Personae and Place

Skin NavigatorsLongbarrow Press makes its debut appearance at the Ledbury Poetry Festival this month with a specially devised two-act performance featuring poets Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones and violinist
Emma Bolland. Act One of Personae and Place focuses on Clegg’s sequence ‘Chinese Lanterns’ (in his collection West North East), weaving voices from North Sheffield and the Far East, the ceremonial aspects nuanced by spare musical phrases. The second act features Jones’ sequence ‘Jigs and Reels’ (in his new collection Skin), which contemplates themes of family, ceremony and music itself; these ‘sets’ of poems alternate with folk tunes played by Bolland. Personae and Place is performed at the Burgage Hall, Ledbury, Saturday 11 July (6pm-7pm); click here to book tickets. Our second event in Ledbury is on Sunday 12 July (10am-10.45am), when Longbarrow Press editor Brian Lewis offers an eye-catching history of 10 years of the press in a series of ‘objects’ – matchboxes, maps, postcards – illustrating the values of craft and care. Admission to the talk is free; see our Events page for further details.

Chris Jones’ collection Skin is currently available with Matthew Clegg’s The Navigators; click here to order the hardbacks together for just £24 (inc UK P&P). You’ll also receive the limited edition Skin and The Navigators audio CDs (recorded in churches and sea caves). Clegg’s ongoing canal-themed collaboration with songwriter Ray Hearne, which recently tracked the South Yorkshire Navigation for an afternoon of walking, poetry and song, continues with an appearance at the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, Mexborough, on Sunday 5 July (two sets, at 7.45pm and 9pm, with performances by other poets). Click here for more information and to book tickets. A short film of Clegg and Hearne’s Mexborough Canal walk (with two poems from The Navigators) appears below:

Booths July 2015 (Karl Hurst)‘I’m back on solid ground and yet the feeling of being lost remains more acute than ever. No critical framework can dispel it from me; no amount of walking can shake it off.’  Photographer Karl Hurst concludes his reflections on the temporary shelters and permanent markers charted in his photoset Booths with ‘Winter Hare at Alport: A Theory of Disappearance’, the third post under the series title ‘On Liminal Spaces’. Click here to read this essay on the Longbarrow Blog. ‘The Frome Primer is caught between the new space on the edges of our settlements, and the old spaces at their heart; between erasure and exile, drift and displacement.’ Hurst’s ten-year-old collaboration (as Andrew Hirst) with Brian Lewis is revisited in another essay for the Longbarrow Blog, in which the poems and photographs that make up this ‘view of the south from the north’ reappear as fragments and clusters. Click here to read ‘One-sided walls’.

Fay Musselwhite‘s recent walk from Rivelin Glen to the edge of the Peak District brought the industrial, cultural and ecological legacies of the River Rivelin into sharp focus; a further exploration of this terrain will follow in a new post for the Longbarrow Blog later this month. Musselwhite’s ‘Little Matlock’, which reimagines the Sheffield Flood of 1864, was among the poems that featured in the walk. This recording of the poem was made at the river’s edge, in a part of the valley formerly occupied by factories and domestic buildings:


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Second Skin

Skin (multiple)Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce the publication of Skin, the second full-length collection by Chris Jones.  Skin reflects on the ties that bind us, taking in the complex layering of human relationships and the cells and tissues of the body itself. The poems consider the role of the individual within the home and the institution – ranging from ‘Sentences’, which focuses on the hierarchies embedded in prison culture, to ‘Miniatures’, a series of ‘portraits’ drawn from the experience of fatherhood – while also affirming the creative collaborations that link poets to artists and musicians. Skin is a book of bonds, reaching back, reaching out; a sensory exploration of the world we inhabit and try to make sense of.

A beautifully produced 96-page hardback, Skin is now available from Longbarrow Press for just £12.99 inc UK P&P (click here to order Skin with Matthew Clegg’s new hardback collection The Navigators for just £24 inc UK P&P – saving £1.98 on the RRP). A limited edition CD with three podcasts recorded in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire churches (in the traces of Jones’s sequence ‘Death and the Gallant’) is also included with initial orders. You can order the book via the Skin microsite (which also has poems, recordings and essays relating to the book), or by clicking on the relevant PayPal link below (major debit cards accepted – no PayPal account required):

Skin (cover)Skin: £12.99 (inc UK P&P + ltd edition CD)

: £16 (inc Europe P&P + ltd edition CD)

: £18 (inc Rest of World P&P + ltd edition CD)

Skin is launched on Wednesday 10 June (7.30pm start) at The Shakespeare, 146-148 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield S3 8UB with a specially devised evening of readings and introductions by Chris Jones (and accompanying projections by Brian Lewis). Admission free; all welcome. Our current ‘Featured Poem’ is the first of the ‘Cells’ haiku sequences in Skin; click here to read the poems. Chris Jones considers the development of the collection in ‘The Skin We Live In’, a new post for the Longbarrow Blog; click here to read his reflections on ‘a trove of memories, tangible, potent, ever-present, that are also moving away from me at the speed of light’.

