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Sheffield poetics

The Young Writers' Hub is a new online network for young writers. It provides information about events, publications and opportunities for young writers to take part in other literature development projects running across the region.

Launch of Young Writers Anthology 'Born Listening'

Literature organisation Signposts is very pleased to announce the launch of its young writers anthology, Born Listening. The book features over 60 emerging authors and poets from across Yorkshire. An exciting mix of new writing, both poetry and prose, it contains some of the region's biggest talents.

"Please read this book. It's full of beautiful, powerful, heartfelt and original writing which makes me feel that the future of writing, in these terribly uncertain times, is in safe hands. Keep the book and in 20 years look at the famous names that you read here first." - Ian McMillan

The moor hen wails from a central eddy
of a lake
a dark sky and a dark car on the road
flare together
statues of horses, tall streetlamps
and the slant shadows
of fences
fall gradually to the ground
outside a slow
dumbfound town

Again the hail rises out
high across the marsh
and fate cards
stack wide and blank
at the side of paths
so hollow in the throat
the owl flies
to a dark loch
between two people

under these smoking trees
their faces are sweet and blunt



this moment of waking
far-off consonants
out of swooned dreams
to find fitting vowels

with language it is hard enough
but imagine the imagination
a glass of water simply
no complaints but without the glass

this is not my cat but the landlady's
a bean on a canvas just perfect
curled up like a cat
on my duvet to confound

have a bath without the tub
and landladies' language drowns
the carpet that saturates
I dry up with a vowel


Matter is an annual anthology publishing the best poetry, prose, children's fiction and script from MA Writing students at Sheffield Hallam University. This year's publication marks its 10th anniversary, a fine publication featuring some exciting new writers, alongside big names and guest contributors like Daljit Nagra, Margaret Drabble and Iain Sinclair.

It claims to be a rather 'sexy' publication, and being extremely well designed and visually pleasing, I'm partial to agree. Most pieces are accompanied by a photograph or an image which is an interesting exploration of both form and content and gives the book a sleek, professional feel. The writing is top notch as well, with poems from the likes of MA students Angelina Ayers and Fay Musselwhite sitting easily among the more established poets in the collection. I was particularly enamoured with the short prose of Dean Lilleyman, whose striking and visceral writing was amusing and shocking in equal measures. His short story, YES, opens with 'Billy is having the best night of his life. Everyone will love him, and his girlfriend Anna will change her mind and let him finger her for sure'. The strength in Matter lies in its variety of tone, style and content, while maintaining high quality and encouraging new voices. From Dean Lilleyman's acerbic prose, to Noel Williams piece 'How to Kill Francesca. Twice', an entertaining fantasy piece aimed at children.

This is an excellent publication, and although it serves to encourage new writers from the excellent MA programme at Hallam, it also stands alone and is full of literary gems from writers on the course and elsewhere that will both entertain and disturb. At £4.99, it's a steal and is available at Blackwells, Foyles and Waterstones.


Next article in issue 34

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