West North East is the debut full-length poetry collection by Matthew Clegg. A beautifully produced 96-page hardback book, it is available from Longbarrow Press for £12. You can order the book securely by clicking on the relevant button above.
West North East is a book in three parts, each comprising a different approach to ideas of crisis, journey and imaginative crossing. Fugue presents a journey from the periphery towards points off the map. Edgelands charts a border territory, while Chinese Lanterns finds the Edgelands poet returning changed (or estranged) before preparing for a new departure. West North East is an impossible compass direction: a direction only manifest in an imagined or re-imagined world.
The Navigators, Matthew Clegg’s second collection, explores the portals that connect time and place, and meditates on the element of water, as it moves through both. The poems triangulate mental journeys between past, present and projected future. They draw on the dynamic physical geography of Cumbria and the East Yorkshire coast and on the life (and afterlife) of the canals of Leeds and Mexborough. Click here to visit the microsite for the book, and to read (and listen to) a selection of poems from The Navigators.
Here’s a short film for the West North East poem ‘Because I was Nobody’, filmed on location in East Leeds:
Click here to watch two earlier West North East films.
A new West North East audio podcast (recorded on location in Crossgates, East Leeds on one afternoon in May 2014) is now available to hear (click on the orange ‘Play’ button below). The podcast focuses on the poems ‘Because I was Nobody’, ‘Blood and Ice Cream’ and ‘The Last Workday Before Christmas’, each of which marks a specific location in the suburb: a cow field, the car park of the former Vickers tank factory, and platform 2 of the railway station.
You can also listen to two earlier West North East podcasts (recorded on location in North Sheffield and Flamborough Head) here.
During October and November 2014, we serialised Matthew Clegg’s Lost Between Stations (which appeared as a pamphlet and CD from Longbarrow Press in 2011). It comprises seven long narrative poems, focusing on the relationship between predicament and place in and around the city of Leeds. The seventh poem (and an accompanying recording) can be found here.
Elaine Aldred‘s interview with Matthew Clegg (published on her Strange Alliances blog in January 2014) explores the idea of place as predicament, the relationship between poetic idiom and integrity, and the crafting of the sequences in West North East. Click here to read the full interview.
Matthew Clegg’s publications include Nobody Sonnets, Edgelands, Lost Between Stations and West North East, all from Longbarrow Press. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 1997, and was a writer in residence at The Wordsworth Trust from 1999-2001. He has worked as a youth development worker, a project manager and as an Arts Council Literature Officer. He currently teaches creative writing at Derby University and Sheffield University Institute of Lifelong Learning. His poetry moves between narrative and lyric impulses, and it frequently explores a tension between the poetic and the anti-poetic, or quotidian reality. Click here to listen to Matthew Clegg reading from his recent sequences.