A Poet

With his signature Salfordian twang, and satirical, quick-witted and heartfelt pieces, JB Barrington is a poet guaranteed to take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Cleverly, he proposes everyday situations and objects as his main tools of representation, allowing himself, as a true wordsmith, to evoke emotions and meanings from his readership that expand far beyond the confines of his poetry. Barrington is sure to reach the blank canvas of your mind, painting powerful images, relative to your own personal ups-and-downs and simple, day-to-day struggles.

His poems speak directly to, and for, the working class - presenting life in its purest and most genuine form. He uncovers typical Mancunian, working class struggles, from writing against the law, the government and everyday grapples to make ends meet to the nostalgic experiences of growing up, including warm references to his ‘mam’, his greatest role-model, throughout his work.

Being unafraid to tackle divisive topics, politics remain prominent of Barrington’s agenda. His awareness of how the political system has, for decades, worked against the “poorer man”, until we, as a society, have become politically uneducated, or “out of the loop”, so to speak, forms a crucial concept in his poetry.

One of the hardest-hitting and effective of Barrington’s poems is ‘Don't Look Down’, in which he makes the clear and succinct point that the working class mustn't be scapegoated, by the rich, for all societal problems. Initially, this particular poem challenges the shameless right-wing press, who circle the masses like vultures, flippantly shaming them as ‘scroungers’ and ‘slobs’. Secondly, Barrington directly reaches out to us, pleading we reconsider where they point the finger of blame and challenge the verity of the media.

Barrington caters for all moods, whether it be nostalgia (see ‘When the World was Young and so was I’); sadness (‘She Holds His Hand’); thoughtfulness (‘There's a Reason’) or, if you just fancy a laugh, there's ‘Sunglasses’, about his firm dislike of people who wear sunglasses indoors – maybe Bono should give that one a read.


Amber Dawson

Don't Look Down

When you focus in and concentrate
On those across the street
When you’re quick to cast aspersions
On the vulnerable and weak
And when someone's tongue just don’t belong
To the language that you speak
When you feed off greed and believe what you read
Then grin yourself to sleep

When you carry round those leeches
Like golden chains around your feet
When you wave a flag then make a call
To shop a social cheat
When your nose is turned at those
With dog and blanket and beer can
I’ll be venting my spleen at the killing machine
And not the downbeat poorer man

And when your TV shows
where tens of thousands died
You’ll bitch and whinge
about those who smoke cigarettes
and takes their kids to school in taxi rides

When your views are cast upon the ones
Who fall down on their luck
When your furrowed frown has you looking down
When you really should be looking up
Up towards the ones that take the most away from you
And not towards the ones beneath
When they're simply making do

JB Barrington

Background art: Vase by Helena Pérez Garcia