Marsden Mechanics was packed to capacity on Friday 4th November, in eager anticipation of a home fixture from our very own poet, Simon Armitage. And the crowd was very well-rewarded.

Laconic, diffident, with a superbly dry humour, Armitage held us rapt for two sets which covered his earliest work, some old Marsden favourites (well, it would be a brave man that didn’t give us at least one of the ‘greatest hits’), as well as his more recent writing.   Standouts for me:  the poem that emerged from the experience of Wakefield prison, with it’s powerful visualisation of the separation of worlds between Wakefield Westgate station, and the prison down below.  The one full of energy: movement, hope, travel, arrival, departure.  The other still, containing and separating from the world, locked and closed.  With horror, despair and failure.

And on a lighter note, Ezra Pound, in Poundland, for a pound – how could anyone resist?  Then the lively, rhythmic,  To Do List that collided the everyday and mundane with a telling of the story of Donald Campbell CBE, crescendoing to a sudden, tragic, climax.

And the pie story…

As a ‘comer-inner’, I know how lucky I am to have happened on this place.  Listening to Armitage read, his voice – it’s sound, timbre, cadence, accent – and the stories he told through verse and prose captured the essence of Marsden: the people, the landscape, the weather.

It was a privilege to be present.  Thank you Simon Armitage.




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