Humanity Hallows Issue 4 Out Now!
By Benjamin Francis Cassidy
Poet and Manchester Writing School student Keith Hutson recently launched his new poetry pamphlet Routines at Waterstones in Manchester. Guests at the event included Bridport Prize winners Mark Pajak, and Carol Bromley, as well as Manchester Writing School Lecturer and Poet Helen Mort, a five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets prize.
Many of the audience came from far and wide to support Keith and hear his work, including visitors from York and Chesterfield. If this wasn’t homage enough, Poet Laureate and Manchester Writing School Creative Director, Carol Ann Duffy also came along, and when Keith thanked her for coming, declared it was her “privilege” to be there. Other guest poets at the event spoke with great warmth of how they know Keith, referring to his generosity, his skill as a poet, and his success in competitions and poetry magazine publications such as North and Magma.
Keith’s background is in script-writing and amateur dramatics but he has recently decided to concentrate on poetry, choosing famous (and infamous!) performers of the numerous music halls of the north of England, from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century and immortalising them in his poems. The poems are as funny as they are poignant.
As a performer, Keith’s ability to hold an audience and thoroughly entertain them was something to be marvelled at. This was thematic to the poems and brought them to life by re-enacting much of the physical humour of those he writes about. Keith’s love of this form of entertainment emanated from his performance and the enthusiasm he applied to each story about the poems he read. It was very much as if he was talking about old friends no longer with him, and not strangers. They had touched Keith’s life enough to be the major influence in his poetry.
The poems themselves were cleverly written and each of them took the audience back to a place where, what Keith called “gentle northern laughter” was the popular choice of the day, for towns and cities everywhere. Keith’s delivery gave the younger people present an introduction to those whom history doesn’t seem to remember. It was Keith who brought them back to life, and celebrated their lives among friends. Consequently, the small room became a mini-music hall itself, and the notes and melodies were the raucous peals of laughter Keith invited, that amplified the atmosphere. With so much talent present, and such a love of poetry itself on display, this was a brilliant night, with Keith on top form.