A Taste of the Peak District

Tom Bates - Poet and writer. Peak District and Derbyshire.


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The Peak District contains a wealth of towns and villages, each with their own unique character. In the past, lead mining and agriculture were the principal sources of income, tourism has perhaps taken over from the mining but agriculture still supports many local inhabitants.

Tom Bates has spent many years researching and writing poetry, books and articles about the county of Derbyshire. Find out about his books and poetry here.

Click here to find out more about Tom’s series of leaflets about the Peak District entitled ‘Peak Villages - an Insiders Guide’


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Discovering Derbyshire's White Peak

Situated in the Peak District National Park, the White Peak is a wonderland of breathtaking scenery; a paradise for walkers, hikers and nature lovers alike. This book describes in detail the villages, trails and rivers that make the White Peak so special to the millions of visitors who come each year to the Peak District of Derbyshire - and creates a permanent record, fixing the area in history within the framework of the Millenneum Year of AD 2000.

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Derbyshire Born & Bred

Derbyshire Born & Bred (ISBN 9 9522108 1 9) is a small collection of poems about Derbyshire distilled from the author's sense impressions of his native county. It is the third booklet of verse from New Age Poetry Press following Rumblings in The Dust (1993) & Phoenix Rising (1997) and includes work from both previous publications plus some new material published here for the first time. This is Tom Bates in his previous incarnation as poet Neil ‘Reb' Lee, and we learn of the author:"After gaining a BA in Sociology his early writing consisted mainly of social commentary, heavily influenced by the ethics of free religious thought, but later he was inspired by the poetic vision and rationalist philosophy of Llewelyn Powys (1884-1939), a writer with whom he claims great affinity - not least for his unconventional and controversial social views and Bohemian lifestyle. The author is a lover of the natural world, and the essential vitality which is evident in his writing is captured perfectly in the poem, `Derbyshire', which distils the very essence of his belief and philosophy, and leaves the reader in no doubt of his being Derbyshire Born & Bred!"

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Phoenix Rising

As Far as the blind eye sees on the upland peak: As much as the ear can tell when the dumb lips speak: As far as the mind can bend when the bell is rung. As tall as the story told when the song is sung; As much as the heart can hold or the tale can tell. As high as heaven or as deep as hell: The world turns, the sun burns; the moon casts her spell: and the phoenix rises.

Phoenix Rising (ISBN 09522108 5 1) is the third in a series of booklets published by New Age Poetry Press, the title taken from the above poem. This is author Tom Bates  in his former guise as poet Neil (Reb) Lee, and the work is drawn from the author's sense-impressions of the local landscape and attempts to capture the essence of the White Peak he loves. Tom Bates has been a published writer for over twenty years; educated at the University of Manchester and a former minister of religion, he returned to the area in 1985, inspired by the picturesque beauty of the hills & dales of the White Peak and has spent over twenty years writing about its history and its landscape.

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Rumblings in the Dust

Rumblings in the Dust by Reb Lee (subtitled `The Poetry of Life') ISBN 0 9522108 00 is a seminal volume of poems and philosophical prose which has become a classic of it's time & genre. Published in 1993 by New Age Poetry Press, the book begins grandly: `Genesis:Chap.1 v1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void".....and out of the void came....Rumblings in the Dust, the Poetry of Life!

Edited and with a Foreword by Ezra Blood, former Chairman of the Derbyshire Writer's Guild, who writes: "Of the many `first collections' of published verse that I've been asked to review over the last thirty years, Reb Lee's Rumblings in the Dust stands alongside some of the best. His free verse style is both refreshing and innovative and in my opinion, carries the powerful timbre of a unique voice. Not least for the author's depth of perception, ranging from a purposefully nausiating cynicism to a gloriously all-embracing reverence for life. This collection parades a talent rare in modern literature with parallel and analogy reminiscent of TS Elliot, and rich with the allegorical rhetoric spiced with logical realism of a Dylan Thomas.Mix those qualities with the cosmic essence of the Powysian earth philosophy by which the writer is heavily influenced, and stir in the theological background which adds a natural religiosity to the ecological awareness evident throughout - and you have a first collection which virtually makes a religion of poetry and the written word.

Reb Lee (or Tom Bates as he is better known) comes from the earth, describing himself and his poetry as "an enigma parading its transience on the here & now"; he "blossoms for a short season of glory under the Sun", and in so doing he addresses ultimate reality, meets it head on and, utilising a talent for rich, literary imagery he has succeeded in producing a truly outstanding contribution to the annals of modern twentieth century poetry with `Rumblings in the Dust'.

Limited number of Signed first editions available at just £2 each plus p&p! (RRP originally (1993) £4-75): Contact us to order.

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