A LANDSCAPE poet has returned to his North-East roots for his latest collection inspired by the area.

John Powls, who is originally from Teesside, used the landscape of his youth, to inspire his latest illustrated collection – North Sea to the East.

Describing it as a "love letter", the 67-year-old poet, who moved away from the region in his twenties and now lives in Berkshire, has been working with North-East artists to collaborate on the project.

It includes more than 100 illustrations by a variety of painters, printmakers and photographers who have been similarly inspired by the landscape and seascape of Teesside and North Yorkshire.

He said: "You can't fail to be impressed by the landscape of our region and I don't just mean the bits people go to visit, like the national parks and the heritage coast.

"I think there's a beauty in the impressiveness of the industrial parts of Teesside, as well as the urban landscape.

"For me, my language and the way I write was shaped by that landscape and the language that derives from it.

"I owe the landscape of our region everything really, from a writing point of view.

"That's why I've described it as both a love letter and a thank you letter."

He added: "I've been trying to write it for a long time but it was only in lockdown that I had enough time to pull it together."

The book is also a celebration of some of the area's visual artists, and it features more than 100 images contributed by a variety of people, including acclaimed artist Mackenzie Thorpe and modern master, William Tillyer.

Most are from Teesside or North Yorkshire, though historically significant artists like Turner and Lowry are also represented.

A number of the pieces in the book were produced collaboratively between poet and artist in developing the collection.

He said: "I acknowledge the artists fulsomely and individually in the content of the book but it’s true to say that this collection of poems would not have been written without their enthusiasm to contribute their wonderful work and give their help as well as that of many galleries, arts and media organisations."

The poems themselves are the product of several decades of work, and includes Mr Powl's first paid-for poem, Lost, which was published in a now defunct Teesside poetry journal in 1994.

It includes memories of trips to Stockton market as a toddler, his schooling at Whinney Banks Junior and Acklam Hall Grammar, underage blagging into Redcar Jazz Club, right up to the "ritual route" of days out to Whitby as a grandfather.

He said: "The earliest memory recalled is from when I was three years old, which is 64 years ago.

"They come right up to the present day so it spans in time more than 60 years."

He added: "This collection is a sharing of the heart and a work of time and nature – pastoral, littoral and industrial. Part love letter, part thank you note, it’s about belonging."

The collection is available to buy directly from the publishers Halsgrove's, by visiting www.halsgrove.com.