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Michael Glover

Michael is a poet, journalist and art critic who was brought up in Fir Vale, but who now lives in London. His Wikipedia page says he has "contributed regularly to The Independent, The Times, the Financial Times, the New Statesman and The Economist. He is also a London correspondent for ArtNews, New York City, and editor of on-line international poetry forum The Bow-Wow Shop."


The best poetry takes your mind to unexpected places. But is it the poet's quirkiness that carries you there, or your own?
These poems are too good to be just for children — grown-ups will enjoy reading them aloud to children for their own sake, as well as for the reaction they provoke. Or why not just read them to yourself? They will challenge and stimulate, make you laugh and make you wonder.
Come along with us: who's fastest, you or the wind? Or can you keep up with how fast life runs? What is the symbolism of that chocolate house? Did the poet even know, or is that for the inner child to decide? Ruth Dupre’s marvellous paintings make it a visual feast too. Buy here.


What has the loss of a pair old trousers to do with the inflammatory politics of Ireland? Did Nellie accept that invitation to share a bed with a nest of devils? Why must the disappearance of a mere purse hang over Anna like the shadow of a betrayal? And where is the best place for any head to settle?
Michael Glover's first published collection of short stories, several of which were first broadcast on BBC Radio Three and Radio Four (Brian Cox, star of the award-winning Netflix series Succession, was the reader of Morrison's Trousers) is by turns tender, perplexing and horrifying.


Old words never come easy. In his new collection of poetry, Michael Glover celebrates the unexpected arrival in his life of a fabulous Harlequin-Fish,  plays fast and loose with the dyspeptic ghost of the poet Thomas Gray (author of ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’), spars and spats with an absent god called Gottlieb, meanders through the aftermath of an old man’s sad encounter with Cupid, and wonders what a stone might say if it ever encountered Amelia in all her ferocity.


Inspiration is an elusive beast. When you go looking for it, it hides. Turn your back, and it can jump out at you. The first poem in this collection was inspired by an image, snapped or staged, of three ordinary folk. It captures a fleeting moment in lives with complicated back stories. Further poems followed, from images real, or in the poet's mind. In poems of a few lines, Michael Glover captures those stories, conjures up the images afresh, and leaves you with more questions than answers. If we truly observe rather than let life pass us by, we will see stories all around us - snippets of lives well, and not so well, lived.


The Trapper they called him, that man Joseph Tredinnick,late of Porthcothan Bay, Cornwall- and, my god, what an inhospitable spot that was in those days!

This is a dark, Gothic tale about a Cornish misfit by the name of Tredinnick: a rabbit trapper by trade, and a trapper of souls. It is part horror story, part phantasmagoria - you will be dragged against your will to witness his descent into madness, and start to question what is real and what is not.

On holiday in France, during a particularly warm spell, the exotic bugs descend. Many would reach for the citronella candles, or worse - the fly-swat and toxic aerosols to go on a killing spree like some insecticidal maniac. Not so an artist like Ruth Dupré. Instead she recorded their characters, their quirks, their oddities, in ink onto delicate Japanese paper.

Coming to these pictures later, Michael Glover was taken back to those heady summer days, and this collection of poems - of artfully chosen words about those wingers, leapers and creepers - was the result. Each poem is accompanied by one of the original monoprints.

Wingers and Leapers and Creepers is a homage to all bug-life: the true rulers of the world, upon which we, and all life on Earth, depend. Perhaps we can learn to love them a little more...


Poems of Praise, Awe and Perplexity by:


Wendy Cope, Rowan Williams, John F. Deane, Alison Brackenbury, Thomas Hardy, John Donne, Phyllis Shand Allfrey, D.H. Lawrence, W.B.Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Penelope Shuttle, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Ben Jonson, and many others...

​Sheffield is yet to be discovered. Were you aware that football's first professional rule book was written in Sheffield, and that it is home to the oldest ground in professional use? Did you know that climbers the world over come to Stanage Edge for the challenges offered by one of the world's most fearsome millstone grit escarpments? Did you know that the Arctic Monkeys grew up in Sheffield, and that you can see the room at Yellow Arch Studios where they rehearsed as schoolboys and cut their first album? Did you know that the steepest hill in the entire 2012 Tour de France is in Sheffield? Did you know that Sheffield's craft breweries produce some of the finest beers in the world? Did you know that you can walk out of the centre of Sheffield, through parkland, and directly into open countryside?

