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John Seed – Manchester: August 16th & 17th 1819

cover thumbnailPublished 2013, Paperback

Purchase – £8.75 plus Postage

‘Manchester: August 16th & 17th 1819’ is a poem sequence constructed from historical witness statements of two days in Manchester. This edition has illustrations from contemporary newspapers as well as an afterword by John Seed.

The first part of ‘Manchester: August 16th & 17th 1819’, written in 1973 but previously unpublished, applies the citational method of Reznikoff’s Testimony to historical materials on the so-called ‘Peterloo Massacre’. The ‘Afterword’ reflects on this method, noting convergences to some recent discussions in the United States around ‘uncreative writing’ and ‘conceptual writing’.

From the beginning of the poem:


Our whole column
with the Rochdale people
would probably consist of 6,000 men.

At our head
a hundred or two of women.

One each side of our line
some thousands of stragglers:

we went slowly
towards Manchester.

John Seed is the author of several collections of verse, including Divided into One (Poetical Histories, Cambridge 2003), and New and Collected Poems, Pictures from Mayhew and That Barrikins, (Shearsman, Bristol 2005 and 2007). He has also written a lot of history, including the book Dissenting Histories: Religious Division and the Politics of Memory in Eighteenth-century England (Edinburgh University Press, 2008), as well as an introduction to Marx, Marx: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2010) and essays on the poetry of Basil Bunting, George Oppen and Bill Griffiths.

Manchester: August 16th & 17th 1819 – £8.75 plus Postage


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