‘Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name,’ sings the Devil in the Rolling Stones song. The Devil has had many names: Lucifer, Beelzebub, Old Nick. These days he likes to call himself Roger. He hides in speak-your-weight machines, on NATO bombing missions, in a bag of Semtex. Ribald, ironic and funny, he is a democrat, a Humanist and the enemy of humanity.
Jolly Roger is an epic series of 12-line stanzas, written to accompany Hans Holbein’s 41 sixteenth-century woodcuts, The Dance of Death.
Keith Howden was born near Burnley in 1932. His two previous full collections are Marches of Familiar Landscape and Onkonkay. He has also published two poetry-music collaborations with his son, the composer Matt Howden, The Matter of Britain (2009) and Barley Top (2011). He lives in Clitheroe, Lancashire.