I’m delighted that my poem ‘Sky Blues Bus’ will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Words and Music on 3rd October 2021, a feature on Coventry and Transport as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival. ‘Sky Blues Bus’ is published in my pamphlet Birmingham Canal Navigation (Knives Forks & Spoons) and was commissioned by the Centre for Travel Writing Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Warm thanks to everyone involved.
‘Sky Blues Bus’ is written partly ‘in the voice of’ the bus which carried Coventry City Football team through Coventry following their historic victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the 1987 FA Cup final. It also references the bombing of Coventry in 1940 during the second world war. Rory Waterman, discussing this poem in his review of Birmingham Canal Navigation in PN Review, says ‘Our heritage is part of our present, and Yates crashes one into another’. I wrote the poem after encountering the bus in the marvellous Coventry Transport Museum.
There are a handful of tickets left for my Poetry Business digital workshop on Wed 4th August (11am BST). You can book here. Really looking forward to it.
Thanks to David Belbin for his review of my pamphlet Another Last Word, on the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature website. I must get hold of those Thom Gunn letters – reading David’s review has taken me back to the poems.
Thanks also for Sam Smith for his review of Birmingham Canal Navigation in the latest issue of The Journal.
Thanks to Rory Waterman for his review of my pamphlet Birmingham Canal Navigation in PN Review 259. ‘Our heritage is part of our present, and Yates crashes one into another.’ Sounds right.
I’m very much looking forward to leading an online poetry workshop tomorrow morning for the Poetry Business. I’ve already seen the list of writers who have signed up, and it’s going to be great.
Here’s my new collection, Another Last Word, a chapbook published by The Red Ceilings Press. A limited edition of 40 numbered copies. Thanks to Mark Cobley.
‘I never thought you were going to start making poetry out of your own hopelessness’ – Gillian Yates
‘I laughed out loud as well as now and then wincing. Individually they’re like when some cartoons become art, like ‘Lost Consonants’ in the Guardian, but they’re even more than that altogether, the way the poems work with each other. I could see you reading them in Dictionary Corner on Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown, though you’d have to win X Factor first, to be invited on’ – Peter Sansom
Poems from the front line of a long-term relationship in and out of lockdown. A survival guide, perhaps. Featuring a walk in the rain, a bar of expensive chocolate, The Beatles Revolver, the Tai Chi sword form, a cucumber, a suitcase, revolving doors, War and Peace, poppadoms, wet lettuce and a box of new colouring pencils. Cliff Yates’s poems have sometimes featured dialogue; this collection consists almost entirely of dialogue. Fragmentary, Zen-like, cartoonesque, highly-wrought poems, where authorship is questioned and responsibility shared.
I have six new poems on M58, some of which will appear in my forthcoming collection Another Last Word. Thanks to Andrew Taylor.
Great to have five new poems on Litter. They’re from my new collection, which is due out in a few days. Thanks to Alan Baker
I’ve just come across another review of Birmingham Canal Navigation on Sphinx. It’s written by Matthew Paul, and you can find it here. Entitled ‘The Iruption of Memory, it begins: ‘As Roy Fisher had Birmingham River, so Cliff Yates has Birmingham Canal Navigation, a Sinclairesque, psychogeographical peregrination around the city of his birth and upbringing, and nearby Coventry…’
I just came across this review on Sphinx, of my new collection Birmingham Canal Navigation. Thanks to Ramona Herdman, and to Happenstance Press. The review begins: ‘These poems feel real to me. I believe in their Birmingham. I believe in Luke and the frisbee. I don’t care whether everything really happened exactly as set down…’