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Flowers by the Road

My debut poetry pamphlet, Flowers by the Road (Templar Poetry) is now available to order direct from the on-line book shop at Templar Poetry. Price includes free UK shipping.

The collection was a winning entry in Templar Poetry’s Portfolio Awards 2016.

To order a copy please follow this LINK

Thank you

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Flowers by the Road – 2017

Neighbour

I’m delighted to announce that my poetry collection titled, Flowers by the Road, has been chosen as the winning entry in the latest Templar Poetry Portfolio Awards. The collection will be published by Templar Poetry as a pamphlet in early 2017 and launched with a special reading at Keats House, London.

Please keep a look out for more news and release dates.

In other news the painting, Neighbour (pictured below) completes the series of paintings under the heading, Two Houses by the Road and all works are now available at the Millyard Gallery, Uppermill, Saddleworth.

neighbour-1-of-1

Neighbour – acrylic on board 30 x 30cm

Greengates

Greengates (1 of 1)

Greengates, Holmfirth

Greengates is the fourth in a series of recent paintings exploring a more fluid approach utilising both oil and acrylic. The starting point for Greengates was an unloved oil landscape partially sanded back which provided an almost abstract texture to work on. Atmosphere and composition was then created quickly utilising acrylic and ink and finally enhanced by oil. The painting was finished with satin varnish.

The painting is framed and available for purchase at Enjoy Art Gallery based in Marsden. Other works in the series include: Pennine Sunset, Neighbour and Holiday Home all of which are currently available through my Artfinder shop.

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Pennine Sunset

And finally, inspiration this month comes from The Lumineers who recently played an amazing sold out show at the very excellent Albert Hall in Manchester (not to be confused with the Royal version).

The Lumineers – Ophelia

 

The Hawthorn Halls – the landmark edition

Say the names Cuckoo, Moonraker, Leadboiler and Lily anywhere outside of the Colne Valley and people might just nod their heads slightly, smile politely and step aside. But any mention of these names along the banks of the river Colne and locals will be more than happy to recount stories of wilful birds, contraband, boiling water and persecuted Huguenots. These are, of course, the stuff of legends and each of the legends proudly belong to one of the four villages along the valley. So for those not in the know: Marsden is Cuckoo, the Lilies belong to Golcar, Linthwaite lead boils and Slaithwaite proudly rakes the moon. If you want to find out more about each of these stories and see some wonderful paintings that illustrate the tales follow this link:

http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/leisure/museumsGalleries/huddersfieldArtGallery/artGalleryLocalFavourites.aspx

The legends are celebrated in various ways: Marsden goes Cuckoo for a day in April (which is slowly becoming Cuckoo weekend), Golcar enjoys Golcar Lily Day in May (which is still just a day) and every two years in February Slaithwaite steals the show with the Moonraking Festival (which now lasts for a whole seven days).

It’s now thirty years since the people of Slaithwaite first paraded the streets of their village with hand-made lanterns towards the canal where a paper moon was raked out to the delight of the waiting crowd.  Each of the proceeding festivals have had a theme and to celebrate this landmark year the theme for 2015 is, coincidentally, ‘Landmarks’. In recent years competition to build the biggest and best lantern has become fierce and the themes have led to inspiring paper lights in the shape of Dr Who’s Tardis (time), a mouse and clock (nursery rhymes) and our very own star (which managed to hold its own against any number of themes until it finally disintegrated in a snow storm in 2013).

This year the festival runs from the 15 – 21 February and includes lantern making, music, story-telling arts and crafts and culminates in the unique finale on the Saturday evening when thousands of people will line the streets of Slaithwaite with their lanterns to watch the moon raking. Don’t miss out – Slaithwaite Moonraking has quietly turned into one of the best local arts festivals and is great fun for all the family.

Find out more: http://slaithwaitemoonraking.org/

To celebrate this year’s Landmark festival the painting, Where We Start which features Marsden and Slaithwaite’s very own famous landmark, Shooter’s Nab, is now available to purchase. The painting was completed in response to the poem, Tuesday Afternoon which was written specially for the now legendary Write Out Loud Poetry Jam at last year’s Marsden Jazz Festival. It was really heart warming to get so many requests for copies of the poem following my reading so in lieu of publication I’ve decided to make the poem available below. As a special treat – a handwritten version will accompany the painting when it is sold.

