Thursday 26th April 2012 at 7.30 at the Storey Auditorium, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster


Trish Pogson “Poetry for grown-ups”

Trish Pogson is a writer who travelled widely before settling in Cumbria and becoming a well-established and much admired Cumbrian poet. She has won second prize in the National Poetry Competition and her poems have been widely published and anthologised. She has published six collections: Holding (Flambard 2003) commemorates her husband, the poet Geoffrey Holloway who died in 1997. “As with all the best elegiac poetry the final effect of this collection is celebratory”. (Flambard)

Her previous books have been praised as “elegant and finely-tuned” by Ian McMillan and David Morley has said “these controlled apparently formal poems challenge poetic decorum with their combination of shocking subject matter and a wry generous humour.” Eva Saltzman in the TLS summed up her poetry by describing “ a disturbing transformation of the mundane and domestic … poetry for grown-ups”. Trish is currently working on a new book of poems.

Kim Moore Gregory Award Winner

Kim Moore won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2011 and has been published in magazines including Poetry Review, The TLS, Poetry London, Magma and The Rialto. She will be “Young Writer in Residence” at the Ledbury Poetry Festival and will have a poem included in the Salt “Best British Poetry 2012” Anthology.

Kim has recently completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She regularly reads for the “Carol Ann Duffy and Friends” series at the Royal Exchange in Manchester and is Reviews Editor for the Cadaverinemagazine. She works as a peripatetic brass teacher for Cumbria Music Service. She is currently working on her first collection.

Martyn Halsall poetry that is “lyrical, informed and insightful”

Martyn Halsall is a former staff correspondent on The Guardian, who writes, edits and reviews poetry from his home in West Cumbria. His poetry has been published in various magazines and his prize-winning pamphlet Signposts to the Interior was published by Commonword. During 2011 his sonnet sequence was launched at the Lancaster Literary Festival and he was awarded the Jack Clemo Memorial Prize for Poetry for the third time.

Chris Culshaw
“Is a zebra (a bar-code on the hoof) white with black stripes or black with white stripes?”

“I suppose it is out of laziness that the world is the same day after day…..”
When I first encountered Sartre (struggling to read ‘Nausea’) I was a spotty, impressionable 17 year-old. Fifty years on I can recall very little of the book except this quote! When I started to write – – at the same time as I was wrestling with Sartre- I think I quite unconsciously set about trying to see what happens when you stand commonplace, so-called ‘ordinary’ everyday words, images and events on their head, in the way surrealists do, in the way Picasso turned those bicycle handlebars and seat into a bull’s head. When I set out to write a poem I’m always trying to make something the reader/listener think: ‘Oh….. yes…. of course. Never thought about it that way but now that I look at it…..’

Tom Bramhall “songs that speak directly to your heart”

Founder member of ‘Ponies’, his considered and joyful songs speak straight to the heart … lyrics that focus on faith and hopes, loss and longing, growth and development …beautifully crafted and delivered with an uncluttered honesty that lets words and music breathe . . .

Rachel McGladdery “a refreshing new voice”

Rachel was awarded first prize in the performance poetry section of The Liverpool Lennon competition (2010), the same year she won first prize at the NXNW slam. A refreshing new voice: Rachel’s exploration of relationships, family life, the tragedies and triumphs of those who are often voiceless or disenfranchised, is clear sighted, involving and delivered with candor and wit.

Her poetry has been published at Pygmy Giant, the Word Soup Year One anthology, The Mental Arts Virus, Preston is my Paris Literary edition, Dragonheart Press, Winter Poetry and When you Speak to me of Love, a Forward Press anthology. She was Poetry Kit’s featured poet #72 in the series Caught In The Net.

Rachel reads at venues throughout the North West and is a frequent guest at Wordsoup, Preston.

