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Drop in by Paul Brookes

It’s a special pleasure to welcome a poet who does so much to promote other poets’ work and to be able to return the favour: Mr Paul Brookes.

Why dialect? This is the only sonnet in the collection written throughout in dialect. Others hint at the Northern way of speaking through their grammar. The tradition has been to write humorous verse when you write in dialect. I want to show that dialect can be used for weightier subjects, too. I use it for its immediacy, the sinews of its storytelling, and knack for conveying emotion. It gives a sense of belonging, of history. The alliteration at the beginning hints at the Norse origins of the language. It stands witness to the event. It gives the sonnet an authenticity and a sense of place.

I remember my late mam having words with my late sister about speaking on the house phone. My mam used to cringe at the strong dialect my sister used. Using “watta”, instead of “water”, “spice” , instead of “sweets”. My mam insisted that she would never get a job using language like that, that it’s all well and good to use language like that when you’re with your mates but you should have a “telephone voice” when talking to others. My mam was always aspirational.

 Struck Mr Kay is one of a series of sonnets based on stories from my local cemetery. I am still an incomer with my North Yorkshire accent and only having lived in Wombwell twenty odd years. Wombwell Cemetery was built in 1868. A cemetery is the centre of a community. Mark Kay’s grave has a small metal plaque that explains he is the only one buried there to have been struck dead by lightning. All the mines have gone, and their going marked by half a pit winding wheel set into a re-landscaped site. Overgrown pit stacks dot the countryside. I marvel at the richness and diversity of the natural world in contrast to the heavy darkness of the empty tunnels below.

Why sonnets? Concision and a formal structure against which the hectic chaos and wildness of life battles to be heard. Ian McMillan got me writing sonnets during the worst years of the pandemic. It is now a daily habit, an exercise to get my brain in gear. I write mostly Shakespearean ones as this was the first form I tried. I am exploring how to use the others, even a haiku sonnet.

The poem is from my forthcoming signed and numbered, limited edition (Only 100 copies) sonnet collection These Random Acts Of Wildness, to be published by Glass Head Press under the auspices of eminent Mexborough poet, Ian Parks, in the last weeks of January. The pamphlet is £5:00 plus p&p. I will be sending these out myself so contacting purchasers for their postal addresses and advising PayPal details. Preorders are still open.

Next week read my review of Paul’s fabulous collection, These Random Acts of Wildness.


Nigel Kent’s collection of ekphrastic poems, Unmuted (Hedgehog Poetry Press), is inspired by a gallery of famous works by artists from the present and the past. Each artwork acts as a frame in a storyboard which he unfreezes and unmutes to reveal the narrative he imagines lies behind it. Even for those who have no interest in art these direct, accessible and moving poems will stand alone and promise to engage with issues that truly matter.

Kent’s poetry is succint, never bloated and always delivered with a poignant and very human point of view.” Priss Bliss, Dreich Broad No. 3

For details of how to purchase a copy, click here


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