 

Where We Start - oil on board - 41 x 58cm

Where We Start – oil on board – 16 x 23 inch

 

 

In other arts and poetry news, a small selection of my work will feature in the Hand Made Trail as part of the Moonraking festival – this will be in the form of a pop up gallery created by the excellent Enjoy Art gallery from Marsden where a more permanent collection of my work is still available to view. The Art Finder shop is slowly coming to life – you can follow my exploits by pressing the big button on the left hand side of this post.

In poetry news, I’m very excited to be reading alongside Tom Clearly and Steve Anderson at the Square Chapel, Halifax on Thursday 12 February. Wordplay has become a popular monthly event that also includes five open mic spots. The nights are hosted by the fabulous Keith Hutson so please come along if you are in the area.

http://www.squarechapel.co.uk/en/event/1234

I’m also really please to see that the Little Book of Poems has finally made it to publication. This was an idea dreamed up by local resident Jennifer Smith-Wignall to help raise funds for our local hospice, Kirkwood. The anthology features my poem Clocks which some may already be familiar with and a brand new poem, Bradley Woods inspired by the artist, Peter Brook. You can find out more about the project here:

http://www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/fundraising/events/supporter-events/poems/

From the halls this week we celebrate local duo O’Hooley and Tidow who launched their amazing album, The Hum last year in Marsden and have just been nominated for Best Duo in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards. The duo will also play a sold out show at The Watershed, Slaithwaite on Thursday 19 February as part of the Moonraking festival.

 

 

Tuesday Afternoon

 

They are twelve, just. It is May

and the sky seems restless; the sun

impatiently searching,

rooting out the last of winter beyond

the dry stone walls and farm gates.

It gets their necks, warms their backs,

delivers a thirst that’s like nothing

else. The puddles they walk through

sparkle in the sun, a dizzying collection

of stars and clouds and sky.

 

They are heading to the mountain,

or Shooters Nab as one day they might know it,

climbing the fence that holds back the moor

letting their shadows stray beyond reach

over bog cotton and peat. Here they turn right,

follow a path and let the village drift from sight.

Red flags hang motionless in the distance;

they signal the firing-range; something they’ve

only heard about. There is no sound, no distant

echo of gunshot; just laboured breaths,

 

footsteps and the birds, still unknown, that cry out.

From a distant window the quarry beckoned;

a last frontier; a no-man’s land beyond

the snow line. Up close it looks like teeth.

They are out of bounds, beyond their limits,

amongst cathedrals of stone abandoned

to the moor. A ghost of a road

leads them to shadows where names and dates

exist between man-made scars.

There is nothing here: secretly one had dreamed that

 

beyond this place he would see the ocean;

a new land from which to escape. The other considers talk

of radio signals and strange night-sky activity but says nothing.

They both listen to the sound of their own breathing

and search the wind for the hum of the village.

There is nothing. The cold sets in as they search

the furthest corners where, in the darkness, they find snow;

just a tiled piece of earth no bigger than a child’s

blanket discarded by winter; alien ice

that they now dare each other to touch

 

to fill their pockets, scratching at the stuff as though it

might burn before they give in and run

from the place, downhill, criss-crossing

the path were invisible sheep bleat and

where ice mixed with dirt is launched to the sky

so that they blind themselves just to see where it falls

before shaking the cold from their fingertips and scraping

mud from their nails. The red flags begin to snap in the wind.

Beyond the wind sounds rush in: friends playing in the street,

neighbours shouting, cars, buses, the mill turning out

 

 

or the Earth turning, skipping a beat.

They are twelve, just. Out of time

as they run, letting the weight

of their own bodies carry them, letting the wind

rush over them as they jump the fence, jump

into light above a valley that twitches to realign

itself with a future place,

a place where you retrace each step,

listening for the sound of birds: curlew, grouse

or something else, something beyond the wind.

Good Fences…

Good Fences

Good Fences

 

Good Fences – oil on board – 20 x 20cm (ex frame). The final image from the ‘Storm’ series which is now available to purchase from Enjoy Art, a wonderful independent gallery based in the village of Marsden near Huddersfield.

The landscape is the Yorkshire Dales looking towards Ingleborough. The title was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall.

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For a musical interlude here’s the sublime, and appropriately titled,  After The Storm by Mumford and Sons filmed live at the 2010 Eden sessions (just in case you were missing the sunshine).

