Norman Hadley – A Whoop Above the Dust

By guest writer Anthony Coppin – reproduced, with thanks, from the Garstang Courier.

Whoop Cover Image

Garstang poet Norman Hadley goes from strength to strength. This is a collection of his work from July 2009 to July 2010, and represents some of the best in regional poetry.

What comes across in most of the poems is a sense of place, of landscape, of nature.

The poems are challenging, too. For example, a three-line poem titled “Bleasdale” brings out the turmoil of the skyscapes often seen over that district. And links it to the burbling of its curlews in spring, asking, without a question mark, “Who owns what?”

The poem “Craven” explores what Hadley sees as an unexpected foreign flavour to that part of the North, while other poems, such as “Antipodes”, are more global in their geographical reach.

The book also contains a series of eight poems inspired by a competition linked to Castlerigg Stone Circle. Echoes of Arthurian legend, Viking invaders and metaphysical mistresses weave a sense of mystery in the mind as one reads the poems here.

There’s more than a bit of fun, too – for example in a poem with an irreverent look at the way parts of southern England got their names (with crafty references to naughty Chaucer).

Hadley, in my view, has similarities with Ted Hughes but without Hughes’ constant over-grittiness and pessimism.