Due North is a poem in twelve chapters concerned with human movement northwards or out in the quest for work, subsistence, settlement and gratification, and in danger of getting trapped in various enclosures, including thought-traps. The cast includes migrant workers, returning soldiers, children growing up, and population movements such as the early 19th-century descent on the northern manufacturing districts from demographic disaster zones, with my awareness of my own ancestry among the displaced Irish of Manchester and West Yorkshire. Woven into this are various artistic, poetical, cultural and instinctive ventures to traverse cold and emptiness, limit and futility, in the hope of attaining the metaphor of lasting warmth. Its pattern is that of a long sequence of beginnings, some of which reach their conclusions, usually elsewhere in the text, some of which don't. The textual mode is literal and lyrical, to posit the value of these two forces in sustaining hope. (Peter Riley)
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Peter Riley was born in 1940 near Manchester in an environment of working people and entered higher education through post-war socialistic education policies. He studied at the universities of Cambridge and Keele and taught for a few years at the University of Odense, Denmark. He was involved in the 1960s in a loose association of Cambridge poets seeking new ways of writing through verbally centred approaches, and edited its organ, The English Intelligencer. Since 1975 he has lived as a freelance writer, teacher and bookseller until he retired from everything in 2005. He lived for ten years in the Peak District of central England, then in Cambridge from 1985, where he ran a small press and collaborated in organising international poetry events. Some of his recent writings have resulted from his travels, principally to Transylvania in search of music. In 2013 he moved to Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is the author of some twenty books and pamphlets, mostly of poetry but including one of travel sketches in Transylvania. Most of his poetry is concerned with being at particular places on the earth. He reviews poetry regularly for the website The Fortnightly Review.
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