Archives for posts with tag: England

cotton mill manchester
Edge Lane Mill
by Annette Skade

The handrail yanks me up in a torrent of clogs,
hobnail boots, steel toe-caps
that wore down this mighty stone spiral,
sagged it like shoulders after a long shift.

Up three flights into yards of bare boards,
built for power looms and baskets of shoddy.
Engines on turntables spin and spool tubes,
wide polyester for leggings and maxi-skirts.

Behind a glass partition on the shop floor I index,
stamp and tot, try not to lower my school-girl eyes
when the women nudge and link out to the toilets,
patting overall pockets, “Fag break!” tossed to the rafters.

PHOTO: A young cotton weaver working on a Jacquard loom producing towels (Manchester, England, 1965).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My first job was in one of the old cotton mills in Manchester, England, a stone’s throw from where I lived, which was then weaving polyester in an attempt to keep up with the times. I was a filing clerk there for a few weeks in the 70s, putting index cards into small wooden drawers and was paid £20 a week, a sum my mother was disgusted by, saying she wouldn’t let me work for that for any length of time. I stood in awe of the strong women who worked on the shop floor. I little thought I was witness to the end of an era.

Skade

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Annette Skade is currently pursuing a PhD on the work of Canadian poet Anne Carson at Dublin City University. Her first collection Thimblerig was published following her receipt of the Cork Review Literary Manuscript prize in 2012. She has been published in various magazines in Ireland, the U.K. , and the U.S. and has won and been placed in several international poetry competitions. Visit her at annetteskade.com.

tim-plowman
Summer in London, 1980
by Massimo Soranzio

My first long London summer,
so cold and showery at first—
sounds were strange: H’s were dropped,
T’s vanished, and A’s were I’s—
and I’d have tea.

I’d sip my hot tea with milk—
initially mistaken for coffee—
with pink wafers, ginger nuts,
and Garibaldis, of course,
all new to me.

I saw the Empire strike back
at the Odeon that year,
by Marble Arch—still open,
not even converted yet,
with its big screen—

and Jesus Christ, in his last
Superstar season at the
Palace Theatre—followed
by a visit to Foyles, a
book-buying spree.

I felt London was all mine,
in my teens, hopping on and
off an open bus at red
traffic lights, absorbing all
there was to see.

Everything was exciting,
even Fiat mural ads
for little One-Two-Sevens,
or learning how to call home
with fifty p.

Though of all the things I saw
and did, one I would treasure
above all, that Saturday
in July, forever fixed in
my memory:

twenty days to seventeen,
standing at Centre Court, I
knew that my one-pound banknote
was giving me cheap access
to history.

NOTE ON THE PICTURE: I am still trying to recover most of my old London photographs, buried as they are in some hidden drawer or old cardboard box. But I have found this picture by Tim Plowman online showing Fiat’s macaronic-Italian ad for the 127 model, which you would see anywhere in London in the summer of 1980.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The summer of 1980 was my first long holiday on my own, and in London! It was a memorable summer for a number of reasons, one in particular: 20 days before my seventeenth birthday I got up at dawn and—I can’t remember how—I reached Wimbledon and started queuing. I had been studying my steps for a week, so as I got to the turnstiles I bought my access to the courts for £1 and rushed to Centre Court, finding a good standing place, where I would wait till three p.m. for THE match to begin. Today you would have to spend the whole night in the queue, and I don’t think any form of free access to Centre Court is possible anymore, especially on the last day (which is no longer a Saturday, by the way, but a Sunday). Seeing Bjorn Borg win his fifth (and last) Wimbledon against an equally wonderful John McEnroe was definitely the experience of a lifetime.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He took part in the Found Poetry Review‘s National Poetry Month challenges Oulipost (2014) and PoMoSco (2015), and in a virtual tour around the world with an international group of poets on the Found Poetry Frontiers project between 2015 and 2016. His work appeared in two anthologies in 2016, including Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology.

millais1
Old life adieu
by Mark Andrew Heathcote

When I was 9 yrs old, we moved house, upped sticks
Leaving the city for the countryside
I was brought along like the candlesticks
Unwanted baggage, I was petrified.

With nervous excitement I said goodbye —
“Old life” and welcomed a new beginning.
I’m going to climb huge oak trees and pry —
Into nests, my insides were now grinning.

With heart pumping, jumping out of my vest
I’ll chase brown butterflies and dragonflies
And like Huckleberry Finn I’ll digest
The stars the streams the forest as it sighs.

Wasn’t this going to be an Adventure—?
On arrival, it was my dreams come true
No parents or dumb teachers could censor
Old life adieu — off to the fields I flew.

IMAGE: “Dew Drenched Forest [England]” by John Everett Millais (1890).

