17 May, 2015



John Foggin
John Foggin author of the award-winning 'Larach', gave the inaugural Káva poetry lecture on a theme of 'Reinventing Poetry'. In a virtuoso lecture which included audience interaction, John's talk included a personal reflection on his time as an English teacher, a paeon to the importance of the oral tradition in poetry and a homage to the work of Andrew Marvell and Tony Harrison. A truly memorable experience. John's lecture is available for sale in pamphlet form for £2.  

28 May

Michael Francis Crowley
Taking as its staring point quotes from Elizabeth Fry and Simon Schama's 'Landscape and Memory', Michael Crowley's lecture focusses on the First Fleet in 1788. Michael's lecture merges historical fact with the voices of historical characters like Jane Fitzgerald, James Ruse and the aborigine Bennelong, to poeticise the experiences of people who are ill-served by dry historical enquiry, or who are barely mentioned in the literature of 18th Century Australia. Michael's humane and ambitious project is a collection of poems to give space to these voices, and his lecture argues forcibly and passionately their right to be heard. Michael's lecture is available at £2 for those who could not make the evening. 

25 June

Sheila Wild

A beautifully written lecture of clear vision and passionate intent. 'The Art of Unsaying' focusses on the white page that foregrounds and frames the poem, teaches us the value of the spare beauty of Japanese poetry, particularly haiku, the elements of Buddhist practice that informs the poet's raison d'etre. Sheila Wild, with many examples from Japanese and Norwegian and English poetry, argues successfully the case against prolixity in English verse and reminds us of the importance of attentiveness in our reader responses, and highlights poetry's exquisite ambigousness. 

30 July

Steve Ely

Steve Ely's ambitious lecture argues for the importance of an authentic idiom for contemporary English poetry that can both pay homage to, and revitalise the language from, the classic English Bibles of the past. The lecture highlights the poetic literary tropes - repetition, parallelism, economy - that make reading bibles such as the king James Version a high and essential literary experience that somehow connects to what Englishness means in terms of culture, history, language, peoples. Steve interweaves his personal journey as a poet into a narrative of high seriousness and parochial passion. A desert island discs selection of his current favourite passages from various bibles adorn this lecture pamphlet. There are a limited number of copies of his lecture available for ordering via this website. A must read from one of England's most interesting and intelligent poets.  

27 August

Sarah Corbett

Sarah Corbett"s lecture - The Wrong Fit - examined the role of both place and people on the development of her writing. As an incomer to the calder valley, Sarah talked of the powerful impact the landscape had on her imagination and the different ways in which Sylvia Plath's and Ted Hughes' poetry affected her own development as a poet. Sarah read from The Red Wardrobe and her verse novel And She Was to demonstrate how a search for home and identity can manifest itself in moving and powerful ways in poetry. The lecture ended on an optimistic note with both a paeon to the landscape in spring around her adopted home and a homage to the nature poems of John Clare. A beautiful lecture.

24 September

Peter Riley

"Peter Riley prefers to be referred to as “writer” rather than “poet”. Born in Stockport 1940, now living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, following a long period in Cambridge.” Peter Riley is author of several poetry books. His latest Due North is shortlisted for this year's Forward Prize for Poetry. Peter is a poetry book reviewer and poetry editor for The Fortnightly Review."

29 October

Ian Duhig

"Ian Duhig was the eighth of eleven children born to Irish parents with a liking for poetry. He has won the National Poetry Competition twice, and also the Forward Prize for Best Poem; his collection, The Lammas Hireling, was the Poetry Book Society's Choice for Summer 2003, and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prize for Best Collection. Chosen as a New Generation Poet in 1994, he has received Arts Council and Cholmondeley Awards, and has held various Royal Literary Fund fellowships at universities including Lancaster, Durham, Newcastle and his own alma mater, Leeds. His poetry is open to a multiplicity of subjects, from Apollinaire to Yorkshire pudding, from string vests to sutras; he has a particular gift for ignoring barriers between subjects that could be thought to be distinct.” 

26 November

Clare Shaw

"In 2006, my first poetry collection was published with Bloodaxe. In the same year, I launched a user-led self-harm training organisation. I continue to work on a freelance basis as a mental health adviser, trainer and consultant. Poetry and mental health might seem like very separate careers. They aren’t. Where they meet is in my passion for language; a passion rooted in my own experiences of lacking the right words to describe who I was, what my life was like, and what I needed. As a young person growing up in difficult circumstances, I found a means of expression in self-injury and other difficult behaviours. Later in life, I discovered how I could make language work for me; as a means of expression and communication, a way of walking in other people’s shoes, learning about – and changing - myself and the world around me.”  

17 December

John Duffy

"John Duffy was born in Glasgow and lives in Huddersfield. He works for Kirklees Libraries as a bibliotherapist, promoting reading as a mental health tool. He was a founding member of the Albert Poets, who perform alone, together and with musicians; run monthly readings in the Albert, the most venerable Huddersfield town centre pub; and run weekly workshops in the Albert and occasionally in other venues. He has run writing workshops for a wide range of community groups, including mental health service users, people with learning impairment and people affected by dementia. He has been published in Scotland and England,in Wide Skirt, West Coast, Scratch, New Writing Scotland, The North, Northlight, Northwords, Stand, Pennine Platform, Cencrastus, Radical Scotland, Lines Review, Envoi, Fatchance, Braquemard, Out From Beneath The Boot, Smiths Knoll and Verse among others and has three collections: Troika 1 (with Paul Donnelly and William Park) - Scratch 1994 Perpetual Light - Spout 1998 The Constancy of Stone - Nepotism Press 2002 The Constancy of Stone was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest 12th International Self-Published Book Awards."

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