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French Leave launch

Wednesday, 28 June 2023 at 17:01

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French Leave will be launched along with other Broken Sleep Books on Wednesday 29 June. There will be an online reading from 19.30 - 21.00. Tickets are availably for a small donation (at least £1).

Here’s a link to the event. Hope you can join us.

Broken Sleep Books June 2023 Launch Tickets, Thu 29 Jun 2023 at 19:30 Eventbrite

For more details of the book and some sample poems, please see the Broken Sleep website.

Cliff Forshaw - French Leave Broken Sleep Books

French Leave: versions and perversions

Friday, 9 June 2023 at 11:53

French Leave

My latest collection is due later in June from Broken Sleep.

French Leave: versions and perversions features translations of and variations on French poets from Gautier to Apollinaire. It is a sort of companion volume to my most recent collection RE:VERB.

As well as famous names such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine it includes a number of voices, both male and female, who night also have existed (or possibly even did).

The Broken Sleep website allows you to peek inside.

Cliff Forshaw - French Leave Broken Sleep Books

Released 30th June, 2023 // 82 pages // 978-1-915760-16-6 // RRP £8.99

French Leave follows RE:VERB in which Cliff Forshaw recreated Rimbaud’s terrestrial adventures from the Hooligan Poet and Seer in bohemian Paris, through the years as a tough merchant and gun-runner in Africa, to his death aged thirty-seven in a Marseilles hospital. This new collection plays variations on the themes and forms of French verse from mid-nineteenth century Gautier and Gérard de Nerval, through Baudelaire and Rimbaud, to Valéry and Apollinaire on the eve of the First World War. Among the well-known figures, Forshaw invents further fin-de-siècle personae that might have existed, and possibly even did.

PRAISE for French Leave:

From Pound and Eliot to Derek Mahon, Marilyn Hacker and Rachael Boast, Anglophone poets have looked to France to take their art to school. In French Leave Cliff Forshaw does the same, with a dazzling bouquet of translations and ‘variations’ taking off from French originals. With Gallic esprit and polish, and a strong admixture of zest and sass, Forshaw’s versions range beyond canonical favourites into strange and enchanting territory. French Leave is no vin de table, but a vintage performance.

— David Wheatley


French Leave - launch reading

Friday, 9 June 2023 at 11:27

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I'll be reading from French Leave: versions and perversions at the next Broken Sleep on-line book launch. Tickets for the reading are available at the link below for a small donation.

Writing about Animals: New Podcast

Tuesday, 25 April 2023 at 18:49

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My Podcast The Writer and Nature has just appeared on the Royal Literary Fund website.

Audio Archives - Page 2 of 454 - The Royal Literary Fund (

I recorded this podcast at home a few years back, in the early days of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this meant I couldn't get into the recording studio, but needs must, and it now reminds me of those odd lock-down times. There are one or two more recordings forthcoming at the RLF website.

Laforgue anthology: book launch

Tuesday, 28 February 2023 at 20:31

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I've contributed two versions of French poems by Jules Laforgue to an anthology being launched this week.

The 180-odd pages of All Keyboards are Legitimate (Guillemot 2023), edited by Suzannah Evans contains translations,versions and variations on Laforgue by, among othersm Christopher Reid, Maurice Riordan, Gillian Allnutt, Mark Ford, Zoe Skoulding, Beverley Brie Brahic, Hart Crane, Angela Leighton, Niall Campbell, Harriet Tarlo, Douiglas Dunn and many more.

There is an online launch on Thursday 2 March. I will be reading live along with several other contributors, and there will be a Q&A after the readings. The event is free to attend, so please do sign up here:

The book is now available to order! Feel free to share this link:


Poems for Andrew Marvell

Tuesday, 8 November 2022 at 14:01

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Companions of His Thoughts MoreGreen, poems for Andrew Marvell,

edited by David Wheatley has just appeared from Broken Sleep.


I've contributed some poems based around Marvell's Mower poems,

including a longish satire on what Marvell might have made of GM crops.


Here's a link Ed. David Wheatley - Companions of His Thoughts More Green Broken Sleep Books


And as a taster, the first couple of stanzas of

"The Marvellous Garden"


If Man was made in the spit and image of God

then He Himself looks pretty odd.

Ditto the creatures Man has proudly bred

(the wilder ones he leaves for dead)

– experiments which cast, sooner or later,

harsh light on their manipulator.

And so our freaks of nature, deformed, unfit,

reveal a human Identikit

in whose dark mirror meddling Man may see

his road to Eschatology.


As Man’s best friend down from the cuddly surface

has been rejigged, improved, repurposed,

with crippled hips, short breath and weakened jaw,

docked tail, lopped ears and clawless paw,

so, as well as Fauna, the Flora too

is re-created, made brand-new.

Our trek from Genesis to Revelation,

now passes through these vast plantations

where patented monocultured GM crops

lay waste the forest and ancient copse.

Festschrift for Maurice Rutherford

Tuesday, 8 November 2022 at 13:18

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Celebrating a Century: a Festschrift for Maurice Rutherford,

edited by Carol Rumens and John Lucas

is now available from Shoestring Press.

The anthology contains five of my Rilke versions and work by