A working class Poet from Halifax - Keiron Higgins.
'Keiron Higgins is passionate, strong and has lived many lives. He observes the world around him with a silent compassion that turns his words onto the page. He is honest, kind and says it like it is. His love for his home town, Halifax, music and the world around him is quite obvious. He loves to observe, take it all in and his inner/outer dialogue is a work of art in itself. If you are new to poetry, and want to hear a working class poet from Halifax, West Yorkshire, look no further than Keiron Higgins.'
What is your background? My background is predominately Jamaican-Irish. My late grandfather on my dad’s side Thomas (originally Roy) came from Jamaica as a Windrush immigrant to England in the 60’s. There is a story of him coming to England on his brother’s Visa. My mother’s father Geoff (also now deceased) was primarily of an Irish background. Both were quite well known in Halifax for different reasons as Tommy was often a very dapper bloke with a very eccentric attitude to life. Geoff played for Bradford Northern (now Bradford Bulls) in the early 60’s instead of becoming a boxer but retired at a young age before almost been picked up by Wigan due to an injury on the pitch. Both were proud often well dressed men who loved a party and also a drink. Before writing, I made a handful of music and spent most nights Djing mostly funk soul and ska around Halifax. It was eye opening to how to react to an audience, but very soon became a bane of my existence. It did start my fascination with collecting records when I stopped though.
What was the first record your bought ? and what was your last? My first record was a 45 of Do The Bartman From The Simpsons sings the blues album. This were the time when The Simpsons were a kinda new thing on television, in 1990. The last album(s) I have bought have been by female artists. One is Haley Heynderickx, a half Filipino American singer songwriter from Portland, Oregon. The other is Japanese punk band Shonen Knife’s greatest hits LP, what I can’t remember the title of but after I saw I think in 2019 I didn’t bother to pick any of their merchandise up as none of the albums included their favourite track for me- “flying jellyfish attack!”
What Book are you reading right now? I’m currently reading “We Fight Fascists: The 43 Group and Their Forgotten Battle for Post War Britain” about the 43 group whom were a group of Jewish youth based in London who fought against the uprise of fascism in the 40’s. Key members included Vidal Sassoon, the hairdresser. Some other books I have recently bought is Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and a book of collected poetry of Jamaican dub poetry.
When did you write your first poem and what was it about? I’m not sure actually. I wrote some terrible stuff aged 16. I dived into the game properly aged 27. The only one I can remember is some rant about the EDL which I stole lyrics from Clawfinger’s song called I don’t care. I always have had a bit of raging opinion about the abhorrent ignorance of some people perception of others.
How many published poetry books do you have out now ? Currently, just 2. those been “The Punk With A Northern Soul” and a collected anthology I did for amazon called “Perpetual Inventory.” There’s two now of out of print which is a chapbook called Keiron Higgins: Punk Poet and Cunninglinguist and my first published book I requested to be removed from circulation last year called Rebel Without A Prose, which I requested to be so as it was formatted incorrectly and not proof read. Both are authentic Haligonian collector’s items I guess.
Are you working on the next poetry book? Currently yes and no. I have sent a book off for an open submission called Artex Walls and A Union Jack Flag, which charters my recent work and some of the stuff I wrote in the 2020 pandemic. There’s also a project I’m working on if this book is successful for unconfirmed date called Subculture Vulture, which will be a collection of all my music based poems.
Do you think its important to perform your poetry? For me, its a voice to have among the current often subversive opinion out there that’s isn’t some bullshit you claim to believe in on your social media and also yours and yours only. Some people use it as semi autobiographical experience as I do but some have own agendas relating to the lifestyle and orientations and beliefs they have. I perform poetry as for a long time I fancied the idea of being a stand-up or a speaker, but none came to fruition due to my often introvert experiences as a teenager. Also being a stand-up is a tough job as your own humour may not match that of someone else's. With my poetry if I can nail a feeling, a night out, an experience in a short but few lines or less I’ve nailed it. I have a limited attention span so I try my best not to be up there for so long. Some important topics I have wrote about included mental health, the plights of dyspraxia, suicide awareness and music. All are often welcome with great praise and mutual respect from the audience. Not many can do it, but I hope I can with the time given!
What do you think of the spoken word scene? A very strange but often supportive scene. I fell into the wrong side of it becoming a performer and felt a lot of people wasn’t as supportive as they made out. Although I tend to run a very solo sect up there. There is some great poets I do know and admire. I’ll use this part to name them- Katie Atkinson, Cayn White, Bernie The Bolt, Nick Toczek, Tatty Hoggarth and Microphone Jack. All are my friends or closely knit associates on stage and we admire and support highly in whichever way we can. There’s been some new names since moving the party online that also are great humans from “darn south” I have turned attention to, namely Mark Coverdale a self proclaimed “art school mod” poet whose words are short and electrifying outlooks on life, and Tim Wells, a former ranting suedehead poet and author who runs a blog (https://standupandspit.wordpress.com/) chartering his love and admiration for reggae, snippets and history of the 1980s ranting poets scene and posts of poetry in general. I hope to meet them both someday.
What have you been doing since lockdown has eased slightly? Writing and working, while reclaiming my position as leading suedehead muso/stout enthusiast around some of the dens of iniquity around Halifax. I’m trying to wear all the clothes I have amassed during the year in one fall swoop but haven’t managed it yet. I’m also waiting for my words which have been more profound and heartfelt over the last year to turn back into barfly stories and accounts of the popular spectator sport of people watching in pubs. It’s how I operate when not pulling shifts and zooming and glooming on the net.
What is your favourite past time, other than poetry? I walk a lot and play Sega Mega drive in the afternoons. Take photos of ghost signs in Halifax, draw in books, collect a lot of strange music on vinyl, drink Guinness and generally try to enjoy life. I try maintain a healthy relationship with my grandmother, as her stories can inspire some of the true to life accounts I put into print.
What gigs have you got lined up ? Inter-Arts Festival tomorrow night on their Facebook page, I have been contributing to the ongoing project, Invisible Made Visible, which brings awareness to the areas of society that is hidden.
One at the Trades open mic. That one is been used for the trial of socially distanced gigs at that wonderful institution til we can enjoy them properly again.
The other is a joint book release by myself with the greatest “comeback story of the punk poetry century” Mr Cayn White for Grayston Unity. Apart from that its just me, my 4 walls and my books in your living room livestreaming and zooming where needed. That’s only if you want me there.:)
If you want to follow more of Poet, Keiron Higgins work go to https://www.facebook.com/watch/keironhiggspoet/