Poetry: it inevitably relates to -- among others -- identity, history, culture, class, race, community, economics, politics, power, loss, health, desire, regret, language, form and genre disruption, love ... as well as the absences thereofs. The same may be said about Adoption.

Sunday, May 29, 2011



My adoption experience was totally positive. I was adopted as a baby and my parents were the best anyone could ever have. My mum and dad were just that, the best of people who gave me the best of starts in life. Two of my six children were also adopted by me, but that makes no difference in my family. I did find my birth mother some years ago but she died soon after we met. I did however find that I had another family and that was a very interesting experience, not totally successful, but I have one sister who has stayed close. Perhaps that will be a poem one day.

Jim Bennett reading for Adoption Matters North West event
at Gorton Abbey, January 2011, U.K.



Insofar as my poetry is informed by everything that I have ever experienced I suppose it is all in there somewhere, perhaps the way I view relationships, life even the world around me. I have written one dedicated chapbook on my adoption experience, MADE IN LIVERPOOL, and I was pleased to be able to record that.



made in Liverpool

like The Beatles
and Meccano
I was made in Liverpool

for me it was the city
not a path less traveled
that made all the difference

it was the dockland
a port and a place
to call home

inventory 1953

the inventory came with the baby
1 three piece outdoor set
4 Turkish Napkins
2 pair of socks
2 nightdresses
2 pair of shoes
2 vests
2 liberty bodices
2 pair knickers
1 cardigan
2 Jersey suits
1 pair rubber pants
1 pair mitts

it filled up the space
below the statement
which read
I will receive James into my home
feed, clothe and look after him
and bring him up
as carefully
and kindly
as I would a child of my own

below this and below the
was the familiar scratched
signature of my mother
who kept her word

the sign at the end of the road

there was a sign at the end of the road
it said “adopted”
I always thought
that was how
people knew

but no one had told me
I found out at 12
about the same time the Beatles
officially became
a phenomenon

in a shop
I heard a lady I did not know
to someone else
this is the one
Mary adopted
she said
as she smiled at me

and it was

I never told Mum or dad
kept it secret
like they had
but searched for
eventually found it
in an envelope
under clothes at the back
of a bedroom drawer

death of a pop star

I was driving up to Hyton
when I heard that John was dead
the news was not broken in any
thoughtful way
a newsreader came on the radio
just after Hey Jude was played
and said that he was dead

I didn’t know John
never saw him except at a distance
but at that moment I felt
a close member of my family
had been taken away
someone I had grown up with
someone I had loved
I wondered if anyone understood
why I was crying over the death
of a pop star

I need not have worried
Liverpool was subdued that day
the city grieved

in another week
I stood with thousands
at St Georges Hall
singing songs
from his Beatle years
and his solo work
and remembered

at the end of the night
we sang Imagine
for what must have been
the tenth time

and we all did

made in Liverpool (2)

like The Beatles
and Meccano
I was made in Liverpool

a foundling in the city
it gave me a home
and an identity

I grew with its poetry
its music
and I cherish it still

like The Beatles
and Meccano
I was made in Liverpool


as time moves on
sometimes it is necessary
to rename things
the Great War became
World War 1 when they decided to
have a rematch
the original series of Start Trek
only became “:the original series”
after more series were added
a reel to reel tape recorder
was originally just a tape recorder
then cassettes came along

so things change
and you need to find a retronym
but then some things don’t
some things are so unique that
you just know there will never be
a retronym for The Beatles
no rebranding
to The Original Beatles for them
their name will never change
but take a baby’s name
Anthony MacDonnell for example
just think what you can do with that

made in Liverpool

like The Beatles
and Meccano
I was made in Liverpool

(All poems are from Jim Bennett's MADE IN LIVERPOOL (Starwood Publications, 2006).)



Jim Bennett was born and still lives near Liverpool in England. He grew up in Liverpool during the years of the Liverpool Sound and the Liverpool Poets and it is from this tradition that he developed his own unique style and voice. He is the author of 64 books including books of poetry, books for children, and technical training manuals. In addition his CD "Down in Liverpool" a selection of poetry and music has brought Jim to the notice of a much wider audience. In a career spanning 44 years Jim has won many accolades for his performances and writing including Silver Stake for Performance Poetry (Manchester Slam 2001); Fante Prize for Literature (New Mexico 2000); Poetry Super Highway Poet of the Year 2000; Sefton Literary Competition prize winner; and San Francisco Beat Poetry Festival Competition, 1st prize and Judges Choice - October 2002. Jim also runs courses in Creative Writing for the University of Liverpool, Edge Hill University College and the Workers Education Association. He is the Managing Editor of Poetry Kit; more information about Jim is available HERE.

In November 2004, Jim Bennett was asked to read his poetry for the Royal visit of
HRH The Prince Edward to NWDAF Headquarters, Liverpool. L to R: Susan Hedges,
Jim Bennett, HRH Prince Edward (photo by Leila Romaya).


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