A chronological survey of Longbarrow’s publications and events since 2006, including non-catalogue items, out-of-print publications and otherwise undocumented ephemera. The most recent updates appear at the bottom of this page. You can also click on the following years as standalone pages: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
Andrew Hirst (Sheffield) and Brian Lewis (Swindon) collaborate on The Frome Primer, a cycle of twenty-four poems by Hirst and twenty-four photographs by Lewis. A mutual interest in printmaking and design (and in developing new methods of publishing) leads to the founding of Longbarrow Press; they invite poets Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones to publish with them.
Longbarrow Press makes its debut at The Red Deer, Sheffield. The launch is marked by the publication of two collaborative works in handmade, limited editions: The Frome Sampler by Andrew Hirst and Brian Lewis (four poems and four photographs in a hinged box), and Matthew Clegg’s Nobody Sonnets (eight poems by Clegg, four illustrations by Hirst, sleeved in a double wallet of tapestry cloth). Readings by Matthew Clegg, Andrew Hirst and Chris Jones. Introduced by Brian Lewis. Click here to access the press release.
Sheffield literary magazine The Inky publishes an interview with Andrew Hirst and Brian Lewis in which the ethics and practices of the press are discussed. Co-founder Hirst steps down, leaving Lewis as sole editor / publisher. Book One of Hirst’s The Cinderella Suite is launched at The Red Deer, Sheffield, on 14 October (with Matthew Clegg’s broadside Two Nobody Sonnets). Readings by Clegg and Hirst.
Longbarrow poets James Caruth, Matthew Clegg, Andrew Hirst and Chris Jones join Matt Black at The Lantern Theatre, Sheffield for Timbre Music. Chris Jones opens with Miniatures (unaccompanied); James Caruth and the Sheffield Academy of Music perform his Dark Peak; Matthew Clegg is joined by Simon Heywood for a voice-and-guitar arrangement of Clegg’s Trig Points (a version of which can be heard here). After the interval, Brian Lewis offers a lo-fi treatment of Andrew Hirst’s The Snail Drunk, utilising four dictaphones, two cassette players, a toy microphone and a length of string; Matt Black and guitarist Adam White conclude the evening with the epic Surf: The Adventures of Jonny Donut.
Joint launch of Matthew Clegg’s Officer and Andrew Hirst’s Frome I-XII pamphlets at the Quaker Meeting House, Sheffield. The evening is framed by a display of photographs from the Frome cycle and (for the performance of Officer) a flip-chart summarising Behavioural Competencies. The evening concludes with a discussion between Clegg, Hirst, Lewis and the audience.
Launch of Chris Jones’ Miniatures pamphlet at The Red Deer, Sheffield. Opens with a cassette-and-dictaphone arrangement of Jones’ recordings of the poems: four machines (positioned in the room’s corners) create a ‘tape fugue’ from the shifts in sync, pitch and tone. Jones follows this with a selection of poems omitted from his recent collection (The Safe House) and a full reading of Miniatures.
Publication of Andrew Hirst’s Frome XXIV (the second of his Frome pamphlets). No launch; instead, Hirst reads eight of the pamphlet’s twelve poems on Robin Vaughan-Williams’ Spoken Word Antics radio show.
March – April
Previews of Matthew Clegg’s Edgelands for Robin Vaughan-Williams’ monthly Antics spoken word event at The Red Deer and his Spoken Word Antics radio show; these performances consist of Clegg reading thirty poems from Edgelands in groups of five, punctuated by tapes of street noise manipulated by Brian Lewis. Chris Jones reads his Cells haiku at The Red Deer (with Brian Lewis hanging accompanying watercolours by Paul Evans) and reads from At the end of the road, a river on Spoken Word Antics, his journey through the post-industrial margins of the Don river making some interesting connections with Clegg’s survey of the half-known landscapes of North Sheffield; between ruin and pastoral, loss and wonder.
1 June: Publication and launch of James Caruth’s Dark Peak at The Green Room, Sheffield. Dark Peak is a long poem in ten sections, corresponding to the structure of a Catholic Mass. The title refers to an area of the Peak District; a recording of the poem was made close to this area in August 2008.
21 June: Publication of Matthew Clegg’s Edgelands marked by a four-hour walk through North Sheffield in which Clegg reads at intervals to the audience (Mark Goodwin retraces the route in his poem ‘Rurban Membrane‘). Edgelands is published as a pamphlet, a matchbox (in which the 56 poems are concertinaed in 56 folds) and as 56 individual ‘specimen pouches’ (5cm plastic enclosures, each with a poem inside).
The river, the road and Line Break. Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones’ two-hour poetry walk along the banks of the River Don is well-attended and highly acclaimed. The audience is presented with a specially designed ‘poetry map’ (comprising poems and essays by Clegg and Jones and photographs by Brian Lewis) and a CD of the poets reading their work at the river.
In the evening, Clegg, Jones and poets James Caruth and Andrew Hirst join artists Paul Evans and Brian Lewis at Site Studio, Sheffield, for an ambitious programme of poetry, painting and performance. Line Break forges vital connections between the spoken word and the visual arts and introduces the collaborative practices that will shape subsequent multidisciplinary projects (including The Seven Wonders). Readings: Cells and Carbon (Chris Jones), The Fates, Chalk and Edgelands (Matthew Clegg), Songs to Make & Mend (Andrew Hirst), Dark Peak (James Caruth). Introduced by Rob Hindle. Click here to view a short film comprising performances from Line Break.
Winter Songs. Matthew Clegg and Andrew Hirst present new poems in the intimate setting of The Red Deer. Hirst reads from his Songs to Make & Mend epigrams (a boxed edition of which is launched the same evening); Clegg introduces his new Longbarrow pamphlets Rag & Bone Shop, Lessons and Pups. The evening also sees the launch of two Longbarrow CDs (recorded on location in and around Sheffield): The Field, a sampler comprising poems by Caruth, Clegg, Goodwin, Hindle, Hirst and Jones, and Nobody Sonnets / Pups, two sequences by Matthew Clegg.
Mark Goodwin’s Ish Coast Etched CD (comprising recordings made by Goodwin on the West Cornish coast) launched in Plymouth. The thin-walled reading space is adjacent to a cinema screening Young Victoria, the audio from which is incorporated into Goodwin’s performance.
Simultaneous publication of three titles by Kelvin Corcoran: Learning to Play the Harp (broadside), Madeleine’s Letter to Bunting (concertinaed poem in bespoke envelope) and On the Xenophone Label (pamphlet).
19 June. Rob Hindle’s The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman is premiered at Hill Top Chapel, Attercliffe, Sheffield; the sequence is performed by Hindle and Ray Hearne, with supporting readings from Matthew Clegg, Linda Lee Welch, Hindle and Hearne. The chapel (built in 1629) is a supporting player in the performance; filigrees of evening light from the upper windows (and the solitary candle lit by Hindle) contribute to the simple but powerful evocation of Broughton’s fate. The Purging of Spence Broughton is presented as a boxed edition comprising handmade pamphlet, supplementary gatefold envelope housing XII Fragments, a Roll of Characters, and a map.
