I am delighted to say that I was shortlisted this Spring in the Rialto’s first pamphlet competition. Two of my prose poems will be featured in the next issue of this wonderful magazine. I also had some very encouraging feedback from the judge, Hannah Lowe. I have been an admirer of her writing for a long time, so this was a real delight.
The Hebden Bridge Annual has arrived for Christmas 2016!
A contemporary take on the traditional annual, it’s a book full of facts and fun about Hebden Bridge and its people. A kitchen table book, rather than a coffee table book.
It’s got 150+ quality pages of stories and pictures; past, present and future, with puzzles, quizzes and indoor and outdoor activities – something for everyone.
The Annual is published by The Egg Factory as our contribution to keeping the community’s chin up after the big flood on Boxing Day last year. You can buy a copy from
What a strange day today. My son and I listened to his favourite Cohen song at 6.30am before he went to college. He is only sixteen and has just discovered him, (bless!). I listened to Ali Smith on Desert Island Discs and she was fabulous. Reminded me how much I love stories and music.
So I would not normally post a prose poem but have written this rough draft as part of a collaborative project I am doing with writers in the UK and Australia to cheer me up after the US elections and the news today.
And maybe the way forward is this unexpected winter sun and the cat asleep on a kitchen table. And maybe the way forward is a kettle humming and peppermint tea, pale as longing in a cup. And maybe the way forward is all those Facebook good wishes, like kisses. And maybe the way forward is a ipad with a broken screen that you can’t afford to fix, but still works. And maybe the way forward is listening to Ali Smith on the radio, saying stories change lives or burn the shirt off your back, as Leonard Cohen dies and your son has discovered his music without your help.
I am slowly getting into work for my phD again this autumn. I am studying part time at the University of Bolton. I am writing about the north of England and came across this great quote from an essay about the two poets Barry MacSweeney and SJ Litherland published in ‘Poetry & Geography : Space & Place in Post-war Poetry’ :
‘I agree with [Sheild’s] correspondent who maintains that ultimately ‘north’ is really a direction, not a place, so asking where exactly the north ends and the south begins would make little sense. Shields’s definition of what he calls the ‘Cult of Northern-ness’ sees it as a state of mind whereby ‘Northerners regard anyone to the South as in some way compromised’. In the phrase ‘anyone to the South’ the key word is ‘to’, meaning ‘towards’, which implies that the compromise is greater the further south one goes.’
Interesting point of view! I wonder if this holds true today?
I had a really great morning last week with Phoenix writers, based in Horwich, near Bolton. I was running a freelance writing workshop with the group. Dotty told me creative writing seems to be thriving in this town, with a number of successful writing groups. No one is sure why! Phoenix writers asked me to do a morning of life writing exercises and I was very impressed by the groups’ liveliness, storytelling and memories. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.
This anthology from Avalanche Press features poems that link images and words. I am pleased to be included alongside David Constantine, Moniza Alvi, Pascale Petit and many more excellent poets. Email me if you would like a copy.
The same publisher has featured me in a new collection – just out. I am delighted to have a selection of poetry in this new book with Katrina Porteous , Roselle Angwin, Kaye Lee, Katherine Gallagyer and Wendy French. The book’s themes link landscape and the body and the work is described as ‘a tapestry of sensual, intoxicating verse’.
This was a fantastic night of poetry – organised by Sarah L Dixon on the 13th Sept at Lloyds Pub tel 0161 241 8570 M21 9AN in South Manchester if you are free. I was a featured poet reading alongside Ciaran Hodgers
Ciarán is described as “Thoughtful and punchy” and “One of the most exciting faces to appear in the North West circuit in a long time”
Ciarán Hodgers is an award-winning poet, performer and creative mentor. Performed and published around the UK and Ireland he was part of the inaugural Team Manchester at the National UK Poetry Slam, finalist of the Poetry Rival Slam with Burning Eye books and three time finalist of Manchester’s own Word War slams.
There are some great interviews on her blog including Andrew Forster and other writers.
Sophy says about her company Spark:
I am a writer, editor, coach and mentor, based in a small Scottish seaside town just outside Edinburgh. I’ve worked with a huge range of writers, including Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin, Janice Galloway, Ali Smith, John Burnside, Jackie Kay and Naomi Alderman. I’ve worked for publishers including Canongate Books and Frances Lincoln, for the Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Poetry Library and run the BBC Short Story Award. Along with the novelist Alan Warner, I set up Long Lunch Press, which published Irvine Welsh, James Meek, Elizabeth Reeder and Jen Hadfield. Three years ago, I set up the Spark Writing Development Agency, with a team including literary agents Judy Moir, Fraser Ross Associates and writers Susie Maguire and Linda Cracknell. Most recently, I’ve also been running a children’s Book Festival in Edinburgh and a year round programme of storytelling and author events.
Please come to any of these this week if you can…Let’s hope I survive this schedule its a bit of a mad week to be honest…
Monday 25th April – Verbose, 7.30pm, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6 NA
Live literature night Verbose is back on Monday 25 April, featuring special guests plus the usual open mic of prose and poetry performances. Verbose, hailed in the press as one of the best spoken word nights in Manchester, each month invites three headliners who collaborate or share a common thread.
This month’s guests work or have worked at the University of Bolton, in the English & Creative Writing department. We’ll be hearing from Bolton tutors, past and present, Anne Caldwell, Simon Holloway and Evan Jones. We’ll also have a sneak preview of some of the work published in The Bolton Review, issue four of which is being officially launched on Wednesday 27 April.
Another nine published and up-and-coming poets and prose writers will also perform.
Taking place on the fourth Monday of the month at Fallow café in Fallowfield (2a Landcross Road, M14 6NA), Verbose is free entry and doors are at 7.30pm. See http://verbosemcr.wordpress.com.
Thursday 28th April 7.30pm – Lecture at Kava Cafe, Todmorden – I am not launching the book but will have some to sell. I am doing a lecture about art and prose poetry. Mario Petrucci is the guest poet reading.
Friday 29th April – reading with Mario Petrucci at the Book Case Hebden Bridge 29 Market St, HX7 6EU -7.30pm
I will be reading from her brand new poetry collection, Painting the Spiral Staircase, alonside Mario Patrucci. Anne Caldwell ‘marries the knack of surprise and inventive imagery with precise observation and lucid turns of phrase’; this is her second collection from Cinnamon Press. Mario Petrucci’s poems are ‘epitomes of innovation and humanity, forever embracing issues of profound universal significance’. His Olympics poetry commission, Tales From The Bridge, was shortlisted for the 2012 Ted Hughes Award.
Please note the later start time of 7.30 as Mario is running a workshop in the shop … please arrive quietly! Free drinks available in the break as always!