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 Empire of Light



Original Cover Price:



Poems by Joan Downar


Joan Downar was born in London, started work as a librarian, then to become an ex-teacher, living in the country outside Nottingham. For many years she acted and sang in the amateur theatre, and has read stories for BBC Radio Nottingham, but now confines herself to poetry readings.

Her poems have appeared in leading national journals (Encounter, New Statesman, Poetry Review, etc.), and in the annual Arts Council anthologies. A pamphlet, River People, was published by the Mandeville Press in 1976. She was a runner-up at the Stroud International Poetry Competition in 1976, at Cheltenham in 1981, the National Poetry Competition in 1982, and winner at Stroud in 1981.

The Empire of Light, Joan Downar’s first full collection, is the 50th volume in the Peterloo Poets series published by Harry Chambers.

“Joan Downar’s prizewinning ‘House Martins’ is typical of this undervalued poet’s precise original evocations of places and people and the way memory works . . .”
Stewart Brown, Outposts 40th Anniversary Number


Norfolk Village

Giant oaks knuckle the sky
where men whose fathers worked these acres
for little bread sell to strangers
their cottages. The glance is sly,

so many Jacques laughing at
so many suspect Dukes to whom
the stink of hens in outhouses, the bloom
of nettles is more graspable than that

complexity which living in the city
is. They sweat still, brown as wheat
on tractors, leaving oilcans in the sweet
hedgerows, muck out prisoned pretty

cattle, build a garage on
their bungalows. They wish good day
to cottagers who come to stay.
The village seems to be at one.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Magritte, 'Empire of Light' (1953-54), Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. (The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation). Photo: Mirko Lion, Venice.
Publication: 1984 (68 pages laminated paperback)