Andrew Hirst and Brian Lewis travel to Cleethorpes Library to exhibit, introduce and read from The Frome Primer as part of North Lincolnshire LitFest. A short film of the exhibition and reading (featuring a brief interview with Brian Lewis) can be viewed here.
Sideways & Familiar. A walk through Sheffield’s city centre (via lesser-known routes) led by Andrew Hirst and Chris Jones, beginning at the train station (with readings in the goods yard) and (by way of Brown Street, Norfolk Street, the Winter Gardens, Upper Chapel, the Cathedral and numerous side streets and passageways) ending in Paradise Square (where the poets are accompanied by the musician Kerry McMullen on violin).
Longbarrow Press showcase at the third Derwent Poetry Festival, Matlock Bath. Matthew Clegg reads from Edgelands; Chris Jones gives the first public reading of Death and the Gallant; Rob Hindle performs The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman.
Publication and launch of Mark Goodwin’s Distance a Sudden pamphlet and CD at The Fat Cat, Sheffield. Goodwin alternates between live readings from the pamphlet, recomposed versions of the poems, and playback of recordings with ‘live’ vocal accompaniment. Brian Lewis contributes an arrangement of Goodwin’s ‘Dark Bird with Corner’ for two tape players, CD and dictaphone (a recording of which appears here).
The Seven Wonders, artist Paul Evans’ collaboration with Caruth, Clegg, Goodwin, Hindle and Jones, opens at Cupola Contemporary Art, Sheffield. The poems in the series are recorded (on location in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire) by Goodwin and Lewis and issued on a illustrated CD to mark the reading and discussion that closes the exhibition. Several limited edition cards (each comprising a poem and a drawing) are also produced for the event.
Publication of Alistair Noon’s Animals and Places and his translation of Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman. The pamphlets are launched in Berlin on 19 June, where Lewis makes several recordings of Noon reading his poems in or near locations referenced in the work (including waste ground near the old east-west border and at the base of the partly demolished Humboldthain flak tower). You can listen to Noon’s ‘Filling the Triangle’ (recorded on waste ground near the S-Bahn line) here.
Clegg and Lewis travel to Flamborough, East Yorkshire, to make preparatory recordings for a new audio project based on Clegg’s poems about the headland. The visit (which leads them from cliffs to sea caves) is documented here.
The 70th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz: Rob Hindle leads a small audience on a four-hour walk from Dore Moor to the Marples Hotel (the route taken by the Luftwaffe in Hindle’s eponymous sequence of poems). The focus shifts from the city’s quiet, sparsely populated outskirts to its crowded centre, and from afternoon light to the urban night. Hindle prefaces his readings from the Dore Moor poems with contemporary accounts of the Blitz and his own imaginative explorations of the territory.
Rob Hindle’s long poem ‘Princess Street to the Wicker’ is brought to life in a walk through the former ‘ganglands’ of Sheffield. Hindle recounts the rumours and facts that make up the official (and unofficial) histories of the 1920s ‘razor gangs’, reading under bridges, in car parks and on street corners.
The Longbarrow Press website goes online, coinciding with the inaugural Sheffield Poetry Festival (1-3 April). Three Longbarrow events feature in the festival: Death and the Gallant, a collaboration between Paul Evans (paintings) and Chris Jones (poems); Yannis Told Us, the debut performance of Tria Kalistos (Kelvin Corcoran, Maria Pavlidou, Howard Wright) who fill the Bank Street Arts gallery with their unique and memorable synthesis of traditional Greek music and lyric poetry; and Making it Up, a reading and talk by Kelvin Corcoran (cueing into a collaborative reading with Peter Riley).
Publication of Lee Harwood’s The Books. Pamphlet comprises one long poem (‘The Books’); CD features Harwood reading ‘The Books’, ‘Departures’ and ‘Ben’s Photo’ at home in Brighton. Issued in a bespoke envelope.
Launch of Matthew Clegg’s Lost Between Stations pamphlet and CD at The Red Deer, Sheffield. Clegg reads four long poems from the sequence, accompanied by short films by Brian Lewis and additional readings from Matt Black and Fay Musselwhite. The evening concludes with a conversation between Clegg and Musselwhite (a version of which can be found here).
Publication of two pamphlets by Alistair Noon: Across the Water and Swamp Area (the latter comprising long poems and sequences about Berlin).
Publication of Peter Riley’s XIV PIECES pamphlet and CD. The CD comprises recordings of the poems made by Riley at home in Cambridge, with ‘noises off’ and musical passages enhancing the intimate, domestic atmosphere.
Matthew Clegg and Alistair Noon read at The Red Deer, Sheffield. Clegg reads from his new sequences The Navigators and Chinese Lanterns; Noon offers selections from Across the Water and Swamp Area, and from Earth Records (Nine Arches). The idea of ‘the journey’ links the readings; journeys along waterways, across borders, and through history.
Ben Goulder interviews Brian Lewis for Sheffield webzine Incognito. The interview (accompanied by photos from the Red Deer event in May) appears here.
Phase 2 of The Seven Wonders (an ongoing collaboration between artist Paul Evans and Longbarrow poets) begins with a reimagining of Kinder Downfall, in which Fay Musselwhite’s poem ‘Phlegmatic’ is paired with a new painting by Evans. It is followed in July with Evans / Goodwin’s ‘Hen Cloud’ / ‘Hen Prayer’. Among the other poets confirmed for this new stage of the project are Angelina Ayers and Alistair Noon.
Matthew Clegg leads the Moving with Thought walk and workshop (commissioned by Occursus/plastiCities) from Shalesmoor to Parkwood in north Sheffield, followed by a reading by Clegg and Fay Musselwhite at 7 Garden Street. Moving with Thought was set up to explore the relationship between walking and poetry – between the body, the mind and the landscape. The workshop participants responded to the invitation with some excellent poems; click here to read them and to access further links to audio recordings of the poems and a short film of the walk.
Call & Response (co-curated by Paul Evans and Brian Lewis) presents 22 haiku by 10 poets (Angelina Ayers, Matthew Clegg, Abigail Flint, Mark Goodwin, Rob Hindle, Chris Jones, Fay Musselwhite, Mary Marken, Andrew Myers and Ruth Palmer) on Twitter and SoundCloud during the 11 days of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind. Each of the poems is inspired by the mystery of bird calls and songs. You can listen to recordings of all 22 haiku (in broadcast sequence) here and read the poems (in their original pairings) here.
A Navigation with Matthew Clegg brings an audience of 20 to the Sheffield Canal Basin for a two-hour walk along the towpath towards Tinsley, with Clegg reading poems from his sequence The Navigators (which explores the canals of South Yorkshire) and discussing the culture and history of the waterways and the people who built and lived on them. Part of the Festival of the Mind‘s Arrivals Zone programme. Listen to Clegg reading and introducing the poem ‘Attercliffe’ (recorded in Attercliffe towards the end of the walk) here. An illustrated account of the walk (with 12 photographs by Shaun Bloodworth) appears here.
