Tag Archives: Poetry


An exciting collaboration between La Luna Publishing, Barton based author Nick Triplow and students from Franklin College will reach fruition on Thursday 30th November when The Moon On The Water on Cleethorpes Seafront will host the launch of a new poetry collection entitled In Case of an Emergency. The book also features photography and original illustrations.

The launch will feature some of the young writers performing their work. Copies of the book will be available to purchase.

The anthology has been produced with support from Arts Council England and their funding has meant that the young writers have had the opportunity to receive critical editorial feedback on their work from professional writers and editors Josie Moon and Nick Triplow. They have also benefited from workshops with professional poets Antony Dunn and Helen Mort.

“It would be wonderful to have a great audience at the event to show support for these talented young people and the work they have done,” says Josie Moon, director at La Luna.

The book showcases the talent and courage of its authors so if you’re a poetry enthusiast why not take a trip down to the Moon on the Water and lend your support. The event begins at 7.30 pm and entry is free.

For further information please contact Josie Moon by email at msjosiemoon@gmail.com

We Shall Overcome at The Minster


There was some joyous music and poignant words to appreciate on Saturday night (October 8th 2016) as The Minster played host to a concert of music and poetry in aid of the second annual We Shall Overcome week.

We Shall Overcome was founded in 2015 and has already spread to become a worldwide grassroots movement of musicians, artists and organisers aimed at expressing anger at the human cost of austerity while doing some positive good in their local communities.

The Grimsby concert featured readings by Carolyn Doyley and the Franklin College Young Voices and music from The Life & Times Of The Brothers Hogg who played a set made up of tunes from their new album, Celestial Emporium, plus some old favourites from the first.


The line up was completed by the Fusion Creative Choir, playing their first big public gig, whose excellent set included favourites like Hallelujah and of course Pete Seeger’s theme tune for the evening, We Shall Overcome.

Admission was by donation of either cash or groceries and the event raised nearly £300 plus a huge collection of much needed stock for the Grimsby Food Bank.


You can find out more about We Shall Overcome at their website

The Look Up Festival – review

Look Up

It has been a busy few months for Fusion Creative as they’ve moved into their new home at St Martin’s Church on Scartho Road but all the hard work of is paying dividends as the church has played host to a string of successful events that have included poetry and music sessions, a sold out production of Tales From Narnia and, during the past week, their inaugural major event, the Look Up Festival, which came to a stunning climax last night with a performance by internationally renowned singer Barb Jungr.

Inspired by the Japanese Sakura Matsuri which welcomes the arrive of the cherry blossom each spring, the Look Up Festival has seen a blend of poetry, music and craft that has celebrated the interdependence of the social and natural worlds. Highlights have included a workshop with poet Maria Garner, a young people’s poetry and music recital and an invitation to submit haiku which brought more than 140 entries (nearly 2,500 syllables), each of which was displayed in the church on a piece of blossom on the cherry trees in residence.

Look Up 013

Friday night saw a performance by Coritani Taiko of a new work by Josie-Anne Gray, Thirteen Moons, an account in poetry and percussion of a year in the life of the moongazing hare, a figure from both Japanese and European folklore, followed by a set of fine americana and folk from The Life And Times Of The Brothers

Hogg and the festival was rounded off on Sunday night with Barb Jungr’s visit. Her show, featuring a selection of songs from the collected works of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, was played to an almost full house and saw Jungr tease new shapes and resonances from classics such as Blowin’ In The Wind and It’s Alright Ma as well as introducing the audience to lesser known works from both songwriters such as Cohen’s Land Of Plenty and Dylan’s Things Have Changed.

Look Up 011

Upcoming events at Fusion include an Evening with Henry Priestman on Saturday 11th June and a Circus Spectacular weekend from Friday to Sunday July 1st – 3rd. You can find out more on Facebook or by visiting www.fusioncreative.org.uk


This review also appears in The Peoples Issue 41 Web Edition



I expected Mike Harding to be funny last night. He has always been funny. I wondered whether he might be a bit flat and sad in response to the election or even bolshy and cross. But he was not; he was genial, warm and quietly hilarious. The time flew as he moved seamlessly between tales, jokes and readings of his poems and extracts from his forthcoming autobiography, The Adventures of the Crumpsall Kid, a must-read when it comes out on the basis of last night’s nuggets.

