Poetry

Andy Reading Inside
Les elephants de Mudfog

Les elephants de Mudfog

A bilingual French-English selection of poems written over the last twenty years, from Nowhere Special, Headland, Just as Blue, Comrade Laughter, Sticky and Three Men on the Metro, as well as a number of previously uncollected poems. Translated by Thierry Gillyboeuf, with an introduction in French by Francis Combes.

Le Temps des Cerises/Le Merle Moqueer

Price: €14

ISBN: 9078237071104

Nineteen Forty–eight

A Modern Don Juan: Cantos for These Times by Divers Hands

Fifteen contemporary poets pay homage to Byron’s greatest satirical creation by writing a new Don Juan for the twenty-first century.

Edited with Nigel Thompson

Price: £14.99

ISBN: 9781907869327

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Nineteen Forty–eight

Nineteen Forty–eight

Illustrated by Martin Rowson.

A verse novel (in Pushkin sonnets) set during the 1948 London Olympics.

Five Leaves

Price: £7.99

ISBN: 9781907869327

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Sticky

Sticky

The word stikhi means poems or verses in Russian. It comes from the Greek stikhoi, meaning lines of words – or soldiers. A book of poems about an age of imperial slaughter already sticky with blood and lies.

Flambard Press, 2009

Price: £8.00

ISBN: 9781906601058

View Sample...
Sticky

'By our efforts, we have lit a fire... a fire in the minds of men. 
It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, 
and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.' 
(George W. Bush)

for Adrian Mitchell at 75

One sticky summer afternoon
   Three boys were playing near a wood;
They made a swing, played hide-and-seek,
   And ran around as children should.
Then, gathering some twigs and sticks
   They built a little cairn until
They only needed bigger sticks			
   To light a fire, as children will. 		

Beneath the ancient family tree
   The sticks were watching in alarm,
'What's going on?' Simplistick asked,
   Said Idealistick, 'just stay calm.' 
'I don't like this one little bit,'
   Said Pessimistick; 'I suggest,'
Beamed Optimistick, 'we will find
   It's bound to turn out for the best.'

'No doubt they'll put me on the top,
   Where I belong,' Bombastick boomed,
'It doesn't matter anyway,'
   Wailed Fatalistick, 'we're all doomed.'
Unrealistick then piped up,
   'They're going to build a dinosaur!'
'Of course, they are,' Sarcastick said,
   'That's what they've got those matches for.' 

'It's obvious,' Majestick said,
   'That I'm the stick that they require.'
Artistick said, 'I do so hope
   We're going to make a lovely fire.'
'I'd like to know,' Statistick mused,
   'How many sticks they're going to need.'
Scholastick looked up from his book, 
   'Look can't you see I'm trying to read?'

 
'What's going on?' Simplistick asked,
   'I'm not so sure,' Agnostick sighed,
'I wish I knew - it's hard to say -
   It all depends - I can't decide.'
Iconoclastick threw some stones,
   Enthusiastick tried to dance,
Acoustick strummed, Monastick hummed,
   While Mystick fell into a trance.

When all the sticks were gathered up
   They lay in one enormous heap,
'We've had it,' Fatalistick groaned. 
   Somnambulistick fell asleep.
Said Masochistick 'will it hurt?' 
   'I'm sure it will,' Sadistick hissed,
'How awful,' Altruistick sniffed,
   Domestick snarled and clenched his fist.

The boys then stuffed the bonfire's base
   With piles of leaves and bits of paper,
They passed a box of matches round,
   And tried to light the home-made taper.
Just then the wind began to blow,
   The matches flickered in the breeze,
Said Nationalistick with a snort,
   'Those matches aren't from British trees.'

Eventually the fire was lit,  
   The little flames grew hotter, higher,
'How beautiful!' Artistick said,
   And fell into the glowing fire.
The flames began to lick the sticks,
   'That tickles!' Masochistick yelped,
'I bet it does,' Sadistick grinned,
   Realistick shrugged, 'it can't be helped.'

