Sunday, March 03, 2013


It's really important to me that this attempt at providing an autobiography - a personal history - of the poetry scene doesn't involve relationships, and the incidental clashes and comforts with and of others. However, the Ipswich Poetry Workshop was nothing without the strong characters who made IPW possible.

Come back to this posting as I attempt to update it with links and new rememberings!

BILL SCHEMENSKY was an incredible working class poet who was in his seventies when he attended the workshops. His "Rocky Old Moonlight" poem should be read by children today. What did landing on the Moon do for us? Bill was a Communist, probably an old Stalinist, but he always put ordinary people first.

JOHN ROW, for me, was an incredible performance poet. He had worked with Nick Tozcek in Stereo Graffiti and subsequently worked with fusion bands in Ipswich and beyond. He has been the number one writer/performer working in prison and, needs be, a storyteller at the big festivals for well over 30 years.

FRANK WOOD was the quietly spoken but gritty Northerner whose realist poetry always cut an edge. Frank was central to IPW. He was good friends with the brilliant Socialist poet JIM BURNS who was poetry editor of TRIBUNE.

Talking of TRIBUNE...

PAUL ANDERSON was then a seventeen year old school student who set the workshop alight. His 'Rat Repeater' will never be forgotten as Punk alighted in 1977. Paul went on to Oxford University, became editor of TRIBUNE, then deputy editor of NEW STATESMAN. He has written much, now lectures in Journalism.

Paul is still friends with another who attended IPW - TRACEY MACLEOD

KEITH DERSLEY was already a puiblished poet when he joined IPW. His poems in London Magazine are among his best - the best. Keith went on to create his own Press and his RAGGED EDGE website (now sadly missed). He was the quiet one who inspired.

MARK JARMAN, another school student like Paul Anderson, was inspired by Keith. Mark went on to run and edit Chocolate News.

MARTIN STANNARD was the find of the Ipswich Poetry Workshop! That is, Martin went on to edit JOE SOAP'S CANOE and have many books of poetry published. Martin now teaches in China.

Many others too... ROBIN MAUNSELL was a well established magaizine poet; JOHN GONZALEZ set up his own press and STEVEN SMY published a magazine.

This list of poets may seem a bit male but there were quite a few females!  Or did they just sit there and take in the foolishness in order to bypass and be themselves? To make it?



Caroline Gill said...

As we stand on the cusp of a new a Suffolk Poetry Society and University Campus Suffolk venture (starting tomorrow) in the form of a student-led workshop, I found your poetry accounts in these posts particularly exciting! Thank you for charting these developments.

Rupert Mallin said...

Thanks very much for your news Caroline. I'm hoping to post some more memories of the Ipswich Poetry Workshop here soon.