A Sneak Preview

Cover of new book

Here is a sneak preview of the cover of my new poetry collection which is out this spring with Cinnamon Press.

I’m very excited about a box of books arriving at my door anytime soon.

‘In her second full-length collection, Anne Caldwell marries the knack for surprise and inventive imagery with precise observation and lucid turns of phrase. Beginning from quotidian moments: a hospital ward, a glass heart Christmas decoration, a writing retreat, Caldwell moves the reader into new landscapes, exterior and interior, with an assured grace that can nonetheless be unsettling. From short lyrical pieces to sequences, the human condition in all its delight and grief is revealed.’

I have a number of events coming up to launch the book.

You can order a copy at http://inpressbooks.co.uk/products/painting-the-spiral-staircase

Join me in launching ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’: with poet ALISON DOWN
Tuesday, 12 April, 7 p.m. @ The Octagon Theatre (Hospitality Suite), Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB.
Open mic night in the second half.
& on Thursday, 28 April, 7.30 p.m. @ Kava Café, 31 Rochdale Road, Todmorden, OL14 7LA.
& on Friday, 29 April, 7.00 p.m. @ The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 6EU,
with poet, MARIO PETRUCCI.
& on Friday, 22 April in Settle — (venue and time tbc) with author and poet, JEAN HARRISON.


Quite a week… but what the hell!

Image of escher staircase

Well. I am looking forward to meeting Patrick Ness in Bolton this week. My son thinks he’s wonderful and my students are also really excited about his visit to Bolton. Tuesday, Bolton Central Library, 7pm.

I am leaving NAWE and will be working for The University of Bolton, The Open University and doing my PhD. I am going to research the idea of the North and what it means to women poets in particular. I will write a collection of prose poems on this theme and started this week with a NAWE conference paper that explored poetry, photography and surrealism. I loved the Angels of Anarchy exhibition in Manchester a few years ago.

I have also read a brilliant selection of books by men on this theme. Don’t get me wrong. There is such a wealth of material out there. I am just narrowing things down and working out what might be the missing gaps… so far I have read Stuart Maconie, Simon Armitage, Sara Maitland and Rebecca Solnit. A long way to go but surely that is the joy of such a major project? Any reading suggestions welcome.

The Puzzle Poets

Puzzle Event

I am really looking forward to reading at the Puzzle Hall Inn, guest of The Puzzle Poets on 2nd Nov in Sowerby Bridge.There are open mic slots as well (and great beer. I did not know the pub was on Route 66 – which may be less famous than its state-side cousin but is a cycleway that runs from Hull to Manchester.


Kava Poetry, Todmorden – 24th Sept

sept_at_kultura_jpgI am really looking forward to reading at Kava Poetry in Todmorden this Thursday… Looking forward to seeing Antony Costello and Shirley Anne Kennedy. I am going to read some new material and talk about my next book which is out in Spring of 2016.


Prose Poetry – UK

Hebden Bridge

‘To ponder the fate of place at this moment assumes a new urgency and points to a new promise.’

Edward S. Casey, The Fate of Place, A Philosophical History

Thank you to my good friend and colleague, Karen Smith for introducing me to this book. It is fascinating.

I am going to be presenting on a panel this year at the NAWE conference and then in the states next year at the AWP conference, alongside Carrie Etter and other panel members.  I am looking at the use of sense of place in UK prose poems. I am at an early stage in my thinking about this subject.

Can anyone recommend some good anthologies of UK prose poetry to me? If you have written in this form, it would be good to hear any comments from you about the use of place. I would like to talk about contemporary poets’ work within my paper, and feature some work.

I look forward to hearing from you, please email if you can:



Longlist in the National Poetry Competition

I was delighted to make the longlist in the National Poetry Competition this year. The competition received over 13,000 entries, and after months of reading, judges Roddy Lumsden, Glyn Maxwell and Zoë Skoulding selected a longlist of 140 poems, including this one below.  The top winners will be announced on 2nd April at an awards ceremony and online, and published in the Spring issue of The Poetry Review.

Onwards and upwards! I hope you enjoy the poem. Churn Milk Joan is also featured in the work of Ted Hughes. It is very difficult not to be inspired by his words living in this landscape. I have always loved his writing, even before I moved to this area. I worry whether there is a new way of approaching writing about the land, but hopefully my own voice can come through in the work.


Alice needs a stone dress with a granite skirt and flint buttons,

wants to be rooted on the moors like Churn Milk Joan

pointing to higher ground―above the bogs, water-logged fields,

paths choked with knotweed and balsam.

She needs shoes speckled with mica that catch the light

and warm her feet with the memory of summer

when the hills were hoverfly-drowsy; cattle lounged

on heather roots and chewed the cud, udders rosy with milk.

The days grow short and wet.  Her front door begins to stick

and swell. Her lover has deserted her for the open road.

Her heart is strung out like a line of telegraph poles.

Find her a sharp chisel, a mallet, a large boulder.  There’s no time to lose.

Anne Caldwell

Final Week of Teaching

Liver Literature, Bolton

This semester at the University of Bolton seems to have been busier than ever. I have been running a live literature series as part of my post and all the guests have been fantastic. Helen Mort, Les Smith, Simon Holloway, Beverley Bie Brahic and Marli Roode all came to Bolton and read to great audiences. Students have also performed a selection of first world war poetry and some read for the first time. There were lots of nerves but I was very proud of them.  I have seen a great progression in my third year students’ work and I am looking forward to working with them on their dissertation projects. All in all, it has felt like a very positive autumn. I have also managed to submit a new manuscript to Cinnamon Press and a proposal for a Phd. I would like to spend a Christmas recovering a little and perhaps switching interests – it would be good to have a couple of weeks that are non-word based – so lots of swimming, walking and film-watching are in order! (I do understand film contains language but I am sure you know what I mean…)

Skyrides – Halifax Festival

It is festival season in  Calderdale! I am reading as part of the Halifax festival at

The Square Chapel tomorrow alongside

Gaia Holmes, Keith Hudson and Clare Shaw


Look forward to seeing you there if you can make it.

Cycling and Poetry

I am reading in Hebden next friday….

Friday 27th June 2014 7 – 9 pm
The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2014 and Poetry Night at The Book Case
Present: SPOKES, Poetry on Two Wheels, An evening of poetry about cycling
 A reading from this wonderful, (and timely!) anthology with a fabulous line-up of poets
Anne Caldwell, Char March, Jane Kite, Tony Boltini, Greg White, Sandra Burnett, hosted by  as usual by our resident poet Sarah Corbett
Tickets £5 in advance or on the door from The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, 01422 845353, shop@bookcase.co.uk, or the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival Office. Includes refreshments.
The Book Case
29 Market St
Hebden Bridge
West Yorkshire
01422 845353

Midsummer Poetry Festival, Sheffield

I am running a workshop for NAWE as part of this summer festival:


It should be of interest to people who work in schools or who are interested in the theme of poetry and memory.



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