Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009

We are sorry to announce the death of John Whitworth 11.12.1945 to 20.04.19
Many of you will know John was a well loved and respected member of the Peterloo Poets “family” in its day and was a staunch Peterloo Poets supporter over the years.

The funeral will take place at Barham Crematorium Chapel at 12:40pm on Wednesday 22nd May
Barham Crematorium (CT4 6QU) is 9.6 miles (a 20 minute drive) from Canterbury, using the A2 to Dover.
No flowers, please, but any donations would be appreciated, in John’s name, to: Pilgrim’s Hospice, 56 London Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 8JA or online at www.pilgrimshospices.org

 Following his editorship of the poetry magazine Phoenix (1958 - 1975), Harry Chambers founded Peterloo Poets in Manchester in 1972.
Peterloo’s first two full collections published in 1976 were Elma Mitchell’s The Poor Man in the Flesh and Edmond Leo Wright’s The Horwich Hennets. Peterloo Poets went on to publish 240 volumes of poetry.

To view the full Peterloo Poets Catalogue
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The Unbearable Weight of Mercury



Original Cover Price:



Poems by John Latham


John Latham is one of the most original poets to have emerged in the 1980’s. Formerly a professor of Physics, he is now a full-time writer of novels, stories and radio plays as well as poetry.

The Unbearable Weight of Mercury is John Latham’s fourth Peterloo collection. It contains several poems that have won major prizes in national competitions, as did Unpacking Mr. Jones (1982), From the Other Side of the Street (1985) and All-Clear (1990), all of which attracted enthusiastic national review notices:

’Whether writing from the child’s-eye view or the man’s, John Latham emerges from this sad, funny, tender book as a poet who sees truths from a strikingly original angle of vision.’
Jeremy Hooker, Anglo-Welsh Review

’Spectacular writing, with lines that hang around in the mind long after you’ve read them.’
Ian McMillan, Iron

’His verse is almost as passionate recall of childhood and marriage, a poetry of sensitivity such as so many novels offer. The detail is exact, the spirit of the past is conjured through the words most feelingly.’
Peter Porter, Observer


Avalanche in Whitworth Park

The man rising from a bench behind the fountain,
lurching off the pavement onto new-mown grass
is wearing skis.

They leave contrails of flattened buttercups
as he circles a Dalmatian, children with a kite,
rhythm perfect.

I want to ask him why, but his upturned eyes,
empty bottles underneath his bench, show me
he’s at altitude

the Alps perhaps, a track through sunlit pines,
recent fall of powder-snow blanketing all sound,
in purest air.

Sacrilege to interrupt his journey, I turn away
but he calls me, flags me down, lifts his ski-pole
prods my chest.

His breath stale as an unventilated cellar:
”If you stare at people on slopes as steep as this
you’ll start an avalanche”.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover photograph: ‘Editorial Committee of the Gold Hill Literary Society’ by John Latham.
Publication: AUTUMN 1996 (64 pages laminated paperback)