Escalator Poetry Competition 2010/11 Winners Event - Tuesday 28th February

For CB1 Poetry's February event, three of the winners of the Writers' Centre Norwich Escalator Award for Poets 2010/2011 will read, plus Chris Gribble Director of the Writers' Centre Norwich will talk about the Escalator Scheme, followed by a Q&A session.

'It is an exciting, very valuable scheme and offers so much to up-and-coming writers' Escalator Judge 2011


Maitreyabandhu won the Keats-Shelley Prize, The Basil Bunting Award, the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and 1st prize in the New Writer Prose and Poetry competition in 2009. He won the Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition in 2010. His article on poetry as a spiritual practice is due out in the spring edition of Poetry Review. He lives and works in the London Buddhist Centre and has been ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order for 20 years. He has written two books on Buddhism.

Tom Warner

Tom Warner was born in Mansfield. In 2001 he won an Eric Gregory Award and graduated from the University of East Anglia’s MA in Creative Writing with Distinction. He received a Faber New Poets Award in 2010 and in 2009-2010 was Poet-in-residence to Newark-on-Trent. A pamphlet of his poetry was published by Faber in 2010. He currently lives in Norwich.

Sarah Roby

Sarah Roby won the Mslexia Poetry Competition in 2009 for her poem The Inland Waterways. Her work features in this year's Templar Anthology and has been admired by Carol Ann Duffy for its 'willingness to experiment and to play.' She has recently completed a verse narrative on the working holidays taken in Happisburgh, North Norfolk, by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson. Sarah developed a crush on this form having read Adam Foulds’ verse narrative The Broken Word. This interest then became the focus for an MA in Creative Writing (Lancaster University) for which she was awarded Distinction. Sarah lives in Norwich.

Tuesday 28th February, The Punter, Open Mic floor spots (limited slots), books for sale. Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm. Tickets on the door only, £4/£3.


The cutting at the end of Crockets Lane
had a meadow on either side, a brow
fringed with blackthorn and a few sheep grazing
in sodden fields below. It carried steam trains
up to Lapworth, before the Beeching Axe
closed the branch lines down; now it was
a brambled ‘v’ overrun with elderflowers
and buddleia. We’d go there blackberrying,
filling colanders and plastic tubs –
the cutting was a good walk from the house,
almost far enough to tire the dogs.
I remember children on the embankment
carrying Union Jacks – silhouetted
against the sky like rows of little soldiers.
They came from all the local infant schools
because we’d heard the Queen would visit Henley
in the royal train. But that can’t be right:
the line came up before I was even born,
only dad remembered steam trains huffing on it.
I took Stephen there one summer; we kicked up
dandelions and it was hot; we got those
sticky burrs stuck to our shorts and socks.
We were looking for somewhere we’d be safe
and out of sight, a cleft beside a pond,
and as we walked two pigeons clattered out.
We waded nettles that reached up to our chest.
I managed to lift his shirt and touch his side,
but he was scared and so was I. And anyway
the train didn’t stop; we just stood there
on the platform while she thundered past.

Sadhu Maitreyabandhu


every mushroom-picking pocket book I find
contains some kind of disclaimer.

Collecting mushrooms to eat is dangerous.
No field guide is ever comprehensive.

So I bought two, and slung them in a rattan basket.
The kind of basket some of the girls at school

would nurse from Home Ec. in the crook of their elbows.
The kind of girls, like Suzanne Galloway, with thick tights

who sometimes carried violins in rigid cases
for lunchtime sessions in the music block.

All welcome.
Open. Optional. Twelve o’clock.

Once, Brett Coupe pulled the heavy doors open wide enough
for us to peer in at girls standing without their blazers,

violins trapped beneath their chins like telephones or windy babies,
and at their feet were cases filled with satin and crushed velvet.

I kick my boots clean outside and leave them at the door.
On the kitchen table I drop a basket full of mushrooms,

some red as blood, some purple and crinkly-edged
some squishy cups like orange water lilies.

I’m pretty sure this one’s an Amethyst Deceiver.
You ask me why I’d take that risk, but I can’t really answer.

Tom Warner


I am pushing the buggy back home and a horn comes from behind
Nice arse they shout What d’you feed it? and in their own comic timing
Cock? which steels me at the back of the chassis, boy and hardback books
as it begins to rain and I attach the cover to the frame so he is warm but
with air holes enough to let a butterfly dance and I continue to push, umbrella
in one hand, buggy in the other and whichever – elbow, hip, pubic bone –
is available to help, which takes me back and down rivulets
to when Europe squared up and she took to the waters
sending cargo down the Grand Union canal with Olga, Sonia, Evelyn and
Emma who knew milk and handcream but hadn’t wanted a job in admin,
loading barges, red, gold and black, belly-flat to the Fenland tides, with
coal and pre-fab houses like a message in a bubble as yet unclapped
of peace with all mod cons although Life was hard goose-bumped and
stomach-shrunk, growing down to keep them warm, as crisp or limp
as an allotment lettuce, damp and rationed until a nudge of muscle
at the bicep, trousers and ciggies, ruddied, dried and coarsening, squatting
in the lives of those with afloat homes, and in particular, a boat man
whose nut-brown gaze levels, holds and whispers Idle Women like a name
and an ask. Now she serves on the Parish Council and under any other
business swings in a hammock, attempting to read the tattoos in the wrinkles,
remembering how the earth moved, this way and that
Ready to catch? back home and he cups his hands in a bowl, palms
creasing the life lines and watches my face as I realise I have thrown
the wear of women too hard and the ball dives fast towards him.

Sarah Roby