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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Bleeding Heart Yard



Original Cover Price:



Poems by William Scammell


Bleeding Heart Yard is William Scammell’s fifth and finest collection from Peterloo. In his argument with himself and others he highlights the street credibility of the eternal verities in poems of remarkably sensuous beauty: ‘stroking the paper as if it were / all the first things and the last, / a favourite daughter’s thatch of hair, / thin flake of the moon, a creamy dust.’ Poems in this new collection include ‘A Life Elsewhere’ which won the 1989 National Poetry Competition, ‘Dunmail Raise’ (Sotherby’s Award, 1987 Arvon Competition), elegies for Norman Nicholson and Primo Levi, benedictions for his two sons, celebrations of the north, and a virtuoso mediation on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.

From reviews of earlier volumes:

‘Eldorado . . . finds Scammell in cornucopian mood . . . He is as much at home in a traveller’s comic United State as he is recalling bed-sit days in student London, or rendering formal French poems into English. High spirits, low life and great expectations are mixed up in one big bowl.’
 Peter Porter, Observer

an immensely enjoyable collection . . . Scammell is the luck any small publisher deserves and I hope Jouissance sells out again and again.’
John Lucas, New Statesman

There are poems in Jouissance I shall be reading again and again.’
Louis Simpson

William Scammell won a Cholmondeley Award for his first book of poems, and has also won writers’ awards from the Arts Council and Northern Arts. Recently he was Writer in Residence at Nottingham Polytechnic, and he has been a guest artist in California and in Stuttgart. He has been a Poetry Book Society selector, and has written regularly for Poetry Review, Spectator, London Magazine, Independent on Sunday and other journals.


The Emperor of China

          after Heine

My father was a dry old stick,
a martyr to angina
but me, I wet my lips, and I’m
the Emperor of China.

It has green fingers, my sweet schnapps,
it sows a wild perfume
and when I look into my mind
all China is in bloom!

The swamps dry out, the peasants turn
to happy nymphs and gentle swains.
One glance from me, my wife swells up
melodiously with labour pains.

The sick take up their beds and walk.
The civil service goes to work.
All error dies. Peace takes root.
The PM budgets on his flute.

Asparagus instead of rice
is what my people eat.
The pingpong fans dance on the green
by two and two, with nimble feet.

And palace mandarins file out
to smile a meum, tuum,
pigtails flying roundabout
the Heavenly Bicycle Museum.

All the temples fill with souls,
with incense, and with prophecies;
bandits take up begging bowls;
and Jews convert, on bended knees.

Then all the bigwigs vote themselves
out of a job, for love of China.
Rule over us, you poets, rule
flat out, like Heinrich Heine!


I drink too much, the doctor says.
Much he knows, of words or wine.
Here’s a health, a Marseillaise
in mandarin. This empire’s mine!


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: One panel from the 5-panel Japanese print ‘The Hikone Screen’ (early Ukiyo-e School), Li Collection, Hikone, Japan
Publication: SPRING 1992 (64 pages laminated paperback)