Regular live literature night Verbose is hosting the Northern launch event of new anthology Port, a beautiful and unique tome which brings together a selection of prose pieces and poems taking harbours and havens as their jumping-in point, alongside 20 photographs and original illustrations. The evening will feature readings from the book (and perhaps beyond) by poet Michael Brown, whose contribution is titled Alexandria, and prose writers Sarah-Clare Conlon and Sarah Jasmon, both of whom mention the Isle of Man, along with Liverpool and Manchester.
Already given a warm welcome into the world at the aptly located seafront poetry festival Aldeburgh and the Small Publishers Fair in London’s Conway Hall, the book came out with riverside-based independent publishing house Dunlin Press on 7 November, and is edited by husband-and-wife team poet MW Bewick and artist Ella Johnston.
Subtitled “Words from the edge of land”, the 274-page book brings together specially commissioned writing from 38 contributors, including – the back cover outlines – the likes of artist Matei Bejenaru, poets Tessa Berring, Vahni Capildeo and Golnoosh Nour, writer Kerri ní Dochartaigh, film-maker and writer Gary Liggett, rock musician and writer Martin Newell, and criminologist Dr Anna Sergi.
“More than places where ships load and unload, ports are points of departure and arrival, places where ‘here’ contacts ‘there’, and where known and unknown meet,” says the blurb, and, geographically, the anthology reaches all corners of the UK, with locations ranging from massive container ports to tiny fishing quays in remote locations.
Verbose is hosting the Northern launch event of new anthology Port, a beautiful and unique tome which brings together a selection of prose pieces and poems taking harbours and havens as their jumping-in point
Tonight’s readers include Michael Brown, a poet and English teacher based in Middlesbrough, whose work has been published widely in magazines including The Rialto, Southword, The North and elsewhere. He was selected by Clare Pollard for a Northern Writers’ Award (New North Poets) in 2017 and was poet in residence at Aldeburgh with Maria Isakova Bennett in 2018. He was placed second in York Poetry Competition earlier this year and he has twice been shortlisted in the Basil Bunting Award and in 2018 won the Wirral Firsts Poetry Competition and was commended in the McLellan Prize by Sinéad Morrissey. His pamphlet Undersong came out with Eyewear Publishing in 2014 and Locations For A Soul in 2016 with Templar. His first collection, Where Grown Men Go, has just come out with Salt Publishing.
Sarah Jasmon is a writer who lives on a boat, so Port is a natural place to find her work. An associate lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, teaching creative writing, she is doing a part-time PhD, which has another five (or so) years to run. Her first novel, The Summer Of Secrets, came out with Black Swan in 2015 and her second, You Never Told Me, is out this coming March. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Competition, with “a poignant entry about the difficulties of connection”. Her piece for Port is called In Search Of The Port Of Manchester.
Sarah-Clare Conlon is the Literature Editor on this very site, and the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Manchester’s “water palace” Victoria Baths. She is a Salt Publishing Flash Fiction Prize winner and appears on the Best British & Irish Flash Fiction (BIFFY) 2018-2019 list, and this year her work has appeared in Dostoyevsky Wannabe’s Buzzcocks-inspired anthology, Love Bites, the University of Greenwich flash fiction collection Story Cities and the special Smoke Long Quarterly edition of Lighthouse Journal, among other places. Her piece, The General Synopsis At Midday, errs more towards the creative nonfiction than the short story, and is loosely based on her experience of co-skippering a small yacht around the Irish Sea.
Copies of the book will be available to buy, and it’s an easy gift to wrap so bring your pocket money.