JINGLE ON MY SON!

JINGLE ON MY SON!
A doughty champion of his local culture. (Poet Tom Hubbard)

30.6.19

KEEP ON TWINNING!


Your Introduction is great! So much of your stays are in there, a distillation of the 30 years, and pleasant to read.

Thank you, Keith, for this new precious gift. 

(Margit)

It's all a sentimental journey - meeting again the well known pigs and Mr. Huber...every word, pronounciation, every comma with your voice in the ears!
And I'm sort of pre-reading the Atlas part of the book, all new Tuebingen poems, curiously.

I vote for Michael Standen's project of Keith-Armstrong-Strasse in Tuebingen, too.


(Poet Uwe Kolbe)

28.6.19

PICCOLO!


PETERLEE


































Growing old
in a New Town,
we watch the sea roll,
stroll
through the fallen leaves
and cracked houses.
You whisper to me.
‘It’s the place to be’:
this misty dream,
this bird hanging from a tree,
this windblown giro world.

Across the flat roofs,
we danced and skipped
over the puddles and the nightmares.
The clouds hung in our eyes.
Older now, wize and wizened,
we stare from our windows in Sunny Blunts
and feel our skin peel.
‘Peter Lee is the Man in the Moon,’
we tell our kids,
‘he’s where it’s at.’

A stray dog barks in the moonlight.
Tonight, newspapers swept across grass,
it’s time to find
a future:
a New Moon,
a new New Town.

 





KEITH ARMSTRONG









 



20.6.19

THOMAS SPENCE BIRTHDAY 21ST JUNE 1750
























































































































 













THE HIVE OF LIBERTY

(AFTER THE NAME OF THOMAS SPENCE’S BOOKSHOP AT 8 LITTLE TURNSTILE, HOLBORN)


I am a small and humble man,
my body frail and broken.
I strive to do the best I can.
I spend my life on tokens.

I traipse through Holborn all alone,
hawking crazy notions.
I am the lonely people’s friend.
I live on schemes and potions.

For, in my heart and in my mind,
ideas swarm right through me.
Yes, in this Hive of Liberty,
my words just flow like wine,
my words just flow like wine.

I am a teeming worker bee.
My dignity is working.
My restless thoughts swell like the sea.
My fantasies I’m stoking.

There is a rebel inside me,
a sting about to strike.
I hawk my works around the street.
I put the world to rights.

For, in my heart and in my mind,
ideas swarm right through me.
Yes, in this Hive of Liberty,
my words just flow like wine,
my words just flow like wine.




KEITH ARMSTRONG







THE THOMAS SPENCE TRUST
It’s good to welcome the establishment of The Thomas Spence Trust, founded by a group of Tyneside activists intent on celebrating and promoting the life and work of that noted pioneer of people’s rights, pamphleteer and poet Thomas Spence (1750-1814), who has born on Newcastle’s Quayside in those turbulent times.
Spence served in his father’s netmaking trade from the age of ten but went on later to be a teacher at Haydon Bridge Free Grammar School and at St. Ann’s Church in Byker under the City Corporation. In 1775, he read his famous lecture on the right to property in land to the Newcastle Philosophical Society, who voted his expulsion at their next meeting.
He claimed to have invented the phrase ‘The Rights of Man’ and chalked it in the caves at Marsden Rocks in South Shields in honour of the working-class hero ‘Blaster Jack’ Bates, who lived there.
He even came to blows with famed Tyneside wood-engraver Thomas Bewick (to whom a memorial has been recently established on the streets of Newcastle) over a political issue, and was thrashed with cudgels for his trouble.
From 1792, having moved to London, he took part in radical agitations, particularly against the war with France. He was arrested several times for selling his own and other seditious books and was imprisoned for six months without trial in 1794, and sentenced to three years for his Restorer of Society to its Natural State in 1801.
Whilst politicians such as Edmund Burke saw the mass of people as the ‘Swinish Multitude’, Spence saw creative potential in everybody and broadcast his ideas in the periodical Pigs’ Meat.
He had a stall in London’s Chancery Lane, where he sold books and saloup, and later set up a small shop called The Hive of Liberty in Holborn.
He died in poverty ‘leaving nothing to his friends but an injunction to promote his Plan and the remembrance of his inflexible integrity’.
The Thomas Spence Trust organised a mini-festival to celebrate Spence in 2000 when it published a booklet on his life and work, together with related events, with the aid of Awards for All.
Trust founder-member, poet Keith Armstrong has written a play for Bruvvers Theatre Company on the socialist pioneer which has been performed at St. Ann’s Church and other venues in the city.
Now the Trust has successfully campaigned for a plaque on the Quayside in Newcastle, where Spence was born. The plaque was unveiled on Monday June 21st 2010, Spence's 260th birthday, with a number of talks, displays and events coinciding with it.
A book 'Thomas Spence: The Poor Man's Revolutionary', edited by Alastair Bonnett and Keith Armstrong, was published by Breviary Stuff Publications, with launch events, in 2014, the 200th anniversary of Spence's death.

