Lavinia Greenlaw and Daljit Nagra with music from Blind Monk: 23 February 2019

Free event at the Whitworth Art Gallery. All welcome.

Lavinia Greenlaw

Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London, where she has lived for most of her life. Her teenage years were spent in a village in Essex. She has published five collections of poetry with Faber & Faber including Minsk (2003), which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes, and The Casual Perfect (2011). A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde  (2014) was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. Her next collection, The Built Moment, will appear in spring 2019.

Her first novel, Mary George of Allnorthover, was published in 2001 and won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger. A second novel, An Irresponsible Age, appeared in 2006, followed by two non-fiction works: The Importance of Music to Girls (2007) and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland (2011). She has published and broadcast short stories, including We Are Watching Something Terrible Happening and The Darkest Place in England, both of which were shortlisted for the National Short Story Award. Her third novel, In the City of Love’s Sleep, was published in September 2018.

Daljit Nagra

Daljit’s four poetry collections, all with Faber & Faber, have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and twice for the TS Eliot Prize. Daljit is a PBS New Generation Poet whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the LRB and the TLS, and his journalism in the FT and The Guardian. The inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra, he presents the weekly Poetry Extra, and serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, and teaches at Brunel University London.

Blind Monk

BLIND MONK formed early 2012 playing arrangements of Thelonious Monk tunes without a pianist! After appearing at many festival/ club dates (Gateshead International Jazz Fest, Mostly Jazz Fest, Manchester Jazz Fest, Marsden Jazz Fest, Liverpool Jazz Fest, Manchester Literature Fest, Buxton International Fest …), they released their first original CD “Coulrophobia” and have been busy writing and touring ever since.  In 2018 they signed to new label Anti Social Jazz Records and record our third album “Dadderisms” at Manchester’s infamous 80 Hertz studios (GoGo Penguin, Mr Scruff, Mammal Hands …). Their latest material forges all our wide ranging influences – jazz, folk, beats, african, asian, classical, cinematic, rock, electronic into a unique sound firmly steeped in the legendary trios of yesteryear but simultaneously yielding a current UK jazz revivalist vibe. “Dadderisms” is a collection of personal stories of the bond between a father and child. Each track symbolises a quote or phrase a band member’s father would say to him, a ‘dadderism’. Often meaningless or nonsensical when heard by others, we can all relate to the one liners our fathers shared with us, whether it had a message or meaning, its a memory of our bond with our fathers.

Bob Whittaker – saxophone
Hugo Harrison – bass
Johnny Hunter – drums

 

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Workshop with Mark Pajak: 23 March 2019

Workshop with Mark Pajak on Saturday 23 March 2019, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. The fee is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once your place has been confirmed payment can be made by cheque or by using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Mark Pajak

Mark Pajak’s work has appeared in The London Review of Books, Poetry London, The North, The Rialto and Magma. He has been commended in the National Poetry Competition, awarded first place in The Bridport Prize and has also received a Northern Writers’ Award, an Eric Gregory Award and an UNESCO international writing residency. His first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a Laureate’s Choice and is published with smith|doorstop.

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Workshop with Daljit Nagra: 23 February 2019

Workshop with Daljit Nagra on Saturday 23 February 2019, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. The fee is £20. Please email davidborrott@btinternet.com to confirm a place. Once your place has been confirmed payment can be made by cheque or by using the PayPal button below:

Workshop Payment £20Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

Daljit Nagra

Daljit’s four poetry collections, all with Faber & Faber, have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and twice for the TS Eliot Prize. Daljit is a PBS New Generation Poet whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the LRB and the TLS, and his journalism in the FT and The Guardian. The inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra, he presents the weekly Poetry Extra, and serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, and teaches at Brunel University London.

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Competition 2019

We are pleased to announce the 7th poetry competition run by Poets & Players, one of Manchester’s leading organisers of poetry and music events.

