4th February 2019 Puzzle Poets Sowerby Bridge
28th February 2019 Uncut Poets Exeter
29th March 2019 Word Club Leeds
More dates to be confirmed
‘Here dance the figures of anger, frustration, resentment and desire, following the skewed steps of Surrealist spells and charms for coping. Dixon’s pithy and often unsettling poems are populated by creatures and people on the threshold of metamorphoses, having been pushed to the limits of themselves and in doing so reach for revelations that lie beneath the rational order of things.’
A cabinet of curiosities, Dixon casts her spell in spilled wax and wash days, roses pegged to washing lines and days that start without knickers. These poems search for alchemy within the domestic, they dig through the ash to find stars. Angela Readman
Sarah Dixon’s second book is one of dizzying, dream like fantasy, edged with vulnerability. These strange, often humorous, often moving poems swim like goldfish in a pond, rising to the surface to greet the reader in flashes of light and love. This is a collection of sharp surprises and tongue in cheek observations of life and love, where one is never quite sure what is real and what is not. A perfectly lovely collection of Monty pythonesque poems. Wendy Pratt
Electric rain sparks off Wedgwood carpets as the everyday is made strange and startling. These poems nestle together in a mosaic of dedication as tributes to transformation, and the testing (and shattering) of boundaries. Steve Nash
The Finding Huddersfield Blog part 1 – Huddersfield Sounds
One of my poetry/art friends (Hannah Boyd) challenged me to be part of a project where you wrote your aims for the next year on a plate and I am reporting back on the plate I wrote on this time last year.
I have enjoyed nights at The Sair, Albert Poets, Queenies and Slawit Gallery. I am guest at Albert Poets in July and looking forward to going back. It was lovely to see friends Winston Plowes, Gaia Holmes and Ian Harker read there. I have shown Louise Fazackerley and Harry Gallagher some of the local places I love. I have still not made it to Marsden Write out Loud yet. But I have set up a new writing session at The New Inn in Marsden (which usually runs on term time Mondays) £5 a head (£2.50 for your first session).
Marsden Poetry Village: I was poet in residence for National Poetry Day and I read some poems and encouraged people to write poems incorporating a few words. I was one of the guest readers, along with Hannah Stone and Jo Haslam at the opening of Marsden Poetry Village soon after moving here.
My first book was also taken up by Yorkshire Half Moon Press after I moved across the Pennines. This was launched in November 2017 and I have read poems from it in Leeds, York, Sheffield, Slawit, Marsden, Huddersfield, Linthwaite, Haworth, Wakefield and many places outside Yorkshire. My next guest spot in Yorkshire will be 11th June at The Square Chapel, Halifax.
Tramping feet and The Colne River?
I have been loving the different moods of a valley. Been enjoying the mist, the snow, the sun and the fact the towpath and river are only a ten minute walk from our house.
In the first few months of being here I was determined to find out what was over every hill. I lot of locals said I have been to places they have never visited. Highlights are Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, Golcar Lily Day, Longwood View, Castle Hill, Imbolc Festival, Cuckoo Festival and lots of traipses down the towpath and getting lost. I also learnt I can’t rely on a wifi map signal to help me find the way back in time for school run so a few panicked scrambles back to the school gate but not actually been too late (yet).
Definitely. Trains pass through the valley and we can see them from our kitchen window, my bedroom window seat and the attic velux. I don’t catch them to local areas very often as the bus stop is opposite out house and is direct to Huddersfield and Marsden every 20 minutes. We can catch the slow bus to Manchester which takes 93 minutes on a good day. This takes us through Slaithwaite and Marsden, across the moors and to Diggle, Uppermill, Oldham and eventually Manchester. The views are spectacular and it only costs a five for a day ticket. This is if you don’t mind bum ache and you are setting back from Manchester by 17.20 (last bus home).
I made new friends after volunteering to steward the Christmas light switch-on. Pretty sure they waited another ten seconds before turning on the section I had helped replace the bulbs in to wind me up. We went to The Railway for some drinks after the switch on event was completed. I learnt you do not have one pint with morris-dancers and you better know the time of your last bus home!
I wrote a poem on demand for the Thieving Magpie and Oakenhoof Troupes. This poem was added to a Marsden Poetry Trail here:
I read some poems on the Imbolc Story walk and enjoyed the story-telling magpies. At Cuckoo Day I also met the Frumptarn Guggenband who were a lot of fun. The Imbolc Fire Festival in Marsden is in the top ten fire festivals in the world and was spectacular.
Next local events are:
Wordplay – Halifax Square Chapel: Monday 11th June 2018 7.45-10pm – £5 on the door.
Albert Poets – The Albert, Huddersfield – Thursday 12th July 2018 8-10.30pm – Free entry.
Ben Banyard review via the link above
Thanks firstly to the festival staff for looking after us so well and for getting a brilliant venue for the event and finding some funding so I could pay performers a fee.
