Publications from New Hope International


Born in Stockport and now living in Congleton, Cheshire, John Lindley's poetry has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies as well as being broadcast on local radio. His articles on rock music have been published in both books and magazines.

He has run creative and critical workshops on poetry for writers' groups, disabled groups, schools and youth clubs, as well as teaching U3A students. He has also done readings and run workshops in prisons. In August 2001 he ran a series of workshops at the 'NAWG (National Association of Writers' Groups) Open Festival of Writing' in Durham.

An experienced performer, John has read at pubs, clubs, theatres and at the Buxton and Edinburgh fringe festivals. He is currently working on a collection of poems on the subject of cinema, he staged a self-written show, Screen Fever at Congleton Library in September 1999, which further explored this theme and married his poems to film music and dialogue. The show was performed again in March 2001 at the Jon Silkin Memorial Festival in Camelford, Cornwall and at Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2001.

John won the Words of Silk Open Poetry Competition in 1999, was runner up in the Jackson's Arm Poetry Pamphlet Competition in 1997 and has been a three times prize-winner in the Lancaster Literature Festival and a prize-winner in the Manchester Open Poetry and the Blythe Spirit Open Poetry competitions.

Two booklets of his poems Pacific Envelope (1976) and Cages and Fields (1982) appeared before publication of his first full-length collection, Stills from November Campaigns (Tarantula, 1998).

In 2004 he was appointed Cheshire Poet Laureate. He was involved in a British Council funded project for Lancaster University and went out to Kenya to run some poetry workshops and do a reading.

ISBN 0 903610 25 6
Sample poem

extracts from reviews.
A lively and entertaining collection in two parts, the first eclectic in range, the second, The Elmer McCurdy poems, dealing with the extraordinary after-life of Elmer McCurdy's body (read it, it's worth it). These are confident, vibrant, often quirky poems, confident in their use of extended metaphor; "She wanted Atlas/He became one;/made his tired vertebrae a metal loop/so that when he held her/he could fold around her/in a card backed arc." The second section is wonderful, gothic in its subject matter, bleakly humorous, but shot through with compassion and a certain empathy. This collection will appeal to lovers of narrative poetry, who are bored with endless anecdote. The Frogmore Papers
Lindley excels in startling quirky images that thrill, and 'ground' each poem in a contemporary viewpoint. For example: "the exposed corn,/ yellow as scattered light/ bubble-packing the soil," or "seen/ as through Lucozade wrap," ('Crossing Coniston'). Using trademark items creates surreal, humourous juxtapositions. Through this technique each poem's voice becomes ultra-modern, leading to creative clashes between urban and rural descriptions, private and impersonal themes, past and present narratives, as in the meta-history of the late 19th C. American Elmer McCurdy, fumbling train-robber and gun-slinger. The mild perversity apparent in Lindley's work is not disconcerting, but allows the 'meaning' in many poems to remain incredibly elusive. The writer's composed lines and assured rhythms help this reviewer feel more often intrigued, wistful and ready to search than confused and frustrated. Dreamcatcher (Paul Sutherland).
this collection of poems keeps you reading. The Congleton Chronicle (S.J.C).
... well-honed images, ... attention to the details of craft ... a great line - "In this lake, made treacherous by drowning axes,/ no split fish bleed about the blades" (Juxtaposition). The Burning Bush (Michael Begnal).
a witty and smart collection - a trickle of heat from a nipple to a fingertip,/ the ghost shadow of her heart on his. - OPHELIA RECLAIMED. The Journal (Paul Lee).
Twenty nine poems of such energy and colour as to make any reader rush to buy him the next round, just to hear another good story. John Lindley is widely published in magazines and anthologies; a busy performance poet who runs workshops in prisons, schools and youth groups. Reading his work, I quite regret not having attended. Imagine John Cooper Clarke without the bombast; imagine Coleridge on speed... (The Day Work Broke Out). The directness, the levelling craic, eyeball to eyeball, the sheer pace of these poems is exhilarating, upbeat, and a tonic for our troubled times. There is richness, depth, a serious undertow, which adds to the satisfaction of re-reading, as in this, from A Box of Lucifers:
  every devil-may-care suitor
  a marriage of wood and sulphur
  who flared briefly, cindered
  and coiled into uselessness
Closely woven with his gusto, his zest for life, there is a tenderness, a feeling for human-kind, unmistakable in his sincerity (Cinder Tea, Ophelia Reclaimed). As if to defy categorisation, he glides into a pastoral (Gloucester Old Spot: The Orchard Pig) which sweeps the reader, out and back to Justice Shallow’s other orchard. Orchard Pig stands out as a particularly graceful piece, full of the music of hidden rhyme, and assonance; a true charm. ... John Lindley has "heard the chimes at midnight." I hope to read more.
Links (Mike Bannister).
Highlight of this pleasant collection is the sequence The Elmer McCurdy Poems: "Elmer goes where he's told,/ sleeps awake with the props in a trailer,/ comes out at showtime." Tall tale or true story? Distinctly different. Handshake (John Francis Haines).
John Lindley's poems exist in the twilight zone between the merely fanciful and the genuinely disturbing. There is humour and cleverness and whimsy... a poem about a mother's last illness achieves a wry, dry, wistfulness. the best pieces are the spookiest. Lindley is a good writer with a nice command of extravagant imagery. iota (Tony Grist).
Wide-ranging mainstream poetry collection with offbeat and commonplace themes, showing a dash of grit, some rough urban magic and rural charm, and a healthy dose of colourful humour. Dragon's Breath (Tony Lee).
one to pick and prod at. Krax (Andy Robson).
A child rocks with colic and his mother serves him with cinder tea. Years later, on her hospital deathbed, the now grown man wishes he would have brought some cinder for his mom, if only to keep her alive a little longer. In the poem, Box of Lucifers, a burnt out beauty strikes a match to her cigarette and "remembers old flames."
The English poetess Sylvia Plath makes a come-back as a corrupting influence on naive would-be feminists even as, in another poem, The day work broke out, indolent folk go to ridiculous extremes to "hide from positive responses to job interviews we'd not attended." In an effort to hide from "white collar, blue collar, hard work, part time, full time, mobile phone or shovel jobs," people like Cousin Percy take to "taking to bed in camouflage pajamas / and anti-flash paint." It is this sort of juxtaposition of tenderness with cleverness and the ironic wit that sees the world in blind, clear superimpositions that makes Lindley such a superb poet and his poetry book such a worthy buy.
The East African Standard, Kenya (Tony Mochama).

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This page last updated: 22nd February 2009.