Praise for Sheffield Almanac

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Reading on location from the Almanac at the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival 2017. Photo: Marianthi Makra

It’s one year since my pamphlet Sheffield Almanac was published and it has just been reviewed online for a third time. This brief post is just to summarise those reviews and link off to the full versions in case you’d like to read them.

The first review appeared last summer on the blog of my friend, the musician and writer MJ Hibbett, whose observations include the following:

“Sheffield Almanac” was ASTOUNDING. I guess I should have known it would be – I’ve seen and THOROUGHLY enjoyed Pete doing poetry at gigs – but this was really something else altogether. It was MOVING, FUNNY, full of THORTS and really pretty bloody GRATE. As I say, I went in afeared that I would have to GRIND through Proper Poetry, but it was a breeze of a read which moved me to actual real-life TEARS at various points, and also made me say “HA!” out loud several times.

Please do go on and read the whole thing if you fancy a bit more of that.

A second write-up followed at Dense Weed, a blog by Will Vigar. I don’t know Will in person but he was good enough to include a poem of mine in an anthology called Absent Ginsberg which he published a couple of years ago. Praising the Almanac as “sublime”, Will focuses on its shifts of perspective between the personal and the collective:

At once, it describes individual and community experience; a sort of social synecdoche that somehow manages to avoid the traps of patronising its audience. There is some seriously deft writing here that can speak of both individual experience and group psychology at the same time without belittling the experience of either.

Again, you can read the review in full here should you wish.

Finally Ian Badcoe, who I know through Sheffield’s monthly Gorilla Poetry night, has just published an insightful and quite detailed review over at his blog. It walks you through the Almanac‘s four chapters and talks a bit about form and tone:

There is a great deal wonderful about this pamphlet. At the outermost layer I love the nonpartisan approach. Pete neither eulogises, nor condemns the city; but neither do they withhold judgement where required. This is an important characteristic for approaching both poetry and life: nothing is 100% good, nothing is 100% bad, and only in recognising that can we get close to reality.

And here once more is a link to the entire thing if you’d care for a longer read. Thanks to Mark, Will and Ian for all their kind words about the pamphlet.

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