'I do so hope I look my best,'
   Said Narcissistick with a smile,
'If I am going up in flames
   At least I'm going to go in style.'
'What's going on?' Simplistick asked,
   Fantastick said, 'it's just a joke.'
'It's wonderful!' Ecstatick gasped,
   And vanished in a puff of smoke. 		

 
Ecclesiastick said a prayer,
   Gymnastick balanced on her head,
'Let's face it,' Fatalistick shrugged,
   'It's obvious we'll soon be dead.'
'I must protest,' Bombastick boomed,
   'I'm far too valuable to die!'
'I knew it,' Pessimistick groaned.
   Nihilistick laughed, 'The End is Nigh!' 

Then Communistick raised his voice, 
   'We can't just branch out on our own,
We must resist - all sticks unite,
   Together stronger than alone!'
'I'm not a stick!' Majestick barked,
   'I'm more a branch - or else a bough,'
'A Special Branch!' Sarcastick smirked,
   'It's time you twigged you're firewood now'.			

Said Egotistick, 'I don't care
   What happens to the rest of you,
I've packed my trunk, I'm outta here -'
   Ballistick broke him clean in two.
'I saw that!' Voyeuristick said,
   'So what?' Antagnonistick snapped	.
Elastick jumped on Plastick's head,		
   Evangelistick loudly clapped.

'What's going on?' Simplistick asked, 
   Anachronistick swore an oath,
Surrealistick yelled, 'A fish!' 
   Antagonistick punched them both.
And so the sticks began to fight. 		
   As they were eaten by the fire, 
And one by one the silly sticks
   Became each other's funeral pyre.

The moral of this sticky story 
   Of sticks who were too proud to bend,
Is we must learn to stick together
   Or else we'll meet a sticky end.
Although the earth is hotting up 
   We can't agree on what to do, 
So stick around and ask yourself, 
   What kind of silly stick are you?

Andy Croft
Three Men on the Metro

Three Men on the Metro

with W.N. Herbert and Paul Summers

A journey in verse from the Newcastle Metro to the Moscow Metro.

Five Leaves, 2009

Price: £7.99

ISBN: 9781905512843

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Song of the Banya	

'Not enough bathhouses, not enough soap.'
(Vladimir Mayakovsky)

In this city of well-dressed ambition
   It is hard to peel off from the dance,
But here in the Banya, we say do svidanya
To all of that hustle and hassle and bustle -
   For once in the Banya,
You've nothing to lose but your pants. Hey!

	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!

As long as you're stark bollock naked
   You can stay in the Banya all day, 
The fat and the skinny, the max and the mini,
The lean and the gristly, the clean and the bristly, 
   We sit in the Banya
And sweat all our troubles away. Hey!

	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!

The Banya asks nobody questions,
   The Banya tells nobody lies,
You jump in the water, your manhood gets shorter,
You walk in a mobster and crawl out a lobster,
   The god of the Banya
Cuts every man right down to size. Hey!			

	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!

There's only one rule in the Banya,
   Enlightened self-interest's our cause,
You may be quite podgy, you may look right dodgy
Be sick and unhealthy, or virile and wealthy,
   But here in the Banya -
If you scrub my back, I'll scrub yours. Hey! 

	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!

The Banya treats all men as brothers, 
   The wise man, the fool and the knave,		
No matter how ruthful or truthful you may be, 
No matter how youthful you were as a baby,		
   Outside of the Banya 			
The next place we're equal's the grave. Hey!

	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!								
		
One member one soap is our slogan,
   Uniting the whole human race,
Once step through the door you can't tell the dirt poor
From the man with the itch to become stinking rich -
   If the world was a Banya
It wouldn't be such a foul place. Hey!
						
	Hit me with your venik stick,
	Hit me! Hit me!

