Fay Musselwhite, Matthew Clegg and Michael Haslam: A Review

Elliptical Movements

Contraflow by Fay Musselwhite, Longbarrow Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1906175306, £12.99

The Navigators by Matthew Clegg, Longbarrow Press, 2015, ISBN 9781906175269, £12.99

Scaplings  by Michael Haslam, Calder Valley Poetry, ISBN 9780993497384, £7.00

contraflow-cover-6-aprContraflow is Fay Musselwhite’s first collection, a substantial book of over 100 pages in Longbarrow’s typically handsome, pleasingly designed hardback series. It’s a book full of people doing things and the writing is suitably muscular and physical to reflect this. Often the activity is heavy with a sense of necessity, things done to ensure survival, be it foraging for firewood:

Alone or in pairs by dark we go,

every day or so, for armfuls that warm us

twice at least – as we handle it home,

cleave it apart for the hearth brought to light

by peeling back years of emulsion, paper, tin

and a squatting of soot.

[From ‘Firewood’]

or visiting a friend in a block of…

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Simon Armitage and Mark Hinchcliffe

For the benefit of poetry lovers from Huddersfield and beyond! A poetry reading by Simon Armitage and Mark Hinchcliffe.

Simon has just published his 11th collection. Mark’s debut collection came out last year. (The Raven and the Laughing Head, published by Calder Valley Poetry – https://caldervalleypoetry.com/authors/mark-hinchliffe/.)

Compered by Stephanie Bowgett, one of the original Albert Poets.

Thursday 30th March – 7:30pm – Albert Hotel, Huddersfield (opposite the Library) – FREE admission – donations welcome.

Very limited seating – So don’t be late!

Charlotte Wetton Launched

Charlotte Wetton’s outstanding debut pamphlet I Refuse to Turn into a Hatstand, the tenth publication by Calder Valley Poetry, was launched last evening at the stylish Victorian Craft Beer Cafe in Halifax town centre. It was an appropriate venue for these meticulously crafted poems, and Charlotte’s marvellous reading gave full force to the power of her words. There was an audience of nearly 50 people. It is a testimony to Charlotte’s quality as a poet that people travelled from London and Edinburgh to share the occasion with her.

There were support readings by accomplished poets Anthony Costello and Steve Ely. Thanks to them, to the audience for their support, but mostly to Charlotte for her excellent poems. (These can be ordered through the following link – https://caldervalleypoetry.com/book-shop/)

Charlotte Wetton Launch

Forty-eight hours to go to the launch of Charlotte Wetton’s debut pamphlet, I Refuse to Turn into a Hatstand. If you’re around on Thursday evening, 7.30 p.m., make sure you’re in the Victoria Craft Beer Cafe, Halifax (http://victorian.beer). If you’re doing something else, cancel it and make for the town with the only remaining piece hall in the country. Charlotte will read, and if that’s not enough for you (and it should be) she has two guest readers – Anthony Costello and Steve Ely.

If you want to know more about Charlotte and her poems, follow this link – https://caldervalleypoetry.com/authors/charlotte-wetton/

Sithee Thursday.

Kightly Launch


Ross Kightly, in the Smith Art Gallery at Brighouse Library, signing copies of Out of Bounds , with a backdrop of two Peter Brook paintings.

img_2624A section of the audience. Spot the poets.

A gathering of around 30 folk at Brighouse Library welcomed Ross Kightly’s collection Out of Bounds into the world last evening. Ross, creator of 58,000+ poems in his locale sequence, was his usual irrepressible, articulate and witty self. He surprised the audience by concluding the evening with rhyming verse in celebration of the Cafe Zone coffee house in Halifax, an establishment with which the poet is familiar.

Guest readers were poet, singer-songwriter and barista Siobhan Morrissey, Winston Plowes, surrealist soul-brother of Kightly, and Gaia Holmes, midwife to the creations of so many local lyricists through her Igniting the Spark workshops. All excellent poets; all read beautifully.

A presentation was made to the retiring Chief Librarian, Jayne Watkinson, as a tribute to her 33 years of encouraging and helping to organise events such as this one. She received signed copies of the nine collections published by Calder Valley Poetry since its formation at the beginning of 2016.