Further information from: Dr Keith Armstrong, The Thomas Spence Trust, 35 Hillsden Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF. Tel. 0191 2529531.
SPEECH BY DR KEITH ARMSTRONG AT UNVEILING OF SPENCE PLAQUE

On behalf of The Thomas Spence Trust and Newcastle City Council, I’m delighted to welcome you here today to unveil a plaque in honour of that great free spirit, utopian writer, land reformer and courageous pioneering campaigner for the rights of men and women, Thomas Spence. Myself and other members of our Trust, especially Peter Dixon and Tony Whittle, with the support of people like Professors Joan Beal, Alastair Bonnett and Malcolm Chase and activists like Michael Mould, Alan Myers and Councillor Nigel Todd, have campaigned for well over 10 years for some kind of memorial to Tom Spence and it is with great pride that we assemble here with you today.
We know that Spence was born on the Quayside on June 21st 1750, 260 years ago to this the longest day and Summer Solstice. We know that his father Jeremiah made fishing nets and sold hardware from a booth on Sandhill and his mother Margaret kept a stocking stall, also on Sandhill, but it has not been possible, all these years on, to pinpoint the exact location of Thomas Spence’s birthplace, which is why this plaque has been installed here at Broad Garth, the site of his school room and debating society and where he actually came to blows with Thomas Bewick because of a dispute over the contentious matter of property. Bewick gave Spence a beating with cudgels on that occasion but, surprisingly enough, they remained lifelong friends. As Bewick said of Spence: ‘He was one of the warmest Philanthropists in the world and the happiness of Mankind seemed, with him, to absorb every other consideration.’
In these days of bland career politicians, Spence stands out as an example of a free spirit, prepared to go to prison for his principles - the principles of grass roots freedom, community and democracy, for the human rights of people all over the world.

 
FOLK SONG FOR THOMAS SPENCE

Down by the old Quayside,
I heard a young man cry,
among the nets and ships he made his way.
As the keelboats buzzed along,
he sang a seagull’s song;
he cried out for the Rights of you and me.
Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,
he gave up all his life
just to be free.
Up and down the cobbled Side,
struggling on through the Broad Chare,
he shouted out his wares
for you and me.
Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,
he was a man the likes you rarely see.
With a pamphlet in his hand,
and a poem at his command,
he haunts the Quayside still
and his words sing.
His folks they both were Scots,
sold socks and fishing nets,
through the Fog on the Tyne they plied their trade.
In this theatre of life,
the crying and the strife,
they tried to be decent and be strong.
Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,
he gave up all his life
just to be free.
Up and down the cobbled Side,
struggling on through the Broad Chare,
he shouted out his wares
for you and me.
Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,
he was a man the likes you rarely see.
With a pamphlet in his hand,
and a poem at his command,
he haunts the Quayside still
and his words sing.


