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 Whitworth Gun



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 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,
Yer googolly-gobsocket-diddleypop.

Whaddeyawan wimma dingus, ma doodah,
Ma deeleebob doohickey didgeridoo?
Lessoyer pester eh? Wiznaborn yesterday?
Lessoyer haverin hullabaloo.

Gizza ma tootsicle popsicle flopsicle
Utterly-butterly gobbledegook,
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.


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)