Longbarrow Press: Scale, a series of newly commissioned films and performances, takes place at Sheffield’s Bloc Projects. The focus of the gallery installation was a 40-minute film loop comprising ‘Cells’ (Paul Evans, Chris Jones), ‘Skin’ (Karl Hurst, Chris Jones), ‘The Seven Wonders’ (Angelina Ayers, James Caruth, Paul Evans, Fay Musselwhite), ‘Cortege’ (Hondartza Fraga, Rob Hindle) and ‘Cave Time and Sea Changes’ (Matthew Clegg, Karl Hurst). A performance of ‘Scale’ on 26 October offered a mix of live readings, film and a new performance devised by Becky Bowley and Mark Goodwin; an artist’s talk by Paul Evans (on 25 October) illuminated the ideas of ‘scale’ at work in the programme. Click here for more information on the Scale project.
Rob Hindle’s The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman returns to Hill Top Chapel, Attercliffe, Sheffield (three years after its debut performance), with a new introduction (incorporating the ‘last letter’ attributed to Broughton) and a new cast of supporting readers (Matt Black, James Caruth, Ray Hearne, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite). The performance was followed by a lively and wide-ranging Q&A with the audience (including two of Broughton’s descendants). Click here to read more about Rob Hindle’s (re)telling of the Spence Broughton story.
closer to ground to hear, a collaborative work by Mark Goodwin (audio poems and texts), Nikki Clayton (photographs) and Brian Lewis (sound design), is installed at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield. A merging of Tarkovsky’s Zone (as depicted in his film ‘Stalker’) with a portion of the rurban rim of north-east Sheffield, this collaborative work is reconfigured during the residency, with Goodwin reconstituting a number of the poems and Lewis adding new mixes to the multi-channel soundscape each week. Goodwin presents a selection of poems relating to the installation at Bank Street Arts on 17 November; the reading is preceded by an extended (and unexpected) vocal improvisation in the installation space (based on his ‘Stalker’ poem). Click here to listen to a recording of the improvisation.
Longbarrow Press marks the new year with Winter Songs, a specially curated evening of readings (at The Fat Cat, Sheffield) by Angelina Ayers, Matthew Clegg, Andrew Hirst, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite. The readings (which include works by other poets alongside original material by the readers) are presented in three themed parts (or ‘movements’): home (and ‘the local’); landscape; journey and exile. During each movement, the readers alternate from poem to poem, producing some interesting (and often unexpected) associations and dynamic shifts; a new take on ‘curated performance’ that has developed through close collaboration with Longbarrow poets in recent years. Read Camille Brouard’s review of the event (for Forge Today) here. Brian Lewis’s reflections on the evening (for Now Then) appear here. Listen to the third (and final) movement of Winter Songs below:
Mark Goodwin and Chris Jones read at Newstead Abbey (as part of the inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words). The two poets collaborate with Brian Lewis to rework poems from their recent collections into an exploratory tour of the English outskirts, presented as an integrated, continuous performance (accompanied by a projected film of Nikki Clayton’s photographs and recordings of poems from Matthew Clegg’s Edgelands sequence). Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson reviews the performance (for LeftLion) here. Robin Vaughan-Williams’ account of the event appears here. Listen to the opening section below:
Sheffield’s Bloc Projects presents The Song of Meeting and Parting, a special event focused around a new billboard artwork by Paul Evans (the artwork and the event illuminating themes of migration – and decline – of bird populations). The event begins with a ceremony by Becky Bowley (also taking in a new artwork by Dominic Mason) and then moves into the streets around the gallery as Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones lead the audience on a poetry walk. Chris and Matt read their poems ‘Lost’ and ‘Night City’ in the subway of St Mary’s Gate (preceded by a detail from Evans’ artwork) in this short film:
Elaine Aldred’s extended interview with Brian Lewis (on the origins, aesthetic and ethos of Longbarrow Press) is published on her Strange Alliances blog. You can read the interview here.
Paul Evans and Chris Jones mark the opening of their new collaboration, The Spirit is a Bone, with a talk, discussion and reading at Derby Museum and Art Gallery (where the collaboration will be sited until May 2014). Listen to an edited version of the discussion (with poems from The Horn Book by Chris Jones):
The Flight, a programme of short films curated by Longbarrow Press, is screened at The Hubs, Sheffield (as part of the second Sheffield Poetry Festival). The programme comprises eight films: Murmuration (Paul Evans / Chris Jones); Season Below Ground (Kelvin Corcoran / Brian Lewis); Lost Between Stations (Matthew Clegg / Brian Lewis); Cortege (Hondartza Fraga / Rob Hindle); closer to ground to hear (Nikki Clayton / Mark Goodwin / Brian Lewis); Skin (Karl Hurst / Chris Jones); Night Walks (Andrew Hirst / Brian Lewis); Cave Time and Sea Changes (Matthew Clegg / Karl Hurst).
Rob Hindle leads Flights and Traverses, a walk through central Sheffield (from Lady’s Bridge to Alma Street) that crosses and re-crosses the city’s histories (taking in the last transport of the Chartist Samuel Holberry in 1842, the Sheffield Flood of 1864, the gang wars of the 1920s and the Blitz of 1940). Hindle introduces the first section of his poem ‘Attercliffe to the General Cemetery’ in this short clip (filmed near Lady’s Bridge):
Alistair Noon makes a rare UK appearance at Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts, reading and discussing his remarkable translation of Pushkin’s The Bronze Horseman (followed by selections from his collection Earth Records). The reading closes with an extended Q&A with Matthew Clegg. Photograph by Karl Hurst.
West North East, Matthew Clegg’s first full-length poetry collection (and the first hardback book to appear from Longbarrow Press) is launched at the Shakespeare, Sheffield. The readings begin with ‘Fugue’, a trance-like sequence performed by Clegg and poets Fay Musselwhite, Angelina Ayers, Karl Riordan and Helen Mort. The second part offers a compelling new arrangement of ‘Edgelands’ (read by Clegg and Musselwhite), framed by the sounds of Hillsborough’s streetscapes; the third and final part focuses on the book’s ‘Chinese Lanterns’ sequence, in which Clegg plays Li Po to Andrew Hirst’s obdurate, gargling Tu Fu. Thanks to Ruth Palmer for the delicious West North East cakes and to Emma Bolland for the photo of Clegg and Musselwhite performing ‘Edgelands’.
Matthew Clegg, Rob Hindle and Fay Musselwhite present Street Haunting: an evening of narrative poetry at The Fat Cat, Sheffield. This special event features a selection of narrative poems with an urban slant: journeys and encounters from the outskirts to the centre. The evening opens with Clegg’s reading of the poem ‘Sirens’ (from his collectionWest North East) and a reflective commentary, ‘Ground Sense’ (subsequently posted on the Longbarrow Blog), both focusing on the Kelham Island district of Sheffield. We journey southward in the evening’s second act for Fay Musselwhite’s ‘Leon’, which is set in a ‘low-rent inner-city district of Southampton’ in the late 1980s, before returning to Sheffield for the third and final act, in which Rob Hindle explores the territorial lines laid down in the east of the city during the gang wars of the 1920s (in his poem ‘Princess Street to the Wicker’). The readings are accompanied by short projected films (by Brian Lewis) and are followed by a wide-ranging discussion between the poets and the audience.
The Footing, a walking-themed anthology (published by Longbarrow Press on 30 October), is launched at The Shakespeare, Sheffield, with readings, performances and talks by all seven poets featured in the book: Angelina Ayers, James Caruth,
Mark Goodwin, Rob Hindle, Andrew Hirst, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite.