KEITH ARMSTRONG

(from the music-theatre piece ‘Pig’s Meat’ written for Bruvvers Theatre Company)



SPENCE IN LONDON:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IMy-h2re3g

A DOCTOR’S ADVICE TO DOCTRINAIRE SOCIALISTS







A DOCTOR’S ADVICE TO DOCTRINAIRE SOCIALISTS

 

You may think you can harness all winds,
channel all waters the way you want them,
control the very nature of everything.

You may think you can manage all the people,
divert them into the pens your theory dictates,
command they command you to command.

You will be disappointed.

You cannot suppress to express.
You must be careful to love.

Everything is not rational;
the earth can shake unexpectedly.
Every being is not analytical;
we do strange things out of instinct.

Friends, don’t be over  confident.
Realise life’s limitations, its chance.
Grow and keep on growing
but don’t destroy everything you can’t understand.

Never fall out of love,
otherwise you’ll start to hate
the mystery of

creation.



KEITH ARMSTRONG

17.6.19

I LOVE THE LIGHT IN TUEBINGEN


statue of poet ludwig uhland - photo by peter dixon
 
































 






I LOVE THE LIGHT IN TUEBINGEN

I love the light
in Tuebingen
streaming down Marktgasse,
flooding in my beautiful blue eyes.

In this light,
I see
the good times
I have dwelt in here
over the bowling years:

the chemistry of Goethe,
the love of books
and poetry that sings
with the joyous swifts,
screeches with
the very pain of life.

This town
casts a glow
in me,
throws me lifelines
to write with,
fishing for ideas
in the sweeping river:

boats
of finished pamphlets
nodding at me
in the sunshine.

I love the light
in Tuebingen
streaming down Marktgasse,
flooding in my beautiful blue eyes.



KEITH ARMSTRONG





The partnership with County Durham and the City of Tuebingen in South Germany was established in 1969. 
Poet Doctor Keith Armstrong, who gained his doctorate at the University on Durham in 2007, following on from Bachelor's and Master's degrees there, first visited Tuebingen in November 1987 to give readings and talks for a period of three weeks. Since then he has travelled to the city some 40 times and helped arrange for Durham and North East poets, musicians and artists and their counterparts in Tuebingen to visit their respective cultural twins.

TO HELP CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OFFICIAL TWINNING, KEITH WILL RETURN TO TUEBINGEN FROM JULY 3RD TO 7TH 2019 AT THE INVITATION OF THE CULTURAL OFFICE IN TUEBINGEN WHEN HE WILL APPEAR AT THIS YEAR’S BOOK FESTIVAL TO READ FROM HIS LATEST TUEBINGEN POETRY AND FROM THE  TUEBINGEN/DURHAM LITERARY ANTHOLOGY ‘WORD SHARING’ (WITH GERMAN TRANSLATIONS RENDERED BY CAROLYN MURPHEY MELCHERS).
HE WILL TRAVEL WITH NORTHUMBRIAN PIPER CHRIS ORMSTON AND WILL BE JOINED BY TUEBINGEN PERFORMERS AND FRIENDS FOR THE OCCASION.

-- Mi. 3.7.19: Cafe Piccolo / Affenfelsen: Auftaktveranstaltung zu "50 Jahre Partnerschaft Tübingen - Durham" mit ACOUSTIC STORM, Keith Armstrong und piper Chris Ormston (Durham) und Akkordeonspieler Peter Weiss (Tübingen), 19 Uhr

-- Fr. 5.7.19: Kulturhalle: Tübinger Bücherfest mit Keith Armstrong und piper Chris Ormston, 21 Uhr


From poet Tom Hubbard: Well done Keith! You've achieved a lot there and back at base. Keep me posted with your work and travels!
Aye
Tom.