Chris culshawKim Moore

Chris Culshaw                                                                       Kim Moore

Martyn halsallRachel McG

Martyn Halsall                                                   Rachel McGladdery


Tom BramhallTrish Pogson

Tom Bramhall                                                                      Trish Pogson


April poets, Thursday 26th April 2012                by Carla Scarano D’Antonio

It was a night of great emotion and outstanding poetry at the April Poets event, held at Lancaster’s Storey Institute on 26th April.  The hosts, Carole Coates, Mike Barlow and Ron Scowcroft, put together a bunch of impressive artists once again.  The audience, packing the tables and the chairs right to the sides of the hall, was delighted and entertained by the variety and quality of the readings.

An Open Mic spot launched the evening, crisp and tight.  Six poets performed two poems each, ranging in subject from the famine in Ireland to childhood, family ashes, washing up, hostels, the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone the turning of the seasons and the tides of affection between mother and daughter.  A tasty mixture of starters before the excellent main courses.

Chris Culshaw was the first featured poet on the list.  He is a regular at Spotlight and his poems have appeared in two Flax anthologies.  Strong ideas balance witty irony in his work, livened by a tinge of sardonic humour.  His images mirror our unpredictable yet inspiring, and always attractive, world. The ‘skin translucent like butterfly wings’, Stalin calling poets on the phone at 2 a.m., the bus that finally comes but doesn’t stop, Dorothy’s emerald city, which turns into an emerald elephant, all endure vividly in the listener’s mind.

Gregory Award winner in 2011 and Poetry Business pamphlet winner in 2012, Kim Moore was extraordinary as usual.  Her poems have been published in Rialto, Mslexia and Poetry Review.  She is also the poet in residence at the Ledbury Festival and teaches the trumpet.  Could we expect more?  She opened her reading with one of her most famous poems: The Wolf, a powerful archetypical poem where the wolf is both desired and feared.  She says she herself hasn’t identified the meaning yet.  You can’t help thinking of Little Red Riding Hood but with a mature postmodern matter-of-factness.  In Kim’s poems the intensity of the images is striking.  You would never forget some of her lines, such as ‘imagine you are drinking a glass of air’ (Teaching the Trumpet).  The topics are varied and original: teaching the trumpet, visiting a Spiritualist Church, workshops in a prison, playing the Messiah.  Wolves recur in two other poems and in the title of one of them, If we could speak like wolves, which is also the title of her award winning pamphlet (the launch is on 26th May in Grasmere).

This is a poem about marriage and wolves: how their just, strict pack rules and loyalty within the breeding couple are good examples to follow and cherish. She ended with a funny ironic poem: In praise of arguing, where the final line – ‘it was a glorious year’ – reconciles all the bickering and fretting.

‘A refreshing new voice’ is Rachel McGladdery.  She regularly performs in the North West and started to write poems triggered by discovering a poetry book.  What a grand moment it must have been.  She tends to write from life and the authenticity of her work is clear in every line.  Family circumstances are her main inspiration: her dad, who ‘lived on the bottle’, her granddad, who took part in WW II, and her life with her children.  Their emotions and mutual affection make her poems genuine.  My favourite described watching a storm with her children, where the sense of care inside the house and their looking in awe and amazement at the storm outside is palpable and beautifully sketched.

Martyn Halsall was a journalist and has worked for the Guardian.  He has also led a poetic walk around Lancaster.  His poems have clear vision and subtle irony, his voice quiet but firm.  The topic is travelling, with vivid portrayals of Poland, Namibia and memories of Scotland.  His journey to Auschwitz is apparently ordinary but with emerging images of burning fires and respectful silence, and the underlying question: ‘did they leave from here?’  The striped shirts the prisoners wore are now kept in glass cabinets, but the poet sees their bodies withering ‘to skeleton’ inside them, in striking and meaningful contrast with the waiter’s striped shirt in the restaurant where he dined.  Lastly he described the Bush people, their essential way of life condensed into the final lines ‘they will not look back; she will not look up until they are faraway’[1].

