Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Ralf Thenior in Leeds - Headingley on 21 September 2017

Peter Spafford writes:
I want to put the word out about Ralf Thenior, a poet from Dortmund who is spending a week in Leeds from Sept 17th. I’ve organised a few readings/events for Ralf - it would be great if you could make it along to one or more of them.

Ralf Thenior - Ein Dichter aus Dortmund
Ralf’s visit is part of a Dortmund-Leeds exchange I've initiated - I’m going to Dortmund in October for a week to read at the Literature Festival there. The exchange is a pilot, bravely funded by Leeds City Council; a chance for each poet to meet a new place and write our own poems about the other's city. It’s a deliberate attempt, in the wake of recent events, to reach out to the writing communities of other European cities. Dortmund is twinned with Leeds and seemed a good place to start.

Here are the events:
TUESDAY 19th, 7.30pm: Ralf will co-host Love The Words with me on Chapel FM. Listen at He will be reading, talking about Dortmund, translation, life in general, and chatting to guests.

WEDNESDAY 20th 12noon: Ralf is talking to young people studying German at Lawnswood High School.

THURSDAY 21st, 7pm: In The Neighbourhood, at Oxfam Books, Headingley. Ralf, myself, and Matthew Bellwood will be reading and talking about our respective neighbourhoods. Free event in collaboration with Headingley Litfest.

FRIDAY 22nd, 1pm: Ralf is reading and talking at Leeds Central Library, 1pm. Free event.

FRIDAY 22ND, 7pm: House gig at my gaff, with French chansons performed by Encore. Limited space, but let me know if you want to come along.

I really want to make Ralf welcome. He’s a fascinating poet, working in three languages, and - not incidentally - a very curious and engaging human.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Peacejam in Leeds - join the laureates!

It's just up the road from Headingley...  and well worth going to!

The online link for registration is . The early bird offer is £55 for the two days for students.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Patrick Lodge and Hannah Stone - Poetry

Richard Wilcocks writes:

They have a lot in common, Hannah Stone and Patrick Lodge, and they know it well. This delectable, intimate evening in Headingley Library (26 July) was well-prepared as a joint venture. In an ideal world, we would all have sat down to dine like gourmets at some stage, but wine and crisps had to be our only bodily sustenance as we listened to so many intelligent and affecting poems, served with great confidence. And libraries are not suitable for dinner parties anyway.

Hannah Stone gave us evidence of her increasing sophistication as she read from her second collection Missing Miles, published this year by Indigo Dreams. There are many references to the books in her canon, and a classical world is constantly shimmering somewhere on her horizon, with titles like ‘Penelope’ and ‘Hubris’ indicating an interest in the Greeks, though the Romans are there too: like any sophisticated poet, she has re-read Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but the poem which deals with that is the very opposite of dusty and academic. It is clever and witty. She gives Ovid a convincing afterlife.

Twice-born Bacchus spent the rest of his natural
boozing and belching...

You can catch his devotee today;
he’ll be propping up the bar
after a session in the gym,
branded tee-shirt sculpting honed abs,
a regular Adonis in Adidas.

But it was the close autobiographical, the family stuff, which got to me most. Memories of her late father, who had dementia, to be specific. ‘Protection Racket’ links music from a Bechstein piano with a scene in her parents’ house when her mother ‘cajoles the unresponsive figure’ of her father after she has played some of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  That one was truly moving.

Patrick Lodge is the sort of world traveller who tends to be described as ‘inveterate’, but that would be wrong, and not just because of the cliché. He does not bore with his holiday snaps. He has a knack of putting his finger (his pen?) on all those details which can be recognised as aspects of our universal humanity, as, in his Valley Press collection Shenanigans, we look through his lenses at scenes in Greece, Vietnam, Spain, Wales, Cambodia and other destinations. He is the only poet I have met who has been translated into Vietnamese, and his poem on Cambodia’s equivalent of Auschwitz, ‘Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh’, written plainly and directly, addresses the reader and the listener with enormous force:

Look, a death pit
dug in a playground;
bone wrists still tied,
skulls blindfolded
as if the dead
might see their killers,
point reproachfully.

But again, his early memories affected me the most. Before he read ‘Yiannis in His Bar’ he told us that the Yiannis in the title, who ‘conjures the punch of rock ‘n’ roll, the smell/ of patchouli and lust in the backstreets’ was a real character encountered on family visits to a Greek island, seen again many years afterwards, causing him to be strangely amazed at how he had grown old. And then there was the poem about his late father (‘a daydreamed man’), ‘Sure of Father: VE Day, 2015’ who was brought back to mind by a late-night film from 1942 and the Andrews Sisters singing ‘Don’t sit Under The Apple Tree’.

Audience Comments

Great well-prepared event. Fantastic poetry. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Fantastic evening. Funny, moving, inspiring poems.

A well planned and progressive programme. A joy after so many mumbling, unprepared offerings.

An excellent night, and I was heeding their fine poems and their splendid readings

A lovely evocative evening of excellent poetry - a good and varied selection, enjoyed the evening very much.

Good to listen to both poets - sorry I couldn't stay for the second half.

They were both on their mettle. Hannah was in fine fettle and Patrick Lodge is no Splodge

I enjoyed these readings, would come more often if there were others.

Great event!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

An invitation from Amit Dhand

48 hours to go!!!
Girl Zero
This Friday 14th July 18:30, Bradford Waterstones
The Wool Exchange, Hustlergate, Bradford BD1 1BL
This Friday!!!!
The powerful sequel to Streets of Darkness, "Girl Zero" is here and there is plenty of space for YOU! Join AA Dhand in conversation with journalist and BBC radio presenter Nick Ahad as they explore the Harry Virdee series. Wine, chocolates and soft drinks in plentiful supply! 

'A character destined for TV' Daily Mail

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.
His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn't careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.
And THRILLED to be on the front cover of Writing Magazine, the UK's biggest selling writing publication. You can read all about my ten year's of rejections, perseverance and eventually success! Availble to purchase at and as a subscriber for ten years, I can recommend this as a really useful magazine to help any writers (I still subscribe because you are always learning in this game!).
You are ALL invited to attend this launch which promises to be one of the largest Bradford will host this year. You can just turn up - no booking needed but  it would be helpful if you could confirm your attendence by emaiing  PLEASE SIMPLY PUT YOUR NAME IN THE SUBJECT LINE FOLLOWED BY "BOOKED". I do hope to see as many of you there as possible to celebrate another major book release for Bradford and to update you all on the latest developments with regards to the series.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

PREVIEW - Hannah Stone and Patrick Lodge

Finding your 'selves' - poetry and a sense of home

Join in the journey with Hannah Stone and Patrick Lodge, who aren't sure where they belong but know the way to find out is to travel.  Hannah will be introducing her new collection, Missing Miles.

Hannah holds an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University and is co-editor of the poetry ezine Algebra of Owls. She won the Yorkshire Poetry Prize in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition when judged by Billy Collins. Her first solo collection, Lodestone, was published by Stairwell Books in 2016 and Missing Miles is published June 2017 by Indigo Dreams Publishing as a prize for being a winner in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Competition.


Patrick was born in Wales, lives in Yorkshire and travels on an Irish passport. His poetry has been published widely in journals and magazines, including EnvoiInk, Sweat & TearsMediterranean PoetryRevival, and The Stare’s Nest, and has been translated into Vietnamese for Van Viet. He was the winner of the 2015 Blackwater International Poetry Competition. His first collection An Anniversary of Flight was published by Valley Press in October 2013. His second, Shennanigans, followed in April 2016.


This is one of Headingley LitFest's 'Between the Lines' events. More to come.