April was the cruelest month…

I began running a creative writing class from the social care unit at the Union Chapel, London in 2005. You may well know the building as a cool, Islington venue that’s hosted the likes of Amy Winehouse, Noel Gallagher, Tom Jones and Philip Glass but it’s also been home to the Margin’s Project, a crisis centre that offers housing advice and a winter night shelter.

This is Piazzale Loreto…

This is the spot where Mussolini was strung up at the end of the second world war. This is also Piazza Quindici Martiri where the bodies of fifteen ordinary Milanese civilians, killed by the fascists in retaliation for partisan activity, had been put on public display as a warning by Il Duce’s henchmen one yearContinue reading “This is Piazzale Loreto…”

Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Milano

We performed ‘My Name Is Swan’ with a live slideshow compiled by filmmaker Adam Carr as part of Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Milano at MUDEC. We’ll be taking this event on tour after the film premiere at the East End Film Festival on 25th June. We’re doing a reading and Q&A at Teatro FilodrammaticiContinue reading “Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Milano”

The Importance of Being Elsewhere

The first time Chelsea won the league I wasn’t there. I really wasn’t there, most of us weren’t. The second time (within living memory) I wasn’t there either. I was on stage at a festival in Italy. After the show, I went backstage and found that someone had nicked my Chelsea towel from the dressingContinue reading “The Importance of Being Elsewhere”

Some Italian facts about swans…

The last known ‘breeding pair’ of Italian swans were spotted on Lake Como in 1974. Their union had been blessed by the church in 1969. It was later discovered that both swans were in fact male. The church declined to comment. It is believed the poet Dante once fell in love and proposed to aContinue reading “Some Italian facts about swans…”

This is Steve Micalef…

He is the greatest poet in London. He may not be the best poet in London but he is undoubtedly the greatest. He has never had any aspirations to be either, he has gone out of his way to be neither. He hasn’t wasted time or money entering competitions, he would never consider submitting carefulContinue reading “This is Steve Micalef…”

Milan in May

13 maggio – Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Milano – MUDEC, Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milano – 19:20 h 15 maggio – The Swan – Piazzale Loreto, 9, 20100 Milano – (prestazioni private) 19:30 h 16 maggio – Teatro Filodrammatici – Via Filodrammatici, 1, 20121 Milano – 19:15 h

Toward Grand Central

Novelist Zina Rohan reads an extract from a long poem – a half-fictionalised commentary on the affair between the poets George Barker and Elizabeth Smart. Both published an account of their relationship: on one side an out of print novel and on the other a highly acclaimed novella. This poem does not set out toContinue reading “Toward Grand Central”