The evening begins with Rob Hindle’s
reflections on his ‘Flights and Traverses’ poems, followed by a performance of Mark Goodwin’s ‘St Juliot’, Chris Jones’s walk through the Reformation’s destructive traces (in ‘Death and the Gallant’, accompanied by Paul Evans’ projected paintings), Angelina Ayers’ encounters with the River Don in ‘The Strait’, Andrew Hirst’s sharp and affecting account of his ‘Night Walks’, Fay Musselwhite’s ‘Breach’ (a meditation on the Loxley Valley, with images by Mary Musselwhite), before closing with ‘Tithes’, James Caruth’s elegies for the North Sheffield village of Stannington. Photo by Emma Bolland.
Elaine Aldred’s extended interview with Matthew Clegg (published on her Strange Alliances blog) explores the idea of place as predicament, the relationship between poetic idiom and integrity, and the crafting of the sequences in Clegg’s West North East (Longbarrow Press). Click here to read the full interview.
Poet Fay Musselwhite leads a walk through Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley, reading poems from The Footing alongside new and unpublished work that deepens her engagement with this territory. Musselwhite’s commentaries were supported by a wealth of observational detail from conservationist Graeme Hodgson and contributions from the audience of 20. Her account of the journey through the valley, a landscape shaped by the ‘ancient shifts, flows and drops’ of its eponymous river, appears here (including previously unseen photos from the river walk, and recordings of each of the featured poems). Click here to view Emma Bolland’s photos from the river walk.
Poems, Places & Soundscapes, an international exhibition of digitally produced sound-&-poetry focusing on place and soundscape, is installed in Leicester’s Cube Gallery for three weeks. Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis present a range of vivid, immersive sound-enhanced poetry made through various poet, musician and sound-designer collaborations, as well as by individual poet-sound-artists, and a selection of ‘place-entranced’ film-poems. Click here for more information about the exhibition.
Artist Paul Evans and poet Helen Mort visit Stanage, the ‘stone edge’ that marks the border of Derbyshire and Sheffield, for the seventh work in the second phase of The Seven Wonders. Their collaborative response to this gritstone escarpment is a poem that references one of the climbing routes on the steep buttress, and a painting that evokes the uncommon ground reached at the end of the climb. Click here to view the poem and the painting.
Matthew Clegg returns to the East Leeds suburb of Crossgates for the third and final
West North East audio podcast. Clegg’s unique perspective on the area’s ‘arrivals and departures’ frames his readings of three poems that reference its fields, estates and factories, and that also mark the passages of age. Listen to the podcast below, and watch the accompanying short film:
Paul Evans and Brian Lewis co-curate the inaugural Laugharne Castle Poetry and Film Festival (marking the centenary year of Dylan Thomas’s birth), including screenings of Longbarrow Press short films and a programme of commissioned films by artists Emma Bolland, Alastair Cook, Hondartza Fraga, Gemma Green-Hope and Jean McEwan & Brian McEwan. Click here to view the film commissions. Angelina Ayers’ Aseptic Technique was among the new Longbarrow Press films to receive its premiere at the festival:
Longbarrow Press devises two special performances as part of the month-long Midsummer Poetry Festival at
Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts. The first of these, Matthew Clegg’s Chinese Lanterns, is a ritualised arrangement of poems from his collection West North East, aided and abetted by poet Andrew Hirst. It is followed by Pilgrimage: a walk through The Footing, in which Angelina Ayers, James Caruth, Mark Goodwin, Rob Hindle, Andrew Hirst, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite mark a new route through our walking-themed anthology, with an emphasis on memory and memorial. Click here to listen to recordings from Pilgrimage. A short film of Clegg and Hirst’s Chinese Lanterns performance appears below:
Two new posts on the Longbarrow Blog reflect on the making (and remaking) of poetry anthologies. In ‘The pace of The Footing‘, Brian Lewis reflects on the five-year development of the first Longbarrow Press anthology, and the central roles of craft and collaboration in determining the routes toward (and beyond) the book. Chris Jones considers the fate of ‘landmark’ poetry anthologies in ‘The New, New, New Poetry: A Consumer’s Guide’, revisiting anthology introductions and commentaries drawn from the last 50 years; click here to read his survey of the changing ‘state of play’ in the UK poetry landscape. Further blog posts by Matthew Clegg (‘Meeting and Melting: On Discovering Derek Walcott’) and Mark Goodwin (‘Key Ping Ba(p)la(n)ce’) offer contrasting reflections on the desire for both ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere’, in literature and in the landscape.
Longbarrow Press publishes The Ascent of Kinder Scout, Peter Riley’s pamphlet-length meditation on (and elegy for) this physical and cultural landmark of the Peak District. The front and back covers feature two remarkable paintings of Kinder Downfall by Paul Evans. Two extracts from the work appear here.
Poet Chris Jones, artist/writer Emma Bolland and editor/publisher Brian Lewis visit three churches in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to record three podcasts based on Chris’s Reformation-era sequence Death and the Gallant (featured in The Footing). Each of the podcasts is accompanied by a short essay on the Longbarrow Blog; the essays are, in turn, illustrated with Emma Bolland’s photographs from each of the church visits. Click on the following links to read the essays and listen to the podcasts: ‘The Dance of Death‘ (Brian Lewis on St. Mary Magdalene church, Newark-on-Trent); ‘The Last Judgement‘ (Emma Bolland on St Andrew’s, Pickworth, Lincolnshire); ‘The Shepherds of Corby Glen‘ (Chris Jones on St John the Evangelist’s Church, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire).
Longbarrow Press return to The Shakespeare, Sheffield, for The Shattered Stars, an event focused around two poetry sequences by Chris Jones. The first half is a presentation and reading of Death and the Gallant, with projected visuals by Paul Evans and sound design by Brian Lewis. A new arrangement of Jigs and Reels makes its debut in the second half, with Jones’ sprung rhythms accompanied by live music from Emma Bolland (on violin).
Mark Goodwin‘s long-awaited collection Steps appears in hardback, the culmination of several years’ writing and journeying by the poet and several months’ creative collaboration with the editor. Steps is launched at The Fat Cat, Sheffield, in December, with readings from Goodwin and Angelina Ayers, each of which explores ideas of commitment, exposure and risk. Mark discusses the development of Steps (interspersed with excerpts from the limited edition CD steps / sounds) in an audio interview with Brian Lewis:
New posts by Brian Lewis, Angelina D’Roza and Karl Hurst appear on the Longbarrow Blog in the first few weeks of the year. Brian Lewis’s reflections on the bronze statues haunting Andrew Hirst’s sequence ‘Three Night Walks’ appear here; Angelina D’Roza’s ‘Hotel California’, an essay on displacement, DH Lawrence, Kraftwerk and The Eagles, can be found here; and the first of photographer Karl Hurst’s meditations on the ‘liminal spaces’ and temporary shelters of the Peak District appears here.
Matthew Clegg previews his second full-length collection, The Navigators, with an essay on the ‘vernacular sensibility’ of the South Yorkshire waterways; click here to read ‘Radged and Nithered’. Water also features in this month’s second post on the Longbarrow Blog, Mark Goodwin‘s cartographically-themed ‘Circumspect & Circumflex’; click here to read the post.
