Praise for poetry collection

A NORTH Northumberland poet’s recent work has received a positive review from a national newspaper.

All the Rooms of Uncle’s Head, a poetry pamphlet by Tony Williams, of Alnwick, was reviewed in the Guardian on Saturday.

Tony’s latest publication is inspired by the great artists celebrated by Hans Prinzhorn in his famous work The Artistry of the Mentally Ill.

As the Guardian explains, the poems are ‘presented as the work of an asylum inmate ‘somewhere in Central Europe in the first decades of the 20th century’, who painted sonnets on to ceramic tiles that were subsequently smashed’.

Tony was born and bred in Matlock, Derbyshire, but moved to Alnwick with his young family a year ago to take up a post teaching Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria.

“What prompted me to write the pamphlet was looking at the bizarre artwork produced by some of the people incarcerated in mental asylums in the last century – it’s like nothing else in art – and I wondered what sort of poems these people might write,” he said.

The result, says Guardian reviewer Paul Batchelor, is ‘bewildering and darkly humorous’.

The pamphlet was published in July last year by Nine Arches Press and has received much praise over the last eight months including being awarded the Poetry Book Society Autumn Pamphlet Choice 2011.

The Guardian review is another great accolade for the pamphlet which is not just a book of poems, but a piece of art in itself.

Tony has always been inspired by landscape – his first book of poems, The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street drew heavily on his life in Derbyshire and Sheffield.

And now Tony is inspired by the Northumbrian landscape in which he lives.

“Northumberland is a beautiful place to live,” he said. “My wife and I fell in love with the area seven years ago when we came on holiday to Beadnell.

“Now I have to pinch myself every day to remind myself that I live here. I have already written poems about the Alnwick lion and the old Spillers Mill on Tyneside”.

Signed copies of Tony’s books All the Rooms of Uncle’s Head (£6) and The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (£12.99) are available to buy at the Baiiffgate Museum in Alnwick.

A collection of short stories called All the Bananas I’ve Never Eaten will be published by Salt later this year.

The Guardian review can be seen at