Harding gave an intimate glimpse into his life and times mainly through his anecdotes, some of which were hilariously funny but some of which were heartbreaking. His skill is in the way he moves between the joys and sorrows of life. His stories are tangible and touch the audience because of the common ground. Like many of his generation (he was born in 1944) he grew up fatherless. His twenty-three year old father was shot down and killed a month before his birth leaving his nineteen year old bride a widow and a mother within thirteen months of their marriage. Harding’s moving poem Photo Father told of how he constructed his father from his image over the years. He spoke matter-of-factly about his mother’s grief, of how in spite of re-marrying she never truly recovered from the loss of her first husband and never spoke to her son of his father. Off-setting what might have been a very sorrowful childhood was the presence of Irish Catholic grandparents who clearly adored the young Harding and he them. He brought his grandmother’s Catholic fervour to life in the poem The Devil’s Bible. She believed in the devil as a physical entity rather than as a concept of evil and terrified the young Harding with tales of how the devil would incarnate. His more earthy, atheist republican socialist grandfather would counter with constant criticism of the church and all its doings. On balance there is probably more of grandpa than grandma in the Harding of today although he is no tubthumping firebrand, more a witty and wry commentator on the parlous state of political affairs as he sees it.


Harding read from the autobiography his account of his first day of school and all the attendant horror and trauma it entailed. The audience was rapt, no doubt many of them remembering similar traumas. Harding is all about common experience and a shared past. The demon infant class teacher Miss Worswick is a familiar figure to those who know his work. She is a character known to me and my family because of our shared love of Harding’s telling of the school nativity story You can see the angel’s bum Miss Worswick when one of the angels did indeed reveal all to the audience in a too-short tunic. However, Cissy Worswick was given humanity last night in a new poem about her, Cissy Worswick Waltzes. Harding took away that steely, martinet persona long associated with her and presented a lonely woman, a post-war spinster locked into a servile relationship caring for elderly parents, bound by routine which was broken once a week when after Sunday dinner, Miss Worswick would take advantage of her parents’ napping, close the parlour curtains, strip naked and waltz alone in the dark for an hour. The poem is almost unbearably sad as Miss Worswick comes to represent that generation of women who lost so much as a consequence of the Great War and who had limited, locked down lives.

Harding took the audience on a tour of his life from the brutal Catholic boys’ grammar school run by psychotic priests, through skiffle and youth rebellion to the gentle west of Ireland where he has a small cottage, a place of peace for him and his family, particularly his adored grandsons. I had to wipe my eyes more than once as he read The Running Boys of Summer a poem about missing the boys once they go home but also about so much of love and loss, awareness of getting old and that there is so much more behind than in front these days.

Harding is a seasoned performer and there was never an awkward pause or a dull moment last night. He has the dry humour of a curmudgeonly northerner; a Lancastrian who lives in Yorkshire and cracks jokes about selling trinkets to the natives with a twinkle in his eye all the time. He is a down to earth, pint of ale everyman, a chap who would not do you a bad turn if he could do you a good one with a strong sense of social justice. It bothers him greatly that women can go to prison for benefit fraud totalling £2000 but no one is in jail for the libor scandal that has led to the impoverishment of millions of people.

Harding is, like my parents and all of that generation, carrying a deep seam of sorrow from the Second World War, not so much from direct experience, they were babes in arms when it ended, but from what it did to their parents’ generation and what it meant. It touches everything and informs the very essence of their personhood. As that generation gets old and frail and dies away so does that sense of shared adversity and common purpose. There is nothing like it in the generations following them and that is clearly in evidence in the way the current alpha elite is stripping away at all that was achieved in the years post 1945. They have no sense of its value. Harding is old fashioned. His jokes and stories are old fashioned. But they belong to a world that is better, braver and more honest than the one that calls itself modern and metropolitan. I did not want to leave the world Harding built on the stage last night. It was imbued with kindness, compassion, humour and values worth holding on to. I hope he doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.


Mike Harding is on the web and on Facebook

Barton Ropery Hall is on the web at roperyhall.co.uk

From The Peoples Issue 34 Web Edition

Mike Harding – a life in music (and poetry)

Mike Harding

Mike Harding comes to Barton Ropery Hall on May 16th for an evening of poetry. He’s been a star of the folk music scene for nearly fifty years so it seemed like a good idea to take a quick look back at his career.

Mike Harding is one of those people who are rightfully hailed as national treasures. He’s a singer, songwriter, poet, raconteur and radio presenter and for many years he was the voice of British folk.
Born in Manchester, in 1944, into a working class Irish Catholic family. His father died returning from a bombing raid over Germany four weeks before he was born. During his early years Mike developed a love for music, playing in skiffle and rock bands in the 60s. He has fond memories of sharing the bill with The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Hollies, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and the late Eric Spanner and the Rhythmaires.

