Matthew Clegg // Fugue #3 // (we love this)

Matthew Clegg introduces and reads his poem ‘Because I was Nobody’ in the fields east of Crossgates, East Leeds, 2 May 2014. Shot and edited by Brian Lewis for Longbarrow Press. ‘Because I was Nobody’ appears in Matthew Clegg’s collection ‘West North East’ (


Eddy Dreadnought // The New House

They changed our address one rainless summer,
Steep garden walls made an exercise yard.
Clay spoil-heaps of throwing ammunition
Good for ballistic puffs of impact dust.
I made a dug out of wall foundations
With a roof of perforated iron,
Lined inside by a ‘borrowed’ travel rug
Soil woven into its Fair Isle pattern.
In truth a hideout not that inviting
Mainly a target for earth bombardment.
I wheeled a barrow as armoured vehicle
Incessant crossing would grind this quadrat
To dust that coated every flexure.
By aiming my gaze fixedly downwards
To screen out the incongruent present
Anachronisms and all that shouting,
My blinkered gaze became TV programme
An arid western or a desert war.
Humming incidental background music
With whistles, exploding cries, then silence.
Zooming in and out, retreat, invasion.
For days on end my hair was matted
Though it might seem I was becoming earth,
I was really becoming battlefield.

Of course later on were social bunkers
Clubrooms for bonding and early smoking
Some youths I knew then would go down the pit.
But this lone primeval den was different
Sun rays of dust in Brownian motion.
Working-through, or was it dirty protest
Against the indoor despairing fury.

Eddy Dreadnought, 2014

This work was submitted by artist Eddy Dreadnought in response to the Microhabitats symposium on March 28th 2014.

The A-bomb of adrenaline: a poetry of panic | Matthew Clegg

Longbarrow Blog

It’s the annual Christmas dinner at my old place of work.  I’ve eaten a slimy, peppery shellfish stew, plus a gluey portion of Christmas pudding, and I’ve a bad case of acid reflux.  The ‘Secret Santa’ ritual has commenced and there are 30 members of staff to get through before we’re free of its sluggish rhythm.  I rummage in my jacket pocket for a Gaviscon.  This combination of eating in public, of anticipating being suddenly conspicuous, often triggers it.  Or the feeling of being captive, but not in sync, not sharing the spirit.  The muscles in my chest tighten like overloaded suspension cables.  My heartbeat starts to accelerate, and an impossible sensation is shooting down my left arm into my fist.  I know this isn’t a heart attack.  I’ve been through all that before.  It’s panic attack syndrome.  Other people’s words, faces and body language are becoming increasingly grotesque. They…

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Apollinaire at the Red Deer, Tuesday November 5th // 5-7pm

The next event organised by the French research and culture programme will be held on Tuesday November 5th
 at the Red Deer (function room upstairs), from 5-7.
We will be reading and discussing poems by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), in French and in English translation and listening to musical adaptations of his poems. We will also be able to listen to a recording of the poet reciting one of his most famous pieces, Le Pont Mirabeau.
Those of you wanting to know more about Apollinaire and his most celebrated collection of poems, Alcools (to this date the best seller of the famous nrf-poésie collection) can listen to this radio programme on France Culture:
Photocopies of Apollinaire’s poems will be handed out tomorrow evening, but in case you want to read some in advance, they are widely available from the web (see for example).

Furnace Park // poet in residence

occursus is delighted to announce that Ágnes Lehoczky is our new Furnace Park poet in residence.

Ágnes Lehóczky is an Hungarian-born poet and translator. She completed her Masters in English and Hungarian Literature at Pázmány Péter University of Hungary in 2001 and an MA with distinction in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2006. She holds a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing, also from the UEA. She has two short poetry collections in Hungarian, Station X (2000) andMedallion (2002), published by Universitas, Hungary. Her first full collection, Budapest to Babel, was published by Egg Box in 2008. She was the winner of the Daniil Pashkoff Prize 2010 in poetry and the inaugural winner of the Jane Martin Prize for Poetry at Girton College, Cambridge, in 2011.

Her collection of essays on the poetry of Ágnes Nemes Nagy, Poetry, the Geometry of Living Substance, was published in 2011 by Cambridge Scholars and a libretto of hers was commissioned by Writers’ Centre Norwich for The Voice Project at Norwich Cathedral as part of & Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2011. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Sheffield. (

Extracts from Ágnes’ work will be exhibited on billboards at Furnace Park and other residency-related events and news will be advertised in the autumn.

