Julia Copus, Anthony Anaxagorou & Rob Miles with music from Chris Davis & Conference of the Birds: 12 February 2022

We are happy to be returning to the Whitworth Art Gallery on Saturday 12 February (2.30-4.00) after such a long absence and hope you will be able to join us for a wonderful line-up of poets and musicians. You will find all the information you need regarding visiting the Gallery on the Whitworth’s website here. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Read all about the poets and musicians below:

Julia Copus

Julia Copus is a poet and biographer. She has published four collections of poetry and been shortlisted for the T.S .Eliot and Costa Book awards. Her most recent collection, ‘Girlhood’, was published by Faber in 2019 and became the first ever winner of the USA’s Derek Walcott Prize for a full-length book of poems by a non-US citizen. Her other awards include First Prize in the National Poetry Competition, the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and the Alfred Bradley Award for best new radio playwright. Faber also publishes her rhyming picture books for children, which include Hog in the Fog and My Bed is an Air Balloon. Her 2021 biography of Charlotte Mew, This Rare Spirit, was chosen by Andrew Motion as a Spectator Book of the Year and described by John Carey in the Sunday Times as ‘a triumph of precise scholarship and imaginative sympathy’.  She has also edited a selection of Mew’s poetry and prose and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Anthony Anaxagorou

© Photo by Alessandro Furchino Capria

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry has been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, Granta, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.

His second collection After the Formalities published with Penned in the Margins is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S Eliot Prize along with the 2021 Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections. It was also a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year.

In 2020 he published How To Write It with Merky Books; a practical guide fused with tips and memoir looking at the politics of writing as well as the craft of poetry and fiction along with the wider publishing industry.

He was awarded the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing, and the 2015 Groucho Maverick Award for his poetry and fiction. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a monthly poetry and music night held at London’s Southbank Centre, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press. His forthcoming poetry collection Heritage Aesthetics will be published by Granta in 2022.

Rob Miles

Rob Miles is from Devon and lives in West Yorkshire. His poetry has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. Rob has won or been runner up in various international journal and festival competitions. Some of Rob’s first places include the Philip Larkin Prize, judged by Don Paterson, and the Gingko/Resurgence Ecopoetry Prize, judged by Jo Shapcott and Imtiaz Dharker.

 

 

Conference of the Birds by Chris Davis, Beka Haigh & Gil Burns 

CREATIVE TEAM Original poem by Farid ud-Din Attar

Directed by: Beka Haigh 

Musical Compositions by: Chris Davies 

Movement Directed by: Gil Burns

Based on the Sufi poem of the same name, a flock of four magnificent birds will embark on a visual and musical journey across the globe. Using skilled puppetry and four-part harmony,the birds sing their story whilst making their way through the landscape to find their fate. 

Conference of the Birds is a brand new outdoor theatre and music performance by Frolicked Outdoor Theatre, developed in partnership with Spot On Lancashire, Fylde Borough Council and Friends of Fairhaven Lake. 

Conference of the Birds brings together critically acclaimed puppeteer and maker Beka Haigh with original music from Chris Davies. 

Told with quirky humour, skilled puppetry and talented voices Frolicked’s latest show is a celebration of individuality and finding your own voice in a sea of voices.

Chris Davies is a Musician, Composer, Performer, Buddhist, Hairdresser and Oudist with over thirty years experience working in the Arts, mainly with visual theatre and dance. His current projects are composing music and performing in a new adaptation of the 12th century Sufi poem ‘The Conference of Birds’ by Farid ud-Din Attar; he continues to perform live accompaniment for the first full length animated film ever made ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, with a play called ‘Spring Reign’ about the situation in Aleppo, Syria; he is saxophonist/raver with Mr Wilson’s Second Liners who play early 90’s dance classics in the style of a New Orleans Brass Band, a few haircuts, transforming the mind through Buddhist study and practice, and sound technician for Poets and Players. For more information please look here ~ http://www.musichris.co.uk

