Toria Garbutt (British Working Class Poets)

Toria Garbutt

Toria is a writer and performer from Knottingley, West Yorkshire.  She is a regular tour support for Dr John Cooper Clarke and has performed in some of the UK’S largest and most prestigious theatres.  In 2016 she released a poetry album with record label Nymphs and Thugs and her first poetry collection was published by Wrecking Ball Press in 2018.   She writes for award winning theatre company Not Too Tame and has had her work showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Toria recently appeared on the front cover of Big Issue North and in The Guardian's article 'The Rise and Rise of the new poets'. 

Toria teaches English and Creative Writing in a variety of settings including a democratic learning community and the Criminal Justice System. She believes in the transformative power of words and using poetry to turn pain into purpose. 

Having returned from a European tour with John Cooper Clarke, Toria is currently writing her first one woman show, 'kicks'. 



hot plastic moon


it's all t'time these days a can't think straight need a break a fag to lose some weight

it's all t'time these days and it dint usesda be all t'time not much not much a bit a bit

a bit of a kick off now and again a bit of a hole-punch now and again when t'doorbell dringged or t'kettle shot hot clouds from t'spout

first thing on a morning or last thing at night when you XXXX find your keys your cards your fags your trousers for work

when your mam rang in secret and went "aw he's had ard time please understand he's had a tough ride just try to be loving and loyal like me be busy making lists n cooking his tea and popping to t'shop for Pepporami hots n bog roll n bin bags n kitchen cloths be busy be thin just be good to him and you waint even flinch when he bruises your skin cos you'll know ahhh you'll know that he loves you too much to be yourself loves you too much to watch you laughing wi somebody else"

but when it's all t'time it int easy to do it and when it's today I waint ever get through it and there's nowhere to go when t'days so late no change for a bus no credit no mates no sugar in t'bowl to sweeten the blow and the kettle's on the lino

a hot plastic moon.


Nowt Matters Now


In Knottla

we smoke smack

for pain

to hide the guilt

and blame

and shame

of unemployment

we play guitars

and gaze at stars

to feel warm

and safe

and happy

we're grungers

and flower children

90s mop haired lovers

and swaggers

who pile into

transit vans

and blag it

into Glastonbury

Our art is beautiful

it's Hendrix n Pixies

n 60s psychedelia

n Cecelia is brekkin

are hearts man

she's brekkin are

XXXXin hearts

Oasis hats

tinnies n flares

Britpop blasts n blares

through Warwick Estate

on carnival day

we win goldfish

then we eat em

for dares

Act a XXXX

infront o t'mayor o Ponte

'are kid' this n 'are kid' that

are nasal tones raight

suited Manc

mi mate Roachy

wa mad for it man

He showed me this trick

wi his fist

in t'pissin darn rain

in t'park

we held invisible umbrellas

owwer us heads

n stayed art til dark

dry as mi nanna's scones mate

You wa this ballerina boy

in a hat

on a mission to Brov woods

wi a guitar on your back

wi weed n beer n stories

n smack

n all t'time in t'world

to do mad stuff like that

Thought we'd be here forever

weightless n old

burnin rocks

instead of coal

burnin for us fathers

n us grand father's souls

But muckers dunt stay muckers

when t'sun's gone down

when t'honeymoon is owwer

n you're rattlin for t'brown

n you'd rob your mother's

wedding ring

n flog it up town

cos nothing is sacred

when t'sun's gone down

when you're gagging

for a bag

n your nose is on t'drip

n you'd tek your mam's

last tenner

for a quick n easy fix

cos nowt matters nar mucker

nowt matters nar

That night you walked home

from your dad's

you dint mek it

past t'railway tracks

wa you actin stupid?

Did you lay down to look at stars

n fall asleep?

or did you weep

n wait for death

to tek you?


I wish that I'd bin with you

cos id've held mi fist above you

n kept you dry


Dares not to dream


Shit sticks in corners of forgotten towns

where mams shoot smack in dressing gowns

where old women,

weathered as wellies

sit by their sens

sup pints

at eleven

No coffee mornings

for these

old lasses

no OAP yoga classes

They've come here to forget

they've come to put

their minds at rest

and what a XXXXing dreadful mess

what a XXXXing mess

They are strong

as Yorkshire tea

wear rings like

Indian feathers

Chiselled from

the rocks of Leeds

this is where they live

and breathe

this is where

they can not sleep

this is where they weep

at night

this is where they weep

And her head’s hurting

just there

 Chicken hand

on silver hair

when she remembers

Blows smoke rings

up to heaven

wipes froth

on a buttoned sleeve

dares not to dream

dares not to dream

dares not to dream











Jeanette Hattersley

Jeanette Hattersley’s poetry has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies over the past forty years and in two collections: Call it Mature (1988) and Time of Her Life (1993), both from Smith Doorstop Books. She co-edited the small press poetry magazine The Wide Skirt between 1991 and 1997 and is currently seeking a publisher for a new collection of her work entitled Washing Nellie Paisley.



In the afternoon the woman who made wedding dresses

for half the town paints, like a child, a bouquet


of primary colours. The stems run down the paper,

flatten on the lower edge like a stagnant pond.


The woman who drove a van, delivered milk

to half the town, paints a house with no curtains.

The windows are empty, no sign of life.


The woman who baked, who mended and sewed,

whose grand-daughter lives with a man “out of wedlock”,

loses all patience and throws her brush down.


The woman who ran the riverside café, a day out

for half the town, paints a tree without leaves.


All of them smirk at each other’s efforts,

hold their own out for the others to see.


Washing Nellie Paisley


To the memory of my Great Aunt


A kindly voice, conspiratorial,

like velvet soft skin unfolds

in the morning scent of sleep.


We undo a nightdress,

home- made before the knuckles

became useless.


Roses shower down wallpaper.

Do I have any boyfriends?

She winks like someone at school.


Suds on skin taut

on swollen vertebrae.

A nice clean young man,


none of this long hair eh?

The voice deepens,

tea thickens


in a white china cup.

Oyster coloured, the corset

is eased on,


a second spine of little hooks.

Don’t let anybody down,

she whispers, behave yourself.


A modern song bursts

from a portable radio.

She knows all the words.


They’re grand lads,

she says as the clean-cut trio

fill the room.


We draw back the quilt

before we leave.

Squares from sheets and shirts;


pyjama stripes and florals

sewn on winter nights.

Tiny stitches , unbroken.



A mild green river. We swim across.

Beyond, a sandstone bridge, a sky

free of factory smoke.


Wet skin fizzles dry, we stretch

in long grass like cats.

Back home, the Don oozes


between blackened mud -banks.

We speak a foreign language;

shopkeepers lean forward, squinting


till the penny drops.

Aye you mean baps.

We have apple cake and girdle scones,


we shell peas on the doorstep.

Soon, we sing our speech like the locals,

join in the street-skipping.


Bonny back home means portly.

We stretch like cats in long grass.

Nobody asks for a fight.

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।