Steve Ely’s Shitneck – Playing the Name Game

Steve ElyFollowing on the heels of my post on Paul Summers, Jo Bell kindly (again) suggested Steve Ely and in turn he offered today’s featured poem, Shitneck (on the Wimpey’s Estate in South Kirkby).

I really like this poem because it reminds me of the way in which young people take on nicknames. My own experience was that you either had an ‘o’ (Dicko, Docko, Stevo) or a ‘y’ (Whaley, Gordy, Murphy – okay that last one was actually a name doubling up as a nickname) put at the end of your name or some derivation of it. I was Scotty because my Father was from Glasgow.

This also relates to how word association is used in vernacular speech. And although Shitneck is about this, as with any good poem it is much more, for Steve shows the harsh hierarchy inherent in such friendships and how your nickname can position you within it.

I also want to have more videos on the site as I think it important to hear poems read out loud by the author. So below I have included Steve reading his poem Arthur Scargill.

Steve is from the Osgoldcross wapentake in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His latest book of poems, Oswald’s Book of Hours, is published by Smokestack and was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2013 and the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2014. @JohonSchepe


wimpeys forever
paul wakefield      was wack
wake wack     wake wack
you can see how that works
tony curtis
yes tony curtis
was curts
thats straightforward enough
craig stoppard
keith whitehouse
graham george
stoppy    whitey    georgie    yawn
steve ely
i was ness pronounced nezz
long story
ely    elli    elliot ness
cant be bothered to enunciate ess
therefore ezz
gary hardy    was lippy
the most loveable
lion by far
lippy the lion and hardy har har
john gothard was scoffer
goth   scoth   goff   scoff
barry brough beever    on account of the bs
steve lowry laz or mad dog depending
and martin brooks     shitneck
because his brother had a mole on his neck
his fucking brother
he said wack nezz    call me brooklyn
we said brooklyn  
where the fuck you get that from shitneck


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