Well, the chapbook arrived yesterday and I am delighted with it. The publishers, Erbacce, have done a wonderful job and Maria Walker’s cover design is really beautiful. I have dedicated the book to my brothers and sister and I am looking forward to presenting them with a copy. I wonder what my dad’s family would have thought if they had known their letters would one day be published, revealing so much about working class life in a Northern industrial town in 1923.
Maria wants me to write more poems, so my work is not yet done, but at least I have a publication to include in the exhibition at The Brindley, which will be happening in late summer this year. I have a feeling I will need to order another box of books by then as so many people have shown an interest in this project. A friend only remarked yesterday that Maria and I only discovered the connection of the letters in October – what a lot can happen in such a short time!
The discovery of the letters, and my doing some work in Widnes at my old library and Farnworth Church, has brought me back in time and back to Widnes in a very curious way. Having not thought much about the place for years, and recently severing my links with it when my in-laws moved away into a retirement flat near us, I suddenly feel closer to the place than I have for a long long time, even though I am a bit of a stranger in that it is all so different these days. The busy town square is pedestrianised, Simms Cross school has gone and the market has moved. The library now has a coffee shop – we would have loved that – and the road home past the foundry where my brother worked is now a dead end. Roots are so important and you can never dig them up.
5 responses to “The Lightfoot Letters”
What a terrific cover and a fascinating project. congrats!
Looking forward to getting my hands on this one, Angela!
I find period correspondence and diaries fascinating. There’s the Time Machine effect, of course, and to quote L P Hartley’s immortal opening line from ‘The Go-Between’, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” One of the things done differently being the use of language – and how intoxicating it can be, the period idiom.
I love the concept of your chapbook with the letters interspersed with your poems. It’s good to know the project has given you a deeper insight into your dad’s early years and reconnected you to your Widnes roots. I applaud your collaboration with Maria Walker too, as the fusing of poetry with other art forms seems to me a great way to go.
In presenting the life of a working class family in Widnes at that particular moment in the town’s history, the winter of 1923, just five years after The Great War, I’m sure ‘The Lightfoot Letters’ will prove a memorable and heart-warming read. Hope to make it to the launch at The Brindley.
I would like to know more about the family history and I think the book cover is very good. It makes you want to know what is inside.
If you read back in the blog you will be able to read samples of the letters, and some of my poems. My maiden name was Lightfoot and these letters were written by my dad’s family in 1923 and only discovered recently.
It’s a great little book – when I read it, I wanted more of the letters and more of the poems, so you must be doing something right.