Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





All Clear



Original Cover Price:



Poems by John Latham


John Latham is one of the most original poets to have emerged in the 1980’s. He has won many major prizes in national poetry competitions. All-Clear, his third Peterloo collection, follows Unpacking Mr Jones (1982) and From the Other Side of the Street (1985), both of which drew 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

’The poetic effects are subtle . . . yet he is able to make the tiniest details sing. Unsentimental, plain, but rhythmically invigorating . . .’
John Greening, Poetry Review



I’ve made this pit into my home.
Stool with horse-hair cushion,
scripts all neatly stacked,
hammock slung between the joists,
brazier for tea and rabbit stew.

Great actors are outlaws,
flawed and fancy-free.
They don’t need to see me,
they move to my faint shadow
when I frown or shake my head.

When blindness came
I learned to finger-scan the scripts
and soon could palm whole sections
if I turned my skin to wax.
No need now to light my candles.

Great actors are children,
light with memories,
each opening of the curtain a new day.
If they race into the sun too fast
I tap the stage to make them falter.

Now I’m almost deaf, I gauge pace
from flexing of the boards.
Today I fell asleep in ‘Uncle Vanya’.
Thank God there’s just one story
- different tellings.

Great actors are ghosts,
bringing us new visions
from days of rush and quill.
They don’t need to hear me. Enough
to know I’m with them, mouthing.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover photograph: courtesy of Carmarthen Museum. Photo: Pete Davis. Model: Sean Delaney.
Publication: SPRING 1990 (64 pages laminated paperback)