Among his early musical influences, Mike lists Lonnie Donegan, Jesse Fuller and Lancashire folk singer, the late Harry Boardman.

After a chequered early career as dustman, bus conductor, road digger and carpet fitter, Mike took a degree in Education, paying his way by working at night in Folk Clubs. Finally, the lure of the bright lights proved too much and he became a full time entertainer.

His success as a live entertainer began in 1967 when, during a gig at Leeds University with The Edison Bell Spasm Band, he began to tell jokes to fill in the awkward pauses while the band tuned up. The patter became part of the act and when the jokes dried up he delved into his store of real-life stories for which he has become famous.

In 1975 the record The Rochdale Cowboy flung him from folk music into the mainstream of live entertainment with his own regular TV series and radio work that continues to this day. He also began a 20 year succession of concert tours with his unique mix of comedy and music, visiting virtually every major venue in the country as well as tours to Australia, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Over the same period he made over 20 albums which still notch up impressive sales to his legion of committed fans.

By the mid nineties Mike had largely abandoned public performances to concentrate on writing and broadcasting, and to indulge his love of fell walking and fly fishing. He’s since earned widespread acclaim for both the quality and breadth of his work with over 40 books and plays published.

Mike Harding Dales Pic

His writing has ranged from comedy to church architecture, from poetry to play writing, from short stories to novels and, unsurprisingly, from fell walking to a manual for fishermen on how to tie flies, with many of the books illustrated with his own photographs.

For 15 years he presented his highly-praised Folk, Roots and Acoustic Music programme on BBC Radio Two, establishing a regular evening audience of a million listeners until he was replaced as presenter two years ago because “the BBC wanted the music to be more in tune with Radio 2’s daytime output.”

Now he presents his own Mike Harding’s Folk Show on the internet, where he’s built an audience of over 250,000 through live transmissions on Sunday teatime and subsequent podcasts. To listen click on http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com

A further change in his pattern of work came four years ago when he was enthused by an ad hoc performance in a village hall near his home in the Yorkshire Dales and decided it was time to go back on the road. With some trepidation a try out stand up tour of arts centres and little theatres was arranged. Publicity was limited but the outcome surpassed all expectations with sell out audiences and virtually all venues asking for a second night before the tour had even started.

Since then Mike has undertaken three more tours to increasingly bigger venues with much the same packed house response, proving that his fans had certainly not forgotten him.
He’s not abandoned his writing either with a new play, Coming In On A Wing And A Prayer inspired in part by the death of his father in a Lancaster bomber. The play has attracted the attention of leading theatre impresario, Bill Kenwright and is currently under consideration for a national tour.

Other recent publications include The VW Camper Van – A Biography and a new collection of his poems (his fourth) under the title Connemara Cantos. In fact, it is his poetry that has become the main focus of Mike’s public appearances in recent months. Last year he undertook a series of visits to literary and arts festivals in Swaledale, Worcester, Stratford, Morley, Thame and the Shetlands with the aim of bringing his poetry to a wider audience.

This in turn has prompted his next tour entitled An Evening Of Poetry With Mike Harding, which will be visiting arts centres and little theatres across the North of England in May.
Although born and raised in Manchester, Mike’s lived in the Yorkshire Dales for the past 44 years – a lot longer than he lived in Lancashire. The move, in 1971, was prompted by his love of fell walking, fly fishing and the countryside in general.

With the Dales as his base, Mike walked and cycled and photographed and lived among the farming community. He became President of The Ramblers for a 3 year term and is now a lifetime Vice President. He is in constant demand to speak on environmental and ecological issues and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

And he’s even been known to admit that there are times when he wishes he’d been born a Yorkshireman.

Words by Geoff Sargieson

This feature is taken from The Peoples Issue 33 Web Edition

Sealed With A Loving Kiss: Candlelight Cafe At the Minster


Friday evening saw another in the highly successful Candlelight Cafe series at the Minster with music from The Honeykeepers, a welcome return for Hull based jazz and flamenco guitarist Ron Burbella readings by The Driftnet Poets and a visit from poet Audrey Dunne, also a visitor from over the water.

Highlights of the evening included a lovely version of Over The Rainbow and an up tempo Has Anybody Seen My Gal from Ron and some inspirational evocations of the scenery and wildlife of the Humber Estuary from Audrey Dunne’s volume Humberlands.


The next Candlelight Cafe is on May 8th – line up to be announced . It’ll be good though. Bet you anything.

