“The Future” – Neil Hilborn

Learning to Read #22 So mentally, I have this book in one hand and “Our Numbered Days” in the other, and I’m flicking back and forth between them, because the reference point for what I love so much about Neil Hilborn was the first collection, which I reviewed here. And it took me a lot…

Chelping – April 2018

Performance #4 So, after Soapbox at Seven, another new performance poetry night in Leeds. Set in the wonderful Leeds Library and compered by Matt Abbott, this turned out to be a proper treat. I still can’t believe that I’ve lived in Leeds since ’93, and I’ve never been in the Leeds Library. It’s a subscription…

“Dear Body” – Hannah Hodgson

Learning to Read #21 This might be an odd way to start a poetry review, but I’m going to make reference to the Street Fighter console game and Shakespeare here. In Henry V you have the big battle speech. It’s a classic – once more unto the breach and all that. It rouses and inspires…

Strix #3

Learning to Read #20 So, recap one of my previous blogs; Strix is a handcrafted, Leeds based, lush organic looking poetry collection that is now on issue 3. Strix, for me, provokes soap bubbles of different reflections and thoughts, and I’ve listed a few of these below. Poetry is something that needs to be supported….

“Three Poems” – Hannah Sullivan

Learning to Read #19 Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have eroded my attention span to a few minutes at best, so I’ve always been more of a fan of short poems than long poems. I’ve never really thought about what the cut off is, or how the change in length manifests itself in the poem; I’ve…

Soapbox @ Seven

Performance #3 Some good news! A new poetry night in Leeds, hosted at the Seven Arts Centre in Chapel Allerton, compered by Matt Abbott and put together by the Nymphs and Thugs spoken word record label. I’m finding that there is less poetry in Leeds that I assumed there would be, given that the city…

Don’t Call us Dead – Danez Smith

Learning to Read #18 In my naivety, I’ve sometimes thought of queer poetry as a single, amorphous genre. As I was reading this collection I realised that was as misplaced as pushing together Bukowski love poems, Armitage love poems and Lee-Houghton love poems and calling them straight poetry. I also realised that I probably had…

Rogue Strands – Matthew Stewart

Someone Else’s Blog #1 You can honestly do a lot worse today than check out Matthew’s thoughts on the Best UK Poetry Blogs 2017.  It is here and I put his Twitter handle above too. There is nothing like a Top 10 List at Christmas, is there? 🙂 In fairness, this is a bit longer than 10, but…

Another Crossing – Khadijah Ibrahiim

Learning to Read #17 I believe that good poetry is a fluid thing – it speaks in many ways to different people, and in different ways at different times of your life. It might be the narrative of a single moment, or a description of a single place or an expression of a single emotion,…

Tony Harrison at 80

Performance #2 Part of the Leeds University celebration of Tony Harrison at 80, this was a double header – firstly we had the striking and rather brutal reflection piece “The Gaze of the Gorgon” and then we had an hour of the author reading selected pieces of his own work. The Gaze of the Gorgon…