Poet celebrates ‘raw beauty’ of Jesmond

The people of Jesmond might know Keith Jewitt as a retired accountant, an environment enthusiast dedicated to the “Keep Jesmond Clean” campaign, or a community activist. What they probably don’t know is that he is also a poet whose book, In a Magpie’s Eye: The Jesmond Year in Haiku, will be launched this evening in Jesmond Library.

The collection of haiku poetry, which took Jewitt three years to complete, aims to capture the “raw beauty” and “sorcery” of nature in Jesmond over the course of 12 months, while the magpie in the title of the book is intended to reflect the curious mind of the poet.

Poet Keith Jewitt

Jewitt told JesmondLocal that his first suggested title for the book – “The Haiku Diary of a Geordie Gentleman” – was rejected by his publisher, Laurel Books, while his wife candidly told him it sounded more like a range of tea towels. He explains that “the book is an aid to memory and an aid to moving on”. The book also talks about the buried, gone but remembered through haiku.

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that aims to be concise yet impactful, with a structure of 17 syllables distributed across three lines of verse: five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven syllables the second. “Haiku comes from within,” says Jewitt.

Jesmond has been home to the poet for 30 years and inspired by the works of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, John Fuller and Hugo Williams, Jewitt has been writing poetry from a young age. He says he is excited, anxious and terrified ahead of tonight’s book launch which takes place at the library from 6.30pm.