A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)



‘The lines of life are various;
they diverge and cease like footpaths
and the mountain’s utmost ends.’

(Extract from a Holderlin poem addressed to Zimmer the carpenter, in whose Tuebingen house Holderlin lived for the last thirty six years of his life).

‘When from the depths spring enters into life,
men marvel and new words aspire out of their intelligence;
joy returns and festively poetry and songs arise.’

(Written on Holderlin’s last birthday, 20th March 1843).

Suddenly, peacefully,
you’re slipping afloat,
your drifting past
in a poetry boat.

Scaliger Rosa,
Scaliger Rosa.
joy returns
and songs arise.

Crafted by Zimmer,
a sculptor of Woods,
your coffin is filled
with magical words.

Scaliger Rosa,
Scaliger Rosa.
joy returns
and songs arise.

                                                                               Keith Armstrong,

Note: The chorus is based on pseudonyms used by Holderlin.


(for Jochen)

‘To the Very Honourable Poet Mr. Keith Armstrong,

I wish you good luck for all the seasons in your life and always a high inspiration for your poems.

(Jochen from the Holderlin Tower).’

holds his own,
holds his own
in this sex-crazed country.

rolls his own,
rolls his own
in this burnt-out company.

rolling on,
holding on
in this fearful Germany.

The motor stalls,
the government falls - 
it’s Holderlin
knocking down walls:

knocking down walls.

                                                                           Keith Armstrong,

I talked with my students about your reading and they enjoyed it very much. It was a very special occasion for them. They think that you absolutely have to come again next year. And I think so too.
We´ll keep in touch,
best wishes




Whitley Bay based poet and publisher Keith Armstrong is heading for Tuebingen, Durham's twin city in South Germany, with singer-songwriter Gary Miller, of the Whisky Priest folk rock band, on Monday 18th March 
where they will perform in bars, cafes and schools with Tuebingen poets and musicians. 

Keith and Gary are also currently working on a double album to be launched in the autumn telling the story of the eighteenth century 'Mad Martins' family of Tynedale.

And a selection of Keith's recent poetry, with that of fellow poet Katrina Porteous, has just been released on a new album in the Czech Republic with settings by Jakub Zahradnik, a composer and keyboard player who Keith first met on an Arts Council funded literary visit to Prague a few years ago.

Literary activist Armstrong is currently working with Newcastle's Mining Institute on a series of projects and events and he is also involved in a jazz and poetry project with North Shields artist Peter Dixon which celebrates the great figures of jazz in a touring display and events programme.

FURTHER INFORMATION: tel 0191 2529531.



It was a summer’s day
in 1817.
I was lying in a field
with Schubert in my heart.
Skylarks were flying above my soul
over the battlefields of bloody Europe;
love among the stench of war,
lust burning in the sweating grass.
That August dream,
I wanted my breath to die
in your swirling arms,
with the yellow butterflies
flitting in your dripping eyes.
I took some local wine
to soothe my startled nerves
and the lovely blood
leapt in the sun.
The future had swept me here
to sing of all the years advancing,
the awkward poems I never wrote
across the aching valley
for future birds
to peck at
in this graveyard of ambition
just outside of Tuebingen.




The twinning continues to go from strength to strength. Poet Doctor Keith Armstrong and folk-rock musician Gary Miller, lead singer of Durham band the Whisky Priests, travelled to Tuebingen at the end of March 2012 for performances in pubs, cabaret venues and schools where they performed with Tuebingen poet Tibor Schneider who visited Durham in October of this year as part of the ongoing exchange. Tibor joined his Durham counterparts for readings at Durham University and at the Half Moon Inn. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Tees concerning his Durham visit.

Keith Armstrong and Gary Miller will return the compliment with a trip to Tuebingen in March 2013 where they will perform again in bars, cafes and schools with Tibor Schneider and other Tuebingen poets and musicians. 