Contra Flow 5Our summer events programme continues with Fay Musselwhite‘s walk from Rivelin Glen to the edge of the Peak District on Saturday 20 June, which features a new selection of her poems set in and around this tree-lined valley, interspersed with poems by others and the writings of John Ruskin, whose legacy is revisited as part of the Ruskin in Sheffield programme of walks, talks and events. Join us as we trace the river’s industrial legacy, its unique ecology, and its relationship to Ruskin and the city. Click here for more details. Please note that this event is now fully booked.

Matthew Clegg (Emma Bolland)We return to The Shakespeare on Thursday 25 June (7.30pm start) for the Sheffield launch of Matthew Clegg‘s new collection The Navigators. Ray Hearne, Fay Musselwhite and Simon Heywood will help Clegg bring the book to life in performance, with Ray lending his voice to the mythical and historical poems, Fay speaking for the world of landscape and creatures, and Clegg voicing the more intimate and personal lyrics. Guitarist Simon Heywood will offer musical leitmotifs signalling three modes: epiphany, thanksgiving and storm warning. Three voices, three 20-minute sets, exploring a range of tones from the celebratory to the elegiac. Admission free: all welcome.

Listen to the 2007 arrangement of the haiku sequence ‘Trig Points’ below (featured in The Navigators, and revisited for the launch), performed by Clegg and Heywood (thanks to Robin Vaughan-Williams for recording and broadcasting this version on his Spoken Word Antics Radio Show). Click here for more information about The Navigators.

Photos by Emma Bolland


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The Navigators

Navigators (open)Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce the publication of Matthew Clegg‘s second full collection, The Navigators.
The poems draw on the dynamic physical geography of Cumbria and the East Yorkshire coast, and on the life (and afterlife) of the canals of Leeds and Mexborough. Versions of Apollonius, Aristophanes and Homer introduce an extra-temporal dimension, most apparent in the closing sequence of the collection, where these mythical, personal and historical threads are finally woven into one fugue-like movement. The Navigators is an affirmation of the reflection and regeneration that we find where waters meet and mingle; these literal and metaphorical thresholds offer both expedition and epiphany.

A beautifully produced 128-page hardback,​ ​The Navigators​ ​is now available from Longbarrow Press for just £12.99​ ​(inc UK P&P​).​ A limited edition CD comprising Clegg’s reading of his sequence ‘Cave Time and Sea Changes’ (recorded in a sea cave in Flamborough, East Yorkshire) is also included with initial orders. You can order the book via The Navigators microsite (which also has poems, recordings and essays relating to the book), or by clicking on the PayPal link below (major debit cards accepted – no PayPal account required):

Navigators jacket (26 April 2015)£12.99 (inc UK P&P)

£16 (inc Europe P&P)

£18 (inc Rest of World P&P)

The Navigators
will be launched at the Shakespeare pub, Gibraltar Street, Sheffield S3 8UB at 7.30pm on Thursday 25 June, with a specially devised collaborative reading featuring Matthew Clegg, Ray Hearne and Fay Musselwhite, and musical contributions from guitarist Simon Heywood. Ahead of the Sheffield launch, A Navigation with Matthew Clegg and Ray Hearne on Sunday 24 May is a canal walk that explores the South Yorkshire Navigation for several miles east of Mexborough, with Clegg reading poems that move between the past and present of the waterways, and Hearne performing songs that branch off along tangents suggested by the theme of navigation. Click here for more details (and to reserve places, which must be booked in advance). Here’s a short film of Clegg and Hearne’s rehearsals on the Mexborough Canal:

Hindle and Hearne (reduced)Ray Hearne also appears with Rob Hindle for a rare performance of Hindle’s acclaimed sequence The Purging of Spence Broughton at Boston Castle, Rotherham, on Wednesday 20 May. Spence Broughton was executed in 1792 for his part in robbing the Sheffield and Rotherham mail; his body was gibbeted at the scene of the crime on Attercliffe Common (between Sheffield and Rotherham), where it hung for 36 years. Click here to read ‘Spence Broughton, Rotherham and the Rights of Man’, a new blog post in which Hindle locates the tale(s) of Broughton within the wider political and historical context of the period. Further details of the Boston Castle event are available here.

Finally, a series of exhibitions at Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts (coinciding with the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival) focus on collaborations between artists and poets, including
Fairytale no. 9, a new work by Angelina Ayers and Beverley Green, and The Frome Primer, a reworking of the 2006 sequence by Andrew Hirst and Brian Lewis that led to the founding of Longbarrow Press. The exhibitions run from 20 May to 30 May; click here for further details.

