Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Chilwell poet a seasonal must have

This morning I went with my friend John White to collect his first ever published collection of poems, Attenborough Churchyard, Canary Girls and other poems from The Russell Press in Old Basford.

With a couple of exceptions, all sixty-six poems were published in newspapers between 2008 and 2016. It is a wonderful and varied collection. Here is little taster:


I was tempted by what she proffered
In thrall with what was offered
Refusal would leave me inconsolable
My desire was uncontrollable
Finally I thought I would risk it
And accept just one more chocolate biscuit

Derby Telegraph
16 January 2014.

One thing is certain. John's poetry ranges far and wide when it comes to subject matter. Love, passion, history, death, reminiscence, all have a place in John’s work.

The first edition is limited to just 150 copies and all the profit after the printing cost (Russell Press charged £248 for this 80 page plus cover book) will go to Attenborough Parish Church.

I used my local history publishing skills to assist John with layout, pricing and how the poems are organised (chronologically from 11 December 2008 – 6 October 2016, with the exception of the last poem. If you buy the collection you will understand why). We used Russell Press because they are simply the best. End of story. We also decided to set the poems in Helvetica 13 point, a nice clear typeface well suited to verse.

John's modesty prevents him from believing that interest in his poems will extend any further than family and friends. I have tried my best to convince John otherwise, so he was somewhat stunned when he sold his first copy within minutes of Jo putting them on display in The Local Not Global Deli on Chilwell Road, opposite Imperial Road. What is more, the buyer, Margaret Richardson, a Beeston U3A member, asked John to sign the book.

Below is the cover. I did persuade John to increase the price by 50p. At £4.50 the collection is excellent value.  To enlarge, just click on the image.

We decided to have just one place in Beeston selling Attenborough Churchyard, Canary Girls and other poems and that's The Local Not Global Deli on Chilwell Road, simply because we met more often than not in the Deli, both loving Jo's food (tonight Susan and I will be sharing a generous slice of Jo's Salmon Quiche with a simple salad) and it's the only place I know in Nottingham where I can buy Henderson's Relish (the veggie Worcester Sauce from Sheffield), but I digress...

... for me it has been a real joy to work with John and I have loved every minute of the experience. We worked our way through eight drafts and watched the number of pages and poems increase with every draft until we reached no.9 and I wanted to have it published before I go into hospital for open heart surgery. Publishing now also means a good few folk may be tempted to buy it as a Christmas present for themselves or a loved one.

I hope on Friday to find a city centre seller too, so watch this space. Attenborough Churchyard, Canary Girls and other poems costs just £4.50 and offers great value for money.

I will end with the first verse of one of my favourite poems in the collection.


Give a fool an inch
He will strive to take a mile
Gift a man an army
See the bodies start to pile

The collection is full of such reflections and passion is never far away. John the lover shines bright and in them I find a reflection of myself, but I will leave it to you to discover more of yourself in John's poems.

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