HEATHCOTE

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR/
FIRST-PERSON BIO: 

Well, I was born in Withington, Manchester, one of three children; I was the eldest and the only boy. We lived in a three-bed terrace house with no bathroom or indoor toilet. I lived there until the age of nine and was a quiet and unhappy child, but that changed when the family moved to the countryside, where I then had the freedom to explore nature at first-hand. I spent much of my free time climbing trees and swimming in lakes and rivers, making rope swings, stuff like that. I was looked on as a kind of Tarzan figure, that’s how all other kids saw me. I was never academic and was years behind all the other children at school. I struggled badly in high school and didn’t learn a great deal. I left school at age 16, taking dead-end jobs on local farms and then in factories. I left home at age 17 —  by then, there had been a messy divorce and relationships weren’t good all round and haven’t improved all that much since. So I moved back to Manchester, where I’m still residing now and have done ever since. I’m a father of five and for the past 14 years I’ve be employed as a learning disability support worker. I write a lot of poetry in my free time and enjoy music and gardening.

collins

Beach Party
by Clive Collins

I grew up hearing Americans sing about summer: beach parties, girls in tiny two-piece swimsuits and fun in Acapulco. One song I remember was called “It Might As Well Rain Until September.” In the English seaside town where my family spent two weeks every August, it probably did.

Our summer place was Skegness, “Skeggy” to the unfortunates who regularly went there. Each spring in our East Midland’s city the advertising hoardings of the railway stations and bus depots, the travel agencies’ windows, broke out in a rash of posters for holiday destinations all around England’s coastline, a paper paradise of fun, sun, sand and pretty girls, but my father’s meagre wage meant we were for Skeggy. Its advertisements featured “The Jolly Fisherman,”a cartoon fat man in a black sou’wester hat, red scarf, blue jumper and tight white trousers tucked into thigh-high sea boots skipping along the shoreline above a caption that read “Skegness is so bracing.” It was. Bitter winds blowing in from the sea usually are. Looking back, across the years, I cannot recall ever seeing anyone in Skegness who was inappropriately dressed for December.

As a seaside town Skeggy was more town than sea. As a beach resort it was more beach than resort, the sea just some distant rumour. In the 1950s, when my family members were regular visitors there, two ex-army DUKWs were used to carry fare-paying passengers down to the water and back again. We sat glumly at the top end of the sands trying to keep warm. When the time came that my parents could no longer tolerate the resort’s bracing effect, we retreated to a café for hot coffees. My sisters dropped sixpence into the jukebox and danced to warm themselves up: “Here Comes Summer.” I listened to the music and dreamed.

CAPTION: The author and his family bracing themselves on the sands at Skegness, England (August 1958).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Revisiting L.P. Hartley’s “foreign country,”where they do things differently.

Clive Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Leicester, England, Clive Collins has spent the greater part of his life working as a teacher in Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Japan. He is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding (Marion Boyars/Penguin Books). Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. More recently his work has appeared in online journals such as Penny, Cecile’s Writers, and The Story Shack. He was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

bilyfury Wondrous Place
by Cath Bore

It is early morning and Liverpool is opening its eyes, ready to wake up, stretch, yawn, and welcome the day.

There’s a tune, a breathy bass riff. A voice, smooth and clear, high but not too much.

I found a place full of charms.

I hear the voice singing, and I know who it is. Billy Fury. I know the song too. Wondrous Place.

I know the singer and I know the song but what I don’t know is where it is coming from at ten to eight on a Tuesday morning in Liverpool city centre. So I follow the song. It takes me to a pub, the old boozer type, doors flung wide open. I near and hear singing, a voice on top of Billy’s. It is thin, slightly shrill, out of tune and time. I peer inside.

The pub’s cleaner in her apron is dancing with her mop, humming. Billy Fury sings to her from the jukebox. She’s seventy-odd with crab-apple skin, turned girlish. She’s smiling, eyes closed, slow dancing. It’s beautiful.

I wanna stay and never go away –

Wondrous place.

She dances with Billy Fury every morning, I think. I hope. Now, I do too.

Cath Bore June 2015
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cath Bore is a writer based in Liverpool, U.K., currently writing a novel and lots of flash fiction. Her website is https://cathbore.wordpress.com.

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Humber_Bridge2

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: Here I am just catching the last of the evening sun reading my copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology with the Humber Bridge behind me. The Humber Bridge, near Kingston Upon Hull, England, is a 2,222-metre single-span suspension bridge that opened to traffic in June 1981. It spans the River Humber, and was the longest of its type in the world when it opened — and is now the seventh longest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lin Whitehouse writes in all genres, and her short plays have been performed in theatres throughout the North East of England. She has had short stories published in The Finger and Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration — an anthology of stories about Whitby — and her poems have been published in Writing Magazine, Turbulence Poetry Magazine, and last year she won a National Poetry competition organised by Barnardo’s. Her poem “Would you believe me” in The Great Gatsby Anthology speaks of Gatsby’s heartfelt love for Daisy.

