LAUNCH OF JOHN GOHORRY’S NEW COLLECTION The Age of Saturn – 7.30 pm Tuesday 23 June 2015 at David’s Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3DE

John Gohorry was born Donald Smith in Coventry in 1943. He came to North Herts in 1971, and lectured in English, Communications, and Business and Management Studies at what is now North Hertfordshire College until retirement in 2006, spending the last seven years delivering Teacher Training. He has been a member of local poetry group poetry id since then, and poet in residence at David’s Bookshop since 2007.

The Age of Saturn, his eighth collection, is published by Shoestring Press (2015), which also published previous collections including Imagining Magdeburg (2008)Samuel Johnson’s Amber (2010) and the long poem A Manager’s Dog (2011).


John Gohorry  writes:-

“It’s a decent sized book (245 pages) containing a variety of single poems, themed groups, and sequences, some published previously in pamphlet form but most appearing for the first time.

“The title sequence is a group of 34 poems consisting of an imaginary exchange of letters between the Spanish painter Goya and the German poet Hölderlin between 1819 and 1828, the year of Goya’s death. Both men were undergoing crises which were a compound of physical, emotional and psychosocial factors, both were living in relative isolation, and both responded with the full force of the imagination that each had at his disposal. Hölderlin’s engagement, through a series of short poems ostensibly written to please visitors to his room in what later became known as the Hölderlinturm in Tübingen and signed Obediently, Scardanelli, are not generally well known, but the Black Paintings which Goya executed on the walls of the Quinta del Sordo, outside Madrid and are now in the Prado, are justly famous. One of these is a painting of Saturn devouring his son, an act of cannibalism which epitomises Goya’s view of the age of Saturn and of his own time. Hölderlin on the other hand thought of it as a golden age, a time when there was no distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, no need for laws, an idyllic time when the earth gave up its harvest without the need for human labour.

“Other poems in the collection touch, directly or indirectly, on one or other of these conflicting perspectives – a series of poems based on paintings by Jack Vettriano, several biographical sequences, including A Lecturing Life, which I couldn’t have written had I not had one, and a poem in the voice of the explorer Colonel P.H.Fawcett, who disappeared in the Matto Grosso, Brazil, in 1929. There are picture postcard poems from a visit to Lanzarote, translations (and originals too) of some short pastoral idylls by Elina Baseilhac, a French newspaper reporter I met on the Ile de Ré, a group of poems about the materials out of which a city (Coventry) is made, and much more besides.

“It’s a pleasure to be launching the book here in North Herts, and especially so in David’s Bookshop, where Paul Wallace and his staff have been so kind to me over the years.”

Entry to the launch costs £3.00 which is redeemable against the cover price of The Age of Saturn (£14.95) if you buy a copy.

John Gohorry reading, Tuesday 18 December 2012

On Tuesday 18 December I’m reading from my two Dark Age Press collections, ‘Forty-Eight Gates’ (2009) and ‘On the Blue Cliff ‘ (2012) alongside Iain Johnson, the publisher.

The reading takes place at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1 (nearest tubes Russell Square, King’s Cross.) Doors open 6.30 pm for a 7 pm start. Poets from the floor are very welcome.

Entry is £5 (£4 concessions) in aid of Cold Weather Shelter.

Somerset Art Week Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop

Come and write a poem or two in the inspirational setting of Jone Delahaye’s Noonsburrow Studio.

Where? Hill Farm, Ruggin, Wellington, Somerset TA21 9LL
Venue 132 in SAW Open Studios Guide

When?   2.30 pm Monday 17 September 2012

What?    Bring pencil, paper, clear mind

Why?     Everything is a door;
All you need is the light pressure of a thought
Octavio Paz

The poetry workshop is part of the Somerset Art Weeks celebrations. It’s led by John Gohorry, ( who has published a number of collections of poetry, some with images by Jone Delahaye.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all

‘Hours’ videoverse from John Gohorry

I’ve just uploaded a videoverse called ‘Hours’ to YouTube – it has arisen out of the workshop which I led a fortnight ago. The synthesis is sparing as regards both sound and imagery in the hope of suggesting the remorseless and impersonal march of time, inside the frame of which various activities (of mine) are captured.  I originally posted a link, but for ease of access I’ve now embedded it below.

New John Gohorry Videopoem on YouTube

I’ve made a short (72 seconds) videopoem set in the gardens of Marqueyssac, and uploaded it just now on YouTube. It sets the formal control of trimmed box hedges against elements (stone heads, white doves) chafing against it, with the poet mediating between them….You can watch it at (I have made a few small changes since making my original post a couple of days ago, so this is the URL for the updated version, which is four seconds longer).

Forty definitions of what a poet is

I wrote this poem in 2009  as a declaration/definition of what the nature and function of a poet is. It is, if you like, my poetic credo and as such I have uploaded it as the first page on my website.  The method of defining a subject in terms of multiple images is the same as that used by the metaphysical poet George Herbert, whom I greatly admire, in his poem Prayer.

Netmaker; interpreter; spark bringer
to the tinder-dry rook-roost; nurse; midwife;
walker on rooftops; horse-whisperer; singer;
thief; lookout; lifeguard; preserver of life;
builder and crosser of bridges; artist
of all that disturbs, teaches or pleases;
dreamer; explorer; wallgazer; fabulist;
stone-breaker; namer of our diseases;
closer and opener of doors; coaxer of flame
from the hearts of others; plumber; scout; scourge;
playmaker; refiner of what first came
to hand or to mind; shapeshifter; demiurge;
cook; traveller; acolyte; word-warden;
sweep; labourer in the Muse’s garden.

© John Gohorry 2009

John Gohorry on YouTube

I’ve been carrying out some multimedia experiments in recent years with various combinations of verse, sounds, and visual imagery. The necessary tools are an ordinary digital camera and two readily available programs – Windows Movie Maker, which came as standard on my laptop, and Audacity, which is a free download. My YouTube link, which is also tied into my website, is at I hope you enjoy your visit.

John Gohorry – ‘A Manager’s Dog’

Shoestring Press have just (May 2011) published my pamphlet ‘A Manager’s Dog’. It’s a sequence of 18 poems in which the faithful guardian/supporter/gofer tells of his master’s rise to power in the hierarchy of a business organisation, and how he himself contributes to it. But what happens when the manager reaches the pinnacle of success? Readers familiar with the patterns of tragedy will be able to predict the consequences no doubt for the manager….but what about the dog? It’s ISBN: 978 1 907356 25 3 price £5 from Shoestring Press or through any discerning bookshop.