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.


Night Exercise

The night the soldiers came for him they had
their guns of course, but one bright soul had thought
to bring a spade, for if their man became
a frigging pain, they might perhaps be glad
of it when all the fun was gone. They caught
him in his bed, quite unaware his name
had been passed on by someone he'd once met.

There was, tonight, no time to rape his wife,
so where the wood curls round the valley's head
the questioning was rifle-butt hard. 'Now
dig,' they said at last, but with no hope of life,
he would not help them. So they shot him dead,
and dug, and covered him, and trod him down,
and hated him, because he'd made them sweat.