OUR JUDGE FOR 2019 WILL BE KEI MILLER

Kei Miller is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and broadcaster. His many books include the novel Augustown (W&N, 2016) and poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet, 2014) which won the Forward Prize (Best Poetry Collection of 2014). In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow and is currently a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter.  Kei Miller is represented by Renaissance One

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

Kei Miller 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: 13 March 2019

Winners will be informed by 2 May 2019 and will be invited to read alongside Kei Miller at the prize awarding ceremony on the afternoon of Saturday 18 May 2019 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. If you have not been notified by 2 May 2019, 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 must be in English, typewritten in single space, font size 12. Please begin each poem on a new page but multiple online entries should be contained in a single document.
  • Poems can be on any subject, in any style or form, but 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 application form.
  • Please note that all competition entries must reach us by 13 March 2019, (online entries may be submitted up to 12 midnight on this date (GMT); postal entries must be received in our mailbox no later than 13 March 2019). Entries arriving after this date will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER

ENTER BY POST

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed application form (see the link below):

Competition Application Form 2019

  • Please post the completed Competition Application form and poems to: Poets & Players Poetry Competition, Poetry Dene, 16 Clifton Street, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 5DY.
  • If you wish to receive confirmation of your entry please enclose a prepaid envelope.
  • Poems must be printed on separate, numbered sheets, word processed (or typed) and clearly legible (single spaced and font size 12).
  • Please do not include your name or other identifying information on the same page as the poem/s. All poems will be judged anonymously.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the application form.
  • Entry fee is £4 per poem or 3 for £10. Please do not send cash. Postal entries must be paid by cheque or postal order (only email entries may use PayPal). Please make payable to ‘Poets & Players’ and send together with your poem/s and Competition Application form to the address above.

ENTER BY EMAIL

ALL entries must be accompanied by a completed application form (see the link below):

Competition Application Form 2019

Please email the completed Competition Application 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 application 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, docx or PDF.
  • You may enter as many poems as you wish but please ensure you add all poem titles to the application form.
  • 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 application form.
      • Single poem £4 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards
      • Three poems £10 Pay Now Button with Credit Cards

CHECKLIST: Completed Application Form; poems on separate sheets (with no identifying information); cheque or postal order made payable to ‘Poets & Players’ (if submitting by post); PayPal reference (if submitting by email).

COPYRIGHT

Entrants retain copyright of their poem, however, we would hope to receive permission to make a video recording of the winners reading at the awards ceremony for our website, and to publish the winning poems on our website and/or in the Whitworth Art Gallery for one year after the competition.

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Colette Bryce, Kit Fan and Martin Kratz, with music from the Kell Wind Trio: 19 January 2019

Free event at the Whitworth Art Gallery. All welcome.

Colette Bryce

Colette Bryce is the author of four collections with Picador. Her latest, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (2014), which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, was shortlisted for the Forward and Costa prizes, and received a Ewart-Biggs Award in memory of Seamus Heaney. Selected Poems (2017) won the Pigott Prize for poetry at Listowel 2018. Colette is a freelance writer and former editor of Poetry London magazine. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Kit Fan

Born in Hong Kong, Kit Fan moved to Britain at the age of 21. His first book Paper Scissors Stone won the inaugural HKU International Poetry Prize.  His second collection As Slow As Possible is a Poetry Books Society Recommendation and chosen by the Guardian as one of the 50 biggest books in Autumn 2018.  He was shortlisted for the 2017 TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize. He was also shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize consecutively in 2017 for ‘Duty Free’ and in 2018 for ‘A City of Culture’.  He won a 2018 Northern Writers Award for Diamond Hill, a novel in progresswww.kitfan.net

Martin Kratz

IMG_0225.JPGMartin Kratz’s first pamphlet, A Skeleton’s Progress, was published in 2018 by Poetry Salzburg. He is co-editor of Mount London by Penned in the Margins (2014), a book of essays that explores hills and other elevations in the capital. His poem ‘The Man Who Walked Through Walls’ was Highly Commended for the Forward Prize in 2014. He translates from the German including, most recently, the poetry of Berthold Brecht and Nelly Sachs.

