Featured poet: Alan John Stubbs

I first met Alan at a poetry reading group run by Malcolm Carson, at Cakes and Ale. To my shame, I didn’t know he was a poet until he mentioned one day that he’d been in Poetry Review! How about that for modesty! Read what Fiona Sampson says about him! We are delighted to have him at the Symposium. Here’s a bit of bio:

Alan John Stubbs was born in Salford and has lived and worked in Carlisle for the last 28 years. He is a prize winner in the Arvon International Poetry Competition 2008, was a finalist in the Mirehouse Poetry Prize 2007, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His first poetry collection and first collaboration with The Onslaught Press, was the collection the lost box of eyes (2016). Several poems not included in that collection can be found in the Onslaught anthology to kingdom come: voices against political violence (2016). Onslaught also published his second collection ident. He is working on a third collection.

In her preface to the lost box of eyes Editor, Poet, and Biographer Fiona Sampson said “Alan Stubbs writes like no-one else. That’s a hugely important thing to say about a poet. Yet for the poet himself, it can feel like a mixed blessing to be ‘out there’, ‘on a limb’, at the waney edge of practice itself; for all the world like this book’s exiled ‘Ovid at the water’. Another way to say this is that a poet like Stubbs has to have enormous artistic courage. To the quotidian terror of the blank page, he must add the vertiginous realization that every new poem requires from him nothing less than a complete reinvention of poetic form. When I first came across Alan Stubbs’s work, among the submissions to a magazine, I was reading tens of thousands of unsolicited poems a year. I was punch-drunk with the repeated strategies and repetitive ideas that dominated and still dominate if not British verse as a whole, then the whole middle ground of that verse. I was, as any committed reader of verse must be, frequently bored by the riskless, irreproachable poetry I so often found arranged on the page before me. Alan Stubbs’s poetry, by contrast, came searing off the page: restless, energetic, uncomfortable and discomforting, like a call to poetic arms. And so it does today.

(Fiona Sampson Coleshill, 12th February, 2016)

His first collection, the lost box of eyes, can be purchased from the onslaught press here. His second collection, ident, can be purchased here.

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