Postmodernism and Urban Life

Neon Highway Poetry Evening
Liverpool Central Library, August 19th 2004

Reviewed by Maxwell Turpin and Kenn Taylor

Alice Lenkiewicz has been the editor of a poetry magazine called Neon Highway since 2002. With its 8th issue now available, she presents an evening of poetry reading by published writers and performers in the grand Hornby suite on the 2nd floor of Central Library.

Sitting back in these extravagant yet relaxed surroundings with the complimentary glass of wine we witness the assembled poets express their frustrations of urban life (in Liverpool, Huddersfield and beyond) with both existential urban despair and an element of gallows humour.

Adam Fish in an ironic twist, delivers dramatically to the audience a “Short Course on Suicide Note Writing” advising the potentially suicidal to help us “understand the pain” by being specific about “what your plan is”. In reference to this, Bill Darcy gives us his “Instructions for the Recently Deceased” wishing us to “have a pleasant life, it could be your last” leaving open interpretation to the audience to how urban decay causes human decay and death.

Angela Keaton has a different approach to postmodernism with a collection of Liverpool memories and ideals with its “rainbow paving”, “slave trade” and “20p to see the river”. She offers a more experimental delivery of her reading with Joseph Winstanley whistling sounds of the “plastic sea of the British Empire”.
With special guest Bill Griffiths rounding off the evening with his post nuclear-era “Cartoons” and “Insect” themes resembling documents and photography of the industrial revolution, you can’t help miss the passion and extremes of behaviour poetry can invoke. Like Dave Ward before him, the performance seems somewhat subdued. Still all the poets tonight reflect on the landscape we view on quiet afternoons at the riverfront (and beyond) showcasing an intriguing, scenic and descriptive range of writing. Plus by finishing at 9.30pm, gave the audience plenty of imagery to reminisce and debate over before last orders.

Neon Highway Poetry Magazine Issue 8 available from

For further information contact: Editor, Alice Lenkiewicz at