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2021 Tears in the Fence Festival

2021 Tears in the Fence Festival

We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be holding the Tears in the Fence Festival Digging Deeper: Roots and Remains on 2nd to 5th September 2021 via Zoom and at the Stourpaine Village Hall, Stourpaine, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 8TA.

Amongst our featured readers and speakers will be Sascha Akhtar, Rae Armantrout, Elisabeth Bletsoe, Vahni Capildeo, Abigail Chabitnoy, Simon Collings, Emily Critchley, Melisande Fitzsimons, John Freeman, Alan Halsey, Jeremy Hilton, Fawzia Kane, Luke Kennard, Geraldine Monk, Mandy Pannett, Maurice Scully, Harriet Tarlo, Carol Watts, Sarah Watkinson.

There will be a celebration of the poetry of Rae Armantrout and Carol Watts. There will be open reading sessions, music, videos, talks, discussion, book signings and Festival bookstall. Amongst the open readers will be Lesley Burt, Paul Matthews, Aidan Semmens, et al.

Festival bursaries are available.

More details at

Sarah Crewe at the Tears in the Fence Festival

Sarah Crewe at the Tears in the Fence Festival

I am thrilled that Sarah Crewe will be reading at the Tears in the Fence Festival, on Friday evening, 24th October. (

Sarah is rapidly emerging as a strong poetic voice. Her uncompromising poetry has a distinct musicality, draws the reader into strange worlds and creates a wonderful fusion of vocabulary and identity to probe, irritate and celebrate. She gives voice to a range of identities and produces a wide range of poetic effects. Ian Brinton has noted her eerie and uncomfortable voice. S.J. Fowler has described her work as a stone’s throw from Maggie O’Sullivan and Geraldine Monk.

Her collections include Aqua Rosa (Erbacce, 2012), flick invicta (Oystercatcher, 2013), sea witch (Leafe Press, 2013) and Signs of the Sistership, with Sophie Mayer (KFS Press, 2014). Her work has also appeared in Shearsman, Tears in the Fence, Molly Bloom, Peony Moon, Litter and Litmus magazines. She co-edited the anthology Catechism: Poems For Pussy Riot (2013) with Mark Burnhope and Sophie Mayer, and the anthology Glitter is a Gender (Contraband, 2014) with Sophie Mayer.

Her poetry, rooted in the Port of Liverpool, which features as a backdrop to her contrary visions of the social world, is characterised by its stunningly luminous language use. She inhabits and lavishes
concentrated sound and language work with vibrant identities.

My wife is the Devil!

tap.rain metal reverb.lost boy daddy-o.
kiefer/brandon/russell raise wax stained
glasses to my branded breath.tap. did
someone say brandy?don’t mind if i do. part-pantheon
homage to the wettest
boldest broad echo runs
12 feet deep.tap.a slash could make
this city toxic.dix-huit soixante-quatre.
tease my tongue i’ll scratch your skin.

Note the distinct and precise notation, recalling early Bill Griffiths, and the unencumbered fluidity of this poem.

Her musical sense is gritty and sparkles with variant female figures, identities pouring forth in splendour to arrest and beguile the imagination. She has a strong sense of the value of Liverpool’s women over time, her heritage, political warriors and goddesses, and speaks from a space of pride and indignation. Her work inspires, has presence and force. Her poems matter and resonate in their intensity.

tap.the sandstone blast sets off my eyes.
cyan circle matches my’s winter
but you wear a spring dress with heels.I
stroke at the walls while you wait
on barbed wire.

I can’t wait to welcome Sarah Crewe to our Festival.

David Caddy 7th October 2014

Anthony Barnett & Barnacles

On Monday 24th September Anthony Barnett gave a reading at the Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall as a contribution to the launch of illustrator Mary Kuper’s new book Barnacles & Dames, an anthology of etymologies, poetry and images. Other poets included in the book are Brodsky, Joyce, Armitage, Muldoon, Adcock, Stevenson, Scupham, Padel and Kaufman.

Anthony read his poem ‘In All Weathers’ which had originally appeared in his collection Carp and Rubato, Invisible Books 1995. The poem is, of course, republished in his recent magnum opus Poems & (Tears in the Fence in association with AB).

As well as reading this major piece Anthony also read J.H. Prynne’s ‘Es Lebe Der König’ which he had published in The Literary Supplement, Writings 1, Nothing doing (formally in London) 1973. This poem by Prynne had originally been published in Peter Riley’s Collection 7 in 1970 before appearing in the Ferry Press publication, Brass.

The reading included the first stanza of ‘At Chartres’ from D.S. Marriott’s Incognegro (Salt 2006) and the first section of Barnett’s own translation of Zanzotto’s ‘Vocative Case’ which can be found in his recently published collected Translations (Tears in the Fence in association with AB) before concluding with the short piece ‘Remembrance’ from Antonyms & Others.


It is with dismay that I think about writing another poem

along these lines. My imperious whore, my visited muse.

I suffer vertigo and nausea in a labyrinth of cleansed dirt.

Anthony Barnett has a regular column in Tears in the Fence and a review of his recent publications can be found in the current issue of The Poetry Review.

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