Friday, 27 July 2012

Portico Poetry Prizes.

We've had a wonderful response to the new prizes and would like to thank everyone who was invested interest in the prize.

The deadline is the 31st of July, so there's still a few days left for entries. After that, judging will commence!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Coming up at the library in August 2012

An Exhibition of Sculpture and Framed Three-Dimensional Works
Fiona Heron

Natural Collection, Fiona Heron, 2012

Fiona Heron is an artist, photographer and landscape architect. Inspired by the intriguing, organic patterns of Nature, Fiona’s creativity is fuelled by a desire to infuse Nature’s poetry into visual expression. Her work embraces the dual influence of Natural and Architectural forms and is enlivened with an elegant formality. Inhabitants of Manchester will already be familiar with her work - as Fiona is the creator of the  11m high bronze Tree of Rememberance that can be found in Piccadilly Gardens.

Fiona makes no distinction between the different fields of her work, be it sculpture, landscape architecture or photography. Rather, she has a central creative vision which is expressed through each chosen medium. Her expression derives from a deeply-felt personal link with Nature and a decisive awareness of how it exists within a distinctive, man-made context. The Fiona Heron Practice strap line – ‘the nature of art and design’ - carries this message with light-hearted ambiguity.

Nest, Fiona Heron, 2012

In the same way that Fiona makes no discrimination between the different aspects of her work, she rejects the division made between science and art: this philosophy is embodied in A Natural Selection. Responding to the historic context of the Portico Library and its internal architecture, the exhibition plays upon a Darwinian reference in bringing together what might be termed a free-standing and framed personal collection of art species. In keeping with the main character of her work, Fiona merges natural and architectural forms with an innovative approach to materials and techniques.

 Preview on Wednesday 1st August, 6pm-8pm

Exhibition continues until 30th August 2012
Admission to preview and throughout the exhibition is free

For further details, phone the Library on 0161 236 6785 or e-mail

Friday, 13 July 2012

Portico Poetry prizes.

The deadline is nearing for the new prizes and we are delighted with the response so far. The Young Prize in particular has had a fantastic response. The Poetry Prize still needs more entries but they are slowly growing in number. 

Those interested in entering the Portico Poetry Prize must do so soon. Don't forget there are great prizes to be won, including £200; £150; £100 and publication.

Forms can be found under the `Portico Poetry Prizes' heading or you can pop in to the library itself and pick one up!

Portico Prize: Alan Forsyth - `Waypoints' review.

by Richy Campbell

Nature, in all its faces, is the primary concern of Waypoints. We read about Nature’s operations, in the elegiac `Suddenly at Burneside’ in the `Dew-laden grass | Laced with sparkling webs of spiders’ necklaces’ in `Lambrigg Spring’ and about her people, from `The reclusive guardian of the warehouse | On Brunswick Dock North’ to the soldier `Travelling untrammelled | By wealth or obligations` in `Travelling Light’.

Forsyth’s eye is panoramic, spreading wide, from across the world he sees and to the inside of the mind. His work brings to mind the Larkin quote `the impulse to preserve lies at the bottom of all art’ with the world in the poems preserved in detail that is intricate, physical and photographic. Indeed the reader sees and smells the `Coal gas and over-heated bodies | encased in oil-soaked overalls’ in `The Black Years: undoubtedly some of the conjurations in these poems would make for an interesting collection of photographs.

Often, there is high commitment to music, which we see in `Brown Gold’; `A luckless un-spent penny, offered boldly by a careless boy'; and `Hunted’:

For something or someone is creeping there,
Too close for ease, in tom-tiddler’s ground
In that zone of unreality
Between light and shade, silence and sound.

With the last example showcasing the poet’s awareness of breath and subtlety, with close reading revealing intricacy in the way the para-rhyme of `ease’ and `unreality’ falls in the lines.

More often than not, the poems maintain their tone, consistent within themselves; an impressive example of this is in the ode to lost love `Ghost Hunting' which deals perfectly with the subject without straying into cliché:

            What sort of future can survive.
            Other than the ritual dance of love
            Performed by proxy lovers
            To the half remembered sounds
            Of our old music?

Converse to this, I feel that similar treatment could have been employed in `Lullaby’ which deals with parenthood. I felt it used tired rhymes `Oh little love | My gentle dove’ and second-hand sentiment `My hand and | Command | A lifetime Of devotion’. There are also other instances where I feel that sometimes certain lines weaken the impact of their precedents such as in `Suddenly at Burneside' where the speech `They always look like that, | The blood sinks to the lower side | When ever they die facing down.' feels unnatural, as if it slips out of tone.

With consideration of all its poems, Waypoints is an intricate and sensitive collection. There is mostly a sense of control within the lines and a personalised dealing with the subjects. It is a collection for human beings and deals with our confusing relationship with Nature and the finality of its control over us. In this instance, how fitting it is that the collection is bookended by the natural polars of life and death, with `Lambrigg Spring’ detailing `The power of the growing Birch tree’ and `When I Have Gone’ addressing a presumed loved to `Have no concern’ after the narrators death.

Portico Library Fundraising Quiz Night!

Come to this summer night of Julian joie de vivre designed to tickle your intellectual palate and send your sensibilities soaring into the stratosphere. Expect serious questions, fun questions, difficult questions, very difficult questions, really really tough questions and a few tasty little teasers. Themed rounds will include, in this bicentenary year, Dickens — of course — as well as other literature and general knowledge.

Food and drinks will be served on the evening to stimulate the brain cells.

Mein host Ed Glinert will first provide the answers—then pose the questions. That’s when it gets even more interesting!

£15 per Ticket. Book by telephone (0161 236 6785), email (, in person or through Eventbrite

Friday, 6 July 2012

Portico Poetry Prizes 2012.

So far we have had great sucess with the Portico Young Poetry Prize with a constant, and growing, number of entries.

We are, however, in need of more for the other prize. The competition is still open, until 31st July, so there is time!

If interested, please see the guidelines and head over to the prize tab at the pages' header to see / print forms.