The titles are inspired from these poems & poets:
  • You’ve Ruined My Evening / You’ve Ruined My Life - You’ve Ruined My Evening / You’ve Ruined My Life, Tom Raworth
  • Poet appointed dare not decline - Briggflatts, Basil Bunting
  • Look through my eyes up at blue - Enter a Cloud, W.S. Graham
  • Yacketayakking - Howl, Allen Ginsburg
  • Vanished into nowhere Zen - Howl, Allen Ginsburg
  • You’re on your own / It’s off / It’s on - Beautiful Habit, Tom Raworth
  • Words can make no difference now - Unlearned, David Burnett
  • I was that boy who fell to earth - About Cambridge, Tony Lopez
  • I know this world's so torn but I want no other - V, Tony Harrison
  • Hello Mr Cutler - Irk, Ivor Cutler
  • It’s love, so there - The White Queen, Tony Harrison
  • I grew up ~ a solitary child - Going “home”, Wendy Mulford
  • Don't imagine (ever) an ending - No More Parades, Wendy Mulford
  • No fuss, no fret - A little celebration, Gael Turnbull
  • Open, the bright petals on her outspread wings - Batu-Angas, Anne Cluysensaar (adapted)
  • As the years slide by - The Books, Lee Harwood
  • Private tenderness - Durham, Tony Harrison
  • Sitting in firelight, your face a shadow - Sitting in firelight, Tom Pickard
  • Her arms outstretched - A Coney Island of the Mind, 6, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • I am as ever beside you - Poem of this Poem, Andrew Crozier
  • Where’s the JAZZ, man, where? - Requiem for BIRD, Gregory Corso (adapted)
  • I put out the light and listen to the rain - Second Fragment, John Riley

Ode to Poetry — The British Poetry Revival

Back in 1966 the finest British and American poets were reading at Morden Tower, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne at a time when they were unheard elsewhere in England.

In this ancient candlelit medieval turret room in the once walled city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England; poets were given a forum to read their poems aloud, and to intimately connect with a deeply appreciative audience of precocious students, soon to be hippies, and poetry-curious delinquents.

Poetry, like music, is to be heard

– Basil Bunting

The Tower readings were started by Connie and Tom Pickard in the summer of 1964 with an enthusiastic Tom soon seeking out local modernist poet Basil Bunting — who studied with Ezra Pound in 1920’s Paris — to join in the readings. Inspired by the counterculture he found at the tower, 65 year old Bunting started writing again and penned his modernist masterpiece Briggflatts, giving its debut reading at the Morden Tower in 1965.

Meanwhile the American Beat poets like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and and Black-Mountain poets Robert Creeley and Ed Dorn were lured to read at the tower by Tom Pickard - one of the few places outside of the US that welcomed the reading of Post-modern American Poetry.

Morden Tower was smaller than I expected and less comfortable to sit around in, but I was so excited by the idea of reading with Bunting in the audience that I read for 3 hours.

– Allen Ginsberg

The poetry revival was well on its way.


The drawings in Ode to Poetry are inspired by the photographs of the late David M James of the North East poetry scene at Morden Tower in Newcastle, the Colpitts in Durham, and other poetry venues in the 1960’s and 1970’s (and used with the permission of his family).

The portraits celebrate many leading poets from the British Poetry Revival as well as the audience who provided a creative exchange which fed and strengthened their work to the enrichment of both parties.

Those portrayed include:

  1. Tom Pickard, co-founder of the Morden Tower reading series and an important initiator of the British Poetry Revival. Sitting in firelight, your face a shadow
  2. Connie Pickard, co-founder of the Morden Tower reading series. The Tower Reading Room is still running today with Connie at the helm. Sitting in firelight, your face a shadow; As the years slide by
  3. Gael Turnbull, Scottish poet and an important figure in the British Poetry Revival. Gael was instrumental in developing ties between the avant-garde British poets and American poets. No fuss, no fret
  4. David Burnett, Scottish poet and co-founder of Colpitts Poetry, one of the UK’s most prestigious live poetry reading organisations. Words can make no difference now
  5. Ivor Cutler, Scottish poet, humorist and songwriter who regularly performed his humorous poems in his soft Scottish burr on the legendary John Peel BBC radio sessions. Ivor also appeared as the bus conductor in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film. Hello Mr Cutler
  6. Wendy Mulford, Welsh poet associated with the British Poetry Revival and the development of feminist poetry in the 1970s. Don't imagine (ever) an ending
  7. Tony Harrison, English poet and playwright, widely considered to be one of Britain’s greatest living poets. I know this world's so torn but I want no other
  8. Rosemarie Harrison, artist and first wife of Tony Harrison (nee Rosemarie Crossfield Dietzsch). It’s love, so there
  9. Tony Lopez, English poet who was one of the younger members of the British Poetry Revival. He later became Professor of Poetry at the University of Plymouth. I was that boy who fell to earth
  10. John Riley, English poet who was murdered at the height of the British Poetry Revival in 1978. His poetry became so hard to find in print that a rare volume was selling for £10,000. I put out the light and listen to the rain
  11. Anne Cluysenaar, Belgian born poet and painter who established the literary magazines, Scintilla and Sheaf before her untimely death. Open, the bright petals on her outspread wings
  12. Richard Kell, Irish poet reading at Morden Tower Poet appointed dare not decline
  13. Cynthia Fuller, English poet and editor. Private tenderness
  14. Elaine Feinstein, British poet, founder of Prospect magazine, and the first publisher of Beat poetry in Britain. You’ve Ruined My Evening / You’ve Ruined My Life
  15. Dave Westerley, a frequent attendee at the Morden Tower readings. Vanished into nowhere Zen
  16. Unknown audience members You’re on your own / It’s off / It’s on, Look through my eyes up at blue, I grew up ~ a solitary child, Her arms outstretched, I am as ever beside you
  17. Brian Whaley, a Lifelong jazz enthusiast and the artist’s inspiration for this exploration of counterculture in North East England. Where’s the JAZZ man, where?, Yacketayakking