It has been a very thoughtful experience preparing two prose poems for an exhibition at St Helen’s World of Glass this week. Instead of looking at proofs and trying to write a short biography, I have had a fruitful discussion about fonts with a graphic designer; framed and mounted two pieces of work and got to grips with attaching mirror plates to the frames.
A different lens was required on the work and I began to see a prose poem as a visual artifact instead of a piece of writing. The work was accepted for an exhibition called ‘Reality Removed’ and will be on display until 28th April 2017. The curator of the exhibition also told me that they had never accepted a piece of text for an exhibition before which made me reflect on the qualities of a prose poem and how it might lend itself to a visual audience. I have been writing about the importance of the frame when writing in this genre, and how all the margins acts as a way of containing the words. In some ways, this can mirror a painting or photograph, and the viewer/reader can experience the whole work at once, as a fragment of an imagined world, created by the poet/artist.
Reality Removed – Gallery One
‘Contemporary art collective exploring how we view the world when what we know has been removed and we are left with someone else’s version of their own reality’
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
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’.
A time-exposure representation of gravitational waves from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.Credit: Joe McNally/Getty Images
I have just ordered a copy of Black Hole Blues by Janna Levin.
I have always been a fan of books that bridge the gap between science and art ever since reading The Double Helix as a young adult. I also loved the poetry book by Heidi Williamson: Her first collection ‘Electric Shadow’ (Bloodaxe, 2011) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and she trained with me as a writing coach when I worked for NAWE. ‘The Print Museum’, her next collection, is due out now with Bloodaxe in 2016.
241 pp. Alfred A. Knopf
In 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft carried the Golden Record into space — a disc containing a representative selection of Earth’s sounds, ranging from an erupting volcano to a kiss to some of humanity’s greatest music. It was an endeavor more poetic than scientific, which Carl Sagan saw as sonic proof of our being “a species endowed with hope and perseverance, at least a little intelligence, substantial generosity and a palpable zest to make contact with the cosmos.”
Not my usual reading but let me know what you think.
I have just been sent some photos by poet Kim Moore of this fantastic project up in Dumfries. Poems are on display at The Globe Tavern, Robert Burns House Musuem, The Coach and Horses and The Stove in the town in the windows on sheets of acetate. One of my poems is on display for two weeks in January around the Burns Big Supper event, alongside lots of other writers. I hope the good people of Dumfries enjoy all this poetry! The project was organised by Hugh Bryden and Dave Borthwick. They were inspired by Burns himself who inscribed poems himself on the windows of his room using a diamond ring or stylus.
Here is a copy of my poem plus the image:
Spring Garden, Heptonstall
The underside of everything’s turned over:
fresh earth, worm casts, spiders’ nests.
Water shimmies in the trough
and pirouettes all over your yard.
The bench is too wet to sit on yet.
The broom is bright with yellow buds.
Rosemary’s spiked with dried up heads
but it’s re-sprouting. Above
four terracotta pots stand up like coronets.
Snowdrops are sucked mints.
Narcissi shoots are greening the borders.
We’re quick as a voles.
Giddy with daylight
as we clip the yew hedge into spheres.
Beyond the lawn, the lane is winding
up the hill- ribboning the unfenced moors.
I am hosting a Readers’ Day at Blackpool Central Library tomorrow with writers Robin Bayley, Fran Sandham and Alistair Sutcliffe. The overall theme of the day is travel. The writers involved have all undertaken amazing journeys: conquering mountains, the African Continent, and following an ancestor back to South America. I feel quite tame in comparison!
The day runs from 2-4pm and I think there are places left.
I will also be reading some poetry.
The next event coming up is the NAWE conference in Northhampton from the 11th – 13th November. Myself and Paul Munden are both reading from our latest poetry collections and we are presenting a seminar on a NAWE project called ‘Writing On Location’ on Saturday morning. I just hope the delegates can make it in time to hear it! Look forward to seeing writers there as it is always a cracking conference with lively debate.
I have been having some great feedback about my book, with many readers saying how much they enjoyed the storytelling of the first sequence of poems in particular. I am touring this summer, so please get in touch if you are able to come to any of these events:
List of Summer and Autumn Events – to date:
Talking With the Dead – Cinnamon Press