happening today
Causal sex and skinny-dipping
Is worth a trip
Little one small step for you
A big one for mankind
Black and white tellies
Forty fives and seventy eights
Pages fluttering into a hurricane
One great leap by mankind. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Eleanor Rees - Bloodchild and Riverline (Book Reviews)

When I first started my second full length book ‘The End of Summer’ just after I got Diabetes at the end of 2011, the plan originally wasn’t just to write a variety of end games – end of season kind of poems reflecting changes but also layer it with political poetry. Poetry that besides covering emotions in the change of seasons also reflected the change of emotions or seasons in extreme situations, real emotions mirrored in extreme feelings which was the way my life was feeling at that stage.

However, as the book developed, it ended up by the end of 2013 becoming two different camps with the political poetry mostly becoming focused on the after affects of war and how it affected the common man. Europa which came at the start of 2014, was the first out of the two of them to appear reflecting a similar mood to the End of Summer which came just over a year with a lot of the pieces stripped totally down from work which came before which I know shocked a few people at the time with the way I let the situations tell the stories with no judgment.

The End of Summer which followed just over a year later, told stories but chose to reflect on the scency more for mood and tell their own stories rather than what horrific conditions people were placed in against their choice.

On a similar level, its always interesting when a writer brings out two collections say of poetry often in a short (ish) period and you find yourself looking at both of them and compare them not as much in content or context. Take the example of two recent collections by Liverpool born poet, Eleanor Rees ‘Blood Child’ and ‘Riverine’. It wouldn’t be hard to believe like with my own ‘The End of Summer’ a lot of these poems started off together in the same collection before splitting into two different folders almost by nature.

Blood Child first is laced with all kinds of spiritual and un-usual images for example ‘Dusk Town’ which develops a side view of Runcorn I had never seen before with the tone of the city mirroring in the thrust of a train’s rush which has a indepth mysteries nature that really rang well with me and required a few re-readings to let the words slink into the back of my thoughts.

Arne’s Progress, a six part sequence is even more striking of images of nature with seagulls flapping its wings in the glasshouse mirrors perfectly with a violinist playing Dvorak (who I had to doublecheck exactly I knew who Dvorak) is counterblanaced with under-statement and a sadness that is laced throughout the full book in a magic just tapping out of sight.

Riverine which followed I think around 6 months later towards the end of 2015 is stated on the back of the collection as a compianon piece to Blood Child but possibly because it touched upon areas closer to me (I live in Manchester) ‘In my ears and in my eyes’ brought back a lot of memories of my own upbringing in Stretford with sodden and soapy old men in laundettes luquid held in tension over fears they had no words for. Excellent stuff.
Eleanor’s work over both books is laced with detail, detail and detail which is something a lot of writers (including myself I am honest enough to admit) that requires reading which in two reasonably short collections can leave you spellbound for example my favourite bit of ‘In my ears and in my eyes’

Turf billowing up and over pools of last night’s
Rain. A Woman
Steps up from under the mud
Covered with sludge; she springs towards the gate,
Towards the lights, wet fabric clings to her form
And the puddle erupts.

The poems eurpt for me frequently with silent explosions across nature carrying a timelessness littered with ghosts or mysteries which wander past each other like passing ships in the night.