Jamie McKendrick, Rebecca Goss & music from Li Lu : 12 October 2019

Our annual collaboration with Manchester Literature Festival at the Whitworth Art Gallery, 2.30-4.00. Everyone welcome, this event is free, but booking advisable to avoid disappointment: http://www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk/events/rebecca-goss-jamie-mckendrick-li-lu-38915

Jamie McKendrick

Jamie McKendrick is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Marble Fly (1997), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection and a Poetry Book Society Choice; Ink Stone (2003), shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Crocodiles & Obelisks (2007), shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Out There (2012) won the Hawthornden Prize.

His most recent collection is Anomaly (2018). An earlier selection of his poems was published as Sky Nails (2000), and he is editor of 20th-Century Italian Poems (2004). The Embrace (2009), his translations of Valerio Magrelli’s poetry, won the Oxford-Weidenfeld and the John Florio prizes, and his translations of Antonella Anedda’s poems, Archipelago (2014), also won the John Florio prize. His Selected Poems was published in 2016. McKendrick’s translation of Giorgio Bassani’s masterwork The Novel of Ferrara is published by Penguin/Norton in 2018.

Rebecca Goss

Photograph credit: Lucy Carter

Rebecca Goss is the author of three full-length poetry collections, The Anatomy of Structures (Flambard, 2010) and Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House, 2013). Her Birth was shortlisted for The 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection, The 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing and The Portico Prize for Literature 2015.  Carousel, her collaboration with the photographer Chris Routledge was published in 2018 with Guillemot Press. Her third full-length collection, Girl, (Carcanet/Northern House, 2019) has recently been shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards.

Li Lu

” The epitome of international, cool, young and elegant, Li Lu plays with a passion that
takes flight both sonically and visually” – Sky Arts

Originally from China, Li Lu describes herself as ‘a cellist with wings’, ‘an artist with a bow’ and ‘an adventurer with a cello’. Classically trained to the highest level, as a soloist and orchestra musician, she has performed across Asia and Europe. Her artistic life took a new direction when she accepted a challenge to travel across Europe, in thirty five days, from Athens to Edinburgh, surviving purely by playing cello. Her performances were featured in a Sky Arts documentary Art of Survival (2011), reaching a vast audience in the UK and

The experience of engaging an audience through playing in unexpected scenarios and
settings, and with food, shelter and transport depending on how well she was received,
brought a new maturity, power, and immediacy to her performances. Inspired by her
adventure she recorded the complete Bach cello suites, named In love with Bach (2012).

Li Lu’s adventure made her want to connect more with a non classical audience, especially
children, and it reawakened a long-held fascination with design and the visual arts. This
has led her away from a standard musical career into teaching and into a number of
unconventional musical collaborations. In addition to her exciting performing career, Li Lu works with Chetham’s School of Music, where she enjoys teaching young music talents

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Workshop with Sasha Dugdale: 21 September 2019

Workshop with Sasha Dugdale on Saturday 21 September 2019, 10.30-12.30 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Join Sasha Dugdale to explore several of Anna Akhmatova’s love poems and then write a translation or version of one of them, or write your own poem inspired by her work. No knowledge of Russian is needed for this workshop.

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

Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale has published four collections of poems with Carcanet, most recently Joy in 2017 which was a PBS Choice. The title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She is a Russian translator and is currently working on translations of the Russian poet Maria Stepanova to be published by Bloodaxe and Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2020. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge (2018-2020). In 2017 she was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for poetry.

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Sasha Dugdale, James Byrne and Kathryn Bevis with music from Alex Smith & Hannah Fry: 21 September 2019

Free event at the Whitworth Art Gallery on Saturday 21 September at 2.30-4.00. Everyone welcome.

Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale has published four collections of poems with Carcanet, most recently Joy in 2017 which was a PBS Choice. The title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She is a Russian translator and is currently working on translations of the Russian poet Maria Stepanova to be published by Bloodaxe and Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2020. She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation and poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge (2018-2020). In 2017 she was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for poetry.

James Byrne

James Byrne is a poet, editor and translator. His most recent poetry collections are The Caprices (2019), Everything Broken Up Dances (Tupelo, 2015) and White Coins (Arc Publications, 2015). His other publications include Blood/Sugar (Arc, 2009), plus the pamphlets WITHDRAWALS (KFS, 2019), Soapboxes and Myths of the Savage Tribe (a co-authored text with Sandeep Parmar) both published in 2014.

Byrne received an MFA in Poetry from New York University, where he was given a Stein Fellowship (‘Extraordinary International Scholar’). He was the Poet in Residence at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. He lives near Liverpool where he is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University.

