Writings and Witterings

Chatterton—A Series Of Poems


Chatterton Front Cover–Stretton ‘Chatterton’ is  a series of poems about young and starving poet in a garret, Thomas Chatterton. He was 17 years old. Did he commit suicide or not?  You decide.

My series of poems, in an elegant pamphlet (thanks to Black Pear Press), is from the viewpoints of those who loved or were somehow influenced by ‘the beautiful boy’. I imagine them gathered around the foot of his deathbed, remembering and commenting on his life. Each individual, from his mother to his doctor to various poets, have their own poem about him.

I’ve loved the Henry Wallis painting – shown on the front cover of the pamphlet – since I studied the pre-Raphaelites many moons ago – it’s the inspiration for the series. And I was asked to do a potted history of Thomas Chatterton – it appears in the final pages.

There’s a limited first edition of 50 copies and I’ve signed each one (phew!).

Now you can get your copy here. Because it’s a limited edition, it’s available only here or direct from my publishers Black Pear Press. Also because it’s a limited edition and not available on Amazon, we’re missing the usual review facility so we’d be very grateful if you’d leave a review in the comment box below. Thank you.

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Non-UK postage: btn_buynowCC_LG

‘Chatterton’ will be performed by writers at 42 Worcester 30th April 2014, at Coach House Writers 1st May 2014 and by writers from Worcester Writers’ Circle 12th June 2014.

Award winning novelist Carrie Rubin said, ‘I finished Chatterton… really wonderful, and I enjoyed learning about this tragic lad. The poem by “The Mother” about broke my heart… only Polly could get me to read a collection of themed poems. And I’m so glad I did!’

Reviews are welcome in the comments or ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.


26 thoughts on “Chatterton—A Series Of Poems

  1. Polly, I just tried ordering your latest book. While it does say they deliver outside the UK, it does not allow for my proper address here in France and adds UK to the address? Any suggestions? 🙂


  2. I was writing to say Congratulations and my computer crashed…
    just gotta love technology…
    so back to looks like a wonderful book!
    Take Care…You Matter…


  3. Let me know if there’s a place for me to leave a review. For now, I’ll just send out a tweet. 🙂


    • Missing the Amazon review system aren’t we… if you would write a review and put it here please Carrie that would be wonderful. I’ll share it to my publisher’s site as well. Thank you.


      • Here you go:

        Chatterton – A Series of Poems explores loved ones’ possible reactions to young Thomas Chatterton’s death, using Henry Wallis’s painting Death of Lord Thomas Chatterton as a launching point. The verses are wonderfully visceral, and I enjoyed learning about this tragic young lad. The poem by “The Mother” about broke my heart. Only Ms. Robinson could get me to read a collection of themed poems. And I’m so glad I did!

        The italics of the pamphlet’s and painting’s name were removed in this comment, but you can add them back in. Feel free to use all or part of it. As always, I enjoy your work. 🙂


        • Thank you so much Carrie – have you really never read a series of poems before? I love that you’ve read mine 🙂 I’m a bit partial to ‘The Girl’ – you’ll see why!


          • Oh, I suppose in school I did. But before encountering your blog, I read very little poetry in my adult life. I still don’t read much of it, but I always enjoy the extra edge in yours–like the tone of “The Girl”. She’s a bit ticked off, that one. And rightfully so, it seems…


  4. If you have’t already ordered a copy, I can thoroughly recommend this collection.

    What a unique idea to look at many viewpoints. Each with their own take on the life and death of Chatterton.

    Beautiful poetry, an anthology that you will delve into again and again. Thought provoking and profound – a must for every collection.

    Thanks Polly.


  5. The Chatterton story has been a passion with me for over 30 years and I rarely find anyone else with the same interest. I am one of those crazy people who collect things and even have a letter written by Chatterton to his mother; so you see I simply had no choice but to buy your book (a few moments ago). Reading Chatterton’s works seems to present too many hurdles for most people, but I would recommend ‘Villain with Wings,’ a lovely story published in 1953, and based on the known facts, written by Rayne Kruger (husband of Prue Leith).
    There is a Chatterton Society which meets in Bristol (google it for details), and you might care to know that the current opinion, after scientific research relating to the ink stains in some of Chatterton’s writings, is that Chatterton was treating himself for a nasty illness when it went tragically wrong.
    Thank you for reawakening interest in the remarkable Chatterton Story.


    • Richard, thank you for your message – how wonderful that you’ve ordered a copy of my pamphlet – I hope (yet oddly feel I ‘know’ because of your interest) you’ll enjoy it… I found a copy of ‘Villain with Wings’- thanks for the ‘heads up.’
      I’d heard about the Chatterton Society and you’ll see that I’ve noted the research and used it in my series of poems – vital information.
      I believe there’s also a museum dedicated to Thomas Chatterton and mean to visit when I can.
      How wonderful that you have a letter written to him by his mother – I’d love to see that.
      It’s great to see you visit my blog – it would be good to hear from you again once you have your copy of ‘Chatterton’.


  6. Received my copy last week… Excellent work, Polly! Absolutely brilliant and so very creative! Again … Congratulations 😀


  7. Congratulations, Polly! I feel badly but I have a limited budget and buy books from the library discards pile! Literally! I wrote a post about a man who drew all kinds of illustrations of wagons and carts, 100 years or more ago, that I got for $2 at the library sale. I would love to read more and will check out your posts as often as possible! I better not ever write and publish a book, since I am not doing the good karma thing here! Smiles, Robin


    • heh-heh… there are only 50 copies available in this limited edition Robin, so they’re likely to go quite quickly, many of them already in the post 🙂 The publishers are talking of a reprint already (!) If I decide to do so it’ll be available as an eBook… nicely cost-effective but it won’t be for quite a while x


  8. Pingback: To Pen or Not To Pen | It's 5 Past 50

  9. Congrats, Polly! You have such a wonderful way with words. You are an inspiration to so many of us!


  10. Reblogged this on poetry, photos and musings oh my! and commented:
    My copy of Chatterton arrived yesterday. If you order your copy today, you will not be sorry! I don’t want to give anything away but it is an stimulating tonic for the creative mind…


  11. Your book sounds MUCH more than a pamphlet! I’d call it a chapbook 🙂 Congratulations – I look forward to ordering a copy 🙂


    • Thank you, Carly – I’m delighted to say that 35 of the 50 copies have already been sold – I’m thrilled that so many people have wanted to read about an 18th Century poet, even one as fascinating as the boy Chatterton. Interesting that you’d call it a chapbook… must confess, I’m never sure of the distinction (!) 🙂


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