Matthew Clegg and songwriter Ray Hearne rehearse ‘A Navigation’, their collaborative walk and performance tracking several miles of the South Yorkshire Navigation between Mexborough and Conisbrough; a film of the walk-through can be viewed below. Clegg discusses the development of the performance (commissioned by the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival) in ‘Song, Poetry and Place’, an essay for the Festival Blog.
Angelina D’Roza reflects on disobedience, dancing and the poems of Rosemary Tonks in ‘I Am the Resurrection’; click here to read the essay. The second of April’s Longbarrow 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.
Matthew Clegg‘s second full-length collection The Navigators is published by Longbarrow Press, coinciding with Clegg’s collaborative walking performance with songwriter Ray Hearne along the South Yorkshire Navigation as it passes through Mexborough (part of the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival). Click here to visit The Navigators website. 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 (also commissioned for the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival). An excerpt from the performance can be viewed below.
Skin, the second full-length collection by Chris Jones,
appears from Longbarrow Press, with the Sheffield launch (at The Shakespeare) showcasing the collaborations with visual artists that have framed the book’s development. Jones discusses the role of dialogue in these poems in ‘The Skin We Live In’, an essay for the Longbarrow Blog. Click here to visit the Skin website. A series of exhibitions at Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts also focuses on collaborations between artists and poets, including Fairytale no. 9, a new work by Angelina D’Roza 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. Lewis’s reflections on the ‘fragments and clusters’ of The Frome Primer are the basis of a new post for the Longbarrow Blog; click here to read ‘One-sided Walls’. We return to The Shakespeare for the launch of The Navigators, in which Matthew Clegg is joined by Ray Hearne (lending his voice to the mythical and historical poems), guitarist Simon Heywood (offering musical leitmotifs) and Fay Musselwhite (speaking for the world of landscape and creatures). Musselwhite’s midsummer walk from Rivelin Glen to the edge of the Peak District brings the industrial, cultural and ecological legacies of the River Rivelin into sharp focus; her poem ‘Little Matlock’, which reimagines the Sheffield Flood of 1864, also features 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:
Longbarrow Press makes its debut appearance at the Ledbury Poetry Festival with a specially devised two-act performance featuring poets Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones and violinist Emma Bolland. Personae and Place weaves voices from North Sheffield and the Far East, spare musical phrases and reworked
folk tunes. Our second Ledbury event is a presentation by editor Brian Lewis; an eye-catching history of Longbarrow Press in a series of ‘objects’ – matchboxes, maps, postcards – illustrating the values of craft and care. This month also sees Matthew Clegg and Ray Hearne offer a reworked version of their canal-themed collaboration at Mexborough’s inaugural Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, a joint reading by Clegg and Jones at Sheffield Hallam University, and the third and final part of ‘On Liminal Spaces’, Karl Hurst‘s reflections on the making of his photoset Booths. Click here to read this essay on the Longbarrow Blog.
John Ruskin’s legacy is the starting point for Fay Musselwhite‘s wide-ranging discussion of John Clare, Philip Levine, and other poets and artists in an essay for the Longbarrow Blog (which developed from her research for her Contra Flow walk earlier this summer). Click here to read ‘There is No Wealth but Life’.
Longbarrow Press begins a month’s residency at Sheffield’s
Pop-Up Ruskin Museum. The afternoon ‘salons’ find
Matthew Clegg, Angelina D’Roza, Pete Green, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite leading discussions of Ruskin-themed topics, while Karl Hurst and Mary Musselwhite present new photographic work as part of a curated wall display. The residency culminates in ‘The Exchange’, a collective reading by Clegg, D’Roza, Green, Jones and
Musselwhite. Listen to the podcast below:
Earlier in August, Matthew Clegg and Brian Lewis walked to Denaby Ings nature reserve to record several poems from Clegg’s recent collection The Navigators. The recordings were made in a rain-soaked viewing hide overlooking the lake; the poems, Clegg’s commentaries, and the unique acoustic of the hide can be heard in the podcast below. Lewis’s account of the experience, ‘The Hide’, appears on the Longbarrow Blog: click here to read the essay.
To mark the close of ‘Between Water and Stone: The Wonders of The Peak’, Paul Evans’ exhibition at Sheffield’s Cupola Gallery (in which new paintings and drawings appear alongside poems by James Caruth, Angelina D’Roza, Mark Goodwin, Chris Jones, Helen Mort, Fay Musselwhite and Peter Riley),
Caruth, D’Roza and Goodwin introduce and read poems that respond to the Peak District landscapes of the Seven Wonders. The event is introduced by Evans and Brian Lewis. One of the poems featured in the exhibition, Peter Riley’s The Ascent of Kinder Scout, is shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards; our recording of the poem appears below.
Later in the month, Rob Hindle and Ray Hearne revisit Hindle’s dramatic sequence The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman in a special performance at Walkley Community Centre (part of this year’s Off the Shelf festival). The sequence is reissued by Longbarrow Press in a new, expanded pamphlet edition.
The Poetry Library (at London’s Southbank Centre) hosts a collaborative reading by Matthew Clegg, Angelina D’Roza, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite, introduced and soundtracked by Brian Lewis. Tracks and Traces explores the idea of the ‘vanishing point’ in recent work by the four poets, a theme pursued over moorland, rivers and coasts. A few days later, Longbarrow Press returns to London for the two-day Small Publishers Fair at the Conway Hall, its last engagement of 2015 (following the Literary Kitchen independent press fair in Peckham the previous month).
The final Longbarrow Blog post of the year is Matthew Clegg‘s ‘Fugue, Shimmer, Pulse and Fuse’, a memoir of living and writing under the influence of Bach, Steve Reich and Nick Drake, and how their compositions nourished the development of Clegg’s haiku sequence ‘Trig Points’. Click here to read the essay. We also preview Angelina D’Roza‘s debut collection Envies the Birds with a recording of her poem ‘Wintering’:
January – February. The year begins with a joint reading by Matthew Clegg and Chris Jones at the New Beehive Inn, Bradford, for which they draw on their Longbarrow Press collections The Navigators and Skin. It’s followed by three new posts by Brian Lewis for the Longbarrow Blog, exploring ideas of settlement, public space and collective memory. ‘The House of Numbers’ revisits the poet Ken Smith’s 1985 pamphlet of the same name, and the ‘bad dreams of decline and redevelopment’ haunting its elegies for the East End of London. ‘Dead Ends’ traces the social histories and institutional ghosts of Rob Hindle’s sonnet sequence ‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’ (featured in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing) at the northwestern edge of Sheffield. Finally, ‘Self-build’ considers the post-war overspill towns, model villages, prefabs and self-build schemes of south-west England.
Brian Lewis reflects on ten years of Longbarrow Press in a candid exchange with Charlie Sellings of Opus Independents; click here to read the interview.
March. Angelina D’Roza previews her debut collection, Envies the Birds, with an essay that introduces some of the book’s themes, including seasonal (and unseasonal) change, hope in the desert, and the transformative potential of song. You can read ‘Late for the Sky’ here. A beautifully produced hardback (with jacket artwork by Beverley Green), Envies the Birds is launched at The Fat Cat, Sheffield, with a joint reading by D’Roza and poet Ruby Robinson; click here for further details of the book.
