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Lucy Newlyn

Cover Picture of Ginnel
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: OxfordPoets
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • 'Ginnel' is the Northern dialect word for a passage between houses, and this closely unified sequence of poems is set in and around the ginnels of Leeds, where Lucy Newlyn grew up in the 1960s.

    Exploring the hinterlands of middle-class Headingley and working-class Meanwood, the sequence is pervaded by a sense of restlessness, of wandering between two worlds and times. Poems are constantly on the move, revisiting the places of childhood and childhood as a place. With acute particularity, they recall familiar sights and sounds, local people, favourite walks, dialect words learnt when playing out in the back streets.

    Just as ginnels intimately criss-cross the geographical terrain of Leeds, so they track the deepening of consciousness. This is poetry of firm local attachment, overlaid by a child's developing awareness of class divisions, separation, mortality and loss. The adult looks back, with a sense of exile.

    Table of Contents



    Two addresses


    Washing day

    Rag and bone man

    The attic

    Wood Lane



    August, and the hollyhocks


    The Misses Hallewell

    Last to read


    Saturday afternoon on the Ridge

    Trading conkers


    Landscape near Otley



    Juan taught me

    Playin' Out

    Meanwood ginnel

    Pig-pen at Meanwood

    Mill Pond dump


    Thornton's Arcade

    Bryan's Fish Shop

    Mr Bradshaw


    Comfortable box

    Across the street





    Penny for the guy

    Alibi, 22 November 1963

    Alma Road

    Cleo's songs

    Town Hall lions


    Grove Lane in September


    At the back

    Hide and Seek

    The bend


    Crossing the Ridge


    Lucy Newlyn was born in Uganda and grew up in Leeds. She read English atLady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she also studied for her D. Phil, going on to become Lecturer then Tutorial Fellow at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. She taught English at St Edmund Hall for thirty-two years, published widely ... read more
    Praise for Lucy Newlyn  'It is testament to the dramatic power of Newlyn's achievement that, reading through the sonnets, it is easy to imagine William's part being recited in a Cumbrian burr, overlaid with the crunch of gravel and the rush of rivulets ... [Vital Stream is] a showcase of scholarship, a gripping drama in verse, and an epic prelude — the octave to the sestet of the writing it encompasses and mythologises.'
    James Riding, The London Magazine
     'Her attention to detail in this lengthy series of sonnets is nothing short of phenomenal... These are poems of mood ambiguity, of unexpected warmth and generosity, of philosophical differences, and of a love undermined by the many years of separation prior to the reconciliation at Dove Cottage'
    Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
    'The lives and the landscapes flash before us like vivid slides in a continuous poetic magic-lantern show.'
    Richard Holmes
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