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Chapel FM – Love the Words

Peter Spafford hosts a fantastic radio show over in Leeds on writing and I was really pleased to be a small part of it:

Love the Words

19th September 2017

A Love The Words Special! As part of Writers in Transit, Leeds is hosting a poet from their twin city, Dortmund. Ralf Thenior  co-hosted the programme with Peter Spafford, reading his own work, talking about his city and about the In Transit project:

You can listen again here.

Peter and Ralf talked to a number of guests about the value of international cultural exchange. What is it? How does it work? What may come of it? There were interviews with Bellow Theatre Company, poet Karen Buckland, Adrian Sinclair of Chapel FM, writers Barney bardsley and Zoe Carty, Anne Caldwell and with Kristina Assmann-Gramberg from Leeds City Council about the Leeds European Capital of Culture bid.


Shortlisted in the Rialto Competition

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 Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2016: results


On the death of Leonard Cohen and listening to Ali Smith

one of my favourite libraries, John Rylands
one of my favourite libraries, John Rylands

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.

Anne Caldwell

At the end of a rather exhausting week.

Portico Library
Portico Library

Prose Poetry

Anne Caldwell
Anne Caldwell

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?

Quiet, quiet, Loud – Guest Poet

venue for poetry
The Lloyds Pub, Chorlton

Quiet, Quiet, Loud 

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.

A busy week – poetry launches


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

staircase twokava cafe


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.

The book Case
The book Case

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!


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.