We are delighted to be working with Huddersfield Literature Festival and the Friends of Marsden Library to bring a very special celebration of poetry to Marsden Mechanics on the 2 March 2018. The evening, which begins at 7.30pm, will feature four award winning poets who have been brought together by the independent and innovative poetry publishers, Templar Poetry. The evening, hosted by Marsden poet, David Coldwell, will feature readings by Tom Weir, Ian Harker, Mike Farren and Jo Haslam. Templar Managing Editor, Alex McMillan will also be present throughout the evening with a wide selection of books available to purchase.
Tickets are priced between £1.50 and £3.00 and can be purchased on-line here or from Waterstones, Huddersfield.
So it seems the secret of navigating a cold Pennine February is simple: publish your first poetry pamphlet and launch a solo exhibition of new paintings inspired by the poetry. No problem…
Flowers by the Road became a reality after the collection won Templar Poetry’s Portfolio Prize in October 2016. The publisher planned an official launch party at Keats House in London on the 28 February 2017 so all I had to do was write, edit and re-write in time for a fairly generous deadline. That was the initial plan. It all changed, however, when Huddersfield Literature Festival offered me the opportunity to launch the pamphlet in my home village of Marsden as part of their support of local libraries. The only slight problem being is that these events coincide with National Libraries day at the beginning of February. Oops. Fortunately Templar agreed to bring the release date forward and before I knew it I was stood in a library full of people waiting for British Sea Power’s No Man is an Archipelago to finish on the pre-launch playlist so that introductions to begin.
Back in November 2016 the volunteer group, Friends of Marsden Library who had agreed to host the event at Marsden had secured the services of Simon Armitage for a night of poetry and library fund raising. It was during this event that I met some of the people who would be supporting my own event and afterwards, following a few celebratory drinks, where I agreed with local gallery owners, Sharon and Kevin, that it might also be a good idea to commit to a solo exhibition to coincide with the launch. Unsurprisingly I woke the next day with a slight hang-over.
The idea behind the exhibition was very simple: the paintings would have some connection with the poems in the collection. From this I began to plan a series of images inspired by single lines from various poems; the result being that the line of text serves as an introduction to the narrative of the painting rather than the painting simply being an illustration of the poem. Eight paintings were finished in this style and finally exhibited alongside a number of other works.
The exhibition continues throughout March with pictures available to takeaway on the day.
We eventually made it to London, enjoying the sights and making the most of our trip with visits to the Theatre and the Hockney retrospective at the Tate. Whilst the launch did clash with the premier of Kong at Leicester Square it didn’t seem to impact on audience numbers, so much so that after I finished my reading a late comer had pinched my seat! The wonderful Ellen Cranitch followed my reading with a spell-binding performance of poems from her latest Templar collection, The Immortalist.
So that was February. Now with feet firmly back on the ground and the sun making a re-appearance it’s been a time to get back out in the garden and do some digging.
The first launch event of my debut poetry pamphlet, Flowers by the Road took place on Wednesday 8 February to a full house at Marsden library as part of Huddersfield Literature Festival’s celebration of local libraries. The event coincided with library events taking place across the country to celebrate National Libraries Day which launched on the 04 February. It was wonderful, if a little nerve-racking, to see so many friends, family and supporters of poetry and libraries turn out on what was a bitterly cold mid-February night. Heartfelt thanks to all who came and made the event such a great success.
Friends of Marsden Library have created a picture blog about the event which you can see by clicking this link
The next launch event is at Keats house in London where I will be reading alongside the wonderful Ellen Cranitch. The event is free but booking is required. Find out about the event here
Flowers by the Road can be ordered direct from Templar Poetry – please follow this link
Please get in touch via the contact page if you would like me to read at an event or to request a review copy. Thank you.