What springs to mind when you think of Manchester? Do you walk the city and wish you could put what you’re experiencing into words? A new book from Manchester’s Flapjack Press does exactly that. 

The People’s Republic of Mancunia is a 35-page photography project that showcases Manchester’s sights, sites and citizens. Each image, taken by photographer Rik Jundi, is interpreted by an ekphrastic poem (a vivid description of a scene) from one of the city’s leading wordsmiths.

Jundi has taken photographs all over the world. Now based in South Manchester, his collection of reportage-style images represents the interaction of the people and places of his home city. The book’s 35 specially commissioned poems includes contributions from award-winning poets including Neil Bell, Rosie Fleeshman, Dominic Berry, Northern Soul’s very own Henry Normal and Cathy Crabb, Gerry Potter, and more.

We’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peak and publish a few images and poems from the book. 

The Magic Bit by Rosie Fleeshman

You find peace in the space between that which you fear most

and the weathered hope of what could have been.

This is the place we come to dream.

Stealing moments of sleep with the leaves,

they still believe there’s another way.

The Magic Bit

Passing Time by Rose Condo

After she slipped from her mortal coil

He stripped the walls and floors

Back to oiled boards.

He stored her things out of sight.

He spends day and night

In the dim lamp-lit room.

Sipping wine

Through vape plumes

He passes time

Scrolling through scores and tweets

Seeking moments of relief

From grief and grit and gloom.

Passing Time

They Don’t Want Your Elegance by Gerry Potter

Colour matters,

how it’s fused, bluesed ‘n’ bruised in.

Shadows are lit,

nylon razor-sharp,

light slivers, slits the bleak,  

body punctuating, arcing a sleek.

Worked out how to hang your phone,

perfectly placed,

a little comma completing the sentence.

Shady theatrics,

drama of shadows,

complicates and defies plot,

broadens, narrows.  

Fur halos,

gold glistens,

hoods cowling, trainers pad a paw,

a little lycanthropy moon-howling.

The curse of youth is changing,

like it’s always changed,

but still they don’t want your elegance.

Don’t get your hang,

how it drapes operatically,

its verse and choice of material

shapes acrobatically.

They’re not about companionable restraint,

calm, cool managing of terror.

They don’t know your elegance,

its mask,


how it lights highs,

excitedly rides tremor.

They don’t want to think you’ve worked this out

because they think you can’t work this out,

they don’t want you to want your elegance.

They Don't Want Your Elegance

A Fingy of Beauty by Cathy Crabb

A man is made of mud –

Clay Peter and Paul are Grecian gurns;

every bricklayer sandwiched with his

sinew, fingered into the gaps in the wall

at the pub. They lean on the bones of others –

no one needs to look straight at you,

no one needs a kiss to cope –

head tilt, trap clapped open, Ale Inn.

In summer those mud men diffuse on the skin,

cement a lifeless ordinary and yet still

the joy forever that any of us

remember because happiness… because a smile

gives us all a bit of a break.

A Fingy of Beauty

Misfits by Stevie Turner

Mancunia comes and goes in waves:

pubs and clubs hustle and bustle,

old signs covered and uncovered again,

comic book geeks and inked misfits

scratching the underbelly of the city;

people on the edge of art and mortality.

Let’s fill this town with artists – and musicians, skaters,

record shops and vintage. Stag and hen parties. Drunks.

Turn bars into lounges into boutique hotels,

turn old brick into new brick which doesn’t fit, riot

and let loose in the night street artists who understand this.

Like the Carnaby Street of Smash Hits and trilby hats,

empires which rise from ruins flush artists from safe spaces,

turn others into stars on a cigarette-stained walk of fame,

nomads moving from one area to another

to start the regeneration process once again,

tidying up a single S left hanging on an adjacent building:

SHOES. ½ catalogue price, ½ catalogue price.


The Workings Below Streets by Dermot Glennon

Beneath lie worlds

that underlie worlds

where the city’s grease

goes to be with fumes

trapped in underground car parks

Air and petrol

in any colour of grey you like

fill this waiting morning

for the car share

Early awoken to wait below

deep in the places no one goes

the workings below streets

From lands across the seas I come

from airports 4am I come

from dry cleaners

in cufflinks in lounge suits

dressed I have come

to Oulu

to Dusseldorf

to Milan

Alone in underworld car parks

dressed in the finery of tailored suits

tired and playing at professional bluff

measured in the ubiquity of barista coffee

a Facebook connects

to the me I was

The Workings Below Streets


The People’s Republic of Mancunia: A collection of photography by Rik Jundi is published by Flapjack Press

A mixedmedia live stream of performance poetry, photography and a discussion with Rik Jundi will be streaming as part of this year’s Virtual Chorlton Book Festival. The event will take place on September 21 from 8pm and will live stream on the Flapjack Press Facebook Group Page.