Poets and Players

About the Performers


Until he was sixty R.H. Barnes had written perhaps as many as six poems. Now, turned sixty-two, due to the arrival of the Poetry School in Manchester, he has around fifty. Thanks to the inspiration of Grevel Lindop (at the Poetry School) he is currently composing a nature sonnet sequence describing the months of 2006, based mainly on field notes taken on regular walks through his local stretch of the Mersey Valley.

Cathy Bolton's poems have been published in a wide range of anthologies and magazines, including The Rialto, Matter, Smiths Knoll, Magma and Rain Dog. She is currently acting director of the Manchester Literature Festival, a development worker for Commonword and studying for an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

Anne Caldwell lives in a Pennine village with two cats and her son, Anton. She's been writing poetry as long as she can remember and has been published in two anthologies - Poet's Cheshire (Headland) and The Nerve (Virago). Her work has appeared in Writing Women, Poetry Wales, Quattrocento and RainDog. She is currently finishing an MA at Manchester Metropolitan University and is working on her first full length collection.

Linda Chase has been a stage costume designer and tai chi teacher. She teaches part time at MMU on the MA in creative writing and is coordinator and teacher at the Poetry School, Manchester. Her books include These Goodbyes, Fatchance Press and The Wedding Spy, Carcanet. Her new Carcanet book, Extended Family, will be published in May 2006. She is the originator and host of Poets and Players.

Philippa Comber was born in London. Her first career was in book publishing. She spent the 1970's in West Berlin (before the Wall came down!), where she studied Psychology. This formed the background to her second career, moving to Manchester in 1999 to take up a job in the NHS. The consistent thread throughout Philippa's life has been her love of language and languages: she seeks to indulge this passion through writing, especially poetry.

James Davies is editor of Matchbox (www.matchbox.org.uk), on the editorial board of Parameter (www.parametermagazine.org) and also writes, reads and reads poems. You can check some of his work online at BlazeVox and on Scarecrow. He has been part of group art exhibitions at The Zion Centre and Cornerhouse in Manchester, and has made a few short films. For a living he teaches English and Creative Writing in the Manchester area.

Emjay. 'There is a musical, lyrical quality to the 'headpoems' which belongs to the oral tradition, rather than the printed page.' Part soliloquy, monologue, reminiscence, the sequence of poems are all in the voice of the same woman and make for a unique performance piece. Emjay is a member of The Puzzle Poets and has performed her work at both Hebden Bridge Festival and Ilkley Literature Festival.

Sean Joyce is Preston born and bred. He lives in Manchester and recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He recently made the final shortlist for the Eric Gregory award and is working towards a first collection.

Grevel Lindop was born in Liverpool and now lives in Manchester, where he was formerly a Professor of English and now works as a freelance writer. His books include A Literary Guide to the Lake District and Selected Poems from Carcanet Press. His latest collection, Playing With Fire, appeared in January 2006. Elizabeth Jennings in The Independent praised 'this poet's best gifts - care for detail, love of Nature, clear eye and formal excellence. Every poem shows us more than we have seen with our own eyes.

John McAuliffe grew up in Listowel, Co. Kerry, and studied English and Irish literature at universities in Ireland and the US. His first collection, A Better Life (Gallery, 2002) was shortlisted for a Forward Prize, and won the RTE Poet of the Future Prize and an Irish Arts Council Bursary. He now lives in Manchester where he co-directs the University of Manchester's Creative Writing Programme.

Alex Middleton has spent a lot of her life living in Denmark and has done most of her studies at the University of Copenhagen (they are still waiting for a thesis). She first came to Manchester to do the MA Creative Writing at MMU. She has had poetry published in a few magazines, is on the editorial board of Parameter (www.parametermagazine.org) and works at National Museums Liverpool. Alex lives in Manchester, again and still.

Stephen Payne is a psychologist, Professor of Interactive Systems Design at the University of Manchester. He currently shares his time between Manchester and Penarth, South Glamorgan, and writes poems between Abergavenny and Crewe. He has recently been a student at the Manchester Poetry School with Linda Chase and Grevel Lindop.

Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in London. She has published three collections and two pamphlets of poetry. In 2004 she was selected as a Next Generation Poet. Both her second and third collections, The Zoo Father (Seren, 2001) and The Huntress (Seren, 2005), were shortlisted for the T S. Eliot Prize and were Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement. The Zoo Father was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle in 1975. His first book of poems, The Brink, published in 2003, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He was selected as one of the 'Next Generation' poets in 2004. His second collection, Little Gods, is due out in December.

Laura Pros Carey grew up in Tarragona, Spain, and received her MA in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. She is interested in languages and spent a year at the university of Thessaloniki studying modern Greek and three months in Perugia's Universita per Stranieri studying Italian. She will begin her PhD at Glasgow University this September, producing a critical anthology of 20th Century Spanish poets.

Michael Schmidt was born in Mexico in 1947. He studied at Harvard and Oxford and then taught at Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University, and is now professor of Poetry at the University of Glasgow. He is the founder editor of the magazine PN Review, the editorial and managing director of Carcanet, and a literary historian, novelist, translator and poet.

copland smith, always small case, once a mathematician, is a poet, songwriter, playwright, essayist, Guardian letter-writer and writing teacher. Born in Liverpool 1953. 4 daughters. Many prizes, including twice a runner-up in The National Poetry Competition. Poems in Ambit, Outposts, North, Rialto, Orbis, The Cricketer. His first collection, one-eyed seller of garlic, was published in 1994. He is currently writing a book called The 42 rules of writing. Rule 42: Ignore all earlier rules.

Gareth Smith is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Born in Kingston Upon Hull, he has lived in Manchester for six years. A selection of his poems have benn published in Lamport Court magazine and in 2005 he was given a grant to attend an Arvon Foundation residency in Lumbank. His favourite book of poetry is Peter Reading's Ukelele Music.

Matthew Welton was born in 1969 in Nottingham. He currently lives in Manchester and is editor of Stand magazine. He teaches creative writing at Bolton Institute. His poetry has appeared in Faber's First Pressings and New Poetries 2 (Carcanet). The Book of Matthew won the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2003.

Arts Council England