York’s secret history lies in its snickets, passageways, courts and yards – all of those in-between, out of the way routes: walk them and you inhabit history.
In a newly-commissioned sequence of site-specific poems for York Curiouser, John Wedgwood Clarke explores the way people have shaped and been shaped by these transitional places. To read the poems is to haunt these hidden ways and to be haunted by them; to fill yourself with the breath and spirit of an extraordinary city.
“Totally successful – evokes specific places in the city without being too parochial. I envy his precise, economic style. His York is a place of light as much as a place built out of stone. The present is consubstantial with the past here. Oh yes – and I like the little details, the observation. It's just great.”
— Ian Stuart
John Wedgwood Clarke was born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1969. He trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before going on to study literature and completing a D.Phil. in Modernist poetry at the University of York. He set up the Beverley Literature and Bridlington Poetry Festivals, and ran them for ten years, before leaving to pursue a full-time career in writing and editing, as well as teaching Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Scarborough.
His debut pamphlet Sea Swim was published by Valley Press in April 2012, the result of an invigorating artistic initiative described by Carol Ann Duffy as 'a simple and simply beautiful idea.' September 2013 saw the publication of John's highly-acclaimed first full-length collection, Ghost Pot, which featured scenery and wildlife from the North Yorkshire coast.
In June 2014, John's series of poems inspired by the snickets, passageways, courts and yards of York were published in a pamphlet titled In Between, and appeared on the walls of the city as part of the York Curiouser festival.
Date Published: 2014-06-13
Catalogue Number: VP0061
Number of Pages: 30
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover photograph by Chris Jones
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