He is the International Editor for Arc Publications and was editor of The Wolf, which he co-founded, from 2002-2017, publishing many international poets. In 2012, with ko ko thett, Byrne co-translated and co-edited Bones Will Crow, the first anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry to be published in English (Arc, 2012, Northern Illinois University Press, 2013) and, in 2019, he co-edited I am a Rohingya, the first anthology of Rohingya poetry in English. He is renowned for his commitment to international poetries and poetics. His poems have been translated into several languages including Arabic, Burmese and Chinese. His Selected Poems (Poemas Escogidos) is published in Spanish by Buenos Aires Poetry, translated by Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez. Byrne has given poetry readings across the world, at festivals in countries such as Libya, Myanmar, Syria, across Europe and the United States.

Of Everything Broken Up Dances the American poet and translator Forrest Gander has written that reading Byrne’s poetry is ‘like gulping firewater shots of the world’:  The poet John Kinsella wrote: ‘James Byrne is a phenomenon and Blood/Sugar is astonishing…He is a complete original.’

Kathryn Bevis

Kathryn Bevis is an emerging poet and educator.  Born in 1975, she read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.  She founded The Writing School in Winchester and hosts a Poetry for Wellbeing project for service users of the mental health charity Mind, funded by Arts Council England.   Awards in 2019 include first prize in the Poets and Players competition, third prize in the Welshpool Poetry Festival competition, and runner up in the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry.


Music from Alex Smith & Hannah Fry from the Royal Northern College of Music

Alex Smith is a freelance percussionist and teacher based in Manchester. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, and graduated with a first class honours degree in 2018.

His performing career spans a wide range of musical contexts, including: symphony and opera orchestras, musical theatre bands (drum kit & percussion), and solo/chamber ensemble performance in a variety of musical genres.

Originally from a background in Brass Bands, at the age of 18 Alex became the principle tuned percussionist of the prestigious Black Dyke Brass Band, with whom he toured to several European countries, and had a host of competition success, culminating in winning the European Brass Band Championships in 2015. Since then, Alex has worked freelance with many renowned orchestras, ensembles and conductors. Recent highlights include performances with Buxton Opera Festival, Backbeat Percussion Ensemble and German opera company ‘Szene 12’. 

As a solo and chamber musician, Alex has performed across the world in various festivals and concert series’. Most notably is his tour with the RNCM Percussion Ensemble to China in which the ensemble was awarded First Prize in the Chamber Music category of the China National Percussion Festival, and Alex was awarded 5th place in the Solo Marimba category. As well as this, he has toured to Portugal with saxophone and percussion duo “Melia Duo” after they were invited to give recitals as part of the European Saxophone Congress.

Alex regularly performs Solo Marimba and Percussion recitals across the north of England, with repertoire ranging from baroque arrangements to newly commissioned and self composed works.

Hannah Fry is a versatile multi-instrumentalist based in London. Receiving regular tuition from Rob Buckland, Carl Raven, and Chris Swann, Hannah graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a First-Class Honours Degree in Saxophone Performance in 2016. Whilst studying, she also received tutelage from Vincent David, Tim Garland, and John Harle, as well as performing under the direction of a number of renowned musicians including Pete Long, and Sir Mark Elder at the BBC Proms.

Since completing her studies, Hannah has cultivated her passion for Musical Theatre. Joining the London Musical Theatre Orchestra in 2017, Hannah has had the opportunity to perform with the orchestra on a number of projects, making her West End debut with the group earlier this year and previously working with the orchestra for the performance and live cast recording of Howard Goodall’s Girlfriends. She also joined Patrick Kennedy’s Phenomenological Theatre Company for the European Premiere of Elephant Steps at the Arcola Theatre, and regularly records saxophone and woodwind tracks for the YouTube Channel Emergency Covers.

Hannah is also an award-winning chamber musician, performing across the UK and Europe with a number of ensembles. She performed at both the World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, and ClarinetFest, Madrid, in 2015 with the RNCM Saxophone Ensemble and the Ebonites respectively; covered the soprano chair in the Abelia Saxophone Quartet for a UK tour in 2016, culminating in the premier of four new works as the featured ensemble of the RNCM Gold Medal Competition; and is one half of the Melia Duo, with whom she regularly performs throughout the UK. Hannah is also a founding member of the Ignition Orchestra, with whom she has had the pleasure of performing at venues such as the Barbican and the Eventim Apollo with the stars of the UK Garage Scene, including Masters of Ceremonies, Miss Dynamite, and Mike Skinner. In March Hannah recorded an album with the group, which will be released under Sony’s Since ’93 label after its launch at the Royal Albert Hall later in the year.

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Competition Winners’ Poems & Videos 2019

The competition winners selected by Kei Miller

First Prize: ‘Happiness’ by Kathryn Bevis

Second Prize: ‘Night in Black and Gold’  by Lauren Garland

Third Prize: ‘The Wonder’ by Anna Kisby

Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

’Brother Lawrence explains his coming to faith’ by Lydia Harris

‘How to be a Mystic’ by Pauline Plummer


First Prize: Kathryn Bevis

Kathryn Bevis is an emerging poet and educator.  She is founder of The Writing School in Winchester and hosts a Poetry for Wellbeing project for service users of the mental health charity Mind, funded by Arts Council England.  Kathryn was a runner up in the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry, 2019.