PHOTOGRAPH: Poet Suzanne Rawlinson with her copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology at Hammersmith Bridge in London, the borough where she lives. She picked this location as an homage to The Great Gatsby — specifically how Gatsby and Daisy live across the water from each other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne Rawlinson is a full-time teaching assistant who also enjoys writing part time following the completion of her studies in creative writing. Suzanne writes across a variety of genres in the form of blog posts, scripts, and poetry. Occasionally she writes short stories and would love to extend the poetry into songwriting. Currently Suzanne is working on a script for TV/radio and regularly contributes to her blog — writing about real-life experiences, issues, and musings. In 2013 Suzanne had a poem published in an online magazine. Her poem “The Destruction of Desire” appears in the The Great Gatsby Anthology. Visit her at a range of social media links: suzannerawlinson.wordpress.comsaucysuesays.wordpress.com, on Twitter, Facebook, or her YouTube channel.

REDFORD
holiday
by Mark Redford

on the coach down to Folkestone: the pages of
Batman DC-14 100 Page SUPER SPECTACULAR

from a time and world before my day whole cities and
lives lived in shadow and yellow light in recede and smirk

in caption and still in number and date –
later we walked down into town from the campsite

from the streets we stepped into the general store
the smell of tins and packed food rose from the

faded lino floor with lime highlights, the comic rack
revolving: seceding titles, successing numbers,

companies of generation, branches discovered,
a distant family, a close ancestry; now traceable

PHOTOGRAPH: Walking the long way down into Folkestone, the author (with his younger brother) with landscapes coming out of his head in more ways than one (don’t worry, he paid the price later when he had it permed and most of it fell out; — eh?; the 1970s: can’t live with them, and yet they’re still here!).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We didn’t have much money after Dad left so we had a few holidays in a caravan of an aunt in Folkestone; the escape from London to the Kent coast added fresh smells and landscape to a 13-year old possibility but also depthened (sic) what I read at the same time (proving the proverb: the more you travel, the deeper you stay where you are). I still read comics, but I mostly smell them now.

mark redford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Redford was born in Bethnal Green, London (within the sound of Bow Bells, ‘wish mayksim a troo cocknee’ although he only speaks like that when ‘ease avvin’ a bubble’). He has been teaching for 28 years and was passionate about the cognitive development of learning until he finally realised that nobody ‘got it’.  While he is recovering from that, he has resumed writing and continues teaching with a wan and slightly ironic smile. He has published slightly too (The Blue Hour magazine, The Haiku Quarterley; and is soon to self-publish MLR Poemics Presents #1; Uncannily green Poems) but mostly transmits, in a tiny voice, from some dark cupboard [that’ll have him] in the posts of mlewisredford.wordpress.

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PHOTOGRAPH: Poet Amy Schreibman Walter took her copy of The Great Gatsby Anthology to The Wolseley, an Art Deco restaurant on London’s Piccadilly, situated in a building that dates from 1921. When first opened, the Wolseley was a car showroom for the Wolseley Car Company. Beautiful motors graced these black and white marble floors. The space has a grand, opulent feel. The Wolseley is famous for its afternoon tea — what Anglophile Jay Gatsby might have hoped to approximate during his tea with Daisy Buchanan at Nick Carraway‘s place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Schreibman Walter is an American poet living in London. A recent Visiting Writer at The American Academy of Rome, Amy’s poems have appeared in numerous publications on either side of the Atlantic. She is the co-editor of here/there:poetry. Amy has long been interested in the 1920s. Her forthcoming chapbook, Houdini’s Wife and Other Poems (out in 2016), features several persona poems written from the perspective of women in the ’20s. Her poem “They Slipped Briskly into an Intimacy from Which They Never Recovered” is featured in The Great Gatsby Anthology.

darren_galpin
YORKSHIRE
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

My love affair with Yorkshire,
is strange to the extreme,
the rain comes down in stair rods,
and puddles turn to streams.

Flint faced buildings stand proud,
the natives just the same;
hard with a directness,
reflecting poverty’s pain.

“Aye up love,” and “Ta duck,”
a mantra of the North,
a warmth and loyal passion,
found around the hearth.

Depleted coal face scenery,
ghost towns from the past,
mine the depths of politics,
betrayed by bluest lass.

Coal-dust mottled snowscapes,
contrast the wuthering heights,
bleak outstanding wilderness,
the slag heap moors by night.

My soul belongs in Yorkshire,
with Brontë, Hughes, and Moore,
this northern heart keeps beating,
‘til death doeth close the door.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up in and around coal mining communities. My Grandfather, uncle, and cousins worked as miners. I saw the devastation caused in the 1980s when the coal mines were systematically closed down one by one. This left the once-thriving communities to waste away into ghost towns of poverty. As a child I had a fascination of the coal-dust mottled snow. Within hours of pristine white snow settling, it was soon speckled with soot and coal dust, as it melted it soon became a grey slurry of slush. The dominating slag heaps were an imposing sight on the skyline and became a rare elegant beauty when covered in snow.

IMAGE: “Frozen Canal” (Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK) by Darren Galpin. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

carr-malcolm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She now lives in Yorkshire, and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. Alex has been featured in five collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing where part of the proceeds are donated to worthy charities. Her first anthology Tipping Sheep (the right way) was released in 2013. Currently, Alex is working on her second anthology to be released later this year. Her poems can be found on her blog www.worldlywinds.com.