Ahead of the 2017 Ted Hughes Festival in June, poets Matthew Clegg, Karl Hurst and Fay Musselwhite feature as part of a Longbarrow showcase at Doncaster’s long-running Well Spoken! event. The poets, introduced by editor Brian Lewis, will present a selection of work with an accent on contemporary England, from its urban centres to its ragged edges. Upper Room, Doncaster Brewery & Tap, 7 Young Street, Doncaster, DN1 3EL, Thursday 13 April, 7.30pm (the Longbarrow showcase will be followed by an open mic). Admission free; all welcome.
On the Longbarrow Blog, Matthew Clegg takes up the theme of homelessness, the ‘burden’ of Peter Reading’s 1989 collection Perduta Gente, in which the accounts of dereliction and dispossession are heightened by Reading’s juxtaposition of ‘found material’ (the ‘property pages’ in which the homeless are swaddled) with a ‘brutal and brutalised’ vernacular, ‘the only [idiom] adequate to that predicament.’ ‘The painstaking lengths to which Reading goes to render this vernacular implies respect for his subjects. It also deepens the reader’s sense of encounter with another stratum. Reading’s approach is immediate and sociological. These people are in our midst, imploring us to listen. They are also on the other side of a social gulf the minute they open their mouths.’ Click here to read ‘Don’t think it couldn’t be you’. ‘We rely on memory to make sense of the present. To some extent, what we see is what we’ve seen before. What we gain from distance, perhaps, temporal and spatial, is the ability to construct a narrative…’ Our second post, by Angelina D’Roza, gathers several forms – poem, prose, letter – into its folds, as it tracks the human voice across distances, intimacies and silences, expanded and collapsed by technology and memory, a dream of ‘what you wanted to say heard and understood, as you meant it to be heard and understood.’ Click here to read ‘About the Human Voice’. Chris Jones continues his year-long series of candid, ruminative essays on the creative process with ‘The Lure’, which focuses on a recent collaboration with the artist Paul Evans and, in particular, the crafting of a single couplet. It also addresses the tendency of many poets to avoid critical reflection and self-examination when considering their own work, finding that ‘one of the ironies of writers reflecting on their own practices is how limited the analysis of craft is, of finding words to externalise this inward-looking game.’ Click here to read the essay.
Our current Featured Poem is ‘Lesser Common Rustic’ by Fay Musselwhite (from her debut collection Contraflow). Click here to read the poem. We’ve also created a new audio podcast of Fay Musselwhite’s first ‘Contra Flow’ poetry walk through the Rivelin Valley, north-west Sheffield, in March 2014:
1, 3: Emma Bolland
2: Karl Hurst