Kell Wind Trio

The Kell Wind Trio has gained a reputation for giving lively and informative concerts which include music of many different styles and genres – from music of the Baroque to accessible music from the 20thand 21stcenturies. The Kell Wind Trio is named after the pioneering English instrumentalist Reginald Kell, who was the first clarinettist to use vibrato in orchestral concerts.

Alastair Roberts plays principal flute regularly with a number of orchestras in the Manchester area including the Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and the Cheshire Sinfonia.  He is a member of several chamber groups that perform regularly throughout the North West of England including the Telemann Baroque Ensemble.

Geoffrey Smith has been principal clarinet of the Stockport Symphony Orchestra since its inception in 1975. He also plays regularly as principal clarinet with both Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and Cheshire Sinfonia. He has also appeared many times as soloist with these and other orchestras.

Ian Harvey was a Junior Exhibitioner at London’s Royal Academy of Music. His musical commitments include the position of principal bassoon with the Stockport Symphony Orchestra.  He runs his own business repairing woodwind instruments.

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Workshop with Colette Bryce: 19 January 2019

Workshop with Colette Bryce on Saturday 19 January 2019, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. The fee is £20, please email davidborrott@btinternet.com for details of how to pay. Participants will be invited to submit a poem to Colette before the workshop and feedback will be given during the session.

Colette Bryce

Colette Bryce is the author of four collections with Picador. Her latest, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (2014), which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, was shortlisted for the Forward and Costa prizes, and received a Ewart-Biggs Award in memory of Seamus Heaney. Selected Poems (2017) won the Pigott Prize for poetry at Listowel 2018. Colette is a freelance writer and former editor of Poetry London magazine. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Migrations Commission: new work from Sophie Herxheimer, Kapka Kassabova & Tariq Latif

Sophie Herxheimer

For Gulwali Passarlay

Small Gulwali hadn’t seen the sea,
though gulls hijacked his name.
He’d learned to shepherd in the snows of home,
bossing his aunties: cover your heads
for shame! Set out a fledgeling
fundamentalist, till harsh months
pecked at him and beat their wings.
Rare lights redrew the map: a kind old face,
a cosy stew: hope’s landmarks.
Not drowned! But washed to lucky Bolton.
He carried their Olympic Torch.
He carries his own flame now.
His new aunt-teachers on the film clip say:
Gulwali’s going to be prime minister one day.

Some background on the poem from Sophie:
The little sonnet was inspired by meeting and sharing a platform with refugee campaigner (and former child refugee) Gulwali Passarlay at a book festival, and then reading about his experiences of coming to Britain, in his book The Lightless Sky.

Watch Sophie reading the poem here

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Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and a poet. Her work has been shown at her local allotments and at Tate Modern, at The National Portrait Gallery and on a 48 metre hoarding along the seafront in Margate. She has held residencies for The Thames Festival, The National Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Transport for London, the Arvon Foundation and Winchester Poetry Festival amongst many others. A current commission is making new portraits of 26 essential poets for The Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Previous projects include creating a 300 metre linen tablecloth for a public banquet on Southwark Bridge, sculpting a Mrs Beeton shaped concrete poem sited next to her grave, making a giant book in collaboration with a rural community in the midlands, devising the visuals for National Poetry Day, creating the colour palette for CBeebies hit The Night Garden. She has an ongoing project of collecting stories from members of the public by listening and drawing with people one to one. Recent publications include Your Candle Accompanies the Sun (Henningham Family Press 2017) and Velkom to Inklandt, (Short Books 2017) which was selected as an Observer poetry book of the month and a Sunday Times book of the year. New out is a collaborative book with Chris McCabe, responding to William Blake: The Practical Visionary (Hercules Editions, 2018).

Next projects include a poetry collection in 2019, Sixty Lovers to Make and Do, with Henningham Family Press, and an art residency in Berkeley, California.

(photo credit: Judith Palmer)

Kapka Kassabova

Cold Water

At the beginning was the mountain.
Inside the mountain – a spring that later would be called ‘Cold Water’.
But for the first million years or so, it had no name
and neither did the bear, jackal, wolf
that came to drink, their eyes like stars
in the humanless Cosmos, nor the storks that would briefly eclipse
the autumn skies of local childhoods.