After Terence Hayes

It’s in the damp whorl of biscuit-scented hair on the—–nape
of a newborn or in the mint of Sunday new potatoes which—–shine
under their lick of butter. It’s watching for the—–phases
of the moon, the intentional way it swells and arcs, shrinks and—–spins;
it is your breath’s humidity in this bed of ours, a solid—–ship
that rocks us in the dark, or in the steam that rises from the compost—–heap
on winter evenings. It’s in the winking silk of a spider’s web against the misted—–pane
or in coffee, sweetened with its glob of honey, drunk outdoors in smoking—–sips
from the Thermos lid. It’s in our sense that, whatever—–happens
now is who we might become, this walk together in the woods, these plump—–shapes
of dripping malachite moss, that fiddlehead of the fern’s curled—–spine.

There is a video of Kathryn reading her poem here

Second Prize: Lauren Garland

Lauren Garland is a student on the MA programme in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her recent work explores friendship and visual art. Lauren’s poetry has been published in magazines including Butcher’s Dog and Poetry Salzburg Review. She was commended in the 2018 McLellan Poetry Prize and her collaboration with composer Aaron Breeze won the 2019 Rosamond Prize. Lauren is on Twitter as @GarlandLauren

Night in Black and Gold
After James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Tonight I leaned at the office window as slate grey smoke
choked an ash white sky—-the fire at the recycling plant

on Frederick Road—-it drew me back to this nocturne—-the night
in black and gold—-those clouds hurling their moods around

like frustrated artists—-I swear I see figures in the water
reflected somehow but it doesn’t make sense—-and a phoenix

or a ghost ship exploding—-you reckon they’re fireworks
you’re probably right—-we hover like this by any given

masterpiece—-at any tower block window—-colouring the world
over half pints of ale—-remember our night in the ‘70s club

the minutes we spent sketching tangerines—-I showed you
my scribbles in orange and grey—-you taught me to shade

it was cold—-still December—-we necked Campari—-shimmied
round our bar stools to Stevie Wonder—-some guy

took our picture—-and later—-huddled at the bus stop—-we burned
through a couple of Marlborough Gold—-scorched the black canvas

There is a video of Lauren reading her poem here

Third Prize: Anna Kisby

Anna Kisby is a Devon-based poet, archivist and author of the pamphlet ‘All the Naked Daughters’ (Against the Grain Press, 2017). She is currently a Research Associate in Creative Writing at Bristol University. Her poem ‘The Wonder’ was written for the project Creative Histories of Witchcraft 1790-1940. You can learn more about this project at: https://creativewitchcraft.wordpress.com/


The Wonder
Louise Lateau, stigmatic, 1850-1883

There was no blood.
There was no mud
upon her hem.
There was no floor.
She walked on air
or not.

There was no door.
There was no time
for awe. No needles
raining from the sky.
She did not lie. She did not
cry. There was no salt.

Dust did not dance
in sunlight when
the shutters were not
drawn. She did not wear
a coronet, a daisy chain,
a crown.

There was no hope
so green it pricked
the hills. There were no bells
of church or far-off herd.
No stink of flock. There was
no clot. She did not fall.

There was no call
for you to come.
You should not look.
There was no talk
of fraud, no thought
but Lord. She did not

remember the nights
we did not feed her.
There was no bread
inside her sleeve, nor razor
up her glove. She
was not dead.

She never lived. No doubt
there was no doubt.
No wonder
there was wonder.

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Important announcement re Competition Event

We are sorry to have to announce that owing to unforeseen personal circumstances, Kei Miller has had to withdraw from the Competition Event on 18 May. As previously advised the judging process was successfully completed and we would like to thank Kei for selecting the wonderful winning poems.

In view of the short notice we have decided, with great regret, that we have little alternative but to cancel the event. We sincerely apologise for any disappointment this will cause, to both our audience and the competition winners. We will announce details of the winning poets and poems as promised by 18 May.

Our next scheduled event is 21 September and the line-up will include the first prize winner (full line-up will be revealed nearer the time). We look forward to seeing our regular supporters as well as new friends at this event.

Finally, we would like to thank all those who entered the competition and everyone who kindly shared our posts and helped publicise it. As a voluntary organisation we are continually reminded of the importance of the support from the community of poets in Manchester and beyond.

With warm wishes,

The Poets & Players team


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Competition Winners 2019

We have now had the results of our competition and the winners have been contacted. Please accept our apologies for the delay and our appreciation for your patience. Thank you to all who entered. The P&P team

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Update for competition entrants

Just to update all of those waiting to hear whether or not they have been placed in the competition. I’m afraid we are still awaiting the final decision. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The P&P team

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