Keith Hutson’s debut collection, Baldwin’s Catholic Geese, looks at the delight and heartbreak of being human through the lens of beloved music hall and variety stars like Hylda Baker and Frankie Howerd, as well as less celebrated, now long-forgotten acts of the past: The Bryn Pugh Sponge Dancers, Macauley’s Leaping Infants, Willy Netta’s Singing Jockeys, and many more.
Hutson’s vividly realised portraits bring back to life a whole cast of the extraordinary characters who have entertained us for over two centuries. Comedy is brought into sharp relief by hardship. His Baldwin’s Catholic Geese is a social history chronicle in poems, focusing on what it means for all of us who have to make the most of our luck – the good, the bad, and the bizarre.
Keith Hutson has written for Coronation Street and for many well-known comedians. He has published two poetry pamphlets, Routines (2016) and Troupers (2018).
'This is the poet as portraitist, as raconteur, as a teller of fables. The music hall poems in particular - like flickering magic lanterns - are full of wit and pathos.' – Michael Symmons Roberts
‘These poems illuminate something timeless about ambition and the human spirit. Keith Hutson is a wonderful talent – his hardworking, technically-assured poems arrive all of a piece centre-stage.’ – Carol Ann Duffy, on Troupers
‘Knowing, funny, sad, virtuoso, these compelling sonnets bring theatrefuls of yesteryear vividly to life. Keith Hutson explores art as artfulness, performance as a way of coping, or seeming to. His ad-libs are perfectly timed and if we laugh out loud at his routines, we flinch too at the “imaginary hot fat” of the risks his characters take by being centre-stage.’ – Peter Sansom, on Routines