Peter Barlow’s Cigarette at The Carlton Club

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Zoë Skoulding. Photo by John Hollingsworth
Zoë Skoulding. Photo by John Hollingsworth.

Peter Barlow's Cigarette at The Carlton Club, Manchester, 18 March 2023, free entry - Visit now

Peter Barlow’s Cigarette is our regular avant-garde poetry fix, serving up a smorgasbord of experimental writing since setting up shop 10 years ago, in 2013. Popping up every two months, and now settling nicely into its new home in the heart of Whalley Range, this reading series brings together emerging talent and local poets with more established UK-wide and international performers for an afternoon of alternative styles and varied voices.

Recent readers have included prose poetry expert Carrie Etter and surrealist specialist Vik Shirley, and last year also saw PBC combining forces with Manchester poetry press Carcanet, showcasing Jay Gao and Jee Leong Koh, with support from Sally Barrett and Bonnie Hancell (both recently gracing the ‘stage’ at The Desert Cafe, hosted by indie publisher Death Of Workers While Building Skyscrapers).

Popping up every two months, and now settling nicely into its new home in the heart of Whalley Range, this reading series brings together emerging talent and local poets with more established UK-wide and international performers.

Peter Barlow’s Cigarette #38 brings together three writers: Manchester-based Steve Hanson and Scott Thurston, and Zoë Skoulding, who’s jetting in from North Wales, where she is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University.

Interested in translation, sound and ecology, her seventh collection of poems, A Marginal Sea, came out in October with Carcanet Press. The blurb says: ‘A Marginal Sea is written from the vantage point of Ynys Môn/Anglesey, which is both on the edge of Wales and in a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean – the island is imagined here as a site of archipelagic connection with other places and histories, where the spaces of dream and digital technology are interwoven with the everyday […] A Marginal Sea is inventive, exhilarating in its soundscapes, and brilliantly awake to otherness, in language, and in the animal and natural world.’

Her previous collections (published by Seren Books) include Footnotes To Water (2019), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award 2020. In 2020, she also published the pamphlets The Celestial Set-Up (Oystercatcher) and A Revolutionary Calendar (Shearsman). She has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and, in 2018, received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors for her body of work in poetry, and she is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Her critical work includes two monographs, Contemporary Women’s Poetry and Urban Space: Experimental Cities (2013), and Poetry & Listening: The Noise of Lyric (2020). She was Editor of the international quarterly Poetry Wales 2008-2014 and co-founded the (North) Wales International Poetry Festival in 2012.

Zoë Skoulding A Marginal Sea cover
Zoë Skoulding A Marginal Sea cover

In 2021, Steve Hanson published Proceedings with Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, and previous works include two volumes of SING (Nowt Press, 2019), which collects texts read out on the streets of Manchester across a single year. The Wake (Nowt Press) and The Acts (Dostoyevsky Wannabe) were collaborations with poet and (if memory serves us correctly) Peter Barlow’s Cigarette co-founder Richard Barrett. A Shaken Bible was published in 2021, by Boiler House Press, and he has also just put out a critical volume called PROVOCATIONS with Dr Brian Baker. His first book, Small Towns, Austere Times, was published by Zero in 2014. He started Manchester Review of Books, Manchester Left Writers and a Manchester branch of Social Science Centre, and he has put together art and performance collectives for Castlefield Gallery and Manchester Literature Festival. He has worked as a lecturer and researcher, teaching at Goldsmiths, where he was awarded his PhD, taught at art schools, and a theological college, worked as an arts administrator, and was Reviews Editor for Ptolemaic Terrascope.

Poet, mover and educator Scott Thurston has published numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently Terraces (Beir Bua, 2022) and Phrases Towards A Kinepoetics (Contraband, 2020), and his selected poems, Turning, is out later this year with Shearsman. Professor in the English department at the University of Salford, where he has taught since 2004, Scott is founding co-editor of open access Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organised the long-running poetry reading series The Other Room in Manchester. Since 2004, he has been developing a ‘kinepoetics’, integrating dance and poetry, studying with dancers in Berlin and New York and collaborating with three dancers in the UK. Expect a dynamic performance!

The Carlton Club in Whalley Range is well worth hunting down (try the 86 or 85 bus), and thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of organisers Rachel Sills, Tim Allen and Joey Frances, PBC events are both free and friendly.

Free entry, but booking advised.

Peter Barlow's Cigarette at The Carlton Club, Manchester

18 March 2023 4:00 pm
Free entry