Video Poems

Click on any title below to watch a video performance:

* Macduff (Macbeth)
* Osric (Hamlet)
* Citizen (Julius Caesar)
* Clown (Antony & Cleopatra)
* Peter Quince (MND)
* Bianca (Taming of the Shrew)
* King of France (All's Well)
* Huntsman (Henry VI Pt 3)
* Michael Williams (Henry V)
* A Refusal to Mourn the Death
of a Child
* Through a Glass Darkly


3 Copyright Free Christmas Sonnets

Through a Glass Darkly:
this triptych of Nativity sonnets can be performed, broadcast or printed by anyone without breach of copyright. The text of these 3 sonnets can be found here. All other poems on this site and in In Small Measure remain the copyright of Christopher Whitby. Permission to print, perform, broadcast or otherwise use any of them can be obtained by emailing info@openpoetry.org.uk.

Christopher Whitby biography

Christopher Whitby read English at Cambridge and then undertook doctoral postgraduate work at the Shakespeare Institute on the Renaissance luminary John Dee (1527-1608), his thesis being published in 1988 and (to his amazement) reprinted by Routledge Kegan Paul in 2013. After some years spent in teaching, he joined the world of commercial advertising and publication and for the last 15 years has owned and managed a graphic design studio.

His poetry has appeared in a variety of internet and printed publications and in 2007 he inaugurated and administered the Open Poetry International Sonnet Competition. This competition, judged by Don Paterson, Susan Bassnett and Jacqueline Osherow, gathered nearly 2000 entries worldwide and the prizewinners hailed from the USA, Australia and the UK. The competition anthology Hand Luggage Only appeared in May 2008. The competition would run again but for lack of funding/underwriting and micro-funding is currently under investigation with a view to running it once more.

His own collection of 'poems with the voice in mind' (including a number of 'dramatic character' sonnets), In Small Measure, was published in May 2011. Both that volume and Hand Luggage Only are available from the usual sources (Amazon, PBS etc) but also – at below RRP for In Small Measure – from the Open Poetry website at www.openpoetry.org.uk .

His sonnet 'Check-up' was a finalist in the 2009 Nemerov Award.


Party Frock

'Give us a twirl,' I said and so she did
(thus marking out some territory — men
don't do twirls). Weaving straps and flounce she hid
herself behind the conjured image, then
with new-spun adult confidence enquired:
'You think?' 'You'll slay them all,' I said, not sure
if that was quite the answer she required
but sensing needs not prominent before.

Oh take it off! Put on your jeans again.
Let me be Mr Grumpkin still. In such
small acts I feel you slipping through the cup
my hands once made for you and hate it when
you bring me face to face with just how much
I want-admire-resent your growing up.