Poet praises our grand land

Noel Hodgson
Noel Hodgson

A north Northumberland poet has just released his third anthology of poems, which celebrates the sites, scenery and people of the region.

Noel Hodgson, a semi-retired teacher who now lives in Tillmouth, released A Grand Land at the end of last month.

The collection features 35 poems alongside photographs and explanations about the background or context of the poems.

The content takes in places and people both well-known, such as Holy Island, Alnwick’s Lion Bridge and Grace Darling, and less so.

It follows the publication of Below Flodden in 2003 and Dancing Over Cheviot in 2008.

The 67-year-old explained his inspiration comes from a life spent in north Northumberland.

“I have always been very keen on being outside and walking,” he said. “I have always thought it was a bit of an adventure exploring the countryisde. We are very lucky here.

“I have lived my life in Northumberland and I’m quite passionate about it.

“Writing isn’t something I intended, but it’s a great way of keeping hold of memories.”

Noel had always written poems and other pieces but only privately, until Dave White, editor of magazine The Reiver, ran some of his poetry and suggested he did a book.

This led to Below Flodden and all three anthologies have been published through The Reiver Press.

And the new book has the same themes and goals as his first two books.

“It’s really about people, the characters and people I have known,” Noel said.

“It’s about places and the past because it’s very tangible here, and it’s about observation, I’m praising and celebrating north Northumberland.”

He explained that the photos were also a big part of his books.

“I always wanted to include photographs with the poems and I have had various people giving me photographs and I also take them myself,” he said.

All three of Noel’s books are available in various shops between Berwick and Morpeth or Noel can be contacted directly. See his website – www.noel hodgson.co.uk – for details.