Frolicked is an outdoor theatre company making unique and visually striking experiences, with beautifully self-crafted creatures and characters, for outdoor audiences and unusual locations. With a mischievous sense of humour and captivating people of all ages and nationalities, Frolicked’s performances are interactive, engaging, intimate and a little bit magical…

Frolicked is run by Beka Haigh, an Artist, Director and Performer based in the North of England. Much of her work can be described by the term ‘live illustration’ and her portfolio includes live drawing or graphic recording (also known as ‘scribing’ or visual minute taking), 3D illustration, installation, and live performance. Her work often combines interactive performance, game design, illustration and technology in surprising ways.

 

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Competition 2022: Judge Kim Moore

We are pleased to announce the 10th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

Our judge for 2022 is Kim Moore

Kim Moore

Photo credit: Lorna Elizabeth

Kim Moore’s pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. Her first collection The Art of Falling (Seren 2015) won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second collection All The Men I Never Married was published by Seren in 2021. Her first non-fiction book What The Trumpet Taught Me will be published by Smith/Doorstop in March 2022.

 

What previous judges have said about the Poets & Players Competition:

I’ve long admired Poets & Players. Theirs were the first live readings I attended as a teenager, and I’ll never forget the thrill of it. It was such a pleasure to be asked to judge this competition, which was brilliantly organised, and drew in such a range of exciting poems, stacked with images that stuck in my mind, lines that I couldn’t shake. The formal diversity of the entries was wonderful, and shows that contemporary poetry is in excellent hands. (Seán Hewitt, 2021)

When Poets & Players asked me to judge their competition I happily agreed. It’s an organisation I have long admired, from its earliest days with the inspiring founder Linda Chase, to today’s impressive incarnation in the splendid Whitworth Gallery. (Pascale Petit, 2018)

Poets & Players is one of the most significant and impressive poetry organisations in the country: the quality of the readings it puts on, its presence in the city is remarkable, so I’m delighted to be part of it in judging this competition. (Michael Symmons Roberts, 2017)

What was electrifying about this year’s entries … was not just the wide and eclectic range of subject matters … but also the range of forms and tones, the many tongues and registers that together created a resonating and distinct entry of poetry. (Jackie Kay, 2016)

What a fabulously organised competition… One tries to dissuade people from the idea of competitions but if you’re going to have one have it like this. (Paul Muldoon, 2015)

It was actually really fun judging the competition because you get the sense of what is happening in poetry right now … it was fascinating to take the temperature, as it were, of contemporary poetry. I’d like to thank Poets and Players organisation for running the competition, for wanting to run the competition, but also in general for the work that they do in promoting poetry in Manchester and the broader area, it’s a commendable organisation and I’m delighted to be associated with it. (Vona Groarke, 2014)

This competition was scrupulously organised, and I loved the fact that the anonymity of the entries allowed each poem to speak for itself. (Jacob Polley, 2013)

COMPETITION RULES AND OTHER INFORMATION

Kim Moore will read ALL poems. All poems will be judged anonymously.

1st Prize: £600
2nd Prize: £200
3rd Prize: £100

Commended poets at the judge’s discretion.

Closing Date: Wednesday 23 February 2022

Winners will be informed by 4 April 2022 and will be invited to read alongside Kim Moore at the prize giving ceremony scheduled for Saturday 23 April 2022 (2.30-4.00pm). If you have not been notified by 4 April 2022, we are afraid you have not been successful.

RULES

  • The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but must be the author’s own original work (no translations). They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by 23 February 2022, up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT);  Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

Entry Form 2022

All email entries will be acknowledged.

Please email the completed Competition Entry Form and poems to
poetsandplayerscomp@gmail.com

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the email (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Poems must be in English. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Payment must be paid by PayPal.
  • IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.
        • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
        • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

    CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).

    COPYRIGHT

    Entrants retain copyright of their poems, however, we will publish the winning poems on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery. We would also hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners’ readings for use on social media.