 

KEITH ARMSTRONG  
HERMANN HESSE IN THE GUTTER
Tübingen Poems (1987 to date)

In this unique poetry selection, poet Keith Armstrong from the North East of England reflects on over thirty years of visiting Durham’s twin city of Tübingen in Baden-Würtemburg.
Armstrong worked for six years as a Community Arts Development Worker in East Durham and studied at the University of Durham for fifteen years, culminating with his doctoral award in 2007.
In his youth, he travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and he has been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since. He has toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica and Kenya.

His poetry has been translated into Dutch, German, Russian, Italian, Danish, Icelandic and Czech.

These poems reflect his love of Tübingen and the friends he has made there.

‘Now we are all able to read these poems. We are happy that Keith Armstrong has realised a long nourished idea with this unique publication. It shows the attraction and radiance which Tübingen has with a sensitive visitor from far away and it shows the liveliness of our connection with our English twin County Durham in the domains of words and music.’

(Margit Aldinger)


‘This poet is someone who in his biography and work inseparably unites wit and long gained knowledge, enthusiasm and great talent, pluck and social commitment....This is a man who conquers, with his poems and charms, pubs as well as universities. He has always been an instigator and an actor in social and literary projects, an activist without whom the exchanges between the twin towns of Durham and Tübingen would be a much quieter affair.’

(Uwe Kolbe)

‘Different poets have different triggers to set off poetic imagination and a main one for him is finding himself in a city street and invoking great spirits who once lived, loved and drank there. This unique publication brings together poems written over twenty years in this 'special town'. I almost think he has earned consideration for a Keith-Armstrong-Strasse - and he is the ideal subject for a civic statue!’

(Michael Standen)


PRICE  £5 ISBN 1 871536 23 5

ORDERS (ADD £1.50 POSTAGE PER COPY) TO: NORTHERN VOICES COMMUNITY PROJECTS, 35 HILLSDEN ROAD, WHITLEY BAY, TYNE & WEAR NE25 9XF, ENGLAND. TEL 0191 2529531.




INTRODUCTION TO KEITH'S BOOK:

 

People warn you against the profession of poet,
Also against playing the flute, the drums, the violin,
Because riffraff of this sort
So often tend toward drinking and frivolity.

(Hermann Hesse)



I first visited Durham’s twin city of Tübingen to give a series of poetry readings for three weeks in November 1987.

I proceeded to fall in love with the place.

Having now been there over thirty times and written all of these poems about it, I am still trying to work out just what it is, what peculiar magic, that draws me back.

Gunter Grass once said that ‘In Germany you’re always noticing how present the past is’ - and he, especially in the light of recent events, should know.

A lot of that past is ugly, we all know that. Just visit the memorial on Gartenstrasse to the burning down of the synagogue on Kristallnacht to remind yourself. And, of course, the Wall is down, its loss followed inevitably by all the grand schemes and tragedies that grow in its great shadow.

Yet, in Tübingen, I have always detected the lovely whiff of beauty.
I have found it all over town - in the glint of a girl’s hair, in the light on The Neckar, in the sweep of cobbled streets, in the trill of the blackbirds on Corrensstrasse, even in the candlelight of a favourite bar 'The Boulanger’.

Of course, it’s a university city, ‘a town on a campus’ some have said, and that gives it a somewhat ‘bookish’ air, which I have found inspiring - and not only because I have been a guest poet at its Bücherfest on a few occasions.
The ghost of Hegel stalks The Boulanger’ still, the young Hesse’s boots clatter up Lange Gasse at night, Hölderlin slips by in a ‘poetry boat’ - and, yes, Goethe continues to puke here!

I have ‘crashed’ all over Tübingen’ - under the old beams of Lange Gasse 18 (‘The Old Slaughterhouse’) with the church bells clanging in my brain; in a lonely basement on Gartenstrasse, in an idyllic hillside villa - and I always head back for more.

