Matthew Caley and Rychard Carrington on 11th March 2008
Matthew Caley's first collection Thirst (Slow Dancer, 1999), described by Time out as "a joy, comic, witty, even touchingly poignant", was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. The work has been acclaimed as offering "stunning invention and remarkable versatility" (Sophie Hannah), "shaped and honed to a mosaic brilliance" (Ken Smith). His latest collection, The Scene Of My Former Triumph (Wrecking Ball, 2005) has received highly enthusiastic reviews in leading poetry publications, with Poetry London calling it "drop dead brilliant" and Magma commending that "from the first page to the last the book crackles with linguistic invention".

'The Late Great Townes Van Zant'

Talent is belligerent
and grinds the body to gruel.
No fool Townes Van zant.
The modality of his yodel like trying to lassoo ghee.

“One tour-de-force is welcome in a collection, there may well be a dozen in this one. Formally outrageous, culturally light-fingered, Matthew Caley's vision and wit make for poems that turn a wondrous, great lamp on the inter-relatedness of all things. In doing this, he aims to stretch English to its full, muscular extension. Caley is a rare beast, an important poet yet to be discovered by his true readership, which is to say everyone. Read this encomium of delights and be glad.” – John Stammers

Rychard Carrington is well known in Cambridge for his highly inventive poetry and at times outlandish readings, which push the notions of poems' self-awareness and instability firmly into the performative domain. Expect a distinctive, by turns wry and by turns challenging reading from a writer who sums himself up like this:

Rychard Carrington is ninety per cent water. He has written poems in the morning, in the evening, and occasionally in the afternoon. His work is popular in the north and south, but less so in the east and west.


There’s too much irony in the world today
Apart from that, things are pretty much alright.

The event also features short poem floor spots, books for sale and a licensed bar. Doors open at 7:30pm.

Special Event - Brian Turner, Tuesday 25th March, Michaelhouse

CB1 Poetry is pleased to announce a special additional event on Tuesday 25th March at 8pm at the Michaelhouse. This is the day after Easter Monday and five days after the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We have been lucky enough to secure a reading by the American poet Brian Turner, who is on a limited tour of the UK - this will be his only reading in East Anglia.

Brian Turner’s poetry collection, Here, Bullet has recently been published in this country by Bloodaxe Press. Brian was a soldier for several years and spent a year as a team leader with an infantry unit in Iraq. His collection is unique in its exploration of what life in the middle of such a conflict is like for both the ordinary soldier and civilians.

This collection has won several prestigious awards in the States and Sarah Crown, when reviewing the collection in The Guardian, said:

"Turner proves himself an ideal chronicler, eloquent and detached. Above all, he affords dignity to the participants through acknowledgment of their individuality, giving names, recognising relationships, delineating histories. The power of this collection extends far beyond its harrowing subject-matter."

The New York Times Book Review said:

"The day of the first moonwalk, my father's college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they'll send a poet, and we'll find out what it's really like.’ Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon—the war in Iraq—and deserves our thanks..."

A Q&A session after the reading will give you the opportunity to put your questions to this exceptional poet and discover some more of the background to his unique work. For more information about Brian Turner's work, please visit

N.B. As this is an extra event unfortunately we are unable to offer concessions at this reading, so all tickets will be £5.

A Soldier’s Arabic

This is a strange new kind of war where you learn
just as much as you are able to believe. ( E. Hemingway)

The word for love, Habib, is written from right
to left, starting where we would end it
and ending where we might begin.
Where we would end a war
another might take as a beginning,
or as an echo of history, recited again.
Speak the word for death, Maut,
and you will hear the cursives of the wind
driven into the veil of the unknown.
This is a language made of blood.
It is made of sand, and time.
To be spoken, it must be earned.

Brian Turner

Pat Borthwick and Kate Rhodes on 8th April 2008

Pat Borthwick was awarded a Hawthornden fellowship in 2003. She has published two full length collections, Between Clouds and Caves (Littlewood Arc, 1990) and Swim (Mudfrog, 2005). She is also the author of numerous pamphlets and her latest, Wave (Hearing Eye) was a prizewinner in the 2007 Templar poetry competition.

When I look through my telescope,
spiral galaxies and comets, planets,
things I cannot see, slide down the tube,
and, through the black hole in my iris, enter me.

(from A Reasonable Question for the Poet to Ask the Visiting Speaker on Optics at the Astronomical Society Meeting)

“This is a marvellous and marvellously enjoyable collection: clear-eyed, insightful, witty and often moving. Whether writing about the man who collects teapots or the couple with their Monet, whether visiting a geriatric ward or 'passing on the tickle', Pat Borthwick's writing manages to stay surprising and assured’.” – Peter Sansom

Like Pat, Kate Rhodes has been awarded a Hawthornden fellowship for her work. Her poems have appeared in The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday, and she won third place in the 2007 Bridport Prize. Enitharmon published Kate’s first full collection, Reversal in 2005. The book moves confidently across an eclectic range of subjects from a portrait of Alfred Wallis to a one-to-one dialogue with Damien Hirst's shark, all written in a style that Don Paterson commends as "pared to the bone, elegant and precise."

“honest, direct, and deeply moving” (Jo Shapcott)

“powerful images combined with a real freshness and clarity of language” (Peter Forbes)

Kate’s second collection The Alice Trap will be published by Enitharmon later this year.

The event also features short poem floor spots, books for sale and a licensed bar. Doors open at 7:30pm.