April. Fay Musselwhite‘s debut collection Contraflow is published by Longbarrow Press, and is launched at The Shakespeare, Sheffield, with a collective performance by Matthew Clegg, Karl Hurst, and Musselwhite (and stage design by Susannah Gent and Mary Musselwhite). Visit the Contraflow microsite for further details of the book. ‘Crafting a poem isn’t taming timber or chipping away at marble: the material is word, the craft is in negotiating between sound and meaning, the only muscle to wield is the mind.’ A related piece by Musselwhite, ‘The Craft Muscle’, distills a lifetime’s learning and creative practice. Click here to read the essay. A further post for the Longbarrow Blog – Karl Hurst‘s ‘In Praise of the Ordinary’ – addresses the former sites of the South Yorkshire coalfields, ‘caught between the sublime and the banal’, in a polemic on cultural value and ‘geopolitical dysmorphia’.
May. A new podcast focuses on poems from Angelina D’Roza‘s Envies the Birds, recorded at the foot of the Cholera Monument, Sheffield. D’Roza’s readings are interspersed with reflections on the vegetal layering of nearby Clay Wood, and the rapid layering of the city skyline. Listen to the podcast below:
June – July. In June, poets Matthew Clegg and Mark Goodwin present a collaborative reading in Buxton, accompanied by projected images and field recordings. The reading is the closing event of Digital Re-Enchantment: Place, Writing & Technology, a Manchester Metropolitan University symposium exploring the relationship between virtual maps and the natural world, questions of language and representation, and the role of technology in creative practice. Some of these themes are taken up in ‘Field Systems’, a a new post for the Longbarrow Blog, in which Brian Lewis reflects on his own practices (as editor and publisher, and as a walker and writer) and on the search for community in both digital and physical terrain. In July, Lewis curates a two-day spoken word programme in Hillsborough Park as part of Hillsfest, featuring poetry readings, collaborative performances, music, talks and more. An account of this festival, and the second Ted Hughes Poetry Festival earlier in June, picks up the ideas of common wealth and common heritage at the heart of these shared spaces. Click here to read ‘The Outbuilding’ on the Longbarrow Blog.
August – September. Conceived and curated by Paul Evans and Brian Lewis, The Rose of Temperaments is a collaborative project featuring poetry by Angelina D’Roza, A.B. Jackson, Chris Jones, Geraldine Monk, Helen Mort and Alistair Noon. Each poet is allocated one of six primary or secondary colours – Red, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange – and creates a poem based on that colour. The project’s outputs include six sonnets (and their ‘recoloured’ variants), a series of recordings, and several prose pieces, including a two-part essay by Brian Lewis: ‘White Point’ (on colour perception, the development of Goethe and Schiller’s original ‘Rose of Temperaments’ colour wheel, and the new project’s origins) and ‘Black Square’ (on field recordings, night walks, the paintings of Kazimir Malevich, and the reworking of the sonnets).
September. Walker, climber and poet Mark Goodwin considers the development of his ‘rail-balancing’ practice in the parklands of Leicestershire, in which impediments to movement – protective rails and posts, sometimes recycled from transport infrastructure – are reclaimed as ‘ways’ through these managed landscapes. Click here to read ‘Along a Line’ on the Longbarrow Blog. A short film by Goodwin and filmmaker Martyn Blundell documents the poet’s ‘rail-balancing’ in Watermead Park, north of Leicester:
October. Karl Hurst and Fay Musselwhite lead Contraflow, the third in a series of walks through Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley. Making a three-mile loop of the tree-lined river, the two poets reimagine the story of these working, wheel-geared waters, their cycles of industry and recovery: against and with the flow. A new Longbarrow short film creates a dialogue between Musselwhite’s poem ‘Little Matlock’ (featured in her collection Contraflow) and images by Hurst:
November. Chris Jones reads and discusses his sequence ‘Death and the Gallant’ in the atmospheric setting of the Turret House at Sheffield Manor Lodge. The following Saturday, Longbarrow Press presents a one-day Independent Publishers’ Book Fair at Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts, joined by a handpicked selection of artists and small presses; a showcase of poetry, fiction, art writing, literary criticism, zines, and a welcoming, community-focused event, emphasising the wealth and diversity of the region’s cultural output.
November – December. In the final Longbarrow Blog posts of 2016, Matthew Clegg explores the relationship between his teaching practice and his creative work, and the tension between orthodox methods and objectives and the independent, resourceful spirit of the self-taught practitioner. Click here to read ‘Writing and the Autodidact’. Resourcefulness is also a theme of ‘The Marketplace’, Brian Lewis‘s survey of a year of collaborative work and freelance projects, in which he considers the origins of the marketplace, its history as a site of resistance and exchange, and the possibility of validation through reciprocity. Click here to read the essay.
Photographs: Emma Bolland, Tanya Geddes, Brian Lewis, Tom Rodgers
January / May. The year’s first post on the Longbarrow Blog marks a welcome return for poet and translator
Alistair Noon, who offers a brief, selective history of short forms in English, and an introduction to the poetry of Philip Rowland, in ‘Small is Beautiful’. The essay is followed a few months later by the publication of Noon’s QUAD, a cycle of 64 four-line poems presented as a square pamphlet, hand-stitched and hand-stamped.
February. We revisit Fay Musselwhite‘s encounters with the fast-flowing waters of the Rivelin Valley, north-west Sheffield; the setting of many of the poems in her debut collection, Contraflow, and the focus of a series of public walks led by Musselwhite in recent years. Click here to listen to an edited recording of the first walk (from March 2014); you can watch a short film of the third walk (with Karl Hurst) below.
February – September. Mark Goodwin‘s postcard from the ‘nation-less’ state of Jackdawia is the first of several posts by him, loosely organised around themes of flight and sound, to appear on the Longbarrow Blog in 2017. February’s ‘An Alphabets’-Lattice’ is followed in May by the short prose poem ‘Age of Sh All’; the swallow’s return to the outbuildings of a Leicestershire farm is celebrated in July’s ‘Flight of Being’. Goodwin’s final post, which reflects on a collective exploration of a disused quarry in Charnwood, is also (like ‘Age of Shall’) an introduction to a short film set in a ‘forbidden fenced elsewhere’: you can read ‘A Corner and a Carried Line’ (and watch the short film) here.
February – April. In ‘Don’t think it couldn’t be you’, Matthew Clegg pursues the theme of homelessness, from the streets of present-day Derby to the pages 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’ with a ‘brutal and brutalised’ vernacular. Click here to read the essay. Clegg draws on poems in the first section of his collection The Navigators for a new podcast with a ‘fireside’ ambience, in which he reflects on intimacy, hospitality and romantic love, and the landscapes, creatures and people of Grasmere. Listen to ‘Trig Points: The Hearth’:
March – April. Two posts on the Longbarrow Blog enquire into the relationship between technology and memory. The first, by Angelina D’Roza, gathers several forms – poem, prose, letter – into its folds, as it tracks the human voice across distances and silences, expanding and collapsing, the 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’. The second post takes up the theme of England’s industrial legacies, with reference to the poetry of Matthew Clegg, Fay Musselwhite and Karl Hurst; a disappearing ‘post-work’ terrain ‘caught between renunciation, remembering, and renewal.’ Click here to read ‘Ground Work’ by Brian Lewis.