I have performed my poetry on a poetry stroll along the river and into town, as well as in the Castle, the University, the Public Library, in the Uhland and Kepler Gymnasiums, behind the Church, at an Erotic Cabaret, a Poetry Slam, in the Club Voltaire, in bars all over town, from a punt on the river, in the Hölderlin Tower, the Hesse-Haus, the D.A.I, the Jazz Kellar, at the nearby Theatre Lindenhof, on regional radio - still I can’t get enough!

I can remember bowling round the town with poet Julia Darling and finding a bag of coat hangers in a shop doorway, then walking into an art gallery through its open window and giving out the coat hangers in question to a bemused crowd at an exhibition opening before we left, minus coat hangers, through the window again. They all thought that this was ‘a happening’! I suppose it was, in a way.

I have joined in with the mania of the annual Stockerkahnrennen boat race in the heat of June, wandered through trees along the Platanenallee with a lovely lady, and slid drunk along Tuebingen gutters in white winters. I have seen this twinned place in all its moods and seasons, shared its glories with a bizarre selection of poets and musicians from Durham and North East England and, all the while, arranged literary exchanges, with a range of Tübingen poets and musicians visiting Durham, culminating in a unique joint anthology ‘Word Sharing’ published by the Kulturamt in 2007.

Many’s the time I’ve enjoyed lunch at the Wurstküche or Neckarmüller with Margit, Carolyn and Karin, shared a glass with the lyrical poet Uwe Kolbe in Weinhaus Beck and sat under the tree with the stalwart Otto Buchegger, sipped ale with rocking Jürgen and mates in the Cafe Piccolo, indulged in literary breakfasts with talented young poets, savoured fine wines and dinners with Carolyn, Christoph and Carmen at Corrensstrasse 45. The list, my friends, is endless.

I have measured out my life in Tübingen days and here are the poems to prove it. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed living, breathing and singing them.

See you again soon - back in The Boulanger’! Have the drinks waiting for me!

Dr Keith Armstrong. 

Durham,
2019.

9.6.19

GRAND HOTEL SCARBOROUGH



When completed in 1867, the Grand Hotel, Scarborough, was one of the largest hotels in the world. The hotel's distinctive yellow brickwork was made locally in Hunmanby. The building is designed around the theme of time: four towers to represent the seasons, 12 floors for the months of the year, 52 chimneys for the weeks, and, originally, there were 365 bedrooms.

We yellow
in the fretting mist,
in a cold and massive sea
of worn out efforts.
To survive another dying day,
we group together
in a futile way
to seek out the haunting touch of warmth.
We have finished
with love,
we have come to die
among the lifts and dumb waiters
of a Grand Hotel no longer grand,
gone back to seed.
We choke on our fish and chips,
our battered skin
crumbling like these faded walls.
We are a calendar
of bent and aching hours,
sick with the germs of an English decay.
We hang about,
waiting for the coach
to take us away
and burn us
and our dreams.
Once we sang
in the midst of springtime hope,
our holiday hymns full of a rash desire.
Now we come here
to die in this recession,
on this grim evening,
thinking of the empire lost
and why we fought for it,
things gone wrong
with our poor children
who have inherited
our tears.



KEITH ARMSTRONG

4.6.19

The Doctor Keith Armstrong Archive at the University of Durham - recently updated





































http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ark/32150_s1rx913p972.xml

