Prose Poetry

Anne Caldwell
Anne Caldwell

I am slowly getting into work for my phD again this autumn. I am studying part time at the University of Bolton. I am writing about the north of England and came across this great quote from an essay about the two poets Barry MacSweeney and SJ Litherland published in ‘Poetry & Geography : Space & Place in Post-war Poetry’ :

‘I agree with [Sheild’s] correspondent who maintains that ultimately ‘north’ is really a direction, not a place, so asking where exactly the north ends and the south begins would make little sense. Shields’s definition of what he calls the ‘Cult of Northern-ness’ sees it as a state of mind whereby ‘Northerners regard anyone to the South as in some way compromised’. In the phrase ‘anyone to the South’ the key word is ‘to’, meaning ‘towards’, which implies that the compromise is greater the further south one goes.’

Interesting point of view! I wonder if this holds true today?

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2 thoughts on “Prose Poetry”

  1. Interesting. I’d say growing up in Salford I was encouraged to embrace my ‘Norther-ness’ and to see the world along these lines. And by encouraged I suppose I mean it was an attitude inherent in those around me, something that just kind of seeped into the fabric of my identity during my formative years. In some ways I think it bred an insular mindset in me, but the further I travelled, or the more people from outside my community that I interacted with, the less keenly I felt that influence. I think it’s strange that the inverse didn’t have the same effect – the thought never really occurred to me that authenticity might stem from further north than where I was. For me, Northern-ness began with the self (regardless of where I lived on the geographical scale, as it were). What are your thoughts? Best of luck with your PhD, Anne!

  2. Thanks for the good luck wishes, Alan! I like the phrase northenness begins with the self. I am finding so many definitions and questions as I begin this research. Hope you are doing okay

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