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24 September 2014

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A Poem for Manchester winner Mike Duff
A Poem for Manchester winner Mike Duff

Mike becomes a part of Manchester

The winner of The Poem for Manchester is Mike Duff from Colyhurst. Mike's poem came first in a special online and telephone vote on and BBC GMR.

Nearly 4,000 people entered the competition to write a poem about Manchester to be used in the development of Piccadilly Place.

"You can't go anywhere in the city without meeting other Mancunians with interesting stories and lives."
Mike Duff

The Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, short listed the poems to a final twelve.

Mike, 48, went to Corpus Christie School in Miles Platting and says that the first poem he ever wrote was about a dog called Rover. He won first prize, a Mars bar. But he admits now that Rover didn't exist, "I made him up as we lived in a maisonette where we weren't allowed pets. That was the first and last time I ever won anything for my work. Sadly the poem is long gone, so is the Mars bar!"

But poetry isn't Mike's only writing success. He regularly writes short stories for the Manchester United fanzine, United We Stand.

In 200 Mike had a novel published. Low Life looks at one man's struggle to cope with the inadequacies he sees within himself.

Mike's novel - in English and French
Mike's novel - in English and French

Two years ago the book was translated into French and re-titled La Racaille de Rochdale Road - it's still available in the bookshops of Paris.

Last year, Mike helped out on the writing of a play called On Tour, a story about a Manchester band on the road. The band was played by the unsigned Phoenix 39 while Mike took on the role of a homeless, alcoholic porn star. "The play was written by a co-operative of writers including myself. We toured the North West and it was well received. But it was hard work as we all had to help out with moving sets and equipment as well as acting in the play."

Mike says that his real inspiration for writing is Manchester itself, "I've lived here all my life and you can't go anywhere in the city without meeting other Mancunians with interesting stories and lives."

So it goes without saying that winning A Poem for Manchester is a proud moment for Mike, "I feel as though I'm being honoured by the city and that I will become a permanent part of it when my poem is placed into Piccadilly Place. My children will be able to see it and their children too. That is worth more than money to me."

A Poem for Manchester

i don't care if you're black, chinese
white or tan don't care if you're old, gay, a woman or man
you can sit down next to me
if you're mancunian

Here are two more of Mike's poems

no one else was there

just like the marie celeste
no one else was there
not a swingin lightbulb
not a rockin chair
not a welcomin speech
nor a wasted prayer
it was the suicide bombers re-union
and no one else was there

The rat i never smelt

"have another pint", he said
"have a game of pool"
"tell me all your troubles
you know i aint no fool"
an i always kinda like him
the rat i never smelt
he used to beat his wife
wid the buckle of his belt
an he used to punch an kick her
throw her at the wall
said it didn't matter
he loved her after all
an i always kinda liked him
the rat i never smelt
he used to beat his wife
wid the buckle of his belt

last updated: 07/10/04
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