Keith Armstrong

Born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, where he has worked as a community development worker, poet, librarian and publisher, Keith Armstrong, now residing in the seaside town of Whitley Bay, is coordinator of the Northern Voices creative writing and community publishing project which specialises in recording the experiences of people in the North East of England. He has organised several community arts festivals in the region and many literary events featuring the likes of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Douglas Dunn, Barry Hines, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Katrina Porteous, Ian McMillan, Peter Mortimer, Sean O'Brien, Edward Bond, Edwin Morgan, Uwe Kolbe, Attila the Stockbroker, Jon Silkin, Brendan Cleary, Paul Summers, Ivor Cutler, Adrian Mitchell, Julia Darling, Jackie Kay, Linda France, Frank Messina, Ron Whitehead, Benjamin Zephaniah, Liz Lochhead, The Poets from Epibreren, Tsead Bruinja, The Poetry Virgins, and The Poetry Vandals. He was founder of Ostrich poetry magazine, Poetry North East, Tyneside Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Poets, East Durham Writers' Workshop, Tyneside Trade Unionists for Socialist Arts, Tyneside Street Press and the Strong Words and Durham Voices community publishing series. He has recently compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners Gala and on the former mining communities of County Durham, the market town of Hexham and the heritage of North Tyneside.
He has served on the Committee of the Federation of Worker Writers & Community Publishers and of the North East of England Labour History Society. He qualified as a Chartered Librarian at Newcastle Polytechnic and was employed in this field at Newcastle University Library, Blyth Public Library, International Research and Development Company (I.R.D.,Newcastle), Merz & McLellan Consulting Engineers (Killingworth), Gateshead College and Sunderland Libraries, before becoming a community worker with Newcastle Neighbourhood Projects (part of Community Projects Foundation), research worker with Tyneside Housing Aid Centre, and then Community Arts Development Worker (1980-6) with Peterlee Community Arts (later East Durham Community Arts).
As an industrial librarian at I.R.D., he was christened “Arts & Darts”, organising an events programme in the firm incuding poetry readings, theatrical productions, and art exhibitions by his fellow workers, as well as launching Ostrich poetry magazine using the firm's copying facilities and arranging darts matches between departments! He has been a self-employed writer since 1986 and he was awarded a doctorate at the University of Durham in 2007 for his work on writer Jack Common, having received a BA Honours Degree in Sociology in 1995 and Masters Degree in 1998 for his studies on regional culture in the North East of England. His biography of Jack Common was published by the University of Sunderland Press in 2009 and his book (with Alastair Bonnett) on Thomas Spence by Breviary Stuff Publications in 2014.
He was Year of the Artist 2000 poet-in-residence at Hexham Races, working with painter Kathleen Sisterson. He has also held residencies in Durham, Easington, Sedgefield, Derwentside, Teesdale, Wear Valley, Chester-le-Street and Sunderland.
His poetry has been extensively published in magazines such as New Statesman, Poetry Review, Citizen 32, Dream Catcher, Other Poetry, Aesthetica, Iron, Kenaz, True Faith, Salzburg Poetry Review, Sand, X Magazine, The Cherryburn Times, The Poetry Business, and Poetry Scotland, as well as in the collections The Jingling Geordie, Dreaming North (with Graeme Rigby), Pains of Class, Imagined Corners, Splinters, The Month of the Asparagus, Wallington Morning (the latter in 2017), on cassette, LP & CD, and on radio & TV. He has also written for music-theatre productions, including Oer the Hills (with Dreaming North - Graeme Rigby, Rick Taylor, Paul Flush, Joan McKay and Keith Morris, with guest Kathryn Tickell,) and Wor Jackie (with Mike Kirkup) (1988) for Northumberland Theatre Company; Pigs Meat (1997 & 2000) for Bruvvers Theatre Company; and The Roker Roar (1998) for Monkwearmouth Youth Theatre Company. Other commissioned work includes Fire & Brimstone(with Linda France, Paul Flush and others) (1989) and The Hexham Celebration (with Paul Flush and others) (1992), both for the Hexham Abbey Festival; Suite for the River Wear (with Dreaming North) (1989) for BBC Radio; andThe Little Count (with Andy Jackson and Benny Graham) (1993) for Durham County Council. He won the Kate Collingwood Bursary Award in 1986. He was the Judge for the Sid Chaplin Short Story Awards in 2000.
