Category Archives: poetry

Longlist in the National Poetry Competition

I was delighted to make the longlist in the National Poetry Competition this year. The competition received over 13,000 entries, and after months of reading, judges Roddy Lumsden, Glyn Maxwell and Zoë Skoulding selected a longlist of 140 poems, including this one below.  The top winners will be announced on 2nd April at an awards ceremony and online, and published in the Spring issue of The Poetry Review.

Onwards and upwards! I hope you enjoy the poem. Churn Milk Joan is also featured in the work of Ted Hughes. It is very difficult not to be inspired by his words living in this landscape. I have always loved his writing, even before I moved to this area. I worry whether there is a new way of approaching writing about the land, but hopefully my own voice can come through in the work.

Waymarker

Alice needs a stone dress with a granite skirt and flint buttons,

wants to be rooted on the moors like Churn Milk Joan

pointing to higher ground―above the bogs, water-logged fields,

paths choked with knotweed and balsam.

She needs shoes speckled with mica that catch the light

and warm her feet with the memory of summer

when the hills were hoverfly-drowsy; cattle lounged

on heather roots and chewed the cud, udders rosy with milk.

The days grow short and wet.  Her front door begins to stick

and swell. Her lover has deserted her for the open road.

Her heart is strung out like a line of telegraph poles.

Find her a sharp chisel, a mallet, a large boulder.  There’s no time to lose.

Anne Caldwell

Poetry by Heart, Leeds – Poetry Reading 29th January

Leeds City Centre

I am reading in Leeds this month in Headingley, at the Heart Centre Cafe, LS6 3HN.

poetry_by_heart_bios_2014-01

The other poets are Julia Deakin, William Thirsk-Gaskell, Neil Clarkson and Andy Armitage.

The event takes place on the 29th January, 7.30pm. I am looking forward to the chance to try some new work and meet the other poets.

I once lived in Headlingley many moons ago and worked at a bookshop on the High St. I had just fallen in love and moved to the city without knowing a soul! My boyfriend at the time worked nights and I worked during the day. So I had plenty of time to explore Leeds and get to know the city. I have very fond memories of it, but left after a couple of years to seek my fortune in London! Leeds was a very different city then. Quite run down, rough around the edges and a cheap place to live. I bought a local magazine called ‘Leeds other Paper’ and did yoga, saw lots of films and eat lentils… What can I say!

Sqaure Chapel event – Saturday 12th October

I am taking part in an event at the Square Chapel for the Arts in Halifax this Saturday. The main focus of the evening is poetry by Heathcote Williams, performed by Roy Hutchins. The piece is called Forbidden Fruit.After the interval a number of poets are performing, including myself. Last year’s event was great – a real mixture of younger voices and people like myself! http://www.squarechapel.co.uk/en/event/888It would be great to see you.

A Mind set Free – war poetry and Owen Lowery

Article by Owen Lowery

You may have heard of Owen Lowery who is a Creative PhD student studying at the University of Bolton, where I teach. His first book has just come out with Carcanet Northern House. This has largely been with the help and encouragement of Professor Michael Schmidt. He is now going to be a Visiting Professor here helping us to devise more Post Grad work.

This major piece by Owen Lowery appeared this last Saturday in The Independent and I found it moving, illuminating and informative. As you will see, University of Bolton gets a mention!

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-war-the-ward-and-a-mind-set-free-how-war-poetry-helped-owen-lowery-find-a-voice-8437275.ht

Windows for Burns Night Project

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.

Anne Caldwell

Blackpool Readers’ Day

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.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2011

I was reading for the first time at the Ledbury Poetry Festival this year, and although nervous, I think I enjoyed the experience!

Here are some pictures from the festival 2011. The whole town seemed to be humming with poets and poetry throughout the weekend I was there. Obviously a highlight for me was reading with Jo Shapcott to a great audience – warm, enthusiastic and book buying – what more could you ask for!?

Jo Shapcott and Judith Palmer at Ledbury – I wonder what is in the bags?

I am admiring a poetry biscuit here – just one of the more quirky elements of the festival.

Here are a group of poets doing what they do best.