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A Magazine for Sheffield

Liam Barker


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In the COVID-tinted summer of 2020, I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with an MA in Creative Writing that was dedicated to poetry. Before this, I studied a BA in English at the University of Liverpool.

As an undergraduate I dabbled in journalism, reviewing anything from raves to book readings, as well as an odd assortment of bands and gigs. As a postgraduate, whilst developing as a poet, I took the chance to become a member of the Royal Exchange Theatre's 'Young Company’ for a year.

I currently live in my hometown of Glossop in the Peak District (Derbyshire), just to the east of Greater Manchester. Glossop is sometimes referred to as ‘the Gateway to the Dark Peak’ but is also something of a semi-suburban satellite town to Manchester.

Like Glossop, I have been held and shaped by Manchester's distinctive gravitational pull my whole life. It lingers in the background of many of my poems and other pieces of writing, often as an omnipresent but ill-defined force, like looking at the sky through a translucent pane of glass.

In reality, I know many of Manchester's idiosyncrasies. However, I still feel the curious ticking of an outsider’s excitement when walking its streets. Manchester produces in me an unfaltering feeling of familiarity but also manages to exude an evergreen exoticism; it is from this dichotomy that so much of what I think and write about the city arises.

Secure in its orbit yet floating in the peripheries as the perennial outsider from the satellite town, I intend to observe Manchester through the prism of its art and culture, which is surely the best way to take the measure of any place, anytime. I intend to candidly commentate—as a conscientious Now Then writer—on my continuous passage across the captivating face of this nuanced, outspoken, and ever-evolving city.