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 Human Cage



Original Cover Price:



Poems by Elma Mitchell


Elma Mitchell was born at Airdrie, Scotland in 1919. She is a professional librarian and has worked in broadcasting, publishing and journalism in London, but is now living in Somerset where she works as a free-lance writer and translator. This is her second collection. Her first collection, The Poor Man in the Flesh (1976), was a runner up in The Arts Council of Great Britain and Provincial Booksellers’ Fairs Association Poetry Award for 1977. In the same year Elma Mitchell was one of the five 200 first-prize winners in the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Poetry Competition.

From the reviews of ‘The Poor Man In The Flesh’:

‘Elma Mitchell’s The Poor Man In The Flesh is surely one of the most compassionate, down-to-earth, feminine – not feminist – collections to appear in the last year.’
Anne Stevenson / The Listener (1976)

I particularly admire Elma Mitchell for her movement and energy, her marvellous inventiveness and her extraordinary intelligence.’
Benedict Nightingale / Critics’ Forum, BBC Radio 3

‘. . . as a whole [The Poor Man In The Flesh] is intelligent, witty, rhythmically skilful and moving far, far beyond the ordinary level of poems in magazines or indeed between covers . . . That a poet so obviously and generously talented should not have been encouraged by a major publisher is regrettable, and means that this collection is not likely to penetrate to many bookshops. I can only say that readers will not regret the effort involved in ordering it by post.’
Julian Symons / The Sunday Times


Good Old Days

My neck, where love ran
Just under the skin
Is now an old rickety ladder to the brain.

My breasts, a full delight
For child and man,
The setting
To carry rival jewels,
Dangle now untidy,
Unharvested, over-ripe.

The wishbone of my legs
Has changed their wishes’ destination,
Shin repeats to shin,
Welcome, death, you may come in.

I should be cheerless
As a crow in winter fields
When the light is going

But up here, at the top of the spine, behind the eyes,
Curtained a little, but not blind,
Sits a young and laughing mind
Wondering which part of me is telling lies.


Price 1.95 per copy 
Cover illustration: Drawing by Nurit; © 1977 The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.
Publication: DECEMBER 1979 (64 pages laminated paperback).