A hallowed place

Morden Tower is one of Britain’s best-known literary landmarks. For nearly 50 years, hundreds of poets came from all over the world to perform in the ancient turret-room on Newcastle’s city walls. Morden Tower readings were started in 1964 by Tom and Connie Pickard when, on June 16th, poet and songwriter Pete Brown gave the first reading.

Meanwhile Tom Pickard had tracked down Basil Bunting, then living in obscurity in Northumberland, and soon enthusiastic young Morden Tower audiences were encouraging him to start writing again. On the 22 December 1965 he gave his first public reading of his newly written epic poem Briggflatts. Basil thought the readings might last about two years. As it turns out the tower delivered quality events until around 2007.

Many poets have relished the experience of reading at the Tower with its fine acoustics, its warm, appreciative audiences, and its gloriously battered architecture. Everyone who attended a Morden Tower reading left feeling changed and its old stone steps still speak of all the feet that have entered and left those magical readings. The Tower was and always will be unique.

More at the Morden Tower website

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings.Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet