22nd March 2016 - Adam Crothers and Ilse Pedler

Adam Crothers was born in Belfast in 1984. He lives in Cambridge, where he completed a PhD in English at Girton College in 2010; he works as a library assistant, literary critic, and teacher. His first collection, Several Deer, was published by Carcanet in January 2016.

'Crothers has a deft ability to be virtuosic and self-effacing, demonstrating control and poetic facility embedded in structure but always underscored by playful wit and arch silliness... '  The London Magazine

'Wild and weird... Crothers’ interest in music (Dylan, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Lennon, Springsteen and Cohen appear) and in end-stopped rhyming lines means his poems bear a positively disturbing relation to the work of his predecessors.'  The Irish Times

Ilse Pedler is a veterinary surgeon living in Saffron Walden. Her work inspires the poems in her debut pamphlet, The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels, the winner of this year’s prestigious Mslexia pamphlet competition. The author uses both free verse and traditional forms like sonnet and sestina to delve into dramatic situations with animals, and their human carers.

A secondary theme runs through the collection, exemplified by the poem Suturing Secrets – the secrets we keep as partners or parents or from those we are close to.

'These poems point to the equality of mammals; the locked cabinets of our bodies, how a neat incision, a skilled turn of the wrist can reveal the hearts of dogs and humans alike. There is tenderness here, and a sense of wonder at the world, that scientists and artists share.'  Helen Ivory


I have plumbed the icy depths that you were probably saving for breakfast.
Fridge magnet haiku / twig in a block of winter / says you’re the bestest.

A later sunbeam will key through leafsmoke: life will roll around it.
Now everything’s locked. Three times this week I knocked the bedside

lamp from its perch; thrice it touched down as on down, its egg-brain unblown.
However devoted, however prepared, I expect I’d return the hijacked plane,

to say nothing of the passengers, in at least slightly improved condition.
The excrement I’ve slung is admired for its range and shine.

The whiff of subtext. Sorry, that was me. It just happened.
It came from the other place. The place where my pitchfork bent

almost to snapping against the teeth of your chimpanzee smile.
Now to apply it to this most important meal.

The honey pilfered by rainclouds. The bulbs in one basket: the bird-hoard.
Who listens to ‘I love you’? Those who, to believe, need not hear it.

Adam Crothers


We are divided into compartments
separated by taut membranes, 

glistening panes of connective tissue,
resilient boundaries.

Today this is damaged, 
anaesthetized, surgically explored.

Your diaphragm is a torn curtain hanging
and like a peepshow I’m drawn to look behind.

In the absence of pressure lungs hesitate
to inflate, do their best to conceal

the frantic convulsions at your core, 
the struggle for rebirth every second.

I look perhaps longer than I should
at the shuddering flesh, the labouring

beauty, then I pull the curtain back over
and suture the secret inside.

Ilse Pedler

2015-2016 Venue

We have a new home for Autumn 2015-Spring 2016. Events will on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8pm, upstairs at the lovely CB2 Bistro Café on Norfolk Street, where there is plenty of room for us to swing a poet or two, and a great bar/café downstairs where you can get all manner of drinks, cakes and savoury delights. Here is our venue information page. Now, we realise there is a slight possibility of confusion, so to be clear... we are still called CB1 Poetry, but we are at CB2 Café, not at our origin/namesake of CB1 Café on Mill Road. Good to get that off our chest...