Liverpool is a typical industrial city with many of its population being migrants who have arrived over the last 150 years from the British Isles and other parts of the globe. This transient environment has produced many writers and poets who have shared the adventures and stories that have emanated from the city. There is something rather rustic about the writers that have emerged and their popularity is more to do with the real life situations that they write about. The writer Lynda La Plante is a good example of an author who has used her literary skills to write about the city’s everyday life. Her television series “Prime Suspect” has been a great success, that it has been aired over seven series.
The same pattern has emerged with the city’s poetry. Liverpudlians love their poetry but prefer poems that reflect what is happening as opposed to those of a more traditional nature. The city has an organization called the Dead Good Poets Society which was created in 1989 and is still running today. The society creates poetry evenings where poets can take the floor to read their poems. This gives the opportunity for emerging Liverpool poets to present their work and also for people of the city to hear the new poets in action.
One of Liverpool’s most popular poets is Paul Farley who was born in 1965. In 1999 he won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and in 2002 he won the Whitbread Poetry Award for his “The Ice Age” collection.
He has made many appearances on both radio and television programs reviewing and presenting poetry. He now mixes appearances in the media with writing and also acting as a Professor of Poetry at Lancaster University. Henry Graham was also born in Liverpool and was a lecturer at the John Moores University. He acted as one of the poetry editors for the British literary magazine “Ambit”. He work has resulted with awards being presented to him in 1969, 1971 and 1975 from the Arts Council.
One of Liverpool’s more famous traditional poets was Richard Le Gallienne. Born in the city he worked in newspapers writing articles and poetry. In his 20’s he left the city travelling to both the United States and France and, while in Monaco, he lived under the control of the German army.
He had to fight hard to protect his library which contained both his and many other poets’ work. The Germans tried to get him to write propaganda for them but his refusal to do, and that left him so poor that he almost starved to death. His works are widely published, and they contain a large number of poems that he created during his life.
Another traditional poet was Edward Rushton who was born in Liverpool in 1756. As well as writing poetry, his early life saw him working on a slave ship. His experience on those boats led him to becoming an abolitionist as he was appalled by the way the slaves were treated while making their journeys. Blindness struck when he was 17, and this resulted in him to returning to Liverpool. He worked on his poetry and for a period he became the editor of the Liverpool Herald. This did not last long as his extreme political thoughts did not endear him to many of the Liverpool public.
He then helped support the city’s blind children and in 1791 created the Liverpool School for the Indigent Blind which is the second oldest blind school in the world. Later in life he receives an operation which resulted in him regaining his sight, and that led to more poetry being written.
Liverpool has been home to a wide variety of different poets who have produced a great number of works over the years.