Michael Blackburn, poet, writer, lecturer, occasional publisher (founding editor of Sunk Island Publishing), Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. Regular guest on Siren FM’s Inspired on Air programme.
Writer of the Currente Calamo column of The Fortnightly Review. Most recent poetry collections: Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press, 2016); poems in Something Happens, Sometimes Here: Contemporary Lincolnshire Poetry, ed. Rory Waterman (Five Leaves Publications, 2015).
Prose: Sucks To Your Revolution (ebook on Kindle – a selection of my articles at The Fortnightly Review).
Personal papers now housed in the Special Collections at the University Library of Leeds (2014).
Previous form includes: Literature Animateur for Lincolnshire, director of various literary festivals, editor of Stand Magazine, poetry editor of Country Life, Writer in Residence on the Internet, workshop tutor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lincoln University (2005-2008).
You can read many texts for free online at Scribd.
The brittle rock holds up
its own dark nature, so full of friction
you feel you could climb
with naked fingers and feet
to the highest zone of attrition.
In this clean Hebridean light
extending through nameless blues
of sea and air, the burn has dwindled
to a thing white stillness, and from the soft
surrounding brown of its heather
Somewhere on a steep grey slope scree
tinkles and rolls from a walker’s boot.
You tilt your head, abruptly aware,
gravity’s hunger, under it all.
A FULLER BIO:
Publications include: The Constitution of Things; Why Should Anyone Be Here And Singing?; Backwards Into Bedlam; The Lean Man Shaving; The Prophecy of Christos; The Stone Ship; The Ascending Boy; Organising Literary Events; Big on the Hawkesbury; Pocket Venus; Spyglass over the Lagoon; Said Marlow Suddenly.
Performance Art (as founder-member of The Angstrom Unit and solo) & Exhibitions of Collage 1970s: Impromptu Demosthenes, Abstract Depressionism, Last Night in Vienna, The Decline & Fall of the British Empire, The Anatomy Lesson; The Breadline Gallery, Rodley; The White Elephant Gallery, Leeds; Leeds Polytechnic; Creative Arts North Festival, Leeds. Exhibitions & performances, etc at Harding House (Lincoln) and MAC (Midlands Arts Centre).
Articles, reviews and poems in various places including the Guardian, The Independent, London Magazine, Noorus (Estonia), La Carta De Oliver (Argentina), The Echo Room, Iron, The North, Poetry Salzburg Review, Stand Magazine, Stone Soup, Maxy’s Journal (USA), Great Works (online), Exultations And Difficulties (online), Sein Und Werden; interviews and poems broadcast on Poetry Now (Radio 4), BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Siren FM, Slovak Radio and Radio Wildfire.
Readings and appearances at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), The Morden Tower (Newcastle), Brighton Festival, York City Art Gallery, The Bretton Hall Literature Festival, Apples & Snakes (London), Troubador Poets (London), The London Musicians’ Collective, Essex University, Derby Literature Festival, Wolds Words, Levoca Poetry Festival (Slovakia), LSE Literary Festival, etc.
Full-time Editor, Stand Magazine, 1982-86; Co-organiser, Morden Tower Readings (Newcastle), 1985-86.
Founder/Editor, Jackson’s Arm poetry press (1985) and Harry’s Hand magazine (1987-1990).
Founder, editor and publisher of Sunk Island Publishing (est. 1988), issuing Sunk Island Review (1988 – 1997), a sporadic paperback of new fiction, poetry, reviews, articles, translations and graphics and featuring writers such as Jonathan Coe, Vaclav Havel, Ken Smith, Carol Rumens, Martin Stannard, Colin Wilson, etc; and Sunk Island Books, including Hallowed Ground by Robert Edric and Radio Activity by John Murray, etc.
Included in various anthologies, eg Forward Book Of Poetry 1993 (Forward Publishing), Poems of the Decade (Forward Publishing), Dear Next Prime Minister (Bloodaxe), The Long Pale Corridor (Bloodaxe), High on the Walls (Bloodaxe), Klaonica: Poems for Bosnia (Bloodaxe), Settling The Score (Five Leaves Press), By Grand Central Station We Sat Down And Wept (Red Squirrel Press), Being Alive (Bloodaxe).
Projects commissioned for the web include The Last of Harry (as Writer In Residence On The Internet, c/o Arts Council/Channel, 1995); Return to Eskeleth (for The Poetry Society of Great Britain) and Mike Fabulous And His Famous Friends (for Short Stories – Lincolnshire County Council); The Apples Of Love And Chaos (24-8 East Midlands Writers Tour 2003); Portrait Of The Artist As A Cyborg (Arts Council 2004) – included on this site. Portrait Of The Artist As A Cyborg received its first full public performance at the University of Lincoln as part of the Lincoln Book Festival, 2007.
Other assorted stuff: organiser of The Smallest Arts Festival In The World, held at our previous house in Lincoln, featuring 20 artists and writers from all over the UK: a tape of the proceedings still available. Founding member of NALD (National Association for Literature Development). Director/Co-ordinator of various events in Lincolnshire, including the first Lincoln Literature Festival (1992); Celtic Visions; Writing Lives – A Festival of Biography, etc. Men (aka Saturday Night at The Crown Posada) – text for a limited edition artist’s book by Les Bicknell, commissioned by Essex University.
Delivered workshops, tutorials & lectures in various establishments, including De Montfort University, Lincoln University, Boston College, Lincoln School of Art, Leeds Trinity University, etc.
Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts since 1998.
Royal Literary Fund Fellow & Director of The Writing Centre, University of Lincoln, 2005-2008.
Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016).