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Sunken Portals

Navigators jacket (26 April 2015)Longbarrow Press is delighted to confirm the publication of Matthew Clegg‘s long-awaited collection, The Navigators, on 13 May. The book explores the portals that connect time and place, and the element of water that moves through both, flowing from the Lake District to the South Yorkshire waterways and, finally, the North Sea. A beautifully produced 128-page hardback, The Navigators will be available from the Longbarrow Press website for just £12.99 inc UK P&P (from 13 May). You can read extracts from the book on The Navigators microsite, and listen to poems recorded on canal towpaths and in sea caves. The Navigators will be launched in Sheffield with a special event on Thursday 25 June; click here for further details.

MexboroughPoems from The Navigators feature in ‘A Navigation with Matthew Clegg and Ray Hearne’, a one-off collaborative walk and performance on Sunday 24 May (devised for the forthcoming South Yorkshire Poetry Festival). The walk starts from the canal bridge at Mexborough rail station, tracking the South Yorkshire Navigation for several miles east, with Clegg reading poems that move between the past and present of the waterways, and Hearne performing songs that branch off along tangents suggested by the theme of navigation. Click here for more information (and to reserve places) on the canal walk. ‘Song, Poetry and Place’, a Festival blog post in which Clegg reflects on the shaping of the collaboration, appears here.

Rob Hindle (Karl Hurst)A special performance of Rob Hindle‘s The Purging of Spence Broughton, co-presented by Longbarrow Press for the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival, takes place at Boston Castle, Rotherham, on Wednesday 20 May. Hindle will be joined by co-reader Ray Hearne for this unique open-air event in the castle grounds (overlooking Attercliffe, where the eponymous antihero of Hindle’s sequence was gibbeted in 1792); an atmospheric setting for an evening of poetry, history, politics and folk legend. Click here for more information about the event. The ‘haunting’ of the English landscape (a themed obliquely explored in The Purging of Spence Broughton) is addressed by Hindle in a new post on his website, in which he challenges some of the assumptions that appear to underwrite the aestheticisation of the ‘eerie’; click here to read ‘Aerg!’. His two recent posts on the manufactured, yet inhuman, horizons of the post-Burkean sublime are also worth investigating: you can read the first here and the second here.

Island Songs II (Karl Hurst)‘The balance between connection and autonomy is essential to our sense of self… When we lose control of our story, we become dispossessed, but also if our thread winds loose from the pattern.’ Angelina Ayers takes up the threads of disobedience, dancing and the poems of Rosemary Tonks in ‘I Am the Resurrection’, a new post for the Longbarrow Blog; click here to read the essay. ‘All through my life, long perspectives have opened in coastal landscapes. I’ve returned to the sea for reflection and regeneration, and the poems I’ve set there are epiphanies that hatch on literal and metaphorical thresholds.’  The second of our new blog posts is ‘Feeding the Dead is Necessary’, in which Matthew Clegg draws together the mythical, personal and historical threads of The Navigators. You can read the essay here. ‘The Sink Hole’, which opens the central section of The Navigators, is our current Featured Poem; click here to read the poem, and to listen to a recent field recording from the Mexborough canal.

Finally, we are delighted to confirm the publication of Chris Jones‘ second full-length collection, Skin, at the end of May; full details of the book (and a Sheffield launch) will be posted here in May. Details of our forthcoming performances and walks can be found on our Events page, including a river walk with Fay Musselwhite on Saturday 20 June; click here for more information.

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As part of the ongoing documentation of the Longbarrow Press archive, artist Emma Bolland has created a series of images focusing on our books, pamphlets, and other works on paper. You can view a selection of these images in this slideshow (most of the featured publications are still available here):

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938‘The cairn takes many shapes and forms and can be seen as an early type of land art. It is art that is anonymous, proletarian, shape-shifting, both practical and aesthetically timeless.’ Photographer and poet Karl Hurst continues his series of essays reflecting on land features in ‘Meditation on Carl Wark’, a new post for the Longbarrow Blog, which puts forward an idiosyncratic argument for navigating by instinct. You can read the essay (accompanied by several photographs from his ‘Booths’ series) here. ‘Levine revealed himself to be one of America’s most retrospective poets: obsessively winding and unwinding the threads of time. He validates experience, transforms it, re-evaluates and interrogates it, and he reminds us how long it can take us to come to emotional terms with our own lives.’ In the second of this month’s posts on the Longbarrow Blog, Matthew Clegg offers his tribute to the American poet Philip Levine (1928-2015): a close reading of Levine’s ‘anti-revelatory’ poem ‘The Great Truth’, a visionary work that is also a critique of ‘the visionary paradigm’. Click here to read the essay.