Andy Croft

Ghost Writer

Ghost Writer

A literary detective–story written in Pushkin sonnets and featuring a cast of ghosts, spies, poets and hopeless lovers. And it is based on Hamlet.

Five Leaves, 2007

Price: £7.99

ISBN: 9781905512386

View Sample...
'Tis now struck twelve, the world is sleeping, 
There's nothing stirring, not a mouse;
The only sound's the sodden weeping 
That shudders, ghost-like, through the house;
And as the sobbing slowly passes
Among the ashtrays, plates and glasses,
The blinking minutes of the night	 		
Are counted by computer-light.	
The scene is set, the mood is mostly				
Suggestive of the tragic art.
Our hero, Tod, is sick at heart,
His candle-life now flickers, ghostly,	
Pursued by phantoms which, it seems,				
Must haunt him even in his dreams.

Where others dream of sex and money,
Of life as one long endless cruise,
Tod's dreams consist of darker honey -
Of Sunday Supplement reviews,
The Book at Bedtime, Libby Purves,
The South Bank Show, the old World Service.
Ten years ago Tod said that he
Would turn his useless PhD
Into a Waterstone's best-seller.
But in the disappointments since,
Our author - whose full name's Tod Prince -
Has watched his green hopes turn to yellow,
Just like the bills upon the mat 
Inside this weary, stale, old flat.

It once seemed such a good idea!
An easy way to make a splash,	 
The kick-start to a bright career,
The quickest route to fame and cash.
The Thirties being then in season 		
It seemed to Tod there was no reason
His shouldn't join the breeze-block Lives
On which the British book trade thrives. 
The major names already taken
(Woolf, Auden, Swingler, Barker, Joyce),
Tod faced a somewhat narrowed choice;
His chance of bringing home the bacon
Depended on some long-lost Red,
Once widely read, now safely dead.
 
Prolific poet, if somewhat minor,  
Rex Dedman seemed to be Tod's chance.	
He'd fought in Spain and been to China, 
Wrote thrillers published by Gollancz, 
First joined the YCL at Eton,				
Was photographed by Cecil Beaton,
Produced some rather minor verse 
And minor travel books (no worse
Than anything by Stephen Spender),
Was read in Left Review and Fact 
Until the Nazi-Soviet Pact,
Then spent the war years on a bender.
A writer - critics all agree -		
Whose life was in a minor key.

But ten years on and Tod's no nearer
To banking any royalty cheques;
With every floppy disk it's clearer 
He'll not complete his life of Rex.
The usual stumbling-block of course is
A lack of proper primary sources;				
But there's too much in Dedman's case,
So much on poor Tod's database -
Unpublished novels, letters, speeches,
Unfinished plays, libretti, notes.
Tod trawls them all in search of quotes
As if somehow convinced that each is 						
Potentially the final clue 
He needs to make his portrait true. 

And yet, despite such fond devotion,
The archivist's slow, patient art,
Tod can't resist the growing notion
He knows less now than at the start.	 		
As he collects the jig-saw pieces
His sense of Rex somehow decreases,
As if he must have somehow skipped
A crucial dog-eared MS. 	
What's worse, the more that Tod discovers		
About his subject's private life, 
The complications with a wife
And endless mistresses and lovers,				 
The more he struggles to suppress
The thought he likes Rex less and less.
 
Ten years have passed, ten years of worry.
Flat broke, no girlfriend and depressed -
To say that Tod is in a hurry
To get the damn thing off his chest
Is something of an understatement.
But there's no prospect of abatement.
This very witching time of night
He's still awake and trying to write.
Behold the author now composing -
With nothing but occasional sups 
Of lukewarm beer and endless cups
Of cold black tea to stop him dozing
Just long enough to realize
He'll never get the glittering prize…

Comrade Laughter

Comrade Laughter

Poetry for humourless old lefties.