 

 

 

Hidden Poems and Satellites – an Easter challenge

Poetry techno:

Marsden Poetry Trail – Heron and Small Fry are playing hide and seek. They have found new homes amongst the trees.  Exact coordinates are 53°36’08.1″N 1°56’05.0″W for Heron and 53°36’19.4″N 1°57’29.1″W for Small Fry.

For those without the aid of satellites simply follow the trail and consider your ‘roots’.

This part of the trail makes an excellent afternoon stroll with the children past the famous Standedge Tunnel. Find out more about the trail at Marsden Poetry Trail

More poems going wild soon.

And finally:

The Hawthorn Halls – the cat stone cast edition

The Cat Stone

Not only was the (nearly) full Glastonbury line-up announced this week but, more importantly, I was finally allowed to release details of the first ever Cuckoo Poetry Jam taking place in Marsden later this month. Advertised as a fringe event to the world famous Cuckoo Festival, the Cuckoo Poetry Jam organised in association with Write out Loud and Kirklees Libraries, takes place on Saturday 26 April between 11.00am and 1.00pm at the Railway Inn, Marsden. Full details can be found at our very friendly Facebook event page by following the link here, Poetry Jam

If you’re unsure what a Jam might look like then don’t worry. The Write Out Loud YouTube channel has a fantastic seven minute video edit from last year’s October Jazz festival Jam showing the great variety and superb atmosphere created by our compere and host, Julian Jordon. Julian will be back again for the Cuckoo Jam as will guest readers Steve Ely, Kim Moore, Michael Stewart and Michael Brown with more names being added to the list as I type. Many open mic spots available so if you are in the area please pop in, say hello, and enjoy some wonderful poetry for a couple of hours.

And to celebrate:

I have two very fine 2013 Templar Poetry Anthologies to give away. Peloton contains a selection of the best poems from submissions to the annual Templar Pamphlet and Collection Awards and I’m very proud that two of my own poems, The Cat Stone Cast and Late September, feature in the anthology. To get your hands on one of these fine books simply send me your name and address via my contact page and two individuals will be selected at random. Simple. All emails will then be deleted and not used for any other purpose. I’ll post details on the Cuckoo Jam Facebook page as to who can expect a book in the post.

Peloton

The Cat Stone Cast is a Marsden poem, set around the Sparth reservoir on a hot summer evening. It’s a poem about discovery and in some ways, loss of innocence and comes from a sequence I’m currently working on provisionally titled, Down On Grange. The whole sequence works with the idea of you were there but what if you had never been here and looks at our relationships with people and places. It’s heavy but in a 1970s Vision On Polaroid kind of way. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Dagda Publishing selected another poem from the sequence as their poem of the day. You can still read Dark Side of the Street on their fantastic poetry blog.

Don’t forget, as well as exploring the landscape of the Cat Stone, you can also take in other poetry delights on Mark Kelly’s brilliant Marsden Poetry Trail which I would heartily recommend if you’re visiting the area through Spring and Summer.

This weekend, after many years of trying, I will finally be attending an Embrace secret gig which, unfortunately, is all I’m allowed to say. Have a look on YouTube if you want to find out more; Sunday is going to be wild! It’s a great buzz to be going. We’ve seen the band live a few times and I’ve been a fan since they were signed – local lads done good kind of thing – so no doubt I will have some tales to tell next time round.

For now, it has to be the come back record of all time; gifted to the band from Chris Martin as a way of saying thank you for allowing Coldplay to support them on tour before Michael Eavis discovered them and yes – I was in the bar.

 

The many layers of landscape photography

andyhemingway

What is it about landscape photography that makes me keep going back for more?

I spent much of one Sunday morning asking myself this question, as a ferocious wind did its damnedest to blast me off of Marsden Moor.

A wind blasted morning at Millstone Edge A wind blasted morning at Millstone Edge

Crouched behind a large rock, which provided at least a little shelter from the grasping fingers of the Pennine wind, waiting for a break in the clouds, I began to ponder just what it was that had coaxed me out of bed at 4.00am and up on to the moor on a day like this. I spotted a jogger approaching, the only other living soul that I saw all morning. We waved at each other in grim solidarity, in recognition of each other’s battle with the elements.

It was this that made me realise that it was a question of motivation. I could have…

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