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Painting in Beverley Exhibition

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 at 11:20

Central Hall, University of York,91cm x 107cm. Oil on canvas. 2020

My painting of a cyclist at York University, done when I was a Royal Literary Fellow there will be exhibited in Beverley Art Gallery's 23rd Annual Open Exhibition, 24 September 2022 to 7 January 2023. There is a larger version of the image in the Paintings portfolio.

Central Hall, University of York,91cm x 107cm. Oil on canvas. 2020





"The Cemetery by the Sea" by Paul Valery (1871-1945)

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 at 10:03

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*"Le Cimetière Marin"

Paul Valery







This peaceful roof, its tombs in long buckled lines:
as noon performs its daily alchemy,
doves flicker up from stones through tall blue pines.
And I am here. All this now glows for me:
the sea, the sea, once more transformed by fire;
a moment’s calm, beyond small wants, desire.

This is how my version of Paul Valery's longish poem "Le Cimetière Marin", recently featured in the Tupelo Quarterly, begins.

The poem is part of ny collection French Leave: versions and perversions which will appear from Broken Sleep Books in 2023.

For the full version clink on the link:

from French Leave: versions and perversions - by Cliff Forshaw - Tupelo Quarterly

RE:VERB online launch and reading

Wednesday, 27 July 2022 at 12:29


RE:VERB is one of the collections featured in the Broken Sleep Books online launch on THURSDAY 28 JULY at 1930. For details follow the link.

Broken Sleep Books July Launch Tickets, Thu 28 Jul 2022 at 19:30 Eventbrite

For a preview of the book and a selection of poems:

Cliff Forshaw - RE:VERB Broken Sleep Books


Poetry Wales article on RE:VERB

Friday, 1 July 2022 at 10:26

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My article on "How I wrote RE:VERB" has just appeared on the Poetry Wales website. Click on the link below to read:

Cliff Forshaw: How I Wrote 'RE:VERB' - Poetry Wales

A previous article on the project appeared on the Royal Literary Fund website. 

Reversifying Rimbaud - The Royal Literary Fund (

The RLF website also has an article of mine on painting and poetry:

Ut Pictura Poesis - The Royal Literary Fund (


RE:VERB launch

Friday, 1 July 2022 at 10:05

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RE:VERB is due from Broken Sleep at the end of July. If you click on the link you can see further details and also peek inside at the first few pages.

Cliff Forshaw - RE:VERB Broken Sleep Books



Friday, 6 May 2022 at 11:19

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Several longish fragments of my satire Hole have appeared in About Larkin - Journal of The Philip Larkin Society (No. 53. April 2022). The poem features Larkin as a Dante-figure leading the poet through a contemporary Hell. The fragments are accompanied by my paintings of Larkin, who famously hated what he called "the myth-kitty", guiding his bicycle through various mythic landcapes. These paintings feature elsewhere on the blog in the Larkinland section.

The full poem appeared on The Common website several years ago, around the time Hull was gearing up to be City of Culture. Unfortunately that on-line version didn't manage to preserve the formatting of the finale, and so I'm please to see the formatting restored to this print version. Here's a glimpse of the last page. The full poem (with different paintings)  is accessible here:


Friday, 6 May 2022 at 09:59


Another hiatus. I was back in hospital for an operation earlier in the year, and it's been a little difficult to get back into the swing of things. Time to kick-start the blog again, I think. Broken Sleep will be bringing out my narrative sequence about Rimbaud RE:VERB as a chapbook in in July and the editor Aaron Kent has been putting together the cover. The sequence is pretty well described by the blurbs from Carol Rumens and David Wheatley. I'll post more details and a fragment or two nearer the publication date.


These poems reflect the fiercely independent spirt which characterised Arthur Rimbaud in all the phases of his short, turbulent life. In tightly- structured verse and vigorous, earthy diction, Cliff Forshaw lets the poet tell his own story, but in counterpoint with other voices and characters who see him through the filter of his masks as a merchant, explorer and ethnographer. Drawing on documents and letters, but wearing his research lightly, Forshaw unravels the poet’s tangled adventures in Africa, Asia and elsewhere with welcome incisiveness. His colourful poems of place and mood also illuminate Rimbaud’s inner life, and leave us with some intriguing clues as to why the brilliant poète maudit gave up his vocation and “donned the grotesque finery of trade”. CAROL RUMENS

Part translation, part verse biography, but entirely a law unto itself, Cliff Forshaw’s RE:VERB is a freewheeling jeu d’esprit, a cocktail of bad blood, ‘gloomy lust and sanctimonious doom’. Rampaging from the beatific, foul-mouthed teenaged poet to the fulminations of Une saison en enfer and the crucible of Africa, RE:VERB is a chasse spirituelle of sortilege and thaumaturgy, delivered with exquisite verve and oomph. Could Rimbaud read it himself, he would surely be moved to the same outburst he reserved for reminders of his own work – ‘Absurd, ridiculous, disgusting’. DAVID WHEATLEY

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