Poems

Here is a YouTube clip from National Poetry Day a few years ago. I was delighted to read as part of the WorkTown Festival Night at Bolton Socialist Club.

You may wish to listen to a podcast of my work that was made in summer 2013 at Leeds Metropolitan University as part of their Contemporary Women Writers series:

http://www.the-cwwa.org/conversations/conversations-with-contemporary-women-writers-anne-caldwell/

Here is another Youtube clip from 2011 – featuring ‘The Underwater House’ sequence of poems:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXVi28OG0kE&index=201&list=UUv5U5Ahwj6Z68dkIFIRDlBQ

Here are three of my latest prose poems – published in Stride in 2017:

Northern Quarter

Being is not her forte. A glass of white wine and the thought of the basement bar sends Alice out into the streets, where the windscreens are iced and pavements slippery with expectation. This could be the kind of night that Hopper painted: saloons, coffee pit-stops, single men and women drinking with their shoulders curved over bourbon. Cadillacs and Chryslers gliding like sting rays on his boulevards. Or a night Djuna Barnes knew well; full of one-night stands and strip joints and neon signs.

But this is Manchester, not Paris or New York. In Alabama’s All American Eatery, bagels are boiling in vats, waiting for the rush of clubbers who have danced through the early morning hours of ecstasy and Spice. That craving for something soft and sweet.

Alice slinks like a stray cat towards her fridge, gorging on triangles of cold pizza, plates of cheese, dry crackers, toast and peanut butter as the clock stares down and her lover slumbers in the warmth of an upstairs quilt.

City Centre

After the chill of the winter months, Alice waits for you at the corner of Great Bridgewater St, with her face open to the sun. She thought she’d lost you: No Google signal, no A-Z, nor phone charge.  Alice had folded her arms against the bridleways of friendship or the route maps of lovers. Today, the city simmers with intimacy: students chat over expressos and a cherry tree is coming into bud.  She listens to the low rumble of trains beneath her, the screeching of trams, cutting their way across Piccadilly gardens.

Soon you’ll stroll together through St Peter’s Square, Chinatown, to the Central Library with its domed acoustics and marbled pillars.

You’ll talk of cherry coming into blossom, the resilience of dandelions – pushing their yellow-way through cracks in pavements.

The Piano   

Troldhaugen. Birch trees with white trunks. Alice could remember a day trip to Grieg’s house There was his grand piano with its beautiful, yellowing ivory keys. A wooden shack where he composed music. Pale trunks, peeling bark. She thought of his piano concerto in A minor: a soundtrack to summer half-light, the way the dark never quite materialised. Pale trunks and peeling bark.

Later, she tuned into the sorrowful beat of the ship’s engine at night. She remembered the way the landscape took over and emptied of people the further north she went. Here was the roof of the world. Mountains were arctic maidens, rising out of the black water.

Jane Eyre read about them in her window seat, chewing her nails.  Mary Shelley’s monster was out there on a glacier, looking for love in the crevasses. Conifers, brittle with acid rain, stretched as far as the eye could see and clapperboard villages clung to the coast like whelks.

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Poet and Literature Consultant