Monthly Review

January Review – it wasn’t all about London!

william carlos williamsJanuary by William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

IMG_2830The year kicked off with the poem Midlands Kids by Jane Commane. This took me back to my home town of Coventry where we ‘grew up on the back seats of the long-gone marques of British manufacturing‘ and those who worked in their factories didn’t end up with jobs for life and  vanished from view like ‘the legendary square steering wheel of a paintshop-fresh Allegro.’ (more…)

December Review and Happy New Year

Well, the three months since starting Proletarian Poetry certainly went quickly. December was a bit of a quieter month in terms of number of posts but there were great poems, some of which spread across continents and covered such themes as gender, family, friendship, poverty, and pacts with the Devil.

bewketu seyoumFirst up in December were three short poems from Ethiopian poet, Bewketu Seyoum‘s “In Search of Fat”. I was introduced to Bewketu’s translator, Chris Beckett at The Shuffle, which is the last Saturday of the month in the Poetry Cafe. Seyoum’s poems, trace the history of Ethiopia and the struggle of its people to find freedom and peace. (more…)

November Review – From Nana’s Luck to The Last Gang in Town?

It’s been a great second month for Proletarian Poetry (I would give you the stats but that’s a bit too geeky. I am however, warming my hands over them now).

I have got to know some great poets who have kindly agreed to have their poems featured on the site. As I’ve said before, in terms of working class lives, this is about the poems not the poets; I secretly believe that all poets have written a working class poem, they just don’t know it yet – it’s a class consciousness problem 🙂 Also as I write this, I am reminded how many of the poets I have seen read this month; all are great performers in their own right and way – you really can’t beat live poetry. For example, on Saturday I was at The Shuffle where two featured poets on PP, Inua Ellams and Karen McCarthy Woolf read alongside, Tom Chivers, Holly Corfield Carr, Gale Burns, and Harry Mann. The theme was the environment and there were a great range of poems on the subject.

This month’s poems have covered a number of themes to do with: family, gender, identity, racism, urban life, work and industry, food, and music (got to have the music). There are mothers, fathers, grandparents, butchers, assembly line workers, brass bands, activists, priests, loan sharks, and (to use the title of Inua Ellams’ poem) Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves. (more…)

A Cento from October’s Poems

photo (3)It has been a great pleasure to have featured eleven poems up to the end of October. In order, these were:

1.  Birmingham Roller by Liz Berry (with a video of Liz reading it so beautifully).

2.  Hoxton Stories by Karen McCarthy Woolf

3.  This Zinc Roof by Kei Miller.

4.  North by Paul Summers

5.  Shitneck. Playing the Name Game by Steve Ely (with a video of him reading his poem Arthur Scargill)

6.  Quality Street by Debris Stevenson (with a great performance from her at Wordsmiths & Co)

7.  Portraits of Women – East London 1888 by Anna Robinson

8.  Living Space by Imtiaz Dharker (with a video of her reading two poems for Bloodaxe)

9.  Last Orders for Chesterfield by Helen Mort

10. A Conversation with a Man in Wetherspoon’s by Raymond Antrobus (with a video of him acting it out)

11. I Beg to Apply for the Post by Catherine Graham