May. Pete Green‘s Sheffield Almanac
makes its debut in print, accompanied by a series of readings, talks and performances around the city. Described by Green as a pamphlet-length ‘poem in four chapters about rivers, rain,
relocation, and regeneration, exploring the industrial past and post-industrial future of my adopted home city,’ its thesis and themes are developed in a short piece on the poet’s website, and in ‘Model City’, a searching, critical essay for the Longbarrow Blog, in which Green addresses issues of civic identity and civic pride, and examines the processes through which Sheffield’s people and products can become subject to an inadvertent fetishisation, even as we affirm the city’s resourcefulness and individuality.
May – June. Angelina D’Roza and Pete Green lead ‘Vanishing Point’, a city walk that unstitches central Sheffield’s ‘invisible threads’ and intersecting lines of road, river and rail, scaling and exploring its iconic and historic sites, before reaching the Cholera Monument, a hilltop terminus with near-panoramic views of Sheffield, and the site of D’Roza and Green’s closing readings.
The experience is recalled in ‘Parallel Lines’, an essay by Brian Lewis (illustrated with photographs from the walk) that also touches on the ethos and development of Longbarrow’s poetry walks since 2008, in which the audience become ‘participants and contributors, crafting an experience through a collective act of heightened attention.’
July. To mark National Meadows Day (and the close of the 2017 Ted Hughes Poetry Festival), Brian Lewis and Matthew Clegg lead a walk through Adwick Washland, an ‘open’ RSPB site just north of Mexborough. Clegg and Lewis draw on their own and others’ work as they move through this compact but diverse wetland, their readings framed by a discussion of the history and ecology of this unique feature of the Dearne Valley. Click here to view photographs from the walk.
October. ‘The glass in the frame is both window and mirror.’ In an extended essay for the Longbarrow Blog, Brian Lewis surveys the poetry of Nancy Gaffield (by way of Eratosthenes, Solnit, Muybridge and Hiroshige), the ‘vigour and surprise’ of which ‘is traceable to an ongoing negotiation between the grid and the ground, the ‘mental map’ and ‘physical topography’, the abstract and the particular, the past and the future.’ Click here to read ‘Mirror Image’.
January –November. Over the course of the year, four candid, ruminative essays by Chris Jones examine the creative process, and the language that variously obscures or reveals its workings. In the first of these, Jones deconstructs the ‘scaffolding’ of the poem and reflects on the ‘accidents’ of its architecture, exposing the half-forgotten sketches rarely seen outside of ‘the private areas, where we cultivate our own tastes, work through our obsessions, where we experiment, make ‘mistakes’…’ Click here to read ‘The Rooms of the House’. ‘The Lure’ reframes this discussion of craft to bring collaborative projects into focus, while also addressing 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.’ In the third piece, Jones reflects on the ‘tricks‘ of composition, dismantling the cult (or convention) of ‘stagecraft’ and ‘sorcery’, choosing, instead, to ‘take the trick apart, studying its mechanisms, its weight and shine, from multiple angles.’ You can read ‘The Trick’ here. The final essay, ‘Wheest, Wheest’, listens into the ‘conversations’ within and between the poems of Thom Gunn, Michael Longley and WS Graham, and, through close, considered readings of their work, invites us to think of the poem as ‘as a skeleton key that can open a secret compartment in the other text’s structure, revealing a whole new layer of meaning.
January. ‘As we reach the last barrier the light abandons the lane. Almost darkness, almost silence.’ We start the year with a night walk through north Sheffield, led by poets
Angelina D’Roza, Pete Green, Chris Jones and Fay Musselwhite, tracking the River Don from Owlerton to Neepsend on one of the coldest nights of the season. The route is retraced in an essay by Brian Lewis
(illustrated with Emma Bolland‘s photographs from the walk), which also
examines some of the ideas and exchanges that informed the event, and the culture and literature of urban walking. Click here to read ‘Night Walk #1: Owlerton’ on the Longbarrow Blog.
February. ‘To write a mythology / commensurate to an ignorant island / is not difficult. / They were of that class of traitor /
self-serving, unimaginative.’ The publication of Article 50, a hand-stitched pamphlet by Kelvin Corcoran, in which ‘the current self-destructive politics of the UK and its implausible actors are set alongside those things worth living for: music, friendship and poetry itself.’ Article 50 is acclaimed by Charlie Connelly in The New European as ‘the best articulation of the post-Brexit shock and fallout’, and by Ian Brinton as a ‘beautifully produced little book [that] should be read by anyone who values lyric poetry’. Click here to read a sample poem from Article 50 (and to order the pamphlet).
March. Two posts on the Longbarrow Blog explore the shallow, porous pockets of ‘rurban’ South Yorkshire and the glens and lochs of Western Scotland. In the first of these, Brian Lewis revisits Adwick Washlands, a deindustrialised flood plain that forms part of the RSPB’s landscape portfolio, its ‘movable frontiers of land and water’ softening its borders with estates and farmland. The contours of the old landscape are glimpsed on a walk through the wetland (led by Lewis and Matthew Clegg on National Meadows Day), animated by skylarks and wodwos, the tensions between managed paths and feral trails, and the discovery of a swallow’s nest in the concrete chamber of an anti-aircraft gun site. Click here to read ‘Open to the Sky’. In the second post, Mark Goodwin recounts a journey through the glens and lochs of Western Scotland in the wake of ‘days of snow and ice’, soundtracked by ‘some unidentified bird’, as the year’s first flush of light and heat is felt, and spring unfurls ‘its newest of oldest gestures’. You can read ‘Matter’ here.
May. ‘We don’t see the catastrophe, only the shifts of light and perspective, the horizon scrolling between sea and sky, the distance sharpened or softened by cloud.’ In a further essay for the Longbarrow Blog, Brian Lewis considers the relationship between our communication networks and the spaces in which they operate; a theme developed in J.R. Carpenter‘s multimedia work The Gathering Cloud, in which a cultural history of the skies informs an extended meditation on the discreet, complex and expanding ecosystem of ‘cloud computing’. Click here to read ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’.
June. The publication and launch of The Rose of Temperaments, a pamphlet featuring six colour-themed sonnets by Angelina D’Roza, A.B. Jackson, Chris Jones, Geraldine Monk,
Helen Mort and Alistair Noon (in their original and ‘recoloured’ versions), reflections on art, poetry and semiotics by project curators Paul Evans and
Brian Lewis, and essays on science and colour perception by The University of Sheffield’s
Richard Jones and Tony Ryan.
July. And Other Stories, Longbarrow Press and The Poetry Business embark on a two-week residency in Sheffield’s Winter Garden as SHIP (Sheffield Independent Publishers). The pop-up shop is run as a collective endeavour, and, as well as offering an opportunity to browse and buy poetry, fiction, translated and international literature from the three publishers, creates a forum for informal, friendly exchanges with the reading public.