Grimsby Minster Events is on Facebook

This feature is also in The Peoples Web Edition Issue 32

To Earthwood And Beyond


Josie Gray talks to poet and author Sime Naylor

Sime Naylor is well known around town as the front man of Merlin’s Keep, as a poet and as a bare kneed the postie with a social conscious. He’s had a busy autumn, producing two new children’s books in the popular Earthwood Series and a also a new volume of poetry, The Waymark. I caught up with him after his daily round to delve further into the wonderful world of the Earthwood stories, for which Simon writes the stories and his friend and illustrator Tim Michael provides the drawings and I started by asking how they came to collaborate.

IMG_8363 copy

‘Tim and I met about 5 years ago when we were both at a local festival. I was aware of Tim’s cartoons and he was aware of my music and we got chatting. When I saw some of his new characters, Red the Squirrel in particular, I thought  of some stories I had written for my kids years before.’

So Earthwood was born and the pair set about creating a series of stories set in a magical woodland.

‘I’ve always loved the outdoors, especially woodland. The woods and trees have a real pull, something ancient, something hidden and magical, but at the same time something familiar and comforting,’ explained Simon when I asked him to tell me why he had chosen a  woodland setting for his world.

‘Woodland has been the friend of the human race since time immemorial, providing food, fuel and shelter, but also creating legend and myth. I guess I wanted to tap into that somehow, and hopefully bring some of the wonder of the woodland to children.’

The books tell the stories and adventures of animals, trees and the environment but they also have a more human dimension.

‘Essentially they’re stories about friendship, about working together, and working with the world around us rather than exploiting it.’

The two new volumes in the series continue these themes. The Scarecrow And The Crow’s Nest deals with fear and looks at how everyone, even if they seem strange, has something positive to offer. Belinda And The Bee’s Nest takes a gentle look at greed and desire and at how we only need take a little of what the world has to offer.

IMG copy

We soon got to talking about poetry, Simon’s love of nature and how he tries to capture that in his verse. The new work is a further exploration of landscape and follows on from his previous two collections.

‘This time I wanted to catch a particular moment in time, with all the associated sensations. Poetry is a very solitary thing for me, a way of distilling and discussing the emotion and inspiration that comes from walking the Lincolnshire Wolds, a landscape that I feel very rooted to.’

Simon explained that he sees his song and story writing as a direct way of connecting with an audience whereas for him poetry is more personal.

‘I reflect upon and record the living landscape that is such a source of imaginative inspiration and spiritual sustenance for me. It’s no surprise therefore, that I admire nature poets. Wordsworth is an obvious inspiration, as is the poetry (rather than prose) of Thomas Hardy.’

Simon finds that the work of other poets inspires him to keep writing and to look to improve all the time. He is never unprepared for inspiration to strike him.

‘I carry a notebook when walking, and sometimes a whole poem or song will flood out. Sometimes it’s only a line and it’ll sit and gestate in that book until the time is right. I do tend to write very quickly, I have this need to get the thing finished pretty much straight away – then I tend to leave it alone and come back and chip away until if finds a form I’m happy with.’

Simon’s books are available from Waterstones and Amazon or directly from the author at Moonfruit Books 36 Manor Ave DN32 0QR.

Poetry £3, Earthwood  £3.50

This interview also appears in The Peoples Issue 30

Welcome to the Candlelight Cafe: An evening of words at music at Grimsby Minster



There was an impressive turnout at the Grimsby Minster as Minster Events hosted the first of its Candlelight Cafe events.

Musical highlights included some mesmerising classical and flamenco guitar pieces by Hull virtuoso Ron Burbella and folk harmonies from Grimsby duo Honeysuckle, made up of Sue and Sime Naylor. Words were by members of the Driftnet Poets who read selections from their work to an appreciative audience.


The event also served as the launch of the Driftnetters’ new project, Crossing Lines, which will see a host of readings, workshops and performances as well as collaborations with local artists, film makers, theatre groups and dancers. There’ll be a weekend literary festival in the spring and a five week exhibition at Abbey walk Gallery curated by Barton novelist Nick Triplow in October 2015.

The next Candlelight Cafe will be on Friday 3rd October in the Minster and special guests will be Cleethorpes born poet Anthony Dunn, Artistic Director of the Bridlington Poetry Festival, and Steven Maxson, organist and master of choristers at the Minster, who will be playing a selection of piano pieces. Tickets are £5 and the evening starts at 7.30pm.

This article can be read in full online in The People’s Issue 29 web edition.