Flambard Press, 2004

Price: £7.50

ISBN: 9781873226667

View Sample...
The Elephants of Mudfog

As the sun climbed up over the chimneys,
   And the traffic jams started to crawl,
Ten stone elephants marched into Mudfog
   And sat down beside the Town Hall.

Now nobody knew where they came from,
   Or what they were hoping to do,
Perhaps they'd escaped from a circus?
   Perhaps they belonged in a zoo?

A terrified crowd quickly gathered 
   And stared at the marvellous sight,
Ten stone elephants sitting in Mudfog -
   It shouldn't be, couldn't be right! 

Then someone alerted the council,
   Who called out the National Guard,
Who called for a SWAT team and air-strike,
   (Cos shooting an elephant's hard).   		     

The elephants stared at the soldiers  
   And blinked in the bright Mudfog sun,
Until a small child ran over and smiled
   And gave one a Greggs' currant bun.

The crowd watched in silent amazement
   As the elephant picked up the lad,
Then stood to its feet and walked down the street
   And brought him back safe to his dad.

Hurrah for the mammoths of Mudfog!
   Three cheers for our elephant chums!			
Although it's well known that they're just made of stone
   Their hearts are as big as their bums. 				

They soon were a local attraction,
   They even gave rides to the Mayor,
Folk came from afar, by coach and by car,
   To stare at them sat in the square.

They starred in a Blue Peter special,
   They handed out gongs at the Brits,
Took part in another new round of Big Brother,
   And modelled the new England kits ;

There was talk of a remake of Dumbo,
   The National Lottery draw, 
The rumours were thick of a Hannibal pic,
   A phone-in on Radio 4.

The jumbos were quite a sensation,
   They helped put the place on the map ;
Some artists came down to visit the town
   In search of some elephant crap. 	

But alas, there were some folk in Mudfog
   Who resented the elephants' fame,
Their lives were so grim and their brains were so dim,
   And they needed somebody to blame.

They stood in the Mudfog elections
   And ranted and raved on the telly,
'You've got to be firm with a stone pachyderm,
   Our watchword is Not on Your Nelly!'.

'We'll be swamped,' said their Florida spokesman,
   'They're animals under the skin,
Once they've heard we're a soft touch in Mudfog
   We'll have herds of them trying to get in!'

Each night in the town's evening paper
   The letters were worried and vexed,
'It's time our friend Ganesh was taught how to vanish,
    'Or else it's our jobs will be next.'

Some said that their skin was too wrinkled,
   Or else that their trunks were too long, 
Unnatural, alien, not local to Mudfog -
    In short that they didn't belong.

The council proposed a solution
   Which they hoped would help sort out the mess,
They gave them permission to stay on condition
   That they tried to stand out a bit less.		

'Do you have to be such a strange colour?
   Do elephants have to be tall?
Could your trunks be a little bit briefer?
   And why can't your ears be more small? 

To be honest, those tusks are just wasted
   On creatures with no sense of price,
Your bums require slimming, your toe-nails need trimming,
   And to eat with your nose isn't nice.

We know you've a right to be different,
   We respect this, as everyone does,
But they say, 'when in Rome', so now Mudfog's your home, 
   Why can't you become more like us?'

The elephants listened in silence
   Then they turned and walked slowly away,
And the only reminder they came here at all 
   Is that Mudfog's now elephant grey.
						
Great North

Great North

An epic poem of the Great North Run.

Iron Press, 2001

Price: £7.00

ISBN: 9780906228890

View Sample...
Mile 1

'Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us' (Hebrews)


Well this is it - the moment has arrived ;
  No second thoughts, it's time to show your mettle,
It's this for which so many months you've strived,
  It's now or never, time to grasp the nettle,
To show the world the stuff of which you're made,
  To put your preparations to the test, 
So here you are, uncertain and afraid,
  In fetching bin-bag, shorts and running vest,
With folk of every shape and every size
  From far-too-thin through medium to weighty,
Who like to take a bit of exercise
  Between the age of seventeen and eighty.
You can't explain just what you're doing here,
  With 40,000 other running nuts,
You're not sure if it's such a good idea,
  Or what exactly's happening in your guts,
Or why, when you could be tucked up in bed,
  You're going to put your body through the trauma
Of running 13.1 miles instead
  (Such thoughts of bed don't make you any warmer).
So this is why you suffered all that training,
  To freeze here on a six-lane motorway
(And now, as if on cue, it's started raining)
  On Tyneside on a cold October day.				

