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james walton

Poet James Walton sits at a coffee shop with a mug of tea
Cover of Beltin' by James Walton

James Walton's debut chapbook

Beltin' title

James Walton is a writer from Wigan, specialising in poetry that reflects his Northern identity through the use of phonetic spelling. This allows the reader to 'hear' James' words as they read his work and is quite a new direction for a full pamphlet.

James' work in five words:

  • Pies

  • Pints

  • Fish

  • Chips

  • Gravy


His work is interesting, nostalgic and evocative, and we are proud to have him as part of our family. He signed to Written Off in December 2021 and released his first chapbook in March 2022. He has since gone on to release his second publication with us in 2023, Every Neet o' Week which is available now. We sat down with him for a little chat!

Your poetry uses a lot of dialectal forms - you can almost hear the Wigan accent through the way you spell, too. Why do you choose to write this way?

Cos it's way a talk! If ya spoke t'ya English they'd probs giv ya an 'ard time bout it; it's who we are. Speakin in slang shows where ya come from; tha community an kinda people ya grew up wiv. 


The beats ad a way wi' language an words... Look ow influential they became. 



You're not a "traditional" poet - what made you choose poetry as a writing style?


Always loved t'write - firstly wiv scripts, but thats one ov many components of mekkin a film. Ya need cast, crew, budget etc... wiv poetry, all ya need iz pen an paper an ya can put it out t'world. 



Who are your biggest influences when it comes to writing poetry?

Bukowski, John Cooper Clarke an Toria Garbutt.

A lot of your work focuses on memories. Which is your favourite piece on this topic and why?

Chippy Tay without a doubt! It's tha staple ov Britain's Friday neets! Tha response as bin class, all different cultures an walks o'life love a chippy on a Fryday. 

What has the local response been to your work?

Bin beltin! Nice fot 'ear people ov all ages an backgrounds sayin they dunt normally like poetry but av managed change tha mind. 

When you're not writing poetry, what do you enjoy doing to pass the time?

Summert creative... If I ain't writin, al b'mekkin films an documentaries. 

As a proud Northerner, do you feel Northern people are properly represented in poetry? What more should we be doing to share these voices?

I guess not... cos as I said before, people might av a preset notion ov poetry an what it's all 'bout. I dunt fink its 'elped wiv not showcasin' more working, everyday people... They need t'see that in poetry tha's summert they can relate to. 

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