Helen Ivory and Angus Sinclair - Tuesday 22nd May

Helen Ivory was born in Luton in 1969 and began to write poems at Norwich School of Art in 1997, under the tuition of George Szirtes. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999 and then disappeared into a field in the Norfolk countryside to look after two thousand free-range hens. When she emerged ten or so years later, she had two collections with Bloodaxe Books and had helped, with her own bare hands, to build several houses. She is an experienced creative writing tutor and workshop leader and has taught both undergraduates and in adult education for around ten years.

'A direct approach, via deep folklore and dream imagery, to the conundrum of being a woman…in keeping with what I think we mean when we say ‘women’s writing.’ This book is mischievously dark, rick with ant-logic and harnessed to the power of something we used to call magic.' Katy Evans-Bush

She has also run workshops in schools and is a freelance tutor and mentor. She is currently an Editor for The Poetry Archive, Editor of the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears, and Academic Director for Creative Writing for Continuing Education at UEA. Her third Bloodaxe Books collection is The Breakfast Machine and her fourth collection is due out in 2013. She lives in Norwich where she helps run CafĂ© Writers – a live literature organization. She is also an artist who specialises in making shadow boxes.

In addition to being a professional wrestler, Angus Sinclair is a photo-artist and a graduate of the Norwich College of Arts. He is currently studying for an MA in poetry at the University of East Anglia. 'Another Use of Canvas' is Angus’ pamphlet-length debut poetry collection which inducts the reader into the bizarre world of professional wrestling.

Angus Sinclair’s debut consists exclusively of poems about professional wrestling. His skills as a poet are already well-developed and it’s apparent from early on in the collection that capturing crisp, emotionally resonant details with the sting of authenticity isn’t much of a problem for him. As well as the ring, poems take place before and after bouts, documenting the preparation and aftermath. (Hand + Star)

'The dusty, melancholy, savage, masque of professional wrestling is the subject here. The writer is himself a wrestler, but unlike most wrestlers, he is also a poet: a unique thing then, the wrestler-poet, furthermore an English wrestler-poet, writing about the body and about England in terms of wrestling, focusing on the ordinary inside the glamorous, the bruise inside the myth.' George Szirtes

Tuesday 22nd May, The Punter, Open Mic floor spots, books for sale. Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm. Tickets on the door only, £4/£3.


We were rag-dolls after school
and passed long winter evenings like this:
father in his armchair with an unlit pipe,
mother in the kitchen pretending to eat,
my sister and I with our small occupations.
We saw little with our button eyes
and spoke even less with our stitched up mouths.
We played at playing till it was time for bed
when mother sewed our eyelids down
so we could get a good night’s rest.
We always woke as our human selves
to find the downstairs rooms had altered too.
A chair unstuffed, a table’s legs all wrong,
and, that one time, kittens gone from their basket;
the mother’s bone-hollow meow.

Helen Ivory


The ring's cross-irons have developed a bend
which exactly matches the curve of your spine.
Your bones creak in conversation with the ring.

I pop your joints back into their sockets. the crack
is like the nut on the turnbuckle as it snaps into place
on the first run of the ropes.

Each time you fall your skin becomes more like canvas.
Dust rises, flecks of blood and ring-rust float like ghosts.

Angus Sinclair