Saturday 8th Feb, 2.30 – 4.00 pm. Poetry by Jo Bell and Grevel Lindop; music by Chris Davies and Beth Allen

In the Historic Reading Room of the John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, M3 3EH.

Free event open to all.

Alice Oswald, who was due to read at this event, was cut off in Devon by extreme weather. We are deeply grateful to Jo Bell and Grevel Lindop for taking her place almost at the last minute.

You can listen to Chris Davies and Beth Allen’s “Improvisation with Xylophone and Voice” by clicking here.

You can watch a video of Jo Bell’s reading by clicking here.

You can listen to Chris Davies and Beth Allen performing “Breath” by clicking here.

You can watch a video of Grevel’s reading by clicking here.

We are also grateful to Keith Lander for taking these pictures and allowing us to use them.

Jo Bell was an archaeologist for 18 years, but her working life moved more and more towards poetry. For six years director of National Poetry Day, she is now a full-time working poet. She is a narrowboater, which is probably why the Poetry Society have made her Canal Laureate for the UK. She enjoys collaborating with other artists, and was twice nominated for the Ted Hughes award as part of live shows with other Cheshire Laureates. In December Jo won the inaugural Charles Causley prize and immediately roped in the judge, Sir Andrew Motion, to write for her blog 52 – which encourages poets at all levels to write and share a poem a week. Her second collection, Kith, is sitting in the in-tray of a respected publisher and she hopes it will be published early in the first term of the next Labour government.

Grevel Lindop has published six volumes of poetry, most recently Playing With Fire (Carcanet 2006). He was born in Liverpool and now lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a Professor of English at the Victoria University.  His prose works include A Literary Guide to the Lake District; The Opium Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey. He’s a keen salsa dancer, and his travel book, Travels on the Dance Floor, describes his journey in 2007 around Latin America and the Caribbean in pursuit of the best salsa music and dance. He is working on a long poem on the life of the Buddha, Touching the Earth, and a collection of short poems provisionally entitled Luna Park.

Freelance musician/performer Chris Davies works mainly with visual theatre and dance, and is interested in music as a means of promoting a sense of well-being. Beth Allen, creative voice specialist and Sacred Sounds choir director for John Tavener at Manchester International Festival, says that breath is at the core of her work.

The music on the theme of “breath” that Chris and Beth will perform was commissioned originally by the National Aspergillosis Centre, which treats patients with fungal disease of the lungs ( and was premiered at the Open the Windows Poetry and Medicine Reading in October 2013.




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