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Seán Hewitt and Competition Winners: Tuesday 4 May, 7pm

We would like to invite you to our competition event with readings from judge Seán Hewitt and winners Julian Bishop (1st), Hugo Jeudy (2nd), Zelda Chappel (3rd) and  Reemergence Prize winner Susan Shepherd. Please join us on Tuesday 4 May at 7pm (the event is free, tickets will be available from Eventbrite).

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt lectures in English literature at Trinity College Dublin, and is a Book Critic for The Irish Times. He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Tongues of Fire (Cape, 2020) is his debut collection of poetry, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2020. His next book, All Down Darkness Wide, will be published by Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022.

Julian Bishop: First Prize

Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who was recently longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. A member of the collective group Poets For The Planet, he’s also a former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry and one of four prize-winning poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. contact: twitter @julianbpoet Poems For The Planet available at: https://www.maggiebutt.co.uk/poets-for-the-planet

Hugo Jeudy: Second Prize 

Hugo Jeudy is a high-school student currently living in Paris, France. This is his first publication.            

 

Zelda Chappel: Third Prize

Zelda Chappel’s first full collection of poetry, The Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat, was published in 2015 by Bare Fiction Press. Her work has been published in a number of journals, magazines and anthologies both online and in print, including Butchers Dog, Interpreters House, RAUM and Under the Radar.          

 

 

 

 

Susan Shepherd: Remergence Prize Winner

ImageSusan Shepherd lives in the Scottish border town of Coldstream, where she works as a freelance journalist. Her first pamphlet, Wood End, was published by Shoestring Press in 2019 and her poems have appeared in The Interpreter’s House and The Poets’ Republic. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. With her passion for history and a reporter’s eye, she often seeks to re-tell a story, or re-imagine events, through poetry.    

 

 

 

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Competition 2021: The Winners

We are pleased to reveal the names of the winners, highly commended and commended poets chosen by judge Seán Hewitt. With grateful thanks to Seán for all his work; much gratitude also to Rachel Davies for processing the competition entries; and finally, thank you to all entrants and all those who helped us to share the competition. A competition Zoom event with Seán Hewitt and the winners will be held on 4 May (details to follow).        

First Prize:
‘Sitting For Caravaggio’ by Julian Bishop

Second Prize:
‘Untitled (The hallways)’  by Hugo Jeudy

Third Prize:
‘Lately, I have found myself wondering whether I could be a body’ by Zelda Chappel

Highly Commended Poems

Paul Stephenson
Rose Segal
Alex Matraxia

Commended Poems

Ian Macartney
Mícheál McCann

THE WINNERS

Julian Bishop: First Prize

Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who was recently longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. A member of the collective group Poets For The Planet, he’s also a former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry and one of four prize-winning poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. contact: twitter @julianbpoet Poems For The Planet available at: https://www.maggiebutt.co.uk/poets-for-the-planet

 

Seán Hewitt’s Comments

From the moment I read this poem, I was arrested by its control, its atmosphere, the precision of its images and the dark, tense story it unfolds. It is at once delicate and alarming in its exploration of power, art, and erotics. “Although we never // touch, I feel his fingers flicker over me.” You can almost feel your own breath fluttering while you read it, such is the skill of the writing, the gradual submersion, the attentive detail. As I read the entries, it was this poem that I found had seared itself into my memory. It refuses to be forgotten.

Hugo Jeudy: Second Prize 

Hugo Jeudy is a high-school student currently living in Paris, France. This is his first publication.

 

 

 

 

 

Seán Hewitt’s Comments

This poem is full of images I couldn’t stop thinking about. Everything first seems characterised by a sort of spectral absence: the almonds no longer falling from a hand, something lent and not returned, the silence of the windmills, all are brought into focus by the opening image of the lacerated body. The syntax is daring and subtle, stranging the lines, slowing the pace so that each word feels carefully and deliberately placed. I was never sure what was happening, but, as with the best poems, this one opened a place for mystery, for meaning carried by a haunting, insistent music.