We champions of Pallion,
we builders of ships,
we pipework wranglers.
We sons of Hendon
and Roker daughters
caught by the nets
of a slaughter trawler
who stripped our streets,
shutdown our shops,
took food from the mouths
of the bairns of the town.
We stand sundered
made from the stuff
the south cannot dream of.
The tide is ours
and it is due in.
by Harry Gallagher
Harry told us ‘the sun is a ghost’ and ‘Miss Cassidy chuckled at the softest of heroes ‘. Then, Harry ‘puts an arm around midnight’ and ‘the dark is reclaimed by frosted foxes.’ Harry’s poem ‘Sundered’ above was written in response to a prompt to write a piece about the local area and he was so quick of the mark with it that is was used in the promotional material for the festival too.
Judi Sutherland: Judi’s take of sundered land was a political piece that talked of ‘the chasm running through us that is wider than a river.’ and ‘the toss of a coin that is double-sided’. In her Jo Cox poem the line ‘ all your future selves collapse into a bullet-hole.’ stunned me.
Find more about Judi here: http://www.judisutherland.com/
Tony’s poetry was largely about the fact he has had head and neck surgery and the value of having a voice. Lines that particularly stood out for me were: ‘Still I’m honoured to keep my gift of a voice.’ and then about spoken words ‘My life, this voice, spoken words, I savour every one of them never knowing if it will be my last.’ I loved your line in the local industry poem about ‘bottle glass works offer gifts from the sea, of ultramarine amber and ruby gems.’
Tony’s page is here: http://tonygadd.com/about
I loved the refrain of a poem Bob co-wrote with children ‘We’ll send a ship across the sea from Sunderland’ and I particularly loved ‘a piece of sea-coal from Seaham sands.’ Bob’s poem about the National Day of Mourning in Estonia, Leinapaev ‘the trees stand singing songs that run through their rings’. Oh, and the music in his words in other poems ‘into each season’s amnesia ‘ and ‘murmurs the mottle logic of eggshells.’
Listen to Bob here with music by S J Forth: https://soundcloud.com/projectlono-1/leinapaev/
Juli stepped in 6 hours’ notice and so did not have a piece about the local area. Juli told us of her time spent working with adolescents in a secure forensic psychiatric unit ‘dress it with dignity, dress it as if it was your child.’
And she her talk of ‘when we meet it , hot breath and cold glass – flashing your fishing-hook smile’ reminded me of a recent return to the world of ‘dating’ and the shock and melt of hot breath and contrast of fabric and skin. Then, Juli tells us of ‘spring amidst the grey winter of routine.’ A simple moment of pleasure when a patient who couldn’t communicate verbally seemed to ‘dance’ in her wheelchair.
Find Juli’s assemblage pieces here: https://juliwatson.weebly.com/poetry-assemblage.html
Poets who were sadly missed due to lurgy and house moves were Pippa Little, Mandy Maxwell and Laura Lawson.
Thanks to Bob Beagrie, Tony Gadd and Juli Watson for stepping in at short notice. Thanks to Judi Sutherland (and Big Frank) for letting me stay and feeding me and Harry Gallagher for the pint on Newcastle Brown Ale.
The Quiet Compere and beyond Sunderland
I performed a short set too about belonging and movement. As I had never been to Sunderland before I wrote a poem about buses as I thought that was safe territory, rather than muddling up local myth and history and industries. The bus poem is below.
What next for Quiet Compere? I have bids in to Huddersfield Litfest and am preparing one for Swanwick Writers School. I am a regular visitor at Marsden Poetry Village and hope more will happen in that direction over the next few months.
I have been quite tied up with moving area, house, job and Frank moving school and the pamphlet plans – launch is 24th November in Leeds.
Watch this space…
Park Lane Interchange
The classical music
and choreographed buses.
all the waiting home
or closer to that.
35A, Black Cats 2, 60 Drifter,
Stagecoach, Arriva, Go North East.
Silksworth, Marley Pots, Barnes.
Fred Stratton is missed
with his Marshall-bodied Dominators from Darlo,
Dennis Lancets from Blackpool
his Leyland Lynxes, Titans and Olympians.*
The classical music
and choreographed buses.
all the waiting home
or closer to that.
and the slow promise
of a destination.
*Redby of Sunderland Flickr
These are beautifully crafted poems which will speak to everyone. Telling the story of the loss of love – and a return to life – “The Sky is Cracked” is as beautiful as it is sad, as delicate as it is plainspoken. Sarah Dixon’s poetry holds the reader close, and then offers up its rich layers of meaning. Like good whisky, I could taste this short collection long after I’d read it – and I wanted more.
This is poetry that “shimmies along the dado rail” to speak memorably of “the grumble of gravel under trainers.” Rich in imagery and with a wealth of truths, we’d be poorer without these poems.