Blind Skies

Somewhere in Tethys’ salty darkness,
in spurts of milt and billowing roe, eels
are birthing their posterity, a spore-storm of eggs
in uncountable centillions, each buoyed
on its micron of oil. 

Steve Ely’s The European Eel is a long poem that imagines the life cycle, ecological contexts and enigma of the charismatic and critically endangered fish of the poem’s title. Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce its publication as an 80-page hardback, with illustrations by award-winning artist P.R. Ruby, on 12 July; click here for further details and to order the book. You can also read an extract from The European Eel here.

‘Sheffield is a central character in Little Piece of Harm. The city is a palimpsest that provides texture and depth to individuals’ comprehension of place, and to the overall narrative of their lives. My characters’ ‘views’ are configured, metaphorically speaking, by the patterns of house lights across the hillside, and the street lamps that thread the midnight plain.’  In the last of three short essays reflecting on the themes, forms and narratives of his recent pamphlet, Little Piece of Harm, Chris Jones discusses the ‘creative variations’ that arise from revisiting ideas and tropes over the course of a writing life, and how ‘this clustering of motifs’ acts as ‘a positive organising principle’ in the new sequence. Click here to read ‘The Long Goodbye’ on the Longbarrow Blog.  ‘Whether or not you know the geography and landmarks of the city, this narrative sequence of 14 poems vividly captures that sense of how familiar surroundings can suddenly seem strange and unsettling, even threatening at times. It’s a feeling that certainly resonates after a year of lockdowns, closed public buildings and empty city streets.’  Emma Simon’s review of Little Piece of Harm is among the features and reviews gathered in The Friday Poem’s online magazine; you can read it here.  Click here to order Little Piece of Harm from Longbarrow Press.

‘To climb is to ‘place’ – very carefully – one’s feet & hands & body. This placing of parts of one’s self so as to fit stone holds or tree branches makes a series of very small but intense places. Such holds are places in miniature, and because they are miniature they are condensed.’  Our current post on the Longbarrow Blog is by Mark Goodwin, a short prose reflection (and accompanying poem) that juxtaposes memories of ‘miniature landscapes’ with an unresolved quest for ‘Crag X … a crag of the imagination’. Click here to read ‘Oak & Stone’.  Finally, Rob Hindle is Daniel Blythe’s guest on The Blythe Tapes, in which Rob discusses the themes and development of his recent Longbarrow Press collection The Grail Roads. Click here to watch the interview on YouTube.



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Little Piece of Harm

Rhyme all the ways a city battens down.
Say, river waters tide the roads to town.

Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce the publication of Little Piece of Harm, a new pamphlet by Chris Jones.

Little Piece of Harm is a narrative sequence that focuses on 24 hours in the life of a city that has been shut down in the aftermath of a shooting. As this act of violence ramifies outwards, the sequence explores the geographical reach of Sheffield – its urban settings and its rural landmarks – and eavesdrops on the city’s conversations. Pete, the narrator, comes into contact with a variety of people who reflect on this public killing in relation to private moments of trauma and harm. Five years in the making, Jones’s first publication since Skin (Longbarrow Press, 2015) skilfully employs a range of poetic forms to drive its stories and dialogues.

A beautifully produced 40-page pamphlet, Little Piece of Harm is available now from Longbarrow Press. You can read an extract from the book here, and order it by clicking on the relevant PayPal link below (major debit cards accepted – no PayPal account required).

Little Piece of Harm

UK orders (+ £1.75 postage)

Europe orders (+ £4.50 postage)

Rest of World orders (+ £6.00 postage)

‘The more difficult it got to create sense and structure, the more pleasure I had in finding new lines of progression. You have to extract gratification from the process of composition, however stuck the needle, or else there is no point in doing the writing.’
In the second of three short essays reflecting on the themes, forms and narratives of Little Piece of Harm, Chris Jones considers the “scaffolding” of rhyming structures’ and the role of this ‘scaffolding’ in developing tone and voice in the sequence. Click here to read ‘A City’s Designs’. The first essay, ‘Story Arcs and Safety Nets’, appears here; the third and final essay will appear on the Longbarrow Blog in early April.


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