Zelda Chappel: Third Prize

Zelda Chappel’s first full collection of poetry, The Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat, was published in 2015 by Bare Fiction Press. Her work has been published in a number of journals, magazines and anthologies both online and in print, including Butchers Dog, Interpreters House, RAUM and Under the Radar.

 

 

 

 

Seán Hewitt’s Comments 

I was startled by this poem’s careful and moving attempts to locate the self. In putting forward a lyric “I” that ‘has no fixed coordinates’, the poet manages to expand its possibilities, incorporating things outside the body into a fluid concept of selfhood. It’s a vulnerable and yet an assertive poem, full of rich images that push our understanding of where we exist, and how.

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Competition 2021: Judge Seán Hewitt

The 2021 Competition is now closed. Thank you to all who entered and also to everyone who shared. Winners will be contacted by 7 April.

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce the 9th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

Our judge for 2021 is Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt lectures in English literature at Trinity College Dublin, and is a Book Critic for The Irish Times. He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Tongues of Fire (Cape, 2020) is his debut collection of poetry, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2020. His next book, All Down Darkness Wide, will be published by Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022.

A video message from judge Seán Hewitt:

What previous judges have said about the Poets & Players Competition:

When Poets & Players asked me to judge their competition I happily agreed. It’s an organisation I have long admired, from its earliest days with the inspiring founder Linda Chase, to today’s impressive incarnation in the splendid Whitworth Gallery. (Pascale Petit, 2018)

Poets & Players is one of the most significant and impressive poetry organisations in the country: the quality of the readings it puts on, its presence in the city is remarkable, so I’m delighted to be part of it in judging this competition. (Michael Symmons Roberts, 2017)

What was electrifying about this year’s entries … was not just the wide and eclectic range of subject matters … but also the range of forms and tones, the many tongues and registers that together created a resonating and distinct entry of poetry. (Jackie Kay, 2016)

What a fabulously organised competition… One tries to dissuade people from the idea of competitions but if you’re going to have one have it like this. (Paul Muldoon, 2015)

It was actually really fun judging the competition because you get the sense of what is happening in poetry right now … it was fascinating to take the temperature, as it were, of contemporary poetry. I’d like to thank Poets and Players organisation for running the competition, for wanting to run the competition, but also in general for the work that they do in promoting poetry in Manchester and the broader area, it’s a commendable organisation and I’m delighted to be associated with it. (Vona Groarke, 2014)

This competition was scrupulously organised, and I loved the fact that the anonymity of the entries allowed each poem to speak for itself. (Jacob Polley, 2013)

POETS & PLAYERS PRIZE

Seán Hewitt will read ALL poems. All poems will be judged anonymously.

1st Prize: £600
2nd Prize: £200
3rd Prize: £100

Commended poets at the judge’s discretion.

Closing Date: 1 March 2021

Winners will be informed by 7 April 2021 and will be invited to read alongside Seán Hewitt at the prize giving ceremony (date to be confirmed). If you have not been notified by 7 April 2021, we are afraid you have not been successful.

RULES AND OTHER INFORMATION

  • The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but must be the author’s own original work (no translations). They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by 1 March 2021, up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT);  Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

Entry Form 2021

Please email the completed Competition Entry Form and poems to
P-Pcomp@mail.com

All email entries will be acknowledged.

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the document (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Poems must be in English. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Email entries must be paid by PayPal. IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.
      • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).

COPYRIGHT

Entrants retain copyright of their poems, however, we will publish the winning poems on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery. We would also hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners reading for use on social media.

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The Reemergence Prize winner

The results are in for our 2020 Reemergence Prize. We are happy to announce the winner is Susan Shepherd, you can read Susan’s poem, ‘The Flodden Horses’, followed by the judges’ report below. The judges also drew up a long list and those poets are listed in the report.

