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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
I 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.
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…)