Guest Editorial: British Working Class Writers (Paul Brookes)

My choice is uneven. There are more men than women. More Northern, than Southern. More able than differently abled. More White than other colours.

When I feature writers I do not include photos of them because I would rather their work speak for itself.

As the cliché of a lower middle class author promoting working class writers I have asked another permission to use her incisive words on working class writers. Her name is Fran Lock. What follows are her words:

"A post-war northern male version of working-classness is one of the few acceptable faces of working-class identity permitted to proliferate across mainstream media platforms. This is deliberate: the poetry's distance from the material realities it describes presupposes and encodes a nostalgia, a looking back that defuses potential threat (social or poetic), softens the language of experience, and makes safe what might otherwise be challenging to the cultural status-quo…”

 

“Working-class experience is, rather, characterised by its hybridity, its intersectionality. It is a melting and merging of cultures and customs under the impetus. of overwhelming economic and social pressure. It's what drives our creativity and resilience, our flair, our beautiful shoe-string inventiveness with language, with fashion, with music, with food. And it's this that's under threat; our image of ourselves as capable of embodying all of these things, and our right to know them and claim them as ours...”

 

“I will keep going, because working-class people are waking up to the urgency of this situation, because for the first time in a long time it feels as if we are galvanised and primed to become the authors and the archivists of our own experiences and stories. I am excited to be a part of this. I am excited to show people the sheer breadth and depth of what we can do. I'm excited that this could mark a genuinely significant turning point: no longer obsessed with defining or defending some invented and illusory idea of "the culture", singular, we're expanding, extending, exposing and evolving the notion of what that might be. A gorgeous, shameless, hybrid beast...”

 

All quotes from (fromDon't mention the word class! The theft of working-class culture” Culture Matters, https://www.culturematters.org.uk/index.php/arts/poetry/item/2901-don-t-mention-the-word-class-the-theft-of-working-class-culture )

Another important site is Peter Raynard’s https://proletarianpoetry.com/,

Both poets have work included here. I will let their work speak for itself. 

Paul Brookes
Guest Editor, SETU, October 2022, Special Edition on British Working Class Poets


Paul Brookes is a shop asst. Lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. First play performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Hull. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He is Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and challenges. Had work broadcast on BBC Radio 3 The Verb and, videos of his Self Isolation sonnet sequence featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley. He also does photography commissions. Most recent is a poetry collaboration with artworker Jane Cornwell: "Wonderland in Alice, plus other ways of seeing", (JCStudio Press, 2021) , sonnet collections: "As Folktaleteller" (ImpSpired, 2022), forthcoming "These Random Acts of Wildness, (Glass Head Press, 2022)


Special Edition: British Working Class Poets
Featured Authors

Holly Bars
Bob Beagrie
Jane Burn
Chaucer Cameron
Frank Colley
Ralph Dartford
Sarah L. Dixon
Tim Fellows
Martin Figura
Toria Garbutt
Martin Hayes
Brian Herdman
Helen Ivory
Mick Jenkinson
Jeannette Hatterley
Gaynor Kane
Aaron Kent
Kenny Knight
Hannah Linden
Fran Lock
Kim Moore
Anthony Owen
Ian Parks
Peter Raynard
Anna Robinson
Paul Tanner
Julia Webb
Joe Williams
Sarah Wimbush
Geoff Hattersley

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