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."

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.

​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:

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 Mjichael'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: