I suggested to Off the Shelf, Sheffield’s literary organisation (which organises the annual literary festival in October) that the city should have some sort of guide to the public poetry scattered across the city. We’ve poetry by Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Andrew Motion and many others scattered around the city.

They’ve asked me to compile such a thing: a list, photos, a website, a map.

If you know of any public poetry on buildings or artwork in and around Sheffield, that’s free to access and read, please let me know.

I had a pleasant time at the Newark Prize reading yesterday. C.J. Allen, who has many competition successes, also read, and I was pleased to find that a friend of mine also had been recognised in the competition: Lou Wilford, with two poems in the runners up.

On the way home I suddenly realised I’m already involved in as many poetry events this year as I was in the whole of last year. This is partly because of my recent luck in competitions: following Newark, I’ve the event at the Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw Estate on March 12th, and the Awel Aman Tawe award at Pontardawe in late Feb – although that’s perhaps a bit far away.

Then the Sheffield Poetry Festival and its fringe in late March and early April (the festival proper starts on April 1st) has me down potentially for a poetry walk and a garden party (for Art in the Park), a rather exciting event from the Tuesday Poets called “Out of Place”, a reading as part of the celebration of ten years of Matter, and then our annual MA students’ reading, too, although that’s not really part of the festival, I guess.

Then there’s also the open mike Speakeasy next week, which I haven’t been to for ages; and I’ve been asked to read at “Unquiet Desperation”, a local poetry get together.  Finally, I’m working on an installation of children’s autumn haiku for the Winter Gardens, due to be installed in the first week of Feb, and then repeated with a variation as “Four Seasons” again the in the Winter Gardens in April.

A busy time. Really nice that my work is being enjoyed, though.

Sorry: but this event has been postponed due to technical difficulties. I’ll post an update when I’ve a new date.

If you’re in Sheffield on Weds Sept 1st around 7.30, come to Bank St for a private view of Catalyst.

Catalyst is a new poetry and photography exhibit.  Bank Street Arts writer in residence, Angelina Ayers, invited Sheffield poets to write in response to a photography slideshow called Triptych, curated by James Dodd of Statement Images.  The poems that came from this experience were then sent out to another set of photographers.  These photographers were asked to take images in response to the poems. Catalyst presents the three stages together.

The private viewing will include readings by the poets: Chris Jones (currently shortlisted for the Forward Prize), Matt Black, Matthew Clegg, Mark Goodwin, myself, Fay Musselwhite and Angelina Ayers. Sound artist Hervé Perez from Sndsukinspook Music will also create a live sound installation in response to the images and text.

The event is free, should be interesting, and you’ll be supporting local artists and writers.

You can find more details of the project here: http://www.artsheffield.org/listings/?p=3383 and read Angelina’s blog on her work here: http://angelinaayers.wordpress.com/

Details on finding Bank St are here: http://www.bankstreetarts.com/

Bank Street, in collaboration with Sheffield’s Children’s Festival and the City Council is currently running a massive and fun project which has created a trail of haiku through Sheffield. Local poets taught the basis of haiku in several local schools, and the result is spread across the city centre, and also collected in exhibition in Bank St itself.

You’re also invited. Anyone who would like to contribute one or more haiku can submit through the website.: http://sheffieldhaiku.co.uk/

You can also find my offering: http://sheffieldhaiku.co.uk/submitted-haiku/ I found myself writing about summer, so decided to write the biography of my summers in haiku. (Actually, I’m not that brilliant at haiku writing – very hit and miss – so this was quite a useful exercise. If you want brilliance in haiku, a good poet is Chris Jones: http://www.chris-jones.org.uk/ )

Not posted for a while because I’ve been to Scarborough to watch the sea and write. Following the end of my Exploding Poetry exhibition, I’ve switched attention mainly to writing my children’s book: “How to Kill Francesca. Twice.” I hope to finish it in May, which means I need to write something like 1000 words a day between now and then.

I’m very fond of Scarborough, both for its memories (we regularly stayed with our three children, now all grown) and for the many little pleasures it offers. But particularly for the drama of its landscape and seascapes. This time we were particularly lucky in the flat we found, which had a nice view of the North Beach, but a fabulous panorama of the harbour and the South Beach, and much of the town was well. It was also sited only five minutes from the castle and the historic church where Anne Bronte lies (in fact, we parked our car in her graveyard – it seems somehow sacreligious, but also slightly charming, as much of the rest of the town pitches cultural stereotypes against daily reality).

So I could sit all day in the window, staring at the sea and occasionally dropping words onto the page. In this idyll, I managed 16000 words in five days (okay – it’s only a draft, but I was still pretty pleased with myself).

And then we came home, and I found notice of five more poems being published. Except, when I looked at it, I had to withdraw two, because they’d been taken for publication without letting me know, and I’d meanwhile re-sent them elsewhere. This is the first time I’ve had to say “don’t publish” my work – and it felt pretty miserable.

So three poems are due to appear soon in Champion Poems #2, published by Sentinel Poetry Movement. They’re “Found Objects”, which came out of the MA Writing at Hallam, “A Civilised Woman”, which has come from my “Woman and War” project, and “Unspoken”, a little love poem.

If you’re looking for info on my upcoming exhibition “Exploding Poetry”, you’ll find it at: http://explodingpoetry.wordpress.com/

This blog is about my progressing literary achievements, but not much is happening at the moment as all my attention is on getting the exhibition up and running. And, at the moment, though there are some big glitches, it’s looking good.

As well as the exhibits themselves, we’re hoping people will continue to contribute as the exhibition develops, so it will grow over the month.