ImageSusan Shepherd lives in the Scottish border town of Coldstream, where she works as a freelance journalist. Her first pamphlet, Wood End, was published by Shoestring Press in 2019 and her poems have appeared in The Interpreter’s House and The Poets’ Republic. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. With her passion for history and a reporter’s eye, she often seeks to re-tell a story, or re-imagine events, through poetry.

 

The Flodden Horses
for Martha

No one had drunk himself foolish in the Newcastle Arms that year.
Bad weather on Cheviot
did not concern the Men’s Shed crew
who had not spent the first Sunday in August
threading the lampposts of the border town with bunting.

On Thursday
trailers did not cram the taped-off meadows of the Lees;
only Shorty McCann, in plastered overalls, walking to his builder’s van, stopped
to film an otter in the Leet Water.
And Sally Moffatt, returning from the night shift at Morrison’s
weighted with carriers
paused to look
but could see nothing.

By eleven o’clock, rain had arrived and the undiverted traffic
thundered on to Edinburgh.

Afterwards, those who witnessed it would say:
it began where the poplars had stood
until Foreman the butcher – newly retired to Orchard Cottage – felled them
to improve his view.

First came the Destriers, prized by knights, easy to train for war.
Then the Rouncers and the Coursers, flanks built for speed,
and the agile Palfreys men-at-arms prefer.

Next the Jennets and the Ambling horses, good for long distance.
And bringing up the rear, one Powys pony,
of gentle temperament, hardy and calm.

And all were riderless, none burnt or scarred.
And every ear of every mare and gelding
twitched intact in the shimmering air;
and no flesh was pierced by an English bill.

Score by shadowy score, they streamed across McGregor’s fields
forded the Tweed at a long-forgotten crossing point
(which Geoff from Calico House later said
had been popular for picnics
in his grandfather’s day)

and were last seen entering an alder grove on the Cornhill side
on a track below Branxton Moor,
not yet spoils of battle; the Welsh pony keeping up
with a flick of his fine, grey tail.

You can watch Susan reading ‘The Flodden Horses’ on our YouTube channel:

Judges’ Report

Thank you to all those who entered our Poets & Players 2020 Prize on the theme of ‘Reemergence’. There was a fantastic response, which made our job as judges both difficult and rewarding. The number of poems and the breadth of subject matter were both surprising, and even more gratifying was the quality. We certainly had enough to fill a magazine, and it was hard choosing a winner. That said, the poem we have chosen won by a clear head.

We’re pleased then to announce that the prize goes to ‘The Flodden Horses’ by Susan Shepherd. This poem is powered by the sheer delight of its inundation of ghostly horses set among the normalities of life in the Borders. It delighted us by the skill of its timing, its lightness of touch, its humorous tone and the assurance of its animating detail. However, it does invite us to think, and be grateful that the horrors of that battle, hinted at in the third to last stanza, have become so distant.

We originally aimed to name no names other than the winner but the response was too strong. We decided it would be wrong not to highlight other authors whose poems came close at the finish. In alphabetical order these are:

Liz Byrne
Alison Campbell
Catherine Edmunds
John Gallas
Christopher M James
Janet Hatherley
Hazel Hutchinson
Vanessa Lampert
Jane Lovell
Sammy Weaver

We don’t mention titles so as to leave them free for anonymous submission elsewhere.

 

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Online Workshop with Malika Booker: 7 November 2020

This workshop is now full. Thanks everyone.

Malika Booker (bio below) will be tutor for a Zoom poetry workshop on Saturday 7 November at 10.30-12.30.

The fee for this workshop is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once David has confirmed your place payment can be made using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Malika Booker

Photo credit: Siro Micheroli

Malika Booker is a British poet and theatre maker of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. And the founder of the writers collective, Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017) and her poem Nine Nights, first published in The Poetry Review in autumn 2016, was shortlisted for Best Single Poem in the 2017 Forward Prize.   

