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Drop-in by Roger Waldron

After my short Easter break I have great pleasure in welcoming the inimitable Roger Waldron to reflect on his pamphlet My C&A Years (Dreich, 2022).

Thank you Nigel for inviting me to talk about my work and in particular my pamphlet, My C&A Years and as always thanks to Jack Caradoc at Dreich for publishing it.

I first started writing as a teenager – that was back in the late 1960s. My poems never saw the light of day, I kept them to myself. I don’t remember studying poetry at school and if we did, it didn’t leave a lasting impression.

I was inspired by the lyrics of musicians such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan and many more (here come the ‘Poetry Police’ saying “songs aren’t poems…”)

Later, Jane bought me a book by Rod McKuen (another problem for the ‘Poetry Police’). Years later, I discovered the local poetry scene. Many were poets who wrote about things that were familiar to me – steel works, pits and Thatcher –  and they inspired me to write more and share my poems. I had a few poems published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I write about ordinary people, sometimes it might be someone who I’ve seen in the queue at Morrisons (other queues are available.)  I am a storyteller – someone once said I had a story for every situation – and my poems can be seen as everyday snippets.  

My C&A Years pamphlet is typical of my writing. I am often asked about the title of the pamphlet (well, maybe 3 people in Asda have asked). In Sheffield, my home city, many of us have memories of shopping at C&A. My poems aren’t nostalgic, but they often feature memories, phrases, words and images from my past.

My poetry is about celebrating the ordinary things in our lives. The settings are familiar and recognisable – supermarkets, laundrettes, cafes and people’s kitchens. I picture my reader as someone who hasn’t got a great deal of time to read poetry and so I give them enough to think about while they are stood at the bus stop. My poems aren’t going to make anyone scratch their head, elbow or arse.

The poem that I have chosen to focus on, Dirty Talk is the final one in the pamphlet. It’s about a conversation between two people who met in a coin-laundrette. You don’t see many coin-laundrettes anymore. I remember I used to walk past one and it always fascinated me. People would just sit there in their own worlds, watching the machines spin as if they were watching the telly. They seemed like lonely places to be, people not really talking to one another and yet washing their dirty laundry in public.

The narrator of the poem is a 37-year-old man – that’s who I pictured when I write. The woman in the poem isn’t interested in him or anything he is about – not even ‘poetry that sprouts from broken settees.’ He realises that he can’t impress her, but then he isn’t ‘to everybody’s taste.’ But then, neither am I.

Next week read my review of Roger’s wry and sharply observed My C&A Years.

It’s that time of year again. This blog which features a regular two week cycle of drop-ins and reviews was started to publicise the work of debut poets and small poetry presses. Since August 2020 it has attracted 15,000 views and 6,250 visitors. It would be great if you could take the time to support the blog with a nomination for the Saboteur Awards 2023. To nominate click here or if you don’t like clicking on links, visit Saboteur Awards 2023 website page.


Joint winner of Hedgehog Poetry Press’ ‘Wee Collection Challenge’.

Benchwarmers, Nigel Kent’s latest pamphlet, gives a voice to those who live their lives at the margins, such as the autistic boy, the looked after child, the young offender, the anorexic, the painfully shy. These are life’s outsiders, whom circumstances have conspired against: these are the also-rans, the subs confined to the bench, waiting for the call that never comes. These poignant, empathetic poems make the invisible visible and invite the reader to connect with their moving narratives.

To buy a signed copy: £8 p&p inc. E-version available for £3. (Note: Printed version is not available for purchasers outside UK. )

Use the Contact Page or email me at for payment instructions.


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