Rich Seams with Andrew McMillan

Award-winning poet Andrew McMillan takes a deeper look at the poetry of the North, as part of Rich Seams: a podcast series celebrating the best of new and emerging poetry in the North of England.

Rich Seams was commissioned for Durham Book Festival. Durham Book Festival is a Durham County Council event, produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University and Arts Council England.

Read more about the making of Rich Seams >


We tear open the seams of poetry in the North to examine its legacy, present and where it might be heading in the future. Andrew talks to Claire Malcolm, New Writing North, about the ideas behind Rich Seams and takes the measure of northern poetry with Professor Stephen Regan, Durham University, and Alice Mullen, the Poetry Book Society.

Recorded at the Old Cinema Launderette as part of Durham Book Festival, October 2018.



In a special, live edition of Rich Seams, Andrew begins his journey to dig down into the place of poetry in the North; he’s joined by North East based poets Jake Campbell, John Challis and Degna Stone to think about who’s voices poetry allows us to hear, who we still need to hear more from and whether there is a particularly northern idea of poetry.

Recorded at Durham Town Hall as party of Durham Book Festival, October 2018.


Inheritance and Wilderness

Andrew continues his journey at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere with Cumbrian poets Emma McGorden, Kim Moore and Eileen Pun. Thinking about nature, nurture and the North as a backdrop for bigger experiences, Andrew searches for answers in his quest, and hears new work from three of our most exciting contemporary poets.

Recorded the library of the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Cumbria, October 2018.


Myths and Language

Andrew joins poets Steve Ely, Amy McCauley and Clare Shaw to think about how places might become mythologised, how we might have to look backwards to find a language and understanding of our present condition and how even recent history can enter the fabric of the legends will tell each other.

Recorded in Halifax, West Yorkshire, October 2018.


New Norths

Andrew’s journey continues in Manchester, where he meets Hafsah Aneela Bashir and Ian Humphreys to consider how we’re breaking apart a monolithic view of the North and asking whether a convergence of different influences and and experiences is building a new sense of what we think of as the north and its poetry.

Recorded in the UNESCO City Literature, Manchester, November 2018.


Who’s Own Country?

Andrew’s journey brings him to Yorkshire with Rachael Allen, Kit Fan and Zaffar Kunial to consider what it takes to feel at home somewhere and whether the idea of a poetry of the north is really a signpost to a continuous journey rather than a final destination.

Recorded in Leeds, West Yorkshire, November 2018.


Return to New Writing North

Andrew’s journey comes to an end, and he wheels his travel suitcase back to the New Writing North offices to chat to Claire Malcolm, and offer up a new poem about what he’s found.

Recorded in Newcastle upon Tyne, May 2019.