‘The state of happiness we call a fool’s paradise is based on a person’s not knowing or denying the existence of potential trouble.’ The relationship between deception and self-deception informs almost every page of Cazique, Matthew Clegg‘s third full collection. In ‘The Outside Inside: Some Notes on Creative Practice’, he discusses the role of the ‘conman’ – historical, contemporary, imaginary – in shaping its title sequence. Click here
to read the essay.
September. ‘Around Ypres, over the border in Belgium, farmers call it the Iron Harvest. Each year their ploughs uncover munitions, barbed wire, remnants of rifles. Sometimes the flotsam of older conflicts turns up – lead and iron from the Napoleonic Wars and the Hundred Years’ War.’ Rob Hindle previews The Grail Roads (his third full-length collection, and his first with Longbarrow Press) with a timely reflection on nationalism, empire, myth, and his own route through the ‘cultural archaeology’ of western Europe. Click
here to read ‘The Iron Harvest’. The Grail Roads reimagines the ‘quest’ of Galahad, Gawain, and other knights of Arthurian legend, displaced from their familiar mythology and recast as British soldiers on the Western Front. As the war turns attritional, the vision of the Grail darkens; one by one, the men are gathered into a dream of ‘a first and final home’ beyond the wrecked landscapes. The book is hailed by Charlie Connelly as ‘a beautiful piece of work, a masterpiece […it] is, by some distance, my book of 2018.’
I’ve had my share of boom and bust,
and now the times have bottomed out
I’m the Cazique of Mexborough –
mucky St Helena of my mind.
I have a plan and all I need
is half of everything you own.
October. Matthew Clegg‘s engagement with personae and place goes deeper, and darker, with the publication of Cazique, his third collection. Its title sequence hinges on the last confessions of a washed-up confidence trickster: a man inspired by the 19th-century swindler Gregor MacGregor – the self-titled Cazique of Poyais. This ‘Cazique’ is ‘part anti-hero, part trickster, and part fallen angel – a genie of deception and self-deception’.
November. The Grail Roads is launched at DINA, Sheffield, on the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War. A specially devised performance (in which Rob Hindle is supported by Matthew Clegg and Ray Hearne) distils the collection’s pathos and drama in the intimate setting of the Jara Room.
Our final event of the year is the launch of Matthew Clegg‘s Cazique at The Shakespeare, Sheffield, with a three-act performance led by Clegg and punctuated by spoken, sung and strummed interventions by Angelina D’Roza, Pete Green, Ray Hearne, and Fay Musselwhite.
Photographs: Emma Bolland, Nikki Clayton, Brian Lewis, Marianthi Makra, Dominic Somers
January. The year opens with the publication and Sheffield launch of Rock as Gloss, Mark Goodwin‘s sixth full-length collection, and his second with Longbarrow Press. Comprising both poems and fictions, Rock as Gloss is a category finalist for the 2019 Banff Mountain Book Competition, and is named as a ‘book of the year’ by Rob Greenwood on the UK Climbing site (‘a collection as varied as the rock within the British Isles’). The book’s themes of movement and stillness are amplified by a digital release of ‘sound-enhanced’ and field recordings, which you can listen to here.
February. Nancy Gaffield‘s book-length poem Meridian is published by Longbarrow Press, and is marked by a launch in Canterbury. Drawing on her walks from Peacehaven (where the Greenwich Meridian crosses the English south coast) to Sand le Mere (where it exits the erosive East Yorkshire cliffs), it is acclaimed by Katrina Naomi as ‘a charged meditation … lyrical, political and nuanced’, and by Billy Mills as ‘a poem that mourns the passing of the world it is travelling through’.
February – October. Longbarrow Press sets out its stall at a series of independent book fairs around the UK, including festivals in Leeds, Leicester, Manchester and Sheffield. Thanks to the event organisers, and to everyone who visited our stall.
March. ‘I want the shape of the poem to be determined by the rhythm of walking—the measure of the step to shore up the measure of the line…’ On the Longbarrow Blog, Nancy Gaffield discusses the walking and writing of Meridian in ‘The First Cut’, and considers the origins and sources of the poem. A companion essay, ‘The Last Step’, looks back at the resulting work, the methods of ’embodied research’ that informed its development, and the range of forms (‘the epistolary poem, the acrostic, the prose poem’) that mirror the paths and landscapes of Meridian‘s 270-mile journey.
April. Longbarrow Press takes part in the two-day Modern Nature symposium at The Hepworth (Wakefield). Editor / publisher Brian Lewis opens with a survey of the press’s ‘collaborations’ with urban and rural landscapes over the years; Fay Musselwhite reads and discuss several poems that focus on humans adapting to changes in their environments; and Pete Green considers shifts in affect and scale from the Wordsworthian sublime to the provincial sublime. Other speakers include writer and environmentalist Zakiya Mckenzie (pictured here with Fay Musselwhite, Pete Green, and Brian Lewis) and poet Helen Mort.
May. The publication of Truth, Justice, and the Companionship of Owls, a new collection by Peter Riley (and his first for Longbarrow Press). Appearing less than a year after his two-volume Collected Poems, it is hailed by Billy Mills as ‘a remarkable late flowering for one of England’s most interesting living poets’, and by Linda France as ‘a compelling and persuasive collection’ (in a wide-ranging piece for Poetry Review). Click here to read an extract from Truth, Justice, and the Companionship of Owls.
May. Nancy Gaffield and Mark Goodwin present a one-off collaborative performance at the inaugural Sheaf Poetry Festival in Sheffield, drawing on their collections Rock as Gloss and Meridian to create a new work that explore themes of movement and mapping.
The festival is brought to a close by Rob Hindle and Fay Musselwhite, who lead a poetry walk spanning Rivelin Dams and Redmires Reservoir, via the recently rediscovered WWI training trenches at Quarry Hill. The walk begins with a glimpse of the river Rivelin (in its infancy), winding upward and westward through the ‘defensive landscapes’ that mark the boundary of western Sheffield and the Peak District.
June. ‘Clare demonstrates how the sublime might be reconfigured in terms of both scale and location – from the grandiose to the humble, and from the notable to the obscure.’ Pete Green revisits his contribution to the Modern Nature symposium, and widens the terms of its enquiry for a new post on the Longbarrow Blog. Click here to read ‘The provincial sublime: transcendence and the post-industrial’.
September. The publication of Angelina D’Roza‘s Correspondences, a hand-stitched pamphlet comprising 18 new poems (and her first title since her debut collection Envies the Birds, of which Peter Riley said: ‘There is an urgency of saying in all D’Roza’s work, to speak experience authentically and thereby lead it beyond the subjective, and to bring it to its point, its meaning, which is never reached in an automatic or conventional way.’). Click here to read a sample poem.
October. Matthew Clegg and Ray Hearne perform Clegg’s sequence ‘Holodets’ (from Cazique, his third Longbarrow collection), at The Fat Cat, Sheffield, with songs arranged by singer and musician Hearne. This Russia-themed event also features Alistair Noon, giving his first UK reading from Concert at a Railway Station: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (Shearsman). Listen to the full performance of Holodets:
gone one’s gone ground that’s
November. Emma Bolland, Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis are among the Featured Poets at the fourth Carlisle Poetry Symposium, a one-day event at Tullie House, Carlisle.
Photographs: Emma Bolland, Nikki Clayton, Brian Lewis.