The eleventh April Poets reading took place on the 14th Apil 2016 at the Storey Auditorium, Lancaster, and featured Carole Coates, Meg Peacocke, Ron Scowcroft and Mike Barlow, with music by Tim Pomeroy .

Featuring book launches for two new publications from
Shoestring Press

Meg Peacocke

a gold standard for readers (David Morley )

Meg Peacock

Meg Peacocke’s work has been compared to that of Elizabeth Bishop and Philip Larkin. She has won the prestigious Cholmondeley Award (2005) and many other awards. Her new book ‘Finding the Planes: New and Selected Poems’ (Shoestring Press) is her sixth collection. Peterloo Poets published her first four, beginning in 1988 with ‘Marginal Land’. This was followed by ‘Selves’ (1995), ‘Speaking of the Dead’ (2004) and ‘In Praise of Aunts’ (2011). Shoestring Press also published ‘Caliban Dancing’ in 2013.

Meg Peacocke began publishing in her fifties after years of teaching, travelling, marriage, bringing up four children, counselling and working in the children’s unit at Addenbrookes Hospital. She had always written and had much to do with music, collaborating with her brother, the composer Richard Rodney Bennett in a number of vocal and choral works.

She says I think I wanted to write because I love rhythm. I loved to sing and it seemed the same kind of activity.

Meg moved to a small hill farm in Cumbria and lived and worked there for twenty five years. Her twelve short poems depicting the hill farmer’s year are carved on stones along the river Eden near Kirby Stephen and form The Poetry Path. She now lives in County Durham

Peacocke shares (this) precision of language with the late American poet Elizabeth Bishop. Both have a bristly perceptive clarity for minutiae, and for the wry double-take on detail that can be deadly as well as funny ( David Morley )

These poems, continually illuminating the phenomenal world, never rest content. They are like a threshold, across which there is more. Again and again they make you feel it will be worth your while to watch, listen, attend. (David Constantine)

Carole is a Lancaster poet and one of the founder members of The April Poets Readings. This event will launch her new book Jacob. This is a sequence of poems – both lyrical narratives and narrative lyrics – describing the pains of childhood as experienced by a boy growing up in post war Britain. Intensely rendered private feelings and obsessive family life are set within a social context.For some years, Carole has been interested in combining the narrative and lyric. In her earlier collection Swallowing Stones , she created a country and a culture through documents and personal testimonies. In her new book she says that she has been trying to tell a story in a more filmic way.

Jacob is published by Shoestring Press, as were her three previous collections ( The Goodbye Edition , 2005; Looking Good , 2009 and Swallowing Stones 2012). Wayleave Press brought out her pamphlet Crazy Days in 20014. She won the Nottingham Open Poetry Prize in 2011 and has a Yorkshire Arts Award.

Carol Ann Duffy has said of Jacob
An extraordinarily riveting narrative poem on the pain of childhood and its long reach, written with forensic care and heart-stopping empathy.

Hilary Menos said of Swallowing Stones
The world Coates creates is coherent, plausible and quite terrifying and her characters are convincing. The sequence is beautifully constructed and the events unfold with an awful inevitability.

Dilys Wood said of Crazy Days
This is an important piece of writing.

Carole Coates

a fine poet with a novelist’s eye ( Elizabeth Burns )

Tim Pomeroy

melodic and engaging, the best of contemporary and traditional Folk


Arran folk guitarist Tim Pomeroy, whose powerful and melodic take on traditional and contemporary songs delighted our audience when he last played at the Storey in 2014, makes a welcome return to April Poets. Tim is also an accomplished sculptor and poet.

There are so many poems . . . that I fell in love with on first read, then on second read, fell in love with again. Scowcroft allows for no superfluous word to sit among the finely-hewn lines of each poem.