Malika received her MA from Goldsmiths University and has recently begun a PhD at the University of Newcastle. She was the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at Leeds University, the first British poet to be a fellow at Cave Canem and the inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2020 Booker received a Cholmondeley Award for outstanding contribution to poetry. 

Malika hosts and curates New Caribbean Voices, Peepal Tree Press’s literary podcast, and is currently a poetry Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

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Online Workshop with Anthony Anaxagorou, Editing Poetry: Thinking Beyond the Stanza, 31 October 2020

This workshop is now full. Thanks everyone.

Our first ever Zoom workshop will be with Anthony Anaxagorou, (bio below), the subject is ‘Editing Poetry: Thinking Beyond the Stanza’. It takes place on Saturday 31 October and runs from 10.30-12.30.

The fee for this workshop is a special introductory price of £10. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once David has confirmed your place payment can be made using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £10Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Anthony Anaxagorou

© Photo by Dave Shrimpton

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry has been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, Granta, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.

His second collection After the Formalities published with Penned in the Margins is a Poetry Book Society recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S Eliot Prize. It was also a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year.

He was awarded the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing, and the 2015 Groucho Maverick Award for his poetry and fiction. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a monthly poetry and music night held at London’s Southbank Centre, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press.

His forthcoming book How to Write It will be published on 15 October. It covers technical aspects of poetry & prose + looks at the British education system, the publishing industry, race & class, prize culture, magazine submissions, manuscripts, internet along with self-publishing, live events, agents & ways to sustain a career as a writer in the 21st century. You can order a copy below:

How To Write It (Merky How To)  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1529118794/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fab_tVdFFbMW09PMX

Website: https://anthonyanaxagorou.com

Instagram: @anthony_anaxagorou

Twitter: @anthony1983

Facebook: Anthony Anaxagorou

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Poetry Prize: Reemergence

The Reemergence Prize is now closed. Thank you and good luck to everyone who entered.

 

 

As you all know we have been unable to stage any events at the Whitworth since February and this situation is likely to continue into the new year, so we thought if we can’t see you all in person we could instead invite you to write some new work, and with this in mind we are opening up a themed prize that will be judged by the Poets & Players team (all entries will be judged anonymously). This prize isn’t to replace our annual competition, for which we have already lined up an excellent judge (to open towards the end of the year). But in the meantime why not give this one a go, there’s a modest entry fee of £2 per poem (3 for £5) and we would really love to read your interpretations of our theme.

THEME: REEMERGENCE

PRIZE: £300

CLOSING DATE: 16 NOVEMBER 2020

The subject is REEMERGENCE (reemerge/reemerging) and you may interpret this in any way you wish. The winning poet will receive a payment of £300 plus the opportunity to read their poem at a Poets & Players event (date to be confirmed). Please find below an Entry Form together with the rules.

The winner will be informed by Wednesday 16 December 2020 and will be invited to read at an event in 2021 (date to be confirmed). If you have not been notified by 16 December 2020, we are afraid you have not been successful.

RULES AND OTHER INFORMATION

  • The Prize is open to anyone over the age of 16, except for members of the Poets & Players committee.
  • Poems must be in English, typewritten in single space, font size 12. Please begin each poem on a new page but multiple entries should be contained in a single document.
  • Poems are to be written on the theme ‘reemergence’ (reemerge/reemerging), but can be in any style or form. All submissions must be the author’s own original work. They should not have appeared anywhere before, online or in print. Please do not submit poems that are currently under consideration elsewhere.
  • Maximum line length for individual poems is 40 lines (excluding title). Please do not include photographs or illustrations.
  • No changes can be made to poems once submitted and we regret that we are unable to provide feedback or make any refunds.
  • You may submit as many poems as you wish, accompanied by the appropriate payment and Entry Form/s.
  • Please note that all entries must reach us by Monday 16 November 2020, 12 midnight (GMT). Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form (see the link below):

Reemergence entry form 2020

Please email the completed Prize Entry Form and poems to
reemergence2020@gmail.com. All email entries will be acknowledged.

