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.
Brian Lewis discusses the ethics and aesthetics of small press publishing as part of the Bradford Baked Zines programme of talks, performances and workshops. Photos and reflections appear here.
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. Noon’s reading of The Bronze Horseman is here:
Alistair Noon photographed 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 collection West 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 began 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.