Digital Readings

A selection of previously released and specially recorded readings from Manchester-based small presses, including Knives Forks and Spoons Press, Murmur, Polyphonic and Peter Barlow’s Cigarette. New episodes will be released in the coming weeks!

Jump to a section:

Knives Forks and Spoons

In a special recording curated by Alec Newman for English: Shared Futures, four writers and poets share some of their most recent poetry work with experimental poetry press, Knives Forks and Spoons. You can find out more about KFS and their authors by visiting our publishers page.

‘Officers Mess’ and ‘If Boris Johnson had a cuppa with my Nan from Willenhall’ by Antony Owen

Coventry poet Antony Owen wrote ‘Officers Mess’ as a special piece for the E: SF conference to draw attention to the issues of combat related PTSD in former soldiers. Following a harrowing account from a soldier who witnessed the death of his friend in Afghanistan in 2009, Antony was compelled to write the poem after suffering nightmares and experiencing the psychological and emotional transmission of the trauma of war. Through this poem and his further work with PTSD sufferers, Antony hopes to bring awareness of the debilitating effects of war.  Antony also shares a reading of his critical and comic poem ‘If Boris Johnson had a cuppa with my Nan from Willenhall’.

‘If Boris Johnson had a cuppa with my Nan from Willenhall’ (1m 47s)

‘Officers’ Mess’ (1m 58s)


Selected poems from Charms and Glitter by Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard shares work from his new book, Charms and Glitter (2020) poetry inspired by Britain’s vivid music festival scene and the photographic work of Trevor Eales. Accompanied by Eales photographs of, amongst others, The Rolling Stones, Blondie, Blur and Paul Weller, Robert’s poems portray the energy, passion, and intimacy associated with musical performance and the festival scene. You can also see more of Robert’s work and discussions on his blog.

Video: 3m 36s

Poetry and Moving Image by Maria Stadnicki

The poem ‘Journal Page’ is from Maria Stadnicki’s latest collection Somnia (2020) published by The Knives, Forks and Spoons. Maria’s poem ‘The Mechanics of Pencils’ was first published in International Times (March 2020). Reflecting on the psycho-social impact of lockdown during pandemic, the poem is inspired by a letter the artist Ai Weiwei wrote in 2011 to his three-year old child, a few weeks after being released from prison. Each of these poetry readings is set to moving image photography taken during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘The Seventh Virtue’ (2m 47s)

‘The Mechanics of Pencils’ (3m 59s)

Selected poems from Perseverance Valley by Sarah Cave

Sarah Cave shares some of her work from her new book of poetry about Martian exploration and some of the cultural and critical origins and implications of that exploration. Combining elegy, space travel and curiosity into an epic collection about the transcendence of the human, Perseverance Valley is also a speculative ‘fiction’ on the potential burgeoning spirituality of the Martian Rovers through A.I.

Video: 13m 59s


To celebrate the release of their first full length poetry collection Murmur Anthology #1 with Monitor Books, poets from Rory Cook’s reading series Murmur share some digital readings of selected poems and a play. You can find out more about Murmur and Anthology #1 by looking on the Fringe page and on the Murmur website.

3 plays from 99 Plays by Alan Fielden

Alan Fielden is a writer, director, poet and performer. He was born in Seoul and lives in London, where he makes work with JAMS and ROOM. Marathon, a play, ran at the Barbican Centre in September 2018 having won the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Minor Literatures, 404ink, The Literateur, Der Grief and Allotrope Press. Here he shares 3 plays from 99 Plays, with guest actors.

Unnamed Poem by Aurelia Guo

Aurelia Guo is an artist, writer and researcher based in London. She is the author of the chapbooks NYT (Gauss PDF, 2018), 2016 (After Hours Ltd., 2016) and HOME INTRUDER EDITION (, 2015). Her writing and editing have also appeared in How To Sleep Faster, The Fanzine and Imperial Matters.

Poems from Repetition Nineteen by Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre works with and between languages. Her most recent poetry book is Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat Books, 2020). Born and raised in Mexico City, she lives in New York and teaches literary arts at Brown University.

Peter Barlow’s Cigarette

New and original content from Peter Barlow’s Cigarette

In a special recording for English Shared Futures, organisers of the poetry collective Peter Barlow’s Cigarette, share exclusive readings of new poetry. You can find out more about Peter Barlow’s Cigarette on the Fringe page.

Joey Francis

Video: 2m 56s

Rachel Sills

Video: 3m

Tim Allen

Video: 4m 45s


In an interview for Asymptote Journal, curator critic and poet Simona Nastac talks about her work and the motivation for Polyphonic, a written poetry and moving image series bringing Romanian poetry and socio-criticism to life. Simona has given permission to E: SF to show the videos and her interview as a taster for their commissioned work billed to appear at the conference in 2021. Polyphonic presents: ‘Grass’ by Michael Astner, ‘Loneliness this Time’ by Aleksander Stoicovici, and ‘A Story with Six Words’ by Henriette Kemenes.

All courtesy of Asymptote Online Journal.

You can find out more about Polyphonic on the Fringe Page. Find out more about Simona here.

Watch the interview