Keith Hutson Readings

Keith Hutson Readings

Keith Hutson reading at The Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax, 15 March 2019.  Photograph by  Ant Robling.


Keith Hutson's first full-length collection Baldwin's Catholic Geese was published by Bloodaxe in February 2019, and launched with readings at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and at Halifax's Square Chapel Arts Centre in March (both hosted by the then Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy). They read together again at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July. Keith gave more readings alongside Carol Ann Duffy in the autumn at the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival in Hull in September, and at the Birmingham Literature Festival on 3 October.

Through vivid portraits, the book looks at the delight and heartbreak of being human through the lens of beloved music hall stars, as well as long-forgotten variety acts of the past. It acts as a comedic chronicle of social history that, in the words of Carol Ann Duffy, illustrate 'something timeless about ambition and the human spirit'.

Carol Rumens discussed Keith Hutson's poem 'The Opener' from Baldwin's Catholic Geese in her 'Poem of the Week' column on The Guardian website. 'The collection delivers the comedy and oddity its title promises, but amounts to very much more than a novelty act. It’s a commemoration.'  Read the column here.

A podcast interview with Keith Hutson on Two Minutes Stories can be heard here. Keith read 'The Audience' from Baldwin's Catholic Geese and spoke about his poetry and his life in comedy (from 28.50).



Thursday 24 October 2019, 6.45pm-7.45pm

Explore York Libraries & Archives, Library Square, Museum Street, York YO1 7DS

Finding the Words with Suzanne Batty, Jane Burn and Keith Hutson

Hear poets from Yorkshire and beyond at this relaxed and welcoming monthly poetry evening. Keith Hutson will be reading alongside fellow Bloodaxe poet Suzanne Batty.

Tickets: £5

Click here to book.


Friday 22 November, 7.30pm, Theatre, Storyhouse, Chester

Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

 Imtiaz Dharker & Friends

Poet, artist and filmmaker Imtiaz Dharker is this year’s festival’s guest director and artist in residence. Her poems and illustrations, inspired by Storyhouse and its communities, will be emblazoned across Storyhouse’s spaces creating an enormous poetry book.

Dharker has also curated four special events including Imtiaz Dharker and Friends, headlined by both Dharker and former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as well as evenings of poetry from deaf spoken-word artist and Ted Hughes Prize winner Raymond Antrobus.  Keith Hutson will be reading from his Bloodaxe debut Baldwin's Catholic Geese.

£15 (plus £1.50 booking fee)

Click here to book.


Thursday 28 November, 7.15pm, NCLA, Culture Lab, Newcastle University

Peter Bennet and Keith Hutson

A poetry reading introduced by Neil Astley

Two very different northern poets published by Bloodaxe come together for a lively evening of storytelling poetry and engaging repartee.

Peter Bennet, described by the Poetry Book Society as a writer of ‘bold imaginative strokes, subversive connections and dark wit,’ reinvents the world with linguistic resourcefulness and panache in his seventh collection, Mischief (2018).

Comedy-writer-turned-poet Keith Hutson’s debut collection, Baldwin's Catholic Geese (2019), explores the delight and heartbreak of being human through the lost world of Music Hall and Variety entertainment.

Neil Astley is the founder and editor of Bloodaxe Books, now in its 41st year, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Free event, but booking required.

Click here to book.

'... a tonic – a fizzing celebrant of often unremembered lives... There’s more than artistry to Keith Hutson’s peerless volume.' - Steve Whitaker in The Yorkshire Times. Read the review here.

‘I cannot recommend this book too highly. If you have not lived long enough to have experienced vaudeville/music hall theatre, or to have heard your grandparents rave about it, you can read it all here. The artistry of Keith Hutson, nuanced, never forced, brings it back to life again. Be sure to look sharp though; beguiled by the characters, you may lose sight of the craft, the genius blend of pathos and humour threaded through every poem. Read it.’ -  Wendy Klein, London Grip [on Baldwin’s Catholic Geese]    Read the full review here.


Keith Hutson: The Audience (i.m. Les Dawson 1931–1993)

Keith Hutson reads and introduces his poem ‘The Audience’ about Les Dawson, one of the many comedians he worked with before moving from comedy script writing to poetry.


Keith Hutson: Hylda (for Hylda Baker 1909–1986)

Keith Hutson reads and introduces his poem ‘Hylda’ about the rise and fall of comedienne Hylda Baker, familiar to television audiences as the mouthy proprietress of Pledge’s Pickle Factory on ITV.


Keith Hutson: Accept No Imitations (i.m. J.D. Plummer 1846–1901)

Keith Hutson reads and introduces his poem ‘Accept No Imitations’ about J.D. Plummer, a resourceful Victorian impresario whose final tragic fate was beyond his control.


Keith Hutson: Glasgow Empire

Keith Hutson reads and introduces his poem ‘Glasgow Empire’ about the notorious theatre where even the most famous comedians were booed off the stage.


Keith Hutson: Baldwin’s Catholic Geese

Keith Hutson reads and introduces a selection of poems from Baldwin’s Catholic Geese. Neil Astley filmed Keith Hutson at his home in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in February 2019.

[12 August 2019]

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