Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





Landscape With Small Humans



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Poems by John Whitworth


John Whitworth was born in 1945 and lives in Canterbury with his wife and two daughters. He has been a reviewer of poetry for Poetry Review and has reviewed everything except football for The Spectator. Longish Whitworth poems have been ambushing readers of The Independent’s Arts pages, two have appeared in The Times, one, much to his own surprise, in The Mail On Sunday, and another as an epigraph to an anthropological view on violence in Northern Ireland. He edited The Faber Book Of Blue Verse and sometimes wishes he hadn’t. His previous volume of poems, Tennis And Sex And Death (1989) is still available at 7.95 post free from Peterloo Poets.

Tennis And Sex And Death is witty, urbane, entertaining and infallibly precise verse . . . What is remarkable is the range of emotions (from contempt to compassion) which [he] is able to stimulate . . .’
Peter Reading, Sunday Times Books

’A genuinely funny poet and getting better with each book.’
William Scammell, London Magazine

’doubles you up with helpless laughter.’
John Lucas, New Statesman and Society

’both touching and tender.’
Gavin Ewart, Poetry Review

Landscape With Small Humans, John Whitworth’s fifth volume of poems, evokes a middle-class ‘50’s childhood, the first half spent in a gentle, semi-rural Bakerlooland, and the second half in an Edinburgh fiercely hostile to English incomers. There are 52 short poems, variations on a 20-line form, the equal split between England and Scotland perhaps echoing a split in the poet’s own personality.


A Word On Bullying

The English are good folk to go among;
Tactile, unused to violence of the tongue
Their natural aggression is inchoate:
But Scots are hard, hard men. A Scottish poet
Is still a hard, hard man and lets you know it.

Be nice to people; they’ll be nice to you -
My English lesson but it isn’t true.
Better to learn the butcher-bird, the Shrike
That sticks his enemies up on a spike,
Better to learn pre-emptive counterstrike

And love your enemies as I love mine:
I treasure him, my own, my valentine,
Valentine Tudball – this exultant Jock
With the amazing handle, thought to mock
My name, and turn me to a laughing-stock.

Why did he? You snivelling hypocrite,.
Because he could. Eh Whitworth? Worth a wit?
Eh Shitworth? Worth shit all? Bang on, sweet slanger,
My handsome Valentine, my bold haranguer,
My stormtroop darling and my doppel-ganger


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Poster of an ‘N15’ Class engine shown at Waterloo. Reproduced by permission of the Keeper of the National Railway Museum, York.
Publication: AUTUMN 1993 (64 pages laminated paperback)