A Modern Morden: Poetry In The North

See our Arts Subeditor Laura experience a warming literary tradition in Poetry in the North

Laura Kasongo
7th November 2023
Image Credit: David Hall, @nostalgia_kid, Instagram
On a mid-October evening, I found myself stood in the corner of Hatton Art Gallery café, feeling a warmth both from the amount of people in such close-proximity and in my soul. It was opening night for the latest poetry event in town, but there was something different about this one. Not claiming to be anything innovative, Poetry in the North embraces literary tradition in a way which makes you feel as comfortable in a space as if it were your own living room.

Space is exactly what inspired students Will Kerr, Katherine Hunter and Oscar Harethwaites to start the night. When speaking to the trio, Will brought up his obsession with Morden Tower, particularly in shock of how such rich poetic history is on our door step and is often unknown by the public today. Taking this knowledge to Katherine and Oscar, sat in a pub situated right in front of the tower, their first intoxicated inspiration was to buy it and in-truth, they had no concrete plan on what they were going to do. What they did have was “a craving for poetry,” as Katherine puts it, and bundles of creative expression waiting to be shared.

They call Poetry in the North “a meet up and that’s what it is. People have the opportunity to get poems out into the world.” At the heart of the evening lies the trio’s core value for community, encouraging us to listen to one another in a relaxed environment. Oscar aptly describes the meet-up as a ‘breakdown in the hierarchy of poetry’ and you could see/hear that from the wide variety in spoken word performed.

Currently, Poetry in the North is a bi-weekly meet-up but it may become monthly. There may also be a possible change in venue, as they didn’t expect it to be as busy as it was on opening night. They only thought around 10 people would attend, but since exceeded that turn-out and I can’t wait to see how far it goes. Photographer and documenter David Hall, @nostalgia_kid on Instagram, is a great support to the trio, calling the night “good vibes and love and scribes”. Poetry in the North is a platform for archival material too, from their digital archive on Instagram, to possible printing and binding an anthology made up of writing performed at the meet-ups.

Poetry in the North weaves an atmosphere the Beatniks would’ve basked in and reminds me why I love it; why we write in the first place. “The night wasn’t about us,” says Will and whilst that may be true, I think it wouldn’t be the same without them. Just as the Morden Tower readings wouldn’t have been without the Pickards in 1964.

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AUTHOR: Laura Kasongo
Arts Sub-editor, Poet and Photographer.

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