Ye bells of forgotten belfries, damp Hillsborough bedsits. Is there a word out of this labyrinth. Small spiralling spaces of forgotten foundries, mouldy firewalls drowned in thick January fog. A hazy afternoon when I took that sleety route towards Wereldesend. The border between Neepsend and Owlerton, and rolled down the bottom of Herries Road to Wordsend. The day hid under the shadow of icy Shirecliffe. A so-called Tuesday, with a no-name picked from an antiquarian’s old AtoZ. At an irrelevant address in a random cobbled street no-one ever turns into (so many of them in this part of the world). An unremembered circuit of a day-trip stretching between two poles of a breath. One which one must intimately utter to fill in the void in memory one day when one sits down to learn these random routes by heart. Trudging through an immemorable map. By a colossal hollow furnace. A defunct railway which ceased to run in the midst of journeying across this January landscape. Under a grey rainbow of twenty-four hours pending above the earth. Is there such a word, I wondered for a day patroned by St Zero? St Nil? A stalactite suspended in the frozen mid-air in the middle of drooling from my mouth.

Extract from Ágnes Lehoczky, The Carillonneur’s Song (From Parasite of Town, a sequence of prose poems on the city of Sheffield, commissioned by City Books)

Agnes Lehocky (right) with Helen Abbott (left) at Furnace Park. Helen will be working with Agi throughout the residency on the materialisation of poetry
Ágnes Lehocky (right) with Helen Abbott (left) at Furnace Park. Helen will be working with Ági throughout the residency on the materialisation and materiality of poetry on site

Baudelaire and Rimbaud in the City

Professor Helen Abbott

It’s been a busy month or so of poetry/music events here in Sheffield. On 12 April 2013, we held our first poetry reading (in French and English) at the wonderful Nichols Building Cafe in Shalesmoor, attracting members of the public, students and colleagues from the departments of English and French. This first “Baudelaire in the City” evening was then followed up by two “Rimbaud in the City” evenings, promoted by the University of Sheffield’s French Department in conjunction with Arts Enterprise.

Reading Rimbaud in the city
The first Rimbaud event, on 17 May 2013, was another poetry reading in both French and English, using translations by acclaimed French poetry translator and translation theorist Clive Scott (Emeritus Professor, UEA) and by experimental Canadian poet Christian Bök. The reading was again attended by members of the public – some of whom had never read any Rimbaud before, others…

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Arts in the City: Nineteenth-Century French Culture in Sheffield

The following events are open to all. For more information, please contact Maxime Goergen (

MONDAY 22 APRIL 2013, 12:00-16:00


Workshop: Science, Art, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century, in conjunction with the Centre for Nineteenth-century Studies, University of Sheffield, see

FRIDAY 17 MAY 2013, 18:00-20:00



Readings of Rimbaud’s Iluminations in French and English by Dr. Helen Abbott, Dr. Maxime Goergen and final-year French students.

Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson leads discussion

SATURDAY 18 MAY 2013, 19:30

HIGH STORRS SCHOOL (note change of venue)

This event is supported by DLA Piper
Benjamin Britten: Les Illuminations (texts by Rimbaud)
David Webb (tenor), Sheffield Chamber Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

Pre-concert talk by Dr. Helen Abbott (19:00)

Baudelaire in the City

The first in our events about nineteenth-century French literature, poetry and music and the city took place on Friday evening.

Baudelaire in the City readings

Baudelaire in the City: poetry, reading and music

Readings of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal and Petits poèmes en prose in French and English.

Convened by Dr Maxime Goergen and Dr Helen Abbott, with discussion led by Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson, as part of the French Research Seminar Series 2013 ‘The Arts and the City: 19th-century France in Sheffield’.

The event took place at EAT, the Nichols Building Cafe, Shalesmoor, 18.00-20.00 Friday 12 April 2013


Some photos, reflections and thoughts on the evening will follow shortly.

Moving With Thought

On Saturday 23rd June, poet Matthew Clegg led a poetry workshop, Moving With Thought, hosted by plastiCities in collaboration with the Longbarrow Press.

You can now listen to some of the workshop participants read their poems (in a range of urban landscapes) on the Moving with Thought SoundCloud site.

You can also read poems by the participants by clicking on the links below:

John Barron
Emma Bolland
Matthew Clegg
Mark Doyle
Chris Jones
Oliver Mantell
Mary Marken
Julie Mellor
Gareth Parry
Karl Riordan
Steve Sawyer
Zoe Walkington


Short film – Moving with thought: a trance-walk with Matthew Clegg

A walk and poetry workshop with Matthew Clegg and 16 attendees in Sheffield, Saturday 23 June 2012 (part of the occursus / plastiCities summer programme). The walk began at 7 Garden Street and continued through Shalesmoor and Neepsend to Parkwood before returning to 7 Garden Street (where the attendees would develop a series of poems based on their observations during the walk). Script and narration by Matthew Clegg. Filmed and edited by Brian Lewis for Longbarrow Press.

Matthew Clegg – reflections on the plastiCities poetry workshop

Moving with thought: a poetry trance-walk

You are stood at the bottom of Broad Lane. 16 people with pens and notebooks are spilling over the pavement, musing vaguely or jotting things down. One of their number stops.  He points at the colour image of a newborn baby installed above the door of a small photo-business; then at the blank self-storage building further along. He talks about juxtaposition. He says something about Ezra Pound. The strange posse moves on; past the barking of a city kennels; an alien graffiti-montage by Phlegm. They stop again and the man is gesturing at what amounts to a wild-flower garden in a central reservation; then at the clean lines and colour blocks of new-built hotels and offices. He’s talking about the romantic living side by side with the modern.