( Liz Bahs, review of Moon Garden , The Frogmore Papers)Winner of the McLellan Prize, Ron is widely published in magazines and prize anthologies. His poems have been highly commended in the Yorkshire Open and by Magma, shortlisted in the National Poetry Competition and commended by Strokestown. Ron has worked in collaboration with visual artists John M Morrison and Jayne Simpson. His poem ‘Peninsula’ was featured in a video by Morph Films. Along with Carole Coates and Mike Barlow, he is a founder member of Lancaster’s April Poets.

Ron Scowcroft

a way with language that causes the ear and mind to take notice at once

Mike Barlow

a mature and strongly articulated voice




Mike Barlow is one of the founder members of April Poets, along with Carole Coates and Ron Scowcroft.

His first collection Living on the Difference (Smith|Doorstop 2004) was winner of the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition and also shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection. Subsequent collections are Another Place (Salt 2007) and Charmed Lives (Smith|Doorstop 2012). His pamphlet Amicable Numbers(Templar 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice.

There’s directness and lightness of touch, an often brilliant deftness, In Mike Barlow’s poems, and an unusual warmth – all of it underwritten by vivid detail. Ann Sansom.

muscular lyricism……from a mature and strongly articulated voice. David Harmer, Orbis.

Barlow’s voice is clear and direct, the space between the lines easily read. This clarity provides the perfect minimalist setting for his stand-out images and fresh perspectives. Julia Bird, Poetry London.

He has won first prize in the Amnesty International Competition, The Ledbury Poetry Competition and, in 2006, The National Poetry Competition. He runs Wayleave Press, a small pamphlet publishing venture based in Lancaster.

This event marked the hand-over of April Poets to a new team of
Sarah Hymas and David Borrott

Saturday September 10th: Andrew McMillan, plus Ian Seed and Barbara Hickson
at The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, Market Square, Lancaster, LA1 1HY, 6.30pm

Andrew picture

Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988; his debut collection physical was the first poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award and the Forward Prize for Best First. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation Autumn 2015. He also ran a workshop earlier that day.

IS and BH

Ian Seed has published several collections of poetry, most recently Identity Papers (Shearsman, 2016), which featured on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. He is also a translator, critic and fiction writer. He lives near Lancaster and teaches at the University of Chester.

Barbara Hickson lives in Lancaster and her poems have been published in magazines, anthologies and online journals. In 2013 she was long-listed for the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection award, and earlier this year was awarded third prize in the Editors’ Prize category of the Magma Poetry Competition.

£5/£3 on the door

Thursday October 13th: April Poets in October
at The Storey Auditorium, Storey Institute, Lancaster LA1 1TH, 7.30pm
with Sarah CorbettHelen Tookey, Michael Conley and Matt Robinson

SC and HTMichael Conley


Sarah Corbett‘s latest collection And She Was: A verse-novel, was published by Pavilion Poetry, the new imprint from Liverpool University Press, in 2015. She has published three previous collections with Seren Books: Other Beasts (2008),The Witch Bag (2002) and The Red Wardrobe (1998), which was shortlisted for the T.S. ELiot Prize and the Forward Best First Collection Prize. Sarah gained her PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester in 2013 and currently teaches Creative Writing for Lancaster University.

Originally from Leicester, Helen Tookey now lives in Liverpool, where she teaches creative writing at John Moores University. Her collection Missel-Child(Carcanet, 2014) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry prize for a first full collection (2015). She has collaborated with musician Sharron Kraus on a CD with accompanying booklet, If You Put Out Your Hand (Wounded Wolf Press, 2016,). Her new pamphlet In the Glasshouse is due out from HappenStance Press in September this year. Twitter: @helentookey1.

Michael Conley is a poet from Manchester.  His first pamphlet, ‘Aquarium’, was published by Flarestack  Poets in 2014 and his second, ‘More Weight’ was published by Eyewear earlier this year.  His poem ‘These Three Young Ladies’ was Highly Commended in last year’s Forward Prize.  He runs a new monthly literature night in Manchester called ‘The Other’, in which poets swap words.

There will be open mic slots available this evening too.
£5/£3 on the door