The night ended with Patricia Pogson, one of the prestigious Lake Poets.  She won the Second Prize in the National Poetry Competition in 1989 and First Prize in BBC Radio Kaleidoscope Poetry Competition in 1991.  She has published six poetry collections and is working on her seventh.  She runs the Brewery Poets Workshop in Kendal.  We were lucky and honoured to hear her read the new poems to be published in her next collection.  Her style is concise, essential and punchy.  She surprised us again and again with her family poems, her dreams and her love poems, slightly erotic, always sincere.  Her poetry has been described as ‘elegant and finely tuned’ and ‘poetry for grown-ups’[2].  Her attentive eye catches every swift change of mood, every shade of colour, without compromise and straight to the point.  Her final poem impressed the audience with the fulfilling, tender image of her ‘long limbed daughter swinging her arms and whistling out of tune’.  A complete success.

We also had music by Tom Bramhall performing ‘songs that speak directly to the heart’.  Songs about encounters, travels, how tough life and love can be. The message is clear: we are here to live and experience all with joy, sadness, boldness and passion.

A fantastic night with the April Poets: entertaining, engrossing and diverse.

1 Halsall Martyn: Signposts to the Interior, Crocus debuts, Manchester, 1998.

2 The quotations refer to Ian McMillan in Poetry Review and Eva Salzman in TLS.



Saturday 29th September 2012 at Garstang Arts Centre

An evening of poetry, (although not an actual April Poets’ event) was part of the world-wide 100 Thousand Poets for Change event, featured Mike Barlow, Carole Coates, Jane Routh, Ron Scowcroft and Rachel McGladdery. The readings and music supported Water Aid and St John’s Hospice, Lancaster.An Evening

Thursday 22nd November 2012, 7.30 pm, The Royal Kings Arms, Market Street , Lancaster .

Featured: Martin DomleoMartin Domleo

crafted and visceral poetry in which landscapes and memories of the past return with disturbing immediacy

The first seven years of Martin’s working life were spent as a butcher’s assistant, the next thirty-five as a teacher. He has been short-listed in three international poetry competitions and has had five books published, the last three being a novella called The Haunted Barn, a narrative poem entitled Sheila, and a collection of poems called Deceleration . He is currently working towards a second collection.


Sarah Hymas

Sarah Hymas

all-weather poems from home and the sea  

Sarah lives on Morecambe Bay and online atsarahhymas.blogspot.com

Her first poetry collection Host is published by Waterloo Press. She works for Arc Publications and as a freelance facilitator and coach. When she’s not working, she sails round the north west coast of Britain and grows vegetables. These days she mainly writes about the sea.

Pauline Yarwood

Pauline Yarwood

wry poet of the sideways glance

Pauline’s mischievous poetry offers a wry sideways glance at experience.She lives in the Lyth Valley in Cumbria where she writes, makes pots and tends a very boggy garden next to the River Gilpin. She’s notoriously bad at sending poems out to magazines but has still had poems published with New Writing Cumbria. She’s read with The Brewery Poets in Kendal and A Poem and a Pint in Ulverston.

Paul Mills

Paul Mills

mature, philosophical and adventurous, a poet fully prepared not to play safe

Paul’s most recent publications are Voting for Spring (Smith Doorstep 2010) and You Should’ve Seen Us, a poem-film presentation recently seen at Lancaster Litfest 2012, containing poems recorded onto silent film from The Yorkshire Film Archive with photographs from the films. His fourth collection Dinosaur Point was the overall winner of The Poetry Business 1999 Book and Pamphlet Competition. He has held writing fellowships at Manchester and Leeds Universities . His plays have been performed at The National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse. He is also the author of two books on writing:Writing in Action, and The Routledge Creative Writing Coursebook.

Paul lives in Ripon and is currently Royal Literary Fellow at York University .


And with Music from Joanne Levy

Joanne Levy

Joanne takes her inspiration from the traditional music of the British isles . She learned many of her songs at her father’s knee. An admirer of Sandy Denny and Cyril Tawney, she is often seen performing as Turnstone with instrumentalist Becca Kenyon