  • Please ensure that all poems are sent as a single attachment and not in the body of the email. Please use your name as the title of the document (poems and Entry Form can be in the same document but must be on separate pages). If you are submitting more than one poem you should include them all in the same attachment but please ensure pages are numbered and start each poem on a new page. Single spaced and font size 12. Please save documents as doc or docx.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the Entry Form/s.
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • Closing date is 16 November 2020 (entries may be submitted up to 12 midnight (GMT) on this date).
  • Entry fee is £2 per poem or 3 poems for £5. Payment to be made by PayPal. IMPORTANT please include the PayPal reference number on the Entry Form.
      • Single poem £2 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £5 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Entry Form including PayPal reference; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information).

COPYRIGHT

The winner retains copyright of their poem, however, we would hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winner reading at the awards ceremony for our website, and to publish the winning poem on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery.

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Altered Nature Commission Poems 2020

Each year Poets & Players commission poets to write on a subject that we think is relevant that year and also that has potential to produce a variety of responses. This year we invited poets David Wheatley, Mary Jean Chan, Jane Burn and Isaiah Hull to write on the theme ‘Altered Nature’. The commissioned poets produced a wonderful range of poems and we are grateful for their work.

As the Covid-19 situation escalated it was clear that the poets and our audience wouldn’t be able to gather as usual at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The date for our event was today, World Poetry Day, and although we can’t all be together in person we are pleased to be able to share the poems with you online along with a couple of readings kindly provided by the poets. Here are the poems:

DAVID WHEATLEY

Please click the link below to read David’s poem:

Wolf Girl, Clais Mhadaidh by David Wheatley

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published four collections of poetry with Gallery Press and, more recently, The President of Planet Earth with Carcanet. He has also edited the poetry of Samuel Beckett for Faber and Faber, and written an academic study, Contemporary British Poetry (Palgrave, 2015). He has reviewed widely for the TLS, Guardian, LRB and other journals, and lives with his family in rural Aberdeenshire.

MARY JEAN CHAN

Note: this poem was written before the arrival of Covid-19 in the UK.

Altered Nature

The birds had their tongues tied to silver strings as they hung
mid-air in silence. I was kneeling on the wet earth, crying out.
A disembodied voice informed me that nectar was being slowly
harvested from their throats, that this was the only way. Heat
from their flailing bodies pressed my eyes into my skull. I tried
to hold myself together in the dream but could not. Once awake,
I could not feel tender. The brutality of all architecture stunned
me wherever I looked. What were we – as a species – doing?
I finally summoned the will to write Life on my to-do list but
kept postponing the task. I had been dreaming of the dying,
because I could not ignore the news from home, country not
so far from the heart. This viral uncertainty keeping me afraid
of intimacy. I did not want to touch what others had touched,
feared any public surface. Even the air was menacing, invisible
droplets omnipresent. A persistent cough soon developed, as if
to taunt me. My father, a rheumatologist, texts to say he is well,
reminds me that he went through the SARS epidemic and never
took a day off work. I have inherited this stubborn, Calvinist ethic.
Today, I return to where breath feels possible. My therapist asks
me: What do you want? I think to myself: mother’s gaze / straight gaze
/male gaze / white gaze
… I am ashamed to confess that I want to

be reborn as the brother, the beloved son, the future patriarch.
I want to see this torso in a different light, beam on it a kinder
gaze as I wait for something to give. I read a poet’s words: Mostly,
we do not fail to go on living
. There is fire on the streets of a city I still

love and fire in the earth’s lungs as the hour ticks on. Had I simply
imagined this intimate scene: the mother lying prostrate at the feet
of her child, begging for a miracle, or was it the other way around…

Mary Jean Chan is a London-based poet from Hong Kong. She is an editor of Oxford Poetry and a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University. She came Second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2019, and won the 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for her collection’s title poem. Flèche (Faber & Faber, 2019). Her collection Flèche won the Costa Poetry Prize 2019.

