The Dead Good Poet Society

There is a living tradition of storytelling throughout the city of Liverpool; you can see it everywhere and it comes in many forms. Poetry has been at the heart of Liverpool since the 1960's and the Mersey poets of the 60's can be thanked for this. Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten were pioneers of their time and were involved in the Liverpool arts scene, which gave rise to The Beatles. They wrote a style of poetry that was geared towards performance, with a more contemporary vibe that struck a cord in the city. The trio's efforts came to providence in the well-received anthology The Mersey Sound in 1967.

The Bluecoat began its life as an educational institution opened in 1726 by the reverend Robert Styth, rector of Liverpool, and Brian Blundell, master mariner. The building remained an educational zone for almost two centuries, finally relocating in 1906 to larger premises in Wavertree. The vacated Bluecoat wasn't empty for long and found itself occupied a year later by a group of painters and sculptors, having had their studio space on Sandon Terrace demolished. The members of the Sandon Society were keen to maintain the building as a centre for the arts and over the years lobbied the help of many important people to achieve their goals. Mrs Fanny Dove Hamel Calder can be credited with securing the support of Lord Leverhulme in 1910 and, following his death in 1927, securing the building once more for the arts.

During WWII the building suffered damaged during the blitz of 1941 in which many areas of the city were severely damaged but the Bluecoat was later restored to its former splendour in 1958. It was a further ten years later in 1968 when the Bluecoat gallery was formally established to showcase contemporary arts ranging from dance to literature and of course poetry. The dream of the Sandon Society and participating artists across Liverpool had been realised. Todays rich poetry scene in Liverpool can find its roots in the humble beginnings of McGough, Pattern and Henri and the Bluecoat alike. The poetry of the trio and many others: local, national, and international was proudly showcased at the Bluecoat and inspired a generation of youths to sit up and take note.

The Bluecoat, as it is less formally known, can be found on School Lane in the centre of the city and holds the crown of the oldest building in the city and arguably the oldest centre of arts. This building with a fascinating history is now home to one of the most happening poetry venues in the city, Liverpool Poetry cafe. This cafe upholds the long tradition of poetry readings and is a testament to tradition in the city. The celebrated Dead Good Poet Society has even gathered attention from the national press, as earlier last year The Guardian's Marcel Theroux took on the challenge of composing and reciting a poem at one of their major poetry slams, aided by Merseysider Phil Bowen. (See below for link).

Every July the Dead Good Poet Society host a poetry reading, total amateurs and lyrical wordsmiths alike take to the stage to deliver a piece of hard hitting emotive prose often inspired by the city and its people.



Tonight at Noon-


Tonight at noon 

Supermarkets will advertise 3d EXTRA on everything

Tonight at noon

Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home

Elephants will tell each other human jokes

America will declare peace on Russia 

World War I generals will sell poppies in the streets on November 11th

The first daffodils of autumn will appear

When the leaves fall upwards to the trees

Tonight at noon

Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards

Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields 

A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool 

Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton and Nelson will not only get his eye back but his arm as well 

White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights in front of the Black House

and the Monster has just created Dr Frankenstein 

Girls in bikinis are moonbathing

Folksongs are being sung by real folk

Art galleries are closed to people over 21 

Poets get their poems in the Top 20 

Politicians are elected to insane asylums

There's jobs for everyone and nobody wants them

In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight

In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly bury the living and

You will tell me you love me

Tonight at noon


Written by Adrian Henri