April 27th - Egg Box Special Event

Our next CB1 Poetry event is an open mic evening at The Punter on Tuesday April 27th, which in addition to the single-estate-varietals of our open mic slots promises a spellbinding Egg Box Poets' Easter Extravaganza with readings from Ben Borek, Agnes Lehoczky and Nathan Hamilton

Run by poet Nathan Hamilton, Egg Box is an independent poetry publisher based in Norwich. A talented and influential young poet in his own right, Nathan will be reading some new work and introducing CB1 to two of Egg Box's finest, Ben Borek and Agnes Lehoczky, both reading from a selection of poems including sneak previews of exciting works in progress.

Here are photographs of the three readers in a variety of different settings:

Ben Borek was born in in Camberwell in 1980. He has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and has read at the Latitude poetry festival and his book, Donjong Heights, was a cult hit of 2007, featuring on BBC Radio 4 and in London's TimeOut, among many others. He lives in London, where he teaches and is currently working on his second verse novel.

Agnes Lehoczky was born in 1976 in Budapest. Station X and Medalion, her first two short collections, were published in Budapest, by Universitas, in 2000 & 2002. Her first full collection in English, Budapest to Babel, was published by Egg Box in 2009 to critical acclaim and she is currently working on her second title, which will be out in 2010/2011.

Nathan Hamilton runs Egg Box Publishing and is chairman of the board for Inpress, representing 40+ independent publishers in the UK. He programmes the Richmond Upon Thames Book Now literature festival and works for poetry magazine The Rialto. His poetry and criticism have been published in a number of places, in print and online, including Poetry London, the Manhattan Review, nth position, the Guardian and the Spectator.

May 11th - Sheenagh Pugh and Daniel Hardisty

Sheenagh Pugh was born in 1950 and lives in Shetland. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Id's Hospit (1997); Stonelight (1999), winner of the 2000 Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award; The Beautiful Lie (2002), shortlisted for the 2003 Whitbread Poetry Award; and The Movement of Bodies (2005), shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her Selected Poems was published in 1990; Later Selected Poems was published in 2009.

Sheenagh Pugh also translates poems, mainly from German but also from French and Ancient Greek, and is the author of two novels: Kirstie's Witnesses (1998) and Folk Music (1999). Her book, The Democratic Genre, published in 2005, is a critical study of fan fiction as a literary genre.

"Pugh is a cool, elegant poet. Her often quirky elisions and voyages have a quiet poignancy" – Poetry Wales

"Pugh's poetry evinces that fine quality of light which makes you feel while it lasts a special sense of freedom" – W S Milne, Agenda

Daniel Hardisty was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1978. He studied English and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia from 1996 to 2000. His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto, New Welsh Review, Orbis, Envoi, UEA’s Reactions series and elsewhere. He is currently working on his first collection.


[Tuesday 11th May 2010, Michaelhouse, Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm £5/£3]

from "Murat Reis"

That city: brick, grey stone.
When the wind was right,

it breathed the sweetness
of brewery malt.

Each winter, canals froze
under heavy linen skies;

boys’ skates scribbled
grisaille on the ice.

A street brazier’s red
warmed his hands, stung his eyes.

Sheenagh Pugh; taken from Long-Haul Travellers (Seren 2008)


I am so temporary
even the mayfly laughs at me.

I leave myself on towels,
my fingerprints raise like steam.

My houses are hotel rooms.
My marriages hotel room rentals.

My biography an answerphone message,
or a label on a jar.

My children floating dandelion pods
that play in the summer gusts,

and come to rest
on the earth’s brute cheek.

Every word I speak is the detune
before the radio’s clear pitch.

I drop like a stone through
the mirror’s ripple.

Daniel Hardisty

Mario Petrucci and John Lyons

Mario Petrucci is a Selwyn physicist, an ecologist, Arvon tutor and the only poet to have held residencies at the Imperial War Museum and BBC Radio 3. A genuine and memorable performer, he brings innovation and excitement to language whose subjects are by turns uplifting and harrowing, but always powerfully rendered. Shrapnel and Sheets (Headland) won a PBS Recommendation, while Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl (Enitharmon) captured the Daily Telegraph/ Arvon Prize and is the subject of an internationally award-winning film by Seventh Art.

"Inflicts on the reader the finest sort of shock, not just to the senses, but to the conscience, to the soul... necessary, cathartic and profound" – Poetry London

Flowers of Sulphur (Enitharmon) won both the Arts Council Writers and New London Writers Awards. i tulips (due 2010) has received praise from both sides of the Atlantic, with the rarity of an endorsement from Roy Fisher.