In 2011, Tuebingen rock musician Juergen Sturm jetted in with his music partner Mary Jane at the end of October for pub gigs, including a twinning event in Durham on Monday 31st October featuring Juergen and Mary Jane with Durham folk musicians and poets. That followed on from a visit to Tuebingen in South Germany in early April 2011 by Keith Armstrong and photographer/artist Peter Dixon. The intrepid pair worked together on a touring display featuring Armstrong's poems and Dixon's photographs documenting the unique link between Tuebingen and Durham which was staged initially in the Durham Room at County Hall, Durham in November. Armstrong performed his poetry in cafes, bars and schools and met up with Tuebingen friends, old and new, with the multi-talented Dixon capturing all of it on film. 

This trip reciprocated a visit to Durham in November 2010 by Tuebingen poets Henning Ziebritzki and Carolyn Murphey Melchers, when Juergen Stuerm also took part in a series of pub performances. There was a special event at Clayport Library, Durham City on Monday November 1st with the Tuebingen poets and special guests from Durham, followed by a rousing session in the Dun Cow when Juergen, with Mary Jane, and his Durham counterparts, Gary Miller and Marie Little belted out their lively songs.

In addition to his most recent visit, Armstrong was in Tuebingen in May 2010 with Gary Miller for performances in his favourite Tuebingen bar ‘The Boulanger’ and at a local school. This followed a special guest appearance in 2009 at the biannual Book Festival, a reading with Tuebingen counterpart Eva Christina Zeller and a visit to local schools. Eva visited Durham for readings in schools and at a special event on May 13th 2009 at Clayport Library which also featured poets Katrina Porteous, Jackie Litherland, Cynthia Fuller, and William Martin, as well as Doctor Armstrong and music from the Durham Scratch Choir and Andy Jackson.

A highly successful series of events were held in 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the literary/arts twinning established by Keith Armstrong when he first visited Tuebingen in 1987 for a month’s residency, supported by Durham County Council and Tuebingen’s Kulturamt. Since then, there have been readings and performances in pubs, universities and castles, schools, libraries, book festivals, jazz and cabaret clubs, even in Hermann Hesse’s old apartment, involving poets, writers, teachers and musicians from the twin partnerships of Durham and Tuebingen.

Tuebingen’s music duo Acoustic Storm, poet/translator Carolyn Murphey Melchers and Cultural Officer visited Durham and the North East in October/November 2007. The musicians performed in Durham schools and pubs and there was a special evening in Durham’s Clayport Library to celebrate the twinning, with Keith Armstrong launching his new Tuebingen poetry booklet and performances by poets Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Katrina Porteous, William Martin, Michael Standen, Ian Horn, Cynthia Fuller, Hugh Doyle and musicians Acoustic Storm, Marie Little and Gary Miller. Margit Aldinger of the Kulturamt in Tuebingen and Brian Stobie of the International Department, Durham County Council, also addressed the audience.

For the record, here's a list of those who have made it happen so far:

Tuebingen visitors to Durham since 1987:

Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Karin Miedler, Gerhard Oberlin, Uwe Kolbe, Johannes Bauer, Eva Christina Zeller, Simone Mittmann, Florian Werner, Juergen Sturm, Mary Jane, Wolf Abromeit, Christopher Harvie, Eberhard Bort, Marcus Hammerschmitt, Henning Ziebritzki, Andy and Alessandra Fazion Marx, Otto Buchegger, Tibor Schneider.

Durham visitors to Tuebingen since 1987:

Keith Armstrong, Michael Standen, Julia Darling, Andy Jackson, Fiona MacPherson, Katrina Porteous, Marie Little, Ian Horn, Alan C. Brown, Linda France, Jackie Litherland, Cynthia Fuller, Margaret Wilkinson, Jez Lowe, Jack Routledge, Gary Miller, Matthew Burge, David Stead, Hugh Doyle, Peter Dixon.

These events were supported by Tuebingen’s Kulturamt and Durham County Council.


the jingling geordie

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