'No one in the North East has written and read and
encouraged and organised so consistently and over so long
a period as Keith Armstrong. His poetry is different,
original, and politically exhilarating.'
'There is an exciting sense of releasing the dreams
and perceptions from the 'wee corners' of his
mind - and the result is the honesty, humanity, sharpness
of vision and richness of humour which he makes available
for readers to share.'
'Keith's poems raised goose pimples but also
thoughts about today's culture.'
'The British Council considers itself fortunate
indeed to work in collaboration with Keith who has enabled
those who have connections with the British Council to
learn something of the local identity and heritage as
well as the international dimension which Keith brings
to his work.'
'Keith made a lot of things possible for myself
and many others like me. I don't mind admitting that
without Keith I would have given up poetry as a waste
of life years ago.'
'There are those who tell the terrible truth in all its
loveliness. Keith Armstrong is one of them, a fine poet
who refuses to turn his back on the wretched of the Earth.
He is one of the best and I hope his voice will be heard
more and more widely.'
TUESDAY MARCH 10th
News of more travels by 'Northern Voices' coordinator, 'The Jinglin'
Geordie', Whitley Bay poet and raconteur Keith Armstrong. From
June 6th to 12th, he's in Durham's twin-city Tuebingen for readings
at the Tuebingen Book Festival and on radio. He also gives a workshop
with fellow poet Katrina Porteous at the city's University. Keith
is the special guest of the Tuebingen Cultural Office and he will
read with writer Marcus Hammerschmitt who is to visit Durham and
Tyneside for readings and workshops as Keith's guest from November
13th to 19th, with the support of the Cultural Office and Durham
Keith's visit is, amazingly, his 22nd since he first pioneered literary links with Tuebingen back in November 1987. Since then, he has arranged for a remarkable range of poets and musicians from the North East to travel with
him and for a number of Tuebingen writers to make the trip to Durham by way of reciprocation.
And at the end of June, Keith gives a reading at the annual conference on regionalism in Europe, this time to be staged at Bad Urach, near Stuttgart.
A summer break and then Keith goes networking again in New York
City at the end of September, travelling with Fenham rocker Tony
Whittle, to give readings in a few of the City's poetry clubs
and other venues. His New York
adventures have been assisted by a Northern ArtsTravel Award.
Come October, it's back to his favourite haunt The Netherlands
where he travels with Northumbrian Piper Chris Ormston, also from
Whitley Bay, from 24th to 30th to give recitals in schools and
pubs in Newcastle's twin-city
Groningen and in Amsterdam and The Hague.
Back home in Newcastle, there'll be a special European evening
on Thursday 14th November, featuring local poets and musicians
and special guests: poets Tjeerd Bruinja from Groningen and Harry
Zevenbergen from The Hague, with
Marcus Hammerschmitt from Tuebingen. Full details later.
AND THERE'S MORE!
Following the great success of the first gathering of 'Swarley's
Club' at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle, organised by 'The Thomas
Spence Trust' and 'Northern Voices' , with the support of the
Campaign for a North East Assembly, there is to be another Club
meeting, again at The Bridge, on Thursday July 11th. There will
be a talk by Joan Beal of Sheffield University on Spence's 'Grand
Repositary of the Engish Language' at 6pm, followed by an evening
of readings and music in celebration of the City of Newcastle
upon Tyne, including extracts from the writings of Newcastle's
Jack Common (1903-6198), on whom Keith Armstrong is completing
a PhD at the University of
Durham. This event is also organised in association with the Campaign for a North East Assembly.
Incidentally, plans are still afoot for a memorial in honour of Newcastle radical Thomas Spence (1750-1814), with the full backing of Newcastle City Council. A website is also being planned in his honour. Details as things develop.
'Mad Martins' is a show based on the life and times of the Martin family of Tynedale, including painter John Martin and brothers William ('the philosophical conqueror of all mankind') and Jonathan ('the notorious incendiary of York Minster'). Devised and performed by Keith Armstrong, with specially written poetry and narration, it also features new songs by Gary Miller performed by Gary and twin-brother Glenn of 'The Whisky Priests', and new tunes composed and performed by Northumbrian Piper Chris Ormston. It is premiered at Queens Hall Arts Centre, Hexham, on Tuesday 8th October as part of the Northumberland Traditional Music Festival. Contact 'Northern Voices' if you'd like to book the show.
And there will be a celebration of the life and poetry of Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), with readings by Keith Armstrong and Paul Summers and music by Chris Ormston, as part of the Music Festival and National Poetry Day in Morpeth on Thursday October 10th. Full details later.
NORTHERN VOICES IN PRINT
The 'Northern Voices' project has formed a beneficial alliance
with publishers 'The People's History'. First products of this
are 'OurVillage', Memories of the Durham Mining Communities' ,
edited by Keith Armstrong, and 'Geordie Muddling by Ripyard Cuddling',
poems by ex-shipyard welder Jack Davitt, with a foreword by Keith.
Both books are available at £9.99 from 'The People's History',
Suite 1, Byron House, Seaham Grange Business Park, Seaham,
County Durham, SR7 0PH. Tel. Andrew Clarke 07971 859401.
Keith has now been commissioned to compile and edit a book on Hexham due to be published by 'The People's History' this Xmas. Details later.
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW FOLKS!
For further information telephone: 'NORTHERN VOICES' 0191 2529531.