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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Their Perfect Lives



Original Cover Price:



Poems by John Levett


Their Perfect Lives is the third Peterloo volume by a poet who first came to attention 1982 when he was the recipient of the New Statesman's Prudence Farmer Award judged by Michael Longley. Since then his poetry has appeared in a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, London Magazine, London Review of Books, New Statesman, Spectator, and Times Literary Supplement. He was joint first prizewinner in the 1991 National Poetry Competition. His two earlier volumes, Changing Sides (1983) and Skedaddle (1987), are still available from Peterloo.

From reviews of Skedaddle

’. . . the poems in Skedaddle are marked by considerable formal skill, robust wit, and a sharp eye for the striking and memorable image. John Levett is developing into a poet of no small stature.’
Simon Rae, Times Literary Supplement

’There's a touch of the Marvell in his urbanity. He writes lucidly in good rhyming stanzas . . . and resonates.’
Herbert Lomasm, London Magazine

’. . . humane, disenchanted . . . he handles rhythm and rhyme with considerable virtuosity.’
Peter Porter, The Observer

’. . . Levett can write and any one of the pieces from this collection could bear witness to that talent as he recalls moments of domestic unquiet and gives meaning and significance to everyday observations.’
Simon Armitage, Orbis

His verse swaggers, coruscates, is witty. Levett places his words with the care of someone completing a mosaic, and produces a heightened diction . . . He is as good a poet as any I know of writing in this country now.’
John Whitworth, Poetry Review


A Long Shot

Lacking a dice my ingenious son
Has made a frail, six-sided paper one.
A lobotomized cube, its hunkered shape
Is sealed with twelve collars of sellotape
And decorated with twenty-one dots
Like orbital, lunar forget-me-nots.
He throws the dice for five, I roll a three
Astonished by its botched geometry,
Its bobbled spin, its solo hit and run
Through house dust turned galactic in the sun.
It lands askew, he gets down on his knees
To focus on the inked astronomies
And breathes in very slowly to address
This momentary perch of randomness;
Our carpet and our sofa that maroons
The hindered odds on six blue paper moons.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: George Tooker, 'The Sleepers III' (1976)
Publication: SPRING 1994 (49 pages laminated paperback)