Three poems by Wendy Pratt

Our future is a free flying kite or a gull or a scarf on the wind. I bend gracefully to thank and smile, thank and smile; a ballerina in a music box. That night I unpin my hair, in a ritual undressing, a re-virgining of my whole self, it seems absolutely right that the roots at my scalp ache, as if some pain is necessary. We lay together in the room with the panoramic views stretching sea wards. The next day we joke, we hope.   It’s on both sides, the problem.

Standing in front of the glass my image was reflected back

I’d managed to misjudge my arrival and now the whole Brontë museum was swarming with school parties; little children eager for a day away from school but too young to really understand the Brontë legacy. This was the second time I’d visited Haworth and I felt the same sudden anti-climax at the ordinariness of the parsonage; how it was a real brick building on a real street in a real town. The Haworth parsonage of my imagination was battered by a cruel easterly wind and brooded under a sky reflec

Jess and Joe Forever review at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough – 'funny and poignant'

Misha Butler and Kate Hargreaves in Jess and Joe Forever at Stephen Joseph Theatre. Photo: Tony Bartholomew Jess (Kate Hargreaves) and Joe (Misha Butler) want to tell their story. It’s a story about not fitting in, about transformation, about how two kids from opposite ends of the social spectrum can find each other in the short-lived days of summer holidays and how sometimes friendship is more solid than family, even if it is for just two weeks a year. Jess has an au pair and boards at a posh

Why are we so keen to diagnose Emily Brontë?

2018 marks 200 years since Emily Jane Brontë was born in Thornton near Bradford. There have been many celebrations of her life and work around the world, especially at the Brontë Parsonage where she lived and died along with her two sisters who, together, produced novels and poems that resonate down the centuries. Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, a passionate, disturbing and dramatic Gothic tale of love, desire, rejection and class. You could argue that she was the first writer to introduce the i

Review: Love, Loss and Chianti, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

If anyone was going to bring the sharp, erudite poetry of Christopher Reid to life in a stage adaptation of The Scattering and The Song of Lunch, it would be Robert Bathurst. He revels in the opportunity to extract the precise, elegant language of Reid’s work, and rolls it over his own tongue like butter off a silver spoon. It is beautifully done, the cadence and construction of the poetry fused with Bathurst’s own brand of stage-skill works perfectly. The production consists of two halves. In

Why This Severed Hand Is So Glorious

You would be forgiven for not knowing anything about the Hand of Glory—after all, there is supposedly only one in the world, and it resides in the Whitby Museum, an eclectic Victorian place on the Yorkshire coast of England. Grayish-brown and displayed palm down, with the fingernails clearly visible and the wrist bones protruding, the hand has dulled with age and the preservation process. According to myth, it was used to induce household inhabitants into an enduring sleep so their home could be

Review: A Brief History of Women, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

“This is the first time that I’ve written a play with a house as the central character,” says Alan Ayckbourn of his new comedy, A Brief History of Women. In his 81st play, Ayckbourn transports us across 60 years – a nod to this being his 60th year at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, perhaps? The play is about the women who revolve around the only character to appear in each segment, Anthony Spates, played wonderfully by Antony Eden. It shines a light on the roles and obstacles faced by women through

Poet Lemn Sissay talks to

‘We have to shout poetry from the rooftops, revolution is in poetry.’ I am sitting in Manchester’s Malmaison hotel bar, uncharacteristically early and very nervous. I’ve been on the train for two hours in order to slot in a half hour interview before getting back on the next train to Filey. It’s a long journey for a short visit, but that’s how much I want to meet the poet Lemn Sissay. At Malmaison, the air conditioning is cool, the tables squat, black, trendy. There is lots of red leather and

Lyricism and Lyrics: Sylvia Plath and Kathryn Williams

Northern Soul’s Poetry Correspondent, Wendy Pratt, talks to singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams about Hypoxia, an album written to mark the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Williams will be performing at the Manchester Literature Festival this weekend. Sylvia Plath was one of the writers who opened up poetry for me. I first read her work many years ago when I was in the midst of a horrific bout of depression. It was like someone cracking into the tomb in which I was only half ali