Peter Barlow’s Cigarette at Ditto Coffee Union

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Vik Shirley at Peter Barlow's Cigarette
Poet Vik Shirley.

Peter Barlow's Cigarette at Ditto Coffee Albert Square, City Centre, 5 January 2022, free entry - Visit now

We’re very excited to be previewing Peter Barlow’s Cigarette, an experimental poetry reading series which has been running in Manchester since 2013. Due to “all that”, PBC#34 will be the first event since February 2020, and organisers Rachel Sills, Tim Allen and Joey Frances have some storming readers lined up in the shape of Carrie Etter, Maryam Hessavi, Vik Shirley and Scott Thurston. PBC events are friendly and accessible, and aim to bring together emerging talent and local poets with more established UK-wide and international performers – expect this showcase of four to serve up a variety of voices and styles.

PBC#34 will be the first event since February 2020, and organisers Rachel Sills, Tim Allen and Joey Frances have some storming readers lined up in the shape of Carrie Etter, Maryam Hessavi, Vik Shirley and Scott Thurston.

American writer Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and since 2004 has taught creative writing at Bath Spa University, where she is now Reader. She has published four collections, most recently 2018’s The Weather In Normal (UK: Seren; US: Station Hill), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and previously The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining For Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry by The Poetry Society. Her most recent work, The Shooting Gallery (Verve, 2020), juxtaposes prose poems exploring Czech surrealist artist Toyen’s World War II drawings of the same title and US school and university shootings, all exploring the conjunction of youth and violence. Individual poems have appeared in Blackbox Manifold, The New Republic, The New Statesman, The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement and elsewhere, while her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and journals, and her first pamphlet of short stories, Hometown, was published by V. Press in 2016. She edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries By UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010) and Linda Lamus’s A Crater The Size Of Calcutta (Mulfran, 2015), and she reviews contemporary poetry for the likes of The Guardian and Boston Review.

An alumna of the University of Manchester, with an MA in English Literature with specialisms in Modernism, Creative Writing and Linguistics, Maryam Hessavi is a British, Manchester-based poet and critic of English and Iranian descent, who has recently made appearances at MACFEST in 2020 and the Centre for New Writing’s Macaronic Poetry Evening as part of International Mother Language Day in 2021. Her work has featured in various publications, including Ambit, The Guardian, Poetry London and The Poetry Review, and is published in the Carcanet Press anthology New Poetries VIII. Maryam is a Ledbury Critic, Reviews Editor for The Poetry School, Contributing Editor of Ambit and a committee member for the Manchester-based poetry reading series Poets & Players, which we’re looking forward to having back on our calendars soon (keep 23 April free for the competition prize-giving ceremony with judge Kim Moore).

Vik Shirley’s chapbook Corpses (Sublunary Editions) was published in 2020. Her collection The Continued Closure Of The Blue Door (HVTN Press), her book of photo-poetry Disrupted Blue And Other Poems On Polaroid (Hesterglock Press), and her pamphlet Grotesquerie For The Apocalypse (Beir Bua Press) were published in 2021. Her work has appeared in such places as Poetry London, The Rialto, Magma, 3am Magazine, Shearsman and Tentacular. She edits Mercurius magazine’s Surreal-Absurd and is studying for a PhD in Dark Humour and the Surreal at the University of Birmingham. Strange, surreal and fable-like, her work is described by poet and zimZalla publisher Tom Jenks as: “Grotesque, like a Hieronymus Bosch footlong hotdog with Mark E Smith on onions.” Poet and novelist Luke Kennard – whose “anarchic” response to Shakespeare’s sonnets, Notes On The Sonnets (Penned in the Margins), won the Forward Poetry Prize 2021 for best collection – says: “There’s a little world in every poem here, uncannily our own and discombobulatingly other.”

Scott Thurston is a poet, mover and educator. He has published 16 books and chapbooks of poetry, including three full-length collections with Shearsman: Hold (2006), Momentum (2008) and Internal Rhyme (2010). More recent work includes Phrases Towards A Kinepoetics (Contraband, 2020), We Must Betray Our Potential (The Red Ceilings, 2018), Draft Vicinity (Knives Forks and Spoons, 2018) and Poems For The Dance (Aquifer, 2017). Scott is founding co-editor of open access Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organised Manchester’s long-running poetry reading series The Other Room, which keen readers will know we loved. Since 2004, he has been developing a poetics integrating dance and poetry which has seen him studying with dancers in Berlin and New York and collaborating with three dancers in the UK. Scott is Reader in English and Creative Writing at the University of Salford, where he has taught since 2004.

This event is free and there is no need to book in advance. It will take place in Ditto Coffee’s brand-new flagship coffee shop in Bruntworks’ Union building on Albert Square.

Grotesquerie For The Apocalypse by Vik Shirley cover
Grotesquerie For The Apocalypse by Vik Shirley cover

This event is free and there is no need to book in advance. It will take place in the new Union building's Ditto Coffee on Albert Square.

Peter Barlow's Cigarette at Ditto Coffee Albert Square, City Centre

5 January 2022 7:00 pm
Free entry

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