A Salford poet has published a book about LGBTQ+ issues across Greater Manchester.

Kolin Richmond-Hughes, 45, of Cannon Street, Salford wrote Poems from A Melancholic Panda last year, and it is being published today.

The book contains many poems about Salford. One poem, River Folk, was based on The River Irwell, he said: “I was inspired by the geese, and the mallards around Irwell River and so, I wrote River Folk.”

He is currently writing another poem called Precinct People, which describes the activity around Salford Precinct. “I wanted to show all the different people in a more positive, charismatic way.

“These are people living real lives with real problems and I wanted to validate them.”

A primary theme in Kolin’s poetry is remembering queer people who have not left a legacy behind. In the Adoption and Children Act 2002 Parliament provided that an application to adopt a child in England and Wales could be made by either a single person or a couple.

The previous condition that the couple be married was dropped, thus allowing a same-sex couple to apply. Kolin reflected on his inability to adopt. “In the 80’s, you didn’t have much choice, so in my mind I said: ‘what can I do?’ because I was gay.”

He then joked: “Now I feel too old and tired to do it, so I decided to write poetry to make a legacy for all gay people who didn’t have those options.”

Much of the material is based on the diaries he kept over 40 years, and he wrote about crucial moments in Greater Manchester’s history. One poem is about the first ever pride gathering, held in 1993.

The first pride in 1993. (Credit: Kolin Richmond-Hughes)

Kolin shared his hopes that LGBTQ+ youth would be inspired by his work and tell their own story in the future. “As long as some person stands in their bar at their village has done this, why shouldn’t they? Their story is just as important.”

Kolin is currently working on his next poetry book. the title is yet to be announced.

You can buy Poems from A Melancholic Panda on Amazon, Kindle and through Austen MacCauley Publishers.

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