Five minutes still to go before the start.
  You rub your calves, and do your best to stretch,
You try to calm your palpitating heart,
  And worry if your nerves will make you retch.
Three minutes. Though you know you've tied your laces 
  You tie them tighter, synchronise your watch,
Shake hands, exchange some last good-luck embraces,
  Rub ointment on your legs and in your crotch.
One minute still to go. You diagnose 
  A twinge in your left knee you don't recall,
Re-check the time again and touch your toes,
  Decide you need the toilet after all,
When suddenly the starting pistol's fired,
  And this year's Great North Run's at last begun !
And there's no time for feeling stiff or tired
  As 40,000 runners start to run.
Then stop. Then shuffle forward. Stop once more.	
  The anti-climax really is quite stunning ;
You stand for several minutes more before
  You move at all, ten more before you're running.
Though no-one really cares about the winners
  The Kenyans up ahead have crossed the Tyne
While some of us you might call late beginners
  Have not yet even crossed the starting line !			

So many legs, and all of them in front.
  It feels as though you're running on the spot ;
And so we make our grunting exeunt 	 
  In what feels like a syncopated trot,
A jerky, silent epic movie-showing 
  Of crowd scenes shot by Sergei Eisenstein,
A sweaty human river slowly flowing
  From Spittal Tongues towards the River Tyne
And on until at last we reach the ocean, 
  A human tidal wave of wincing faces,
A festival of running in slow motion.
  Where Nessun Dorma meets The Blaydon Races.  			
'Howay the Lads !' the footbridge banners urge,
  Two men in tights ask, 'what aboot the lasses ?'
A sudden line of cones, the roads diverge
  And we descend beneath the underpasses,
Steep-sided like canals at emptied locks,
  To test the empty subway demagogy
As concrete roofs give back the runners' vox
  With cries of 'Oggy, oggy, oggy, oggy !' 				
And then at last the One Mile signs appear,
  A half-unwelcome sight, because although 
The thought of one less mile brings half a cheer, 
  It also means there's twelve miles more to go.
Just as Blue

Just as Blue

Blues for the new century.

Flambard Press, 2001

Price: £7.00

ISBN: 9781873226445

View Sample...
Just as Blue

A breezeless, sunny, Summer day
  At Brooke House Farm, and I'm just four 
Or five, a town-mouse come to stay,
  Homesick perhaps, and not so sure
About this world that's fierce and strange
  And full of things from story-books:
The giant oven in the range,
  The furnace doors I must not touch,

The home-made broom outside the door,
  The baking smells of gingerbread,
And everywhere the friendly, raw
  Tobacco smell of Uncle Fred;
The cellar with its froggy holes, 
  A fox head stuffed with marble eyes,
The fences hung with rats and moles;
  The piglet wriggles in the sties,

The shippon gloom of dust and straw,
  The diesel stink of old machines, 			
The high-pitched smell of fresh manure,
  The dairy's chapel quiet, its clean
And polished, buttered, sunshine taste;
  The angry, barking dogs on chains
Whose unleashed fury must be faced
  If I'm to venture down the lane.

But here, against the haystack sides,
  A ladder climbs to heaven knows where,
A stair up which, half terrified,
  I slither backwards into air,
Till half way up the clouds unfold 		
  Their magic carpet in the skies,
A square of blue enframed with gold,
  A vast and roofless blue surprise.