JANE BURN

The Fortingall Yew

I was here before your modern Gods. Before the chanted faith
of congregations I was my own psalm young and green I held
my plush against cathedrals of ascetic sky, let the wind use

the stave of my branches to write its own hymns. Once I was a seed,
fallen and stripped of my fat, red flesh. I felt the call of soil and broke
my nut-brown shell, cast tiny threads to moor my beginning.

Around me, you raised up homes of daub as I raised myself,
wattled a crown upon my own head. You traded wildflowers for crop,
fingered the earth for twisted bulbs of ore, coddled them in flame

and cast an Age of Metal in the crucible’s molten eye. You learned
to make better blades. I saw the tombs you built, how you blessed
each cist with hoards of wealth. You turned your skill to iron

and streams ran with rust put keen axe to wood, went from scraping
shallow lines with simple ard to deeply wounding plough, swelled the acres
with grain, bent the gentle animals to your will. You saw yourselves

as flowers, plunged your cloth in mordant baths, stole the bright
of madder, woad and weld, blossomed with posies of gold and jewels.
You fell in love with wheels and I have watched these circles orbit

like planets in galaxies of smoke, just as I have watched the moon
turning on the axle of night. I have seen too much of your war. The air
has carried strange birds who blot a shadow across the light. This land

has known blood. Is full of ghosts. Now is our permanent autumn
of plastic leaves. They fall wherever people are. This is the Age of Nylon
and its fruit seems to come with polyester pith. For aeons past I watched

you people spread, swell as I have from sapling to bough. I watched you
wither, saw your skin corrupt, warped as my own bark. I saw you die
yet I used no trick to stay evergreen. No chemical cream, so magic soap

has granted me this long-lived gift. I stay strong with only basic need
my underground veins seek a little rain, my flora as allowance of sun.

Here I remain, rooted into your bones, anchorite still, warding this church

that has grown at my eroded side. I sense the tilt of your standing stones,
graved with faded sentiment and half-forgotten names. The weather
around me has started to speak in unforgiving tongues. I am wedded to time

I wear its eternity of rings, though I cleft beneath the weight of years.
Each splinter of me has drunk your poison in and hankered for clean air.
My needles lift like tiny fingers. I point them into the unknown.

Jane Burn lives with her family for eight months of the year in a self-sustained wooden cottage on the Northumberland border which they fully restored using almost wholly reclaimed or recycled materials. Her love of nature is reflected in her poems which have been published in many magazines including Poethead, The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Under the Radar, Crannog, Strix and Butcher’s Dog to name a few. Her work has appeared in anthologies from The Emma Press, Valley Press, Seren, Fairacre Press and Beautiful Dragons. Her poems have been placed, shortlisted and longlisted in thirty-eight national and international poetry competitions and have been nominated for the Forward and Pushcart Prize.

ISAIAH HULL

Altered Nature

A beehive of queens is never peaceful
No yellow equals black is regal
Regicidal
She might sting you many times
While listening to gasoline
Waiting for the match to fall
I recall you
Skinning me a tangerine
That was all
Citric acid
Neck and neck
Nazarene with
Indigos in inky fashion
Nectar on my nose
Honey on my honesty i didn’t panic
You can’t end me with wicker man in cinematics
She stings my phone on my way home
Hands in holes about to close
I lost a friend in you
so now revenge is due?
Send him through she says I knew I’d end up here
I say ‘so you have chosen fear
Over growing?, don’t you dare! I held you dear
How come your poison won’t compare
Hocum, mares, woe comes paired!’
In holding cells the wax implodes in air
How are you coping? Scared
I lost my vision overnight and woke impaired
New orders from Her Majesty are ‘Poke him where the poem wears!’

Isaiah Hull is a noir writer from Old Trafford, exploring and challenging the extremities of self with image, word and soul whether on page or stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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