He has performed his poetry on several occasions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Festivals in Aberdeen, Bradford, Cardiff, Cheltenham (twice at the Festival of Literature - with Liz Lochhead and with “Sounds North”), Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Greenwich, Lancaster, and throughout the land. He has read in Newcastle at the Morden Tower, Swarley's Club, Newcastle & Northumbria Universities, The Blue Room & The Baltic, at Durham's University & Colpitts Poetry, Berwick's Maltings & Guildhall, Tees Valley's Write Around & Writers' Cafe, Leed's Wicked Words, York's Riverlines, Lincoln's Spoken Word, Liverpool's Stamps, Sheffield's Antics, Bradford's Grey Sheep Cabaret, Aberdeen's Springtides, London's Apples & Snakes, at the Universities of Bath, Durham, Newcastle and Warwick, in Edinburgh at Newbattle Abbey College, the Scottish Poetry Library, the Royal Oak, Big Word and Diggers venues, in Limerick at The White House and at Galway's North Beach Nights, in St. Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay, in Berwick Town Hall, and in castles, churches, hotels, bars, and community centres throughout the land. He has received an Arts Council of Northern Ireland grant to visit Belfast and Northern Cultural Skills Partnership grants to attend conferences in Bath, Leeds and London.
In his youth, he travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and he has been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since. He has toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings with Peter Mortimer during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany (including readings at the Universities of Hamburg, Kiel, Oldenburg, Trier and Tuebingen), Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, the United States, Cuba, Jamaica and Kenya. His poetry has been translated into Dutch, German, Russian, Italian, Icelandic and Czech.
He has long pioneered cultural exchanges with Durham's twinning partners, particularly Tuebingen and Nordenham in Germany and Ivry-sur-Seine and Amiens in France, as well as with Newcastle's Dutch twin-city of Groningen. In fact, he has visited Tuebingen some 30 times since he first spent a month there in November 1987 as poet-in-residence supported by Durham County Council and the Kulturamt, and he has performed his poetry in the city's Hoelderlin Tower and, on three occasions, as part of the annual Book Festival. He has arranged for writers such as Katrina Porteous, Julia Darling, Michael Standen, Alan C. Brown and Linda France to join him in Tuebingen. In 2002, he visited New York City to give readings with the aid of a Northern Arts Award.
He has also won Northern Arts Awards to visit Berlin in 1990, in 2001 to pursue his studies of Dutch regional culture, in 2002 to visit New York, and in 2003 to visit Prague (with poet Paul Summers). His travels to Denmark, Germany, Holland and Sweden have also been supported by the British Council. By way of cultural exchange, he has arranged for visits to North East England by poets from Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, America and Russia.
He often works and travels with folk-musicians from North East England, including Jez Lowe, Marie Little, Gary Miller and George Welch, and he has written the lyrics for an album, Bleeding Sketches, by folk-rock band The Whisky Priests, with whom he has toured extensively in The Netherlands. He has also visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg to perform his poetry with musicians Pete Challoner and Ian Carr. He has recently inspired songs by Jez Lowe and by Joseph Porter of Blyth Power.
In 2004-5, with the support of Arts Council England, North Tyneside Council and Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, he worked with Berlin artist Rolf Wojciechowski on a text sculpture which involved readings on the beaches along the Northumbrian coast from Marsden to Cullercoats and from Druridge Bay to Berwick.
In 2007 he collaborated on the touring play The Making of Saint Cuthbert for which he wrote and performed his poetry including shows in local churches. He appeared again at the Hexham Abbey Festival in 2008 and at the Durham Book Festival.
Though a regionalist inspired by the landscape of his birth and its folk and musical traditions, he is very much a European and his work is much influenced by writers such as Hoelderlin, Hesse, Brecht, Baudelaire, Prevert, Esenin, and Mayakovsky.