How close the sky appears from here.
  No child could ever paint such blue
As this, an endless, hurting, clear
  And lovely, lonely, trespassed view.
Within this blue I've built a den, 
  A musty house of bales of straw
To keep out stupid one-eyed hens,
  And hungry wolves outside the door.

How dreamy still and quiet it seems,
  As though the giant world is curled 
Asleep and I'm inside a dream
  Of bean-stalks far above the world,
Where hay bales might be spun to gold,
  And happy endings are all true,
Where little pigs do not grow old,
  And skies are always just as blue.

As if I've had this dream before,
  Down tunnels made with itching legs
I reach to find, within the straw,
  A clutch of warm and feathered eggs,
Like magic beans which only grow
  When all the grown-ups are in bed,
Which lead to where all children know 
  They grind your bones to make their bread.

The sleepy world below now stirs -
  The milking stalls' electric hum,
A distant tractor's muddy purrs,
  The background mumble of the glum
Suspicious cows, as they're pursued
  By Fe-fi-fo-ing dogs and men.
It's time to leave this solitude,
  The giant world's awake again.
Headland

Headland

with Dermot Blackburn

Poems and photographs from the Hartlepool Headland.

Scratch, 2001

Price: £5.95

ISBN: 9781897698143

View Sample...
Edge

Easy to see why they thought it was flat
    On such a bright and windless day.
This was the view from Mount Ararat,
    The world a perfect circle of grey,
A bright, spinning coin in the palm of the hand
    Contained by the sharp horizon's rim,
    A bucket of sunlight, full to the brim 
With all that we know and understand.

Easy too to see why they thought
    This flattened, silver, well-scrubbed flood
Was made for them, each fish they caught
    A salty covenant from God, 
Revealed in every rainbow scale,
    A promise that the sea would hold 
    The hidden gold with which it's shoaled, 
And harvest seas would never fail.

Hard to remember the first surprise 
    When the morning was edged by the black silhouettes 
Of ravenous long-ships, the fisherman's eyes
    When the round world was caught in his nets,
Violent and strange, too heavy to land,
    Too huge to be thrown back over the side,
    An edgeless map, washed up by the tide,
Shaped like a footprint found in the sand.

Easy to see on a day like today
    Why we believe that the world is a sphere,
As the tankers edge their oily way
    Along the slow horizon's frontier
Beyond the curving slope of the earth ;
    And why we know we can't disown
    The promise that we're not alone 
Painted in rainbow oils on the surf.

Beyond the mirrored edge of all
    We think we understand or know
The unacknowledged monsters crawl
    In the amniotic undertow,
The nightmare, hungry things that creep
    Slowly up the pebbled shores
    Of headlands washed by ocean snores
Where watching cliff-top sentries sleep. 

The world's not flat but curved with longing,
    An endless, cambered plain of foam
We whittle smooth by our belonging,
    Ringed by the harbour lights of home,
From where we scan the skies above
    The submerged kingdoms of the blood, 
    The unfathomed mountains of the flood
For our returning human loves.

Gaps Between Hills

Gaps Between Hills

with Dermot Blackburn and Mark Robinson

A three–handed portrait of Teesside, in poetry and photographs.

Scratch Publications, 1996

Price: £7.95

ISBN: 9781897698105

View Sample...
Egerton Street

One more dark, wet, orange night to inhabit,
Walk down, splash through, soak up, at last admit,

Just one more defeat to bite on, chew on, swallow;
There's still worse to come, more rain to follow.

Like this helpless anger, this year's new dismay,
Which blows relentless, blows its strength away.

So many torrential defeats, such dark weather,
Pressing down and through the leaking leather

Of my boots, vulnerable as faith, or love.
You can't be gloomy enough. Enough.
Nowhere Special

Nowhere Special

The latest news from Utopia, poised between pessimism of the intellect and the chiliasm of despair.

Flambard Press, 1996

Price: £6.95

ISBN: 9781873226223

View Sample...
How Blue Can You Get?

'We lived so far back in the woods, we never did get chance to see the sun till twelve o'clock.'
(George Smith)

I take the record from the sleeve
And hold it like a negative,
A print whose well-thumbed edges show
The marks of twenty years ago,
When growing up was still a laugh,
An awkward grinning photograph,
When Elmore James began  to sing
One sticky summer afternoon, and everything
We didn't know, like politics and sex
Was limed forever by those broken, wailing bottlenecks.

And listening now, what was more true, I cannot say,
Our curling, adolescent languor,
Strung out on someone else's black dismay,
Self-pity's need to make more reap
The hugeness of our small town hunger,
Or knowing straight away that this was hoe I'd always feel,
That this is how the world would sound:
Twelve bars of grief and beauty spinning round and round and round...
Everything Flows

Everything Flows

A Celebration of the Transporter Bridge in Poetry

Middlesbrough Borough Council

Price: £5

ISBN: 978-0-86083-092-4

The Night Shift

The Night Shift

edited with Michael Baron and Jenny Swann

An anthology of poems about the midnight kingdom of birds and beasts, insomniacs, breast–feeding mothers and nightshift–workers.

Five Leaves, 2010

Price: £9.99

ISBN: 9781905512584

Speaking English: Poems for John Lucas

Speaking English: Poems for John Lucas

A festschrift for the seventieth birthday of the poet, publisher and critic John Lucas.

Five Leaves, 2007

Price: £9.99

ISBN: 9781905512126

Not Just a Game: Poems about Sport

Not Just a Game: Poems about Sport

edited with Sue Dymoke

An anthology of poems celebrating British sporting life – angling, boxing, cricket, darts, football, golf, netball, polo, rowing, rugby, running, skating, snooker, swimming, tennis – from Arlott to Wodehouse.

Five Leaves, 2006

Price: £9.99

ISBN: 9781905512133

North by North East: Contemporary Poetry from the Region

North by North East: Contemporary Poetry from the Region

edited with Cynthia Fuller

A big, representative selection of 49 of the region's best–known poets.

IRON Press, 2006

Price: £10.00

ISBN: 9780906228937

Red Sky at Night: an Anthology of British Socialist Poetry

Red Sky at Night: an Anthology of British Socialist Poetry

edited with Adrian Mitchell

153 poems by 117 of our best radical poets, from William Blake to Benjamin Zephaniah.

Five Leaves, 2003

Price: £9.99

ISBN: 9780907123491

'Given all this dexterity, resonance, fun, erudition and emotional richness, it continues to flummox me as to why Andy Croft isn't better recognised. Perhaps it's his politics? Maybe his work will be more noticed in some future, more congenial climate? It's worth hoping.'

Stride

'Give the man a gold medal!'

The Journal

'an unreconstructed leftie of the old school, a fine poet who writes very skilfully in carefully formulated metrical stanzas... hilariously slapstick... refreshingly unfashionable and definitely not very post-modern.'

Stride

'Swiftian vigour.'

Tears in the Fence

'Croft is a communicator as well as a virtuoso versifier. Thumping rhymes? More like a thumping good read.'

Other Poetry

'The Alexander Pope of the North.'

John Hartley–Williams

'What Wordsworth was to the Lake District, Andy Croft is to Teesside... Croft's poetry burns with his strong left–wing convictions and also (which many would say is the same thing) a passionate sense of our common humanity.'

Northern Echo

'Andy Croft breathes resilience into perfectly weighted lines'

The Affectionate Punch

'There's a strong sense in these poems of writing for a sense of community, of defending values which have been all but defeated.'

Terrible Work

'Andy Croft produces staggeringly flawless verse which is never heartless in perfection.'

The North

'Wit and brio.'

The Guardian

'the sentiments are cheap and banal... like third rate Victorian verse. Unless you're writing for children or to be funny it does make the poetry look dreadfully old fashioned. Not many people, post Eliot, write like this any more.'

Tribune

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