1) What am I working on?
i am putting a new collection of poetry together at the moment. The working title is ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’. I do actually own a staircase that is a fire escape into my back yard! I have not yet written the poetry that goes with this title, except perhaps in my dreams.
The rest of the poems are at the stage of trying to work out which to keep and which to put on a maybe pile.
I am hoping this Easter to begin that process and to see if they are linked with an overall shape or theme. I think my father features quite a lot, and a strong sense of place.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This feels difficult to answer. I think what is unusual about my work is its strong sense of voice - a voice that is particular to me. It is a well travelled, but rather Northern one. Also, I think I have a very visual way of looking at the world, quite surreal in places. Other writers often comment on my use of image and metaphor. I am very physical and sense-based in my writing.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I think I write for a sense of play, and I always feel more here in the world after spending time writing, particularly poetry. So I do think the process is connected to my identity. I write when I am full of joy, or upset or simply want to work out an imaginative take on the world. I do respond to what I see, over hear, touch, taste or listen to on the radio. I am not overtly political but it seems to creep in as an undertone in my writing. I do like telling stories!
4) How does your writing process work?
In short fast bursts. Late at night, early in the morning, when my son is asleep. I write when I have insomnia and I write in workshops. I have a really good group of writing friends who I like sitting with and writing with. I also write after reading other poets’ work - which inspires me. I don’t have a particular routine but I do try and write at least every other day. I also keep a notebook and diary.
The writers who have agreed to take part next week are Jane Moss and Robert Graham.
Follow their blogs:
I know I need to find one other writer but quite a few of the people I know have already taken part…
I am reading in Leeds this month in Headingley, at the Heart Centre Cafe, LS6 3HN.
The other poets are Julia Deakin, William Thirsk-Gaskell, Neil Clarkson and Andy Armitage.
The event takes place on the 29th January, 7.30pm. I am looking forward to the chance to try some new work and meet the other poets.
I once lived in Headlingley many moons ago and worked at a bookshop on the High St. I had just fallen in love and moved to the city without knowing a soul! My boyfriend at the time worked nights and I worked during the day. So I had plenty of time to explore Leeds and get to know the city. I have very fond memories of it, but left after a couple of years to seek my fortune in London! Leeds was a very different city then. Quite run down, rough around the edges and a cheap place to live. I bought a local magazine called ‘Leeds other Paper’ and did yoga, saw lots of films and eat lentils… What can I say!
I am taking part in an event at the Square Chapel for the Arts in Halifax this Saturday. The main focus of the evening is poetry by Heathcote Williams, performed by Roy Hutchins. The piece is called Forbidden Fruit.After the interval a number of poets are performing, including myself. Last year’s event was great - a real mixture of younger voices and people like myself! http://www.squarechapel.co.uk/en/event/888It would be great to see you.
I have just got back from being involved in a festival at the Emerson Gallery in Berlin and doing a reading in English and German. This was my second visit to the city. This time I had an apartment to live in for a week thanks to Russell Radinski, the gallery curator. I therefore managed to do lots of writing and did not quite feel like a tourist!
I also got to grips with the U-bahn and S-bhan systems so I saw a good deal of the city and its varied districts. Highlights were eating black cherries soaked in vodka, and going to dinner with a new friend called Cordula who loves in Berlin. Oh dear. This is sounding very food-related! I have also produced a limited edition book with artist Jack Wright for this event and will be doing a UK launch for the book on Hebden on the 22nd August, 7pm as a guest at Gaia Holme’s event at the BookCase bookshop. It would be great to see you there if you can make it.
I am off on my travels shortly. London this week for a networking meeting with writers who also coach that I have organised through NAWE,
I am bringing together writers who have trained with NAWE/Arvon and RD 1st (Debs Barnard) on an accredited coaching course that ran in 2011 and 2012. It will be great to see everyone.
Then off to Paris next week with Hebden Bridge’s Junior Brass Band (on tour!). I am hoping it won’t be too hot for the band to play.
I am then reading in Berlin the following week. This photograph is one of my father’s pictures from 1963 that have inspired some recent poems. I have been working on a new book to take with me to Germany with artist Jack Wright. The book, called ‘After Image’ will be a handmade, limited edition artist’s book featuring the poems I have written about Aberdeen and Berlin in the last two years. Further details to follow. If you want to pre-order a copy please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Wish me luck!
I did a reading this summer at Leeds Metropolitan University as part of their contemporary women writers series. It was a chance to air some new work. Here is a link to a podcast of the reading and other writers to listen to that were part of the same programme: http://www.the-cwwa.org/conversations/conversations-with-contemporary-women-writers-anne-caldwell/
A link by my friend and poet Alicia Stubbersfield prompted me to share this poem based on working at the South Bank Centre in the 90’s.
Seems a long time ago, don’t you think? But I loved the sense that the area was used by some many people there in the heart of London. Does anyone else have memories of the place at the time?
A barge full of bin-bags
heads out towards the Isle of Dogs:
London flushes itself downstream
as I leg it across Hungerford Bridge.
The Festival Hall is a block of light in the river.
I run past Dreadlocks-Mike, banjo in hand,
nails yellow as vellum, greyhound
hunkered down beside him,
dash by security guards with their
broken-veined cheeks, arms folded
against hoodies skateboarding
the underbelly of the building.
The Camerata tunes to a high G.
I scramble into my uniform behind the till.
The bookshop’s crammed with
Opera lovers swigging Bollinger
spending fifty quid each
on coffee-table art with their Visas.
When Offenbach’s Orpheus
strikes up, I sneak out to throw coins
in Mike’s hat, his greyhound shivering
in a blanket; let the skaters in for a warm
when the guards are off for a fag.
I work a feet-swelling, ten hour shift,
get the last train home
to Thornton Heath via Brixton.
I have my keys out, ready to stab
any bugger with designs on my handbag.
I haunt the South Bank on my day off.
The Hayward’s showing Diego Riviera.
I stare at his giant Mexicans: workers
in overalls, standing shoulder to shoulder.
I am reading at Waterstones in Leeds on the 23rd May at 7.00pm with the wonderful poets
Cara Brennan and Jonathan Davidson. Here is a link to the facebook page:
Look forward to seeing you if you can make it.