[Posted on behalf of Alex]
The Morden Tower is one of the most nationally recognised literary landmarks in the U.K. Poetry readings in the tower were started by Tom and Connie Pickard in 1964, with poet and singer Pete Brown performing the first. Many poets were attracted to the tower because of its fine acoustics, appreciative audiences and glorious architecture. Morden Tower quickly became an alternative cultural centre for the north-east of England attracting many visitors to each and every event. Over the past 45 years, it has been able to attract some of poetry’s most famous names to perform readings, including the likes of American poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Following Ginsberg’s invitation to perform a reading at the tower, he said “I felt like a bearded emissary of another hemisphere, and eager to share my magic wares I boarded train north happily”. The influence of an American poet reading at the tower was huge for the north-east of England. His reading of ‘America’ attracted a full audience who were clearly interested to hear the work of the famous poet from the man himself. The fact Ginsberg chose to read his poem America is also significant as it is a key example of Americanisation in Newcastle. This is a clear display of American culture spreading outside of the borders of the United States. As Richard Pell has argued, “Americanisation generally meant the world-wide invasion of American movies, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, mass circulation magazines, best-selling books, advertising, comic strips, theme parks, shopping malls, fast food, and television programs”’ (Campbell and Kean, 332). Morden Tower clearly fits in with debates about the circulation of American culture as it provided a internationally recognised centre for American poets to read their work to a large group of people.