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?

Why Horwich?


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.

Two Lovely Anthologies

The Poetry of Art
The Poetry of Art

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’.

New Poetry Collection
Woven Landscapes

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.

Sophy Dale interview


I recently did a blog posting about my writing process for the wonderful Sophy Dale’s blog. You can read it by following this link

Interview Series #11: Anne Caldwell

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.

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!


Is this just not such an extraordinary image?

gravitational waves Joe mcNally - Getty Images

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.

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space By Janna Levin

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.


Settle – Poetry Reading and Launch Friday 22nd April

I am very lucky to be the guest of Jean Harrison tomorrow and looking forward to doing a book launch in Settle. One of the most beautiful places to visit.

If you are free and can come along to The Folly

We’re starting a 7.30 – so arrive soon after 7.00 for comfort to get used to room and display books , get used to acoustics etc   The Folly is at the foot of Albert Hill.  Parking hopeless just there but possible in the market-place, or behind the town-hall.


Victoria Street

Postcode: BD24 9HS
Telephone: 01729 822361

A Sneak Preview

Cover of new book

Here is a sneak preview of the cover of my new poetry collection which is out this spring with Cinnamon Press.

I’m very excited about a box of books arriving at my door anytime soon.

‘In her second full-length collection, Anne Caldwell marries the knack for surprise and inventive imagery with precise observation and lucid turns of phrase. Beginning from quotidian moments: a hospital ward, a glass heart Christmas decoration, a writing retreat, Caldwell moves the reader into new landscapes, exterior and interior, with an assured grace that can nonetheless be unsettling. From short lyrical pieces to sequences, the human condition in all its delight and grief is revealed.’

I have a number of events coming up to launch the book.

You can order a copy at

Join me in launching ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’: with poet ALISON DOWN
Tuesday, 12 April, 7 p.m. @ The Octagon Theatre (Hospitality Suite), Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB.
Open mic night in the second half.

Other events:
Thursday, 28 April, 7.30 p.m. @ Kava Café, 31 Rochdale Road, Todmorden, OL14 7LA. (I am doing a lecture here, not a reading)

Friday, 29 April, 7.00 p.m. @ The Book Case, 29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 6EU,
with poet, MARIO PETRUCCI.

Friday, 22 April in Settle — (venue and time tbc) with author and poet, JEAN HARRISON.


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.

Poet and Literature Consultant