On Saturday 23rd June, with the aid of Brian Lewis of Longbarrow Press, I ran a writing workshop as part of the programme of events set up by occursus/plastiCities. Moving with Thought was set up to explore the relationship between walking and poetry – between the body, the mind and the landscape. After reading and musing over the work of such exemplars as William Wordsworth, Rebecca Solnit, Basil Bunting, Roy Fisher and Ken Smith, we set out to reconnoitre edgelands space along the River Don. We moved from The Riverside to the relics of smelting and manufacture at Kelham Island; from the flumes (and fumes) of the Neepsend gas main, over the railway, up towards Parkwood, before slanting down a leafy tunnel towards the kart-racing track. We were scavenging for images; trawling our nets for all kinds of sense data; jotting down feelings and resonances. We were playing with Solnit’s idea of the walker as ‘watchman on patrol to protect the ineffable’; trying to escape the ‘interiors built up against the world.’

All was carefully planned, and I’d written some poems and thought-experiments for key stopping points. Of course, the nature of this kind of event is that things don’t go according to plan. That’s why you go out into the world – to be surprised. During our dry run, finches were out in force at Parkwood – flitting over razor-wire; following or criss-crossing the gas main. I was looking forward to pointing them out – but on Saturday they’d gone AWOL. This didn’t seem to matter. I was surprised by how little stimulus our group needed from me. People became absorbed with their own findings and speculations. I even wondered if my interventions were a distraction. In the end, I was happy to step out of the frame.

We did spend some time musing on the square pastures of gravel on the defended side of gates and fences. What was that gravel filling or covering? Was it the foundation of something imminent? Yellow warning signs were everywhere – ‘Trespassers will be fined’; ‘Don’t Eat on Site’, ‘If in doubt, please ask’. No sign taught you anything about what was going on. One of our group started to record every piece of text she encountered on route and it was fascinating to read this litany of negative imperatives when we got back.

In our number were writers, teachers, a free-lance artist or musician or two, a photographer, an arts development worker, and even someone working in mental health.  People had plenty to say; but, equally, were happy to drift along in the kind of silence needed for what Robert Graves calls ‘the trancelike suspension of normal habits of thought’. Poems have already started to trickle in, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Brian will be creating a sound-collage interweaving ambient noise with readings of the poems. Hopefully, there will be a small publication. Many thanks to all the participants, whose thoughts and company Brian and I so much enjoyed. Thanks also to Amanda at Occursus. We’re encouraged to keep exploring events of this kind, so if you’re interested keep an eye on the Longbarrow Press website.

Matt Clegg

Matthew Clegg, 2012

Moving with thought – free plastiCities workshop

Moving with thought: a poetry trance-walk – Upperthorpe to Hillsborough

occursus / plastiCities is pleased to announce a workshop with poet Matthew Clegg. Places are free but limited and booking is required.

You can book online here.

12.00pm – 16.00pm Saturday 23rd June

Matt Clegg will lead a guided walk and poetry workshop designed to explore the roles of movement and trance in the composition of poetry. It will explore ideas and modes of practice that begin with Wordsworth and continue through such moderns as Basil Bunting and Ken Smith.

How does movement through the ‘edge-land’ landscape shape our thought and state of mind? What pace and shape of route facilitates poetic ‘trance’ most effectively? What is the role and predicament of the poet in that landscape?

The walk will encourage participants to think through their senses: the workshop will help them adapt or depart from poetic forms. There will be a focus on the use of resonant imagery and on crafting emotive rhythm and sound.

Brian Lewis will record the results and shape them into a suite of poems and ambient noise to be exhibited on Soundcloud.

Please bring a pen and notebook, and dress for walking.

Meet at 7 Garden Street, 12.00pm prompt.


12.00 – 12.45 Introduction and reading workshop.
12.45 – 14.45 Walk from Upperthorpe to Hillsborough and back, following the Don.
14.45 – 15.00 Refreshments
15.00 – 16.00 Poetry Workshop

There will be a reading by Matthew Clegg on the evening of June 23rd. More information to follow.

Paper by Amy Cutler

I just read and enjoyed Amy Cutler’s paper on industrial remains in 20th-century British poetry, originally presented at a TAG conference in Durham in 2009.

Peter Riley is a poet whose work I’m not familiar with, but I love this verse from Tracks and Mineshafts (1983):

Every faint gesture rebounds on us

leaving a vacant hollow in the world:

possible, unfulfilled acts embedded

in the tissue, growth points too late –

the land is riddled with failed promises

and premature returns.

To read the paper, click below:

Amy Cutler, “‘The landscape is riddled with failed promises / and premature returns’: industrial remains in Ted Hughes’ Remains of Elmet (1979) and Peter Riley’s Tracks and Mineshafts (1983)”