You need this book fast then, don't you, you soft 'aporth!

Hear Michael talking about 111 Places on Radio Sheffield:

In this poignant sequel to Headlong into Pennilessness, Sheffield-born Michael Glover, poet and art critic, re-visits the scenes of his childhood and teenage years in and around Fir Vale.
He remembers the death of the Sunbeam Cinema, and how it disappeared in a pother of brick dust. He sees again the tramps from the tramps’ ward, hurrying down Herries Road in pursuit of a warm sleeping spot in the Reference Room of Firth Park Library. He watches his mother at her exasperating daily ritual of putting her hair into pink curlers to the general indifference of the entire family, who all co-exist, somehow, in that hot little kitchen in Coningsby Road, site of perpetual warfare between snapping relatives, as the homework gets down, somehow, on the kitchen table covered in its slippery oil cloth.
Michael brings characters to life with humour and affection, and reflects on the inevitability of change and breaking free from family ties.

Great works is fully illustrated book based on Michael's Independent essays on art plus some new ones. It is organized in an unexpected manner, allowing readers to see connections and juxtapositions between works. It covers an enormous span in terms of style, era, and geography―from Rembrandt’s Bathsheba with King David’s Letter and El Greco’s The Vision of St. John to Ai Wei Wei’s Iron Tree and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Single Lily with Red.

No arty person's coffee table is complete without it.

Headlong into Penniliness  is a memoir of Michael's working class childhood in Fir Vale in the 1950s.

His father, Sid Glover, didn't die on the battlefield, but the man who returned from Burma was quite different, in appearance and temperament, from the husband who had left to join the army in 1939. War left Dorothy Glover trusting no one and nothing: banks, foreigners, the family next door and, most of all, her husband (soon to be divorced). Community rituals like Guy Fawkes Night and Whitsuntide parades, together with the week at Mrs Ansell's boarding house in Blackpool, were the highlights of his young life as his family scraped a living. Despite his insular environment, Michael Glover has fond memories of his childhood home, and he developed a strange attachment to that tiny, unremarkable house: the kitchen that was the hub of family life and its ferocious arguments over money; the unheated front room that was only ever used at Christmas; and the outside toilet with its neatly torn strips of the Radio Times attached to an old coat hanger.

This is Michael Glover's most widest-ranging and accomplished collection to date.

    On the surface, Michael Glover's poems can be lightsome and almost casually, if not beguilingly, playful and direct. But the playfulness can be a deception. Laughter dries on the tongue. There is often a terrible uncertainty about the speaking voice, and a darkness about the themes the poems are exploring – the sands are forever shifting.

    This collection draws on a variety of themes and situations. The Quinoa Cake Recipe  emerges from, and is a response to, long summer stays in Canada. Notes to Harris is a series of short poems in which one North Americanfriend addresses another with a wry casualness. Under the Influence, a homage to the  director John Cassavetes, spoken by a male character from a typical Cassavetes film, wayward and anguished: 'I am a raging bull of a man. I pulverise everything I look at.'


Why should children have all the picture books? Artworks by Ruth Dupré complement beautifully the verse and prose of Michael Glover in this book you will want to possess for the sheer sake of possession, as much as for the journey it will take you on. It is the story of a woman losing her grip on a life well lived, as past and present meld with real and imagined. The words convey mood like an adagio; images appear in your head as though through a fine gauze. You will feel you have learned something important by the end. 


The Book of Extremities is a unique piece of writing: dark and haunting, making you question the nature of fiction, alongside beautiful photographs juxtaposed with the text. The author purports to have put the text together from a collection of fragments of a French priest's emotional outpourings, found on separate pieces of paper. 

This is a book of poems soaked in the spirit of Sheffield through and through, then and now.

It listens in to local talk, watches how local folk booze and goster, frolic, caper, saunter around, let their hair down or get it done specially for Saturday night out on the town, or just sit back in Millhouses Park in the sun, gently doing nowt much at all. Take a sip.

Accompanied by lovely photographs by  Mick Jones and Steven Kay,  and with the cover painting by Mick Rick, it is truly Made in Sheffield


Some of Michael's other poetry:

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