Wild Man of Wivenhoe

by Martin Newell
Linocuts by James Dodds

Wivenhoe is an Essex village on the River Colne. “Part suburbia, part bohemia With a dash of academia”. But then it’s also a verb. It means to stagnate in a pub for hours. Then days. Then years.

“Till one day you wake and find
When your summer’s far behind
Life’s great lawn remains unmowed
And you have been Wivenhoed”.


Wild Man of Wivenhoe is a verse legend, told by the inhabitants of a Wivenhoe pub. The Fisherman, the Artist, the Biker, the Commuter, the Hairdresser, the Farmer, the Shipwright . . . each has a tale to tell about the saucer-eyed, hairy, naked young man dredged out of the river by fishermen. After a series of strange and brief encounters, the Wild Man returns to the river whence he came, only to reappear, many years later, unutterably changed.

The artist James Dodds and the poet Martin Newell live, work and drink in Wivenhoe. Their lovingly-detailed tribute to the spirit of the place is as authentic as the tang of cheese and onion on a beard hair. Witty, elegant and wise, this is a tale for everyone who’s ever left a lawn unmowed, or collapsed on one in a moment of mis-spent youth.

– Jon Canter


Jardine Press 1997
200 x 200mm
Paperback: £7.95
ISBN 0-9525594-3-9