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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Tennis and Sex and Death



Original Cover Price:



Poems by John Whitworth


John Whitworth was born in 1945 and lives in Canterbury with his wife and two daughters. He has taught English Language, English Literature, Business Studies, Elementary Economics and Creative Writing. His first three volumes of poetry were published by Secker & Warburg, the last being Lovely Day Far A Wedding (1985). Tennis And Sex And Death is John Whitworth’s first Peterloo volume, Poems within it first appeared in The Literary Review, London Magazine, Poetry Review, Spectator, Times Literary Supplement and other leading journals. Some of the poems have been broadcast on BBC radio.

From reviews of John Whitworth’s earlier volumes:

’Whitworth is one of the most irreverent writers at large in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain . . . a splendid satirist . . . immensely lively reading.’
                                            Alan Bold, The Scotsman

’a worthy addition to the meanwhile-back-to-life school fathered by Gavin Ewart.’
                                          Philip Larkin, The Observer

’. . . a sort of male Wendy Cope . . . but he is altogether more robust and contemptuous’
                                            Dick Davis, The Listener

’Gleefully biting every hand and shibboleth in sight, Whitworth writes with infectious verve.’
                                    William Scammell, London Magazine

’. . . there is more to Whitworth than fun and bum: with him the virtuosity of light verse can seem close to high art.’
                                            Peter Porter, Observer


Poems For a Very Small Daughter (extract)

2. The Things

Some of the things our daughter’s got:
She’s got a ball. You throw the ball.
She throws it back, or sometimes not.
Most babies scarcely throw at all.

She’s got an orange knitted cat
Which is perhaps a kangaroo.
Opinions differ as to that.
One must suppose the knitter knew.

A matchbox, an engraved brass bell,
A dish, a spoon, a plastic cup,
A tower she can knock to hell
(I’d like to see her build it up),

A woolly bobble and a puck -
ered tube that held a fat cigar,
A big duck and a little duck,
Three rattles and a Hong Kong car.

What life in lists inheres – the names
Of wild flowers, railway stations, kings
And queens of England, children’s games,
Dead poets. And our daughter’s things.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Paul Klee: ‘Der Berg Der Heiligen Katze’, 1923. © Cosmopress (Geneva), DACS (London), 1989
Publication: 1989 (68 pages laminated paperback)