"Projects a fierce and utterly modern lyricism to confirm his place among the most vital and thrilling of contemporary poets" – Perdika Press


An entertaining and powerful performance poet, John Lyons is also known nationally and internationally as a painter and Caribbean cook and has recently launched Cook-up in a Trini Kitchen, which sensationally combines the poetry of food and language. He enjoys the rarity of endorsement that falls to poets like Mario Petrucci:

Poems "made from the tough materials and the tough language of folklore and custom. Say them aloud and improve your English as well as your Trinidadian" – Roy Fisher

"In hauntingly beautiful language, John Lyons recounts snippets of Caribbean life through poems which dance in the memory long after the book is closed" – Valerie Bloom

[Tuesday 9th March 2010, Michaelhouse, Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm £5/£3]

from Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl

That reactor, says Ivan, is deliverance.
Will spawn new words. Chernobylite.
I tell him

they will hang us like overalls on his new words –
so they can always find us and put us away.

Ivan is shaking his big head. But think, he says,
of our genius children. They will be called

out of bed by their friends. Just to see them stand
there in nightclothes, a pale blue ember. A splinter

of dawn.

Mario Petrucci

Trini Wisdom

In the evening shadows
of Toco’s wild bush,
where the quenk and gouti run,
a wake stirs the trees
and the macaque adds
its descant screeches to the dirge.

Someone is left
to gather a shattered life
in this vigour of flora,
this dance of fauna;
and Trinis continue
wining their bodies
to soca and parang,
to maco-talk
and mauvais langue.

John Lyons

Richard Berengarten and Isobel Dixon

Born in London into a family of musicians, Richard Berengarten (formerly Burns) has lived in Cambridge for 40 years, as well as in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Croatia and the USA. In 1975 he founded the international Cambridge Poetry Festival, an event that lasted a decade. In 2008, the first five volumes in his Selected Writings series appeared from Salt: For the Living, The Manager, The Blue Butterfly, In a Time of Drought and Under Balkan Light.

"...visionary and restless, Berengarten is one of those fearless poets whose utter trust in honesty and clarity is, at times, breathtaking, at times heartbreaking." – John Burnside

In November 2009, the International Literary Quarterly published translations of his poem Volta into 75 languages. Richard is now working on a collection of short poems about hands entitled Manual and a bigger collection based on I Ching. The Salt Critical Companion to Richard Berengarten is due in 2010. Winner of Gregory, Wingate-Jewish Quarterly awards, Duncan Lawrie and Keats Memorial prizes, two Arts Council Fellowships, and the Great Lesson and Morava Charter prizes, Richard is a Bye-Fellow at Downing College and former Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newnham. (website) (profile)

"one of the major poets writing in English in the early years of the new millennium. There is no other voice like his." – Anthony Rudolf

"The Blue Butterfly is a magnificent book. The volumne is suffused with hope and bravery; and examines ethnic cleansing and mass hatred in a way that is particularly relevant." – Poetry Review

Isobel Dixon grew up in South Africa, where her prize-winning debut Weather Eye was published. She now lives in Cambridge and works in publishing. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Manhattan Review, Southwest Review, Dreamcatcher and Wasafiri, among others. She was commissioned to write poems for the British Film Institute, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Penguin’s Poems for Love (October 2009), The Forward Book of Poetry 2009, and the pamphlets Unfold and Ask for It by Name.

Her latest collection A Fold in the Map is published by Salt. Her website is www.isobeldixon.com.

"Poems that bring a sensual physicality together with lively, startling imagery." – Mail and Guardian, South Africa

"characterised by cultivation of sensuous natural imagery... 'the precious milk and honey of nostalgia'... Dixon's gift is in the presentation of a palpable, earthy presence and its accordant pathos of memory or displacement...

the transposition of Cambridgeshire and Africa produces... felicitous moments of dislocation" – PN Review

[Tuesday 9th February 2010, Michaelhouse, Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm £5/£3]

Paleolithic Venus / Grainy Photo

Here is the paleolithic Venus of Lower Věstonice
in her padded box placed on the concrete windowsill
of the 4th floor office of the Director of the Museum
of Moravia    Brno    Czechoslovakia    March 1977
discovered July 1925     under a layer of ash

her left leg broken off     estimated
the oldest clay-fired ceramic in the world
moulded between 27,000 and 31,000 years ago
before Mnajdra    before Lepenski Vir    before Atlantis
and the living left hand next to her is mine

Richard Berengarten

Back in the Benighted Kingdom

I’m sorry to see
my mosquito bumps fade:
the love bites of a continent,
marks of its hot embrace.

If anything is dark,
it’s this damp island
with its sluggish days,
its quieter, subtler ways
of drawing blood.

Isobel Dixon