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’ (westnortheast.wordpress.com).
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.
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…
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 datethe best seller of the famous nrf-poésie collection) can listen to this radio programme on France Culture:
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. (http://www.eggboxpublishing.com/authors/show/agnes_lehoczky)
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)
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…