THE WHITWORTH GUN
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 a general reviewer for The Spectator, and his poems have appeared in most of the leading poetry journals and magazines as well as in The Times and the Arts pages of The Independent. They have also won prizes in competitions.
The Whitworth Gun is John Whitworth’s eighth individual collection and his fourth from Peterloo. One of the poems within it was part of a BBC 2 film; another was written for, and broadcast by Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4. An explanation of the volume’s title appears on the half-title page. And what is The Whitworth Gun loaded with? Here be word games. Here be a fine excess. Jump aboard Whitworth’s jolly-Roget rhyming roller-coaster for a rib-tickling, white-knuckle, easy-reader ride! (Here also be the tears of things).
’John Whitworth’s poems are as smart and full of fun as a pair of glazed tap shoes. He is a wise , rueful virtuoso.’ Les Murray
From reviews of earlier collections:
’Tennis And Sex And Death is witty, urbane, entertaining and infallibly precise verse.’
Peter Reading, Sunday Times Books
’John Whitworth’s Landscape With Small Humans is about concepts of nationhood, but as perceived through the vividly-realised shocks and pressures of childhood. It’s a kind of Songs of Innocence and Experience filtered through a Fifties world of Fairy Soap and Ex-Lax, Ike and the King’s death . . . Rhyme is completely at his tragic-comic service, and something about the angry, self-bruising tone lifts the whole sequence off the usual My Early Days turntable.’
Adam Thorpe, The Observer
’Whitworth has wittily turned this collection of sonnets into a terse mode of thinking on the history of poetry, its shifts and tastes and above all its variance from stars of hope to stripes of sorrow. We meet the poets in their various roles as unconscious comedians, tragedians, War Poets, Opium of The People Poets, Stalanist Poets, Scotch Whiskey Poets, Plagiarists, Concrete Poets . . . In short, From The Sonnet History of Modern Poetry is a laugh from within. It’s a poetry book that’s needed to keep poets sane, to keep them out of pubs, a book to keep some poets from going to church and to prevent others from starting up a new religion. It’s a book that sends the nine muses walking down the catwalk of poetry fashion, showing off their wares. Whitworth speaks with the authority of a satirist . . . The line drawings by Gerald Mangan have the same provocative quality as the sonnets and go to make a duet in satire . . . All the drawings are quick-witted and aphoristic statements . . . From The Sonnet History of Modern Poetry is an essential handbook for all serious poets.’
Noel Manahan, Honest Ulsterman
Gimme yer thingummy, gimme yer whassisname,
Gimme yer whosit yer oojamaflop,
Gimme yer gewgaw, yer gizmo, yer gadget,
Whaddeyawan wimma dingus, ma doodah,
Ma deeleebob doohickey didgeridoo?
Lessoyer pester eh? Wiznaborn yesterday?
Lessoyer haverin hullabaloo.
Gizza ma tootsicle popsicle flopsicle
Gizza ma cuddlekin, gizza ma tickletum,
Gizza ma snuggley-puggley-pook
Nunnayer blokery jiggery-pokery,
Nunnayer rammy, yer jammy wee tyke.
Tickle ma butt, uh? Yuh nerdy wee nutter,
Yerin likka ferret then affanyer bike.
Wanya ma silly, ma daffydowndilly,
Ma bibbley-bobbley bubbleybo.
Needya ma flubadub, needya ma kickywick
Sweetiepie, tweetiepie, jellabeyjo.
Yer nackered ye rackety tickety-tackety,
Blatherin bletherin bladdera wind.
Intaya taxi yer ootonya jacksi
Yer dumped, deselectit, yer rubbish, yer binned.
THE WHITWORTH GUN
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: by June English and the author.
Publication: AUTUMN 2002 (87 pages laminated paperback)