2.6.19

NORTHERN VOICES COMMUNITY PROJECTS - LATEST PUBLICATIONS

FROM SEGEDUNUM TO THE SPANISH CITY: North Tyneside's heritage in words and pictures

Northern Voices Community Projects received significant financial backing from Awards for All and North Tyneside Council to publish this new book on the heritage of North Tyneside. The book looks at a broad range of local historic buildings in words and pictures.

It features poems, artwork and photographs by local people about these unique sites and the material submitted has
been imaginatively selected by editor Keith Armstrong and designer Peter Dixon for the book, which also features a sequence of poems by Armstrong and many images by Dixon himself.

From Segedunum to the Spanish City, from St. Mary's Island to Tynemouth Priory, from Willington Mill to Burradon
Tower, this is an atmospheric trawl through the vivid history of this fascinatingly diverse area of Tyneside.

2010. PRICE £7 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).


THE SPANISH CITY: The Heart and Soul of Whitley Bay in Words and Pictures

This Northern Voices Community Projects publication tells the vivid story of Whitley Bay’s heart and soul, the iconic landmark, the Spanish City.
Funded by North Tyneside Council, the book features creative writing from a range of local poets and story writers, illustrated by photographs and artwork, past and present.
It sets out to capture in dramatic imagery the atmosphere of the place and, with an eye to the future portrays the continuing appeal of the Spanish City for local folk and also visitors to the area.
This new publishing venture marks the centenary of the historic dome and builds on the large amount
of work produced by Northern Voices Community Projects over the years, following on from the
popular ‘From Segedunum to the Spanish City’ North Tyneside heritage volume.

2010. Price £5 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).

GORDON MACPHERSON
(1928-1999): the life, poems and stories of an East Durham Miner.

This is a moving and passionate account of one man’s extraordinary battle against adversity to raise
a family in an East Durham pit village.

Gordon MacPherson's poetry and writing sums up the arduous working conditions that miners
struggle under and his own personal battle with emphysema in later life.

Gordon was an ordinary miner who did great things. This book glows with love and human decency against all the odds.

It shows us the power of community and serves as an example for the future of this area of North
East England and beyond.

2010. PRICE £5 (SEND £2 POSTAGE).


STILL THE SEA ROLLS ON:
THE HARTLEY PIT CALAMITY OF 1862

A commemoration in words and images to mark its 150th anniversary featuring poems, stories,
drawings and photographs by local people.

The Hartley Pit Calamity of 1862 was the first large scale mining disaster of Victorian times. The extent of the calamity, together with the spreading of news by rail and telegraph, brought this tragic event in rural Northumberland into the homes of families throughout the land on a daily basis.
The reaction from the public, together with the interest shown by Queen Victoria, kept the story in
the press for more than a month.
This new book, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, has been published to mark the 150th anniversary of the calamity. With historical documents and images, alongside poems, songs, stories, photographs and drawings by local people, it forms part of a series of events and activities intended
to ensure that the story of Hartley is not forgotten.

2012. Price £7.99 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).



NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM:

A celebration of the bicentenary of the steam locomotive Blucher, together with the story of its creator George Stephenson in North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON.

2014. PRICE £7.99 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).



FOLLOW THE SUN:

A selection of words and pictures by local people to celebrate the bicentenary of the Stephensons' sundial at Killingworth.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON.
2016. PRICE £3.50  (ADD £2 POSTAGE).


THE PITMAN POET OF PERCY MAIN:

A celebration by local people of the life and work of Joseph Skipsey in words and pictures to mark the 185th anniversary of his birth in Percy Main.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON. 2017. PRICE £3.50 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).



SING A SONG FOR HENSHAW:

CD: Poetry and music from Northumbria. Keith Armstrong: Poetry, Chris Ormston: Northumbrian Pipes.
2018. PRICE £7 (INCLUDES POSTAGE).



THE WOODEN DOLLIES OF NORTH SHIELDS:

Their history in words and images celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Dolly in Northumberland Square.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON.
2018. PRICE £5 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).


TYNE ANEW:

Inspiring public art in North Tyneside.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON.
2019. PRICE £9 (ADD £2 POSTAGE).

All orders to:
Northern Voices Community Projects, 35 Hillsden Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF.  TEL. 0191 2529531

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur