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Prose Poetry – UK

Hebden Bridge

‘To ponder the fate of place at this moment assumes a new urgency and points to a new promise.’

Edward S. Casey, The Fate of Place, A Philosophical History

Thank you to my good friend and colleague, Karen Smith for introducing me to this book. It is fascinating.

I am going to be presenting on a panel this year at the NAWE conference and then in the states next year at the AWP conference, alongside Carrie Etter and other panel members.  I am looking at the use of sense of place in UK prose poems. I am at an early stage in my thinking about this subject.

Can anyone recommend some good anthologies of UK prose poetry to me? If you have written in this form, it would be good to hear any comments from you about the use of place. I would like to talk about contemporary poets’ work within my paper, and feature some work.

I look forward to hearing from you, please email if you can:



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.

Visit to Aberdeen and Lumb Bank Reading

Over the Easter break I went on an extraordinary trip north to Aberdeen where my dad was born. I had a collection of photographs that he had taken as a young father when I was small and went in search of some of the locations. I had not been back there in 30 years so the whole experience was an emotional roller coaster. I did fall in love with the city, the sound of people talking, it’s granite buildings, the way you can leave so quickly and head for the mountains.

I am reading at Lumb Bank tonight (17th May) as part of a writing course. This is the first time i have been a guest reader for Arvon and the house is one of my favourite places on the planet. Although it is tucked into the hillside, I am sure I am not the first writer to comment on the quality of light in the building. It feels as if the greenness of the woods colours the space inside.

Some of my poems are being broadcast on Leeds FM this summer and I will post up details as part of Peter Spafford’s ‘Writing On Air’ project. I am also being interviewed about my book and work in education on the 14th June.

Further details to follow.

Talking With The Dead

Here is a current list of events that I am doing in 2011 that relate to the book:

List of Summer and Autumn Events – Anne Caldwell
Talking With the Dead – Cinnamon Press

Saturday 18th June 4pm Manchester Book Market
St Anne’s Square, Manchester (tbc)

Monday 4th July  8pm – Guest Reader – The Puzzle Poets, Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge,
21 Hollins Mill Lane, HX6 2RF

Saturday 9th July – 7.45pm with Jo Shapcott –
Ledbury Poetry Festival, Burgage Hall, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DH

Saturday 10th September – Life Writing workshop
Brighouse Library, Halifax Road, Brighouse, Calderdale HD6 2AF
Contact Anna Turner for more details Anna.Turner@calderdale.gov.uk

Saturday 8th October – Exeter Poetry Festival – tbc with Rachel Boast

Saturday 12th November – with Paul Munden
NAWE conference book launch, Northampton

Broccoli and Politics

As the end of the year draws near, I have been working on a poem to try and put into words some of the anger I feel about the political situation at the moment. I have had a few weeks of high drama including getting locked in a building in Leeds with fifty arts activists and David Cameron – surrounded by police vans and horses. The prime minister had come to visit ‘Shine’ to talk to relate counsellors and got angry arts people instead!

Here is the poem – a bit bleak, I know. But there it is.

October 2010


Our purple sprouting broccoli

struggle to grow heads this year.

The roots are pot-bound in the plastic tubs

we bought in bulk. Cabbage whites have feasted

on the shoots. Each crocheted plant is sick.


Today The Coalition will announce its cuts.

Our friends who work in libraries

and museums, poets who scrape a living

in schools, posties with their arthritic knees –

hold their breath.


We stare into a future where lives

are stunted and may not flower;

where leaves yellow and drop

onto the cracked paving stones,

onto the pot-holed streets.


Barbara Hepworth 2011 visit

Sculpture Garden

I visited Barbara Hepworths’s garden in St Ives this summer and was very inspired. Even though there were crowds of people, the seclusion and beauty of the setting was very moving. I loved the way she matched the landscape and scale of her work together. My favourite piece lay at the front of a small lawn and contained a small pool of water in an oxidised bronze hollow. Ripples were reflected on the surface if you dipped your fingers into the water when the sun was shining. Perfect! I hate to say this but I think sometimes words can get in the way of an experience. Barabara Hepworth seemed to capture the complex relationship between self and landscape, the natural and human worlds within her work and space was as important as a solid form.

On another note, I am still touring my Some Girls’ Mothers event and project with my fellow writers in Yorkshire this autumn so please feel free to drop in any of the following dates:


11 October2010

Workshop (Char March ) 2.30-4.30pm: Bees Knees, 27 High Street, Morley, Leeds LS27 9AL

Performance – Char March, Clare Shaw, Anne Caldwell, Suzanne Batty

Morley Library – 7.30pm

Event location Morley Library, Commercial Street, Morley, Leeds, LS27 8HZ (The Baker Room)

Morley Litfest

Jenny-harris@blueyonder.co.uk (07505 127631)


Calderdale Libraries

12 October 2011


Anna Turner – annaturner@calderdale.gov.uk

Wakefield Libraries– 19 October – 1.30-3.30pm

Workshop – Anne Caldwell and Char March

Stanley Library

Lake Lock Road

Phone: 01924 303130

Tickets will be free.They will be available from Stanley Library and Drury Lane Library from 18th September.

21 October – 7.30pm

Performance – Anne Caldwell, River Wolton, Nell Farrell, Char March

Wakefield Drury Lane Library

Drury Lane

Phone: 01924 305376

Email: drurylanelibrary@wakefield.gov.uk

Two events coming up this summer

I have just had a poem published in Magma no.44 and I am delighted as I think it is such a good magazine. I am going to its launch event at The Troubadour in London 8pm on the 22nd June. Please come and join me if you are around that evening. I will post up the poem once the magazine is in production.

Magma issue 43


I am also doing an event with Nell Farrell, Char March and others at the Lowdon Literature Festival on Saturday 20th June at 6.30pm. We are reading from ‘Some Girls’ Mothers.

I have been following quite a lot of material in the papers about the Poet Laureate and want to congratulate Carol Ann – this seems a very important step forward for women and poetry in particular and I am really pleased to see the raised profile the art form has. I just hope the actual Laureate post does not have a detrimental affect on her work. I wonder if there is a better way of celebrating poetry in this country? It seems such an archaic institution. I would prefer something that did not focus on one person and had a wider spread. I would be interested to hear what other people think.

New 2009 poetry

The River Ure

The River Ure in Spate, January 2009

I have just been on an amazing visit up Wharf dale in search of waterfalls. I had not done that trip in winter and the landscape was very bare, beautiful and most of the rivers were near to flooding point. I do not think this photograph does the scene justice!

I seem to have had a dry period over the festive season when it comes to writing, but here is something that I have managed to finish. I began this poem in a workshop run by the fabulous Ann Sansom at a National Association for Writers in Education’s retreat last year. Ann asked the group to write in the first person from the point of view of a baby about to be born, and read us a poem by Sharon Olds. I hope this is not too derivative of Sharon Olds (who does this kind of intimate poem so well it is difficult to know where you start yourself after reading her work, I think!). Please leave me a comment if you have a view on this topic.

Worcester Park General Hospital

I’m kept in a box. I blink.

Smell hot plastic. Stretch out my hand

to watch a pattern of light redden.

I’m a glow-in-the-dark; half-fish

with slithery lungs in a ribcage supple as a slipper.

My skull’s pointed, yet to harden.

My hold on life is lax.

Mother’s face rises like a full moon

and her eyes cloud over with green.

I’ve lost her metronome heartbeat.

I’ve no idea of the comfort of her milk-tipped

nipple, nor the crook of her arm,

nor the rhythm of a walk in the park

with sycamore leaves to soften the sun’s stare.

Anne Caldwell

‘Some Girls’ Mothers’ Tour

Some Girls Mothers Book Cover

I am half way through a pre-view tour of the book, ‘Some Girls’ Mothers’ will my fellow writers, Char March, Clare Shaw, River Wolton, Nell Farrell and Suzanne Batty. We have been to libraries and venues in the North West so far, and audience response has been great. Lots of discussion about the book, and feedback from people. We have sold quite a few too! Here is a link to a fantastic short video that Ian Daley from Route made of the first gig:


It has been a challenge for me to think about performing with a group of people, instead of by myself. We have used props, a plinth, and had coaching from radio/drama director Polly Thomas. All this has really helped the shape and structure of the piece. I think I enjoyed performing in Oldham the most so far, because I was confident, didn’t fluff any lines, and people laughed! I could not quite believe that. We are hoping to do a much larger tour next year in 2009. Route have published the book, and we have also had support from a great group of librarians and Jane Mathieson from Time to Read. I have also run workshops as part of this project and people have written some cracking material. The workshop punters have been very diverse and had a great deal to say about family relationships. It has been a careful path to tread through peoples’ memories, and one that has delighted and saddened me at the same time. How do we all get through being parented, and then being parents ourselves?!