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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