Finally, Longbarrow Press is pleased to confirm details of the Leicester launch of Mark Goodwin‘s collection Steps. Goodwin will introduce and read from the book at The Exchange Bar, 50 Rutland Street, Cultural Quarter, Leicester LE1 1RD on Thursday 23 April (7.30pm start). All welcome; admission free. Longbarrow Press poets Matthew Clegg, Rob Hindle, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite will also present a number of performances and poetry walks in Mexborough, Rotherham, Sheffield and Ledbury in May, June and July; further details will be posted on our Events page in the near future.

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The Lock

Edgelands (Emma Bolland)Ahead of the publication of Matthew Clegg‘s second full-length collection The Navigators (due from Longbarrow Press in May 2015), we revisit a selection of his earlier titles, including the pamphlets Officer, Lost Between Stations and the acclaimed ‘matchbox’ edition of his 2008 sequence Edgelands (of which only a handful of copies remain available). Order any Matthew Clegg title from Longbarrow Press in March 2015 (including his debut collection West North East) and we’ll include a limited edition, handmade Edgelands postcard – and an additional piece of Longbarrow Press ephemera. Click here to view (and order) the full range of Matthew Clegg publications.

‘My interest in the vernacular is imaginative. I’m concerned with the life lived and the language that expresses that life…’ Part of the cultural and geographical terrain of The Navigators is previewed in Radged and Nithered: A Vernacular Sensibility’, a new post for the Longbarrow Blog in which Matthew Clegg explores the idea of a language ‘lived’ or ‘lived in’ – specifically, the language used by the navvies and boatmen that built and plied the South Yorkshire waterways. Click here to read the essay (and to listen to Clegg reading his poem ‘Attercliffe’ on a South Yorkshire canal towpath).

Ty Uchaf ThornsOur second new post on the Longbarrow Blog is ‘Circumspect & Circumflex’, which finds Mark Goodwin
reflecting on the ‘cartography’ of his Longbarrow Press collection Steps, and addressing the somewhat different art of ‘navigation’ practiced by ‘map-maker-readers’. ‘That’s what a map’s for: to make us believe that the infinitely detailed, multi-directional & complicatedly angled terrain we find our selves in can be organised…’ You can read the essay here. Steps also provides us with our current Featured Poem, ‘Lit Lichen, Tŷ Uchaf’, a movement through and towards ‘keyhole sized portions / of a landscape’. The poem appears here; for further details of Steps, please click here. Mark Goodwin will present an evening of readings from Steps on Thursday 23 April at Leicester’s Exchange Bar (50 Rutland St, LE1 1RD); further details will be posted here soon.

Photo credits:
Emma Bolland
Nikki Clayton

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The Inland Sea

Booths (Karl Hurst)Chalk cliffs are wax-white and gull-white…

Matthew Clegg‘s poem ‘Chalk’, a recasting of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse in sonnet form, is one of five poems currently featured in The Journal of Wild Culture‘s maritime selection Gazing In And Out To Sea. Click here to read the poems. ‘Chalk’, which looks out at, from and beyond the chalk stacks of Flamborough, appears in Clegg’s forthcoming collection The Navigators (due from Longbarrow Press in May 2015). Clegg’s debut collection West North East is still available from Longbarrow Press, as is his limited edition pamphlet Officer; click here to read an extract from the pamphlet (and to order copies).

Swindon 1 (Brian Lewis)‘Night itself becomes a place, a temporary theatre…’ The life and works of Sheffield sculptor George Fullard are remembered in ‘Haunts’, a short essay in which Brian Lewis traces the ‘internal displacement’ of three bronze statues in Andrew Hirst‘s sequence ‘Three Night Walks’ (featured in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing). You can read the essay here. ‘I lost someone recently. He wasn’t a love or a relative, or even a friend. He wasn’t mine to lose at all…’ In another new essay, Angelina Ayers
pursues and develops a different reading of displacement by way of DH Lawrence, Kraftwerk and The Eagles. Click here to read ‘Hotel California’ on the Longbarrow Blog. Our third essay of 2015 is the first in a three-part series by Karl Hurst focusing on the ‘liminal spaces’ opened up by his photographic practice. ‘Reflections on Impracticality’ examines ideas of home, identity, and, in particular, the ‘temporary shelters’ found in certain Northern English landscapes (which lend their name to his current photo-series ‘Booths’). You can read the essay here.

Mark Goodwin
and Brian Lewis reflect on the editing and shaping of Goodwin’s recent collection Steps in a candid and wide-ranging discussion with Elaine Aldred (on her Strange Alliances blog); click here to read ‘Steps of Creation’. Mark also recounts the development of his work as a sound artist in a further interview with Elaine (with contributions from producer Steve Gibbs); click here to read the interview.

Photo credits:
Karl Hurst (from the series ‘Booths’)
Brian Lewis

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