Following on from a sold-out Carol Ann Duffy & Friends evening At The Royal Exchange Theatre Studio earlier this month, featuring Owen Lowery, November marks an especially prolific time for poetry at The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met – with four events across the next two weeks alone.

by Emily Oldfield 

Wednesday 21 November sees the arrival of acclaimed American poet sam sax, who as part of the ‘Writers at Man Met’ series, will read and discuss his work with an audience, in a highly anticipated event taking place in the Business School building at Manchester Met.

Multiple-award winning sam is no stranger to delving into personal and profound themes in his work including addiction, desire, death and his experiences as a queer, Jewish writer. His 2017 debut collection Madness won The National Poetry Series, whilst 2018’s Bury It won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Visits from poets of international acclaim such as sam sax emphasize the Manchester Writing School’s recognised status as an organisation celebrating the art of poetry and the diversity of writers within the field.

Another event demonstrating poetry at its most active and engaging is ‘Poetry Emergency: a northwest radical poetry festival’, taking place in Salford and Manchester on 23rd and 24th November 2018. Tearing up the stereotype of poetry being passive on the page, this unique celebration seeks to highlight how poetry can be an agent of change and social charge, with a number of workshops, readings and discussions designed to raise awareness and inspire.

Poetry Emergency will feature some of the most cutting-edge poets and performers of the moment, from across the UK and further afield – including Nathan Walker, Nicola Singh, Nat Raha and Claire Potter to name just a few. Manchester’s own Young Identity will also be in attendance, and the city’s creatives will be further celebrated with a reading in association with local poetry series Peter Barlow’s Cigarette. Plus with performances including musical and sound features from the likes of Tear Fet, THF Drenching and Food People, Poetry Emergency is set to be an eclectic offering.

This first-of-its kind event takes place across the two cities; with Friday 23rd November seeing a day of workshops, seminars and discussion as well as an evening of performance, all based at Salford University’s New Adelphi Studio Theatre. This will be followed by a day of poetry and adjacent performance at Manchester Met’s 70 Oxford Street on Saturday 24th. Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections will also have displays of poetry books and pamphlets available to view in their reading room during the afternoon – offering an opportunity to look at the work of local and alternative presses, and plenty more.

During the following week on the 28 November The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met presents an evening with the university’s own Professor of Creative Writing and award-winning writer Jean Sprackland, who is celebrating the launch of her latest poetry collection Green Noise. Jean is an evident advocate for the public enjoyment and access of poetry; a key figure behind the forthcoming Manchester Poetry Library and already has four previous poetry collections to her name, as well as a book of creative non-fiction.

 The event, which will be held at 70 Oxford Street at Manchester Met, will feature Jean reading from and talking about Green Noise, a collection which takes its name from the mid-frequency component of white noise, known by some as the ‘background noise of the world’. Within the poems, Jean explores our sense of location within the world – whether that is through time, space or nature, the latter being a key theme.

The final poetry feature of the month sees The Manchester Writing School come together with Manchester Muslim Writers to present poet and dramatist Hafsah Aneela Bashir reading from her debut poetry collection The Celox and the Clot on Friday 30th November. This first collection marks a moving and resonant release from Bashir, whose verse does not shy from exposing domestic and political strife. The opening poem, ‘Gulshan-I-Iqbal Park', for example, presents the reader with the brutal image of children killed in a playpark, having become victims of the atrocities of terrorism.

Bashir’s work highlights the force and vision of poetry which fearlessly encounters conflicts both on a world-scale and in a personal dimension – interweaving narratives and using the conceit of journeys significantly within. Her highly-anticipated reading and discussion of her work will take place in room 3.15 at the Business School of Manchester Metropolitan University, in what will underline a profound month of poetry events in association with the Manchester Writing School.