One day, the first among us would arrive from Africa,
Arabia, across the strait the Greeks would later name the Bosphorus.
A child would bend down and drink
from Cold Water. The glaciers would be yet to come
to the north, creatures to disappear.
Thirty thousand years would pass, we would gather
and hunt, obscure and fruitful in the mountain.

Then others would arrive, their feet beating anew the old path,
and the black glistening buffalo of future centuries
who won’t stop but walk uphill on their knees
when the columns of refugees would pass
between one war and another, their lives packed in a cart.
A barbed fence would rise near Cold Water, one day,
to cut the mountain in two.

Cold Water would remain in no man’s land.
The Greeks would be long gone, the barbed fence later sold for scrap.
One day a child would bend down and drink,
his mother too, their lives packed in a rucksack, tired
as if they’d walked millennia, climbed mountains
on their knees, the smuggler urging them on with the others
because the guards are armed,
history’s bomb is ticking, there is no way back.

At Cold Water, someone built a stone bed for the stream.
Storks eclipse the sky to Africa, the glaciers
are melting again, creatures disappearing,
continents spill their people into the sea,
and though our bones are dust, we are still walking.
It takes forever to arrive once you have left.
Our consolation is to bend down and drink
the Cold Water of eternity: everything begins with a spring.

Some background on the poem from Kapka:
• ‘Cold Water is a real place – the locals still call it by its old Greek name, Krio nero (‘cold water’). It’s on the Bulgarian side of the border with Turkey, in a sort of no man’s land where only shepherds and hikers go now, but it is simultaneously positioned along a much-trodden mountain path that has seen many an exodus/ influx of peoples, fugitives in both directions (towards Turkey during the Cold War, for example). The latest are the refugees coming from the Middle East – this time from Turkey and into ‘Europe’.’
• ‘Cold Water is a mountain spring along the main migration route into Europe and that migration along there has never really stopped, since the beginning of the peopling of Europe.’
• ‘Here is an image of it. As you can see, the latest basin was built in 1971, complete with a Soviet star. But there has always been a spring here, and the name Cold Water long precedes its current look.

Watch Kapka reading the poem here

Kapka Kassabova is the author of Border (2017) which has just won the British Academy’s Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanading, and was also the winner of the Saltire Book of the Year, the Edward Stanford Book of the Year, and the Highland Book Prize. She is a poet and the author of two previous books of narrative non-fiction: Street Without a Name and Twelve Minutes of Love. Raised in Bulgaria and educated in New Zealand, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland. (photo credit TD).

Tariq Latif

I am cut in three

my flesh – scattered
to opposite parts of the world.

The British Raj
divided my country
with the stroke of a pen
and we had to move.

I reasoned with my sons
“the soil will be the same,
the seasons will not change,
our land is one continuous plane.”

But they raged like crazed tigers.

And they uprooted with such anger
and bitterness I knew
something would give – but this
oh Akal Purakh not this –

Param, Samir and Manan came to me,
after just one season following the terrible
move, with their passports and visas.
Australia. England. Canada.

I wanted to tear my chemise,
throw off my turban and cut my hair
but I held myself though in my heart I cried.

“Don’t be deceived by the five thieves,”
I said. “Where ever you find yourself
be sure to build a Gurdwara.”

Then I gouged my sword
into the Punjabi soil
and made a thick cut.
“A trunk,” I said and I marked
three branches for my three boys.

“Remember your roots, keep
your faith and go in peace.”
I hugged them one by one
and then they were gone
like jet smoke in the sky.

And the tiger in me lay down to die.

Watch Tariq reading the poem here

ImageTariq Latif has been writing poetry for over 30 years. He has 3 full collections: Skimming the Soul; Ministers Garden and The Punjabi Weddings. His pamphlet Smithereens was short listed for the Callum MacDonald Prize. All are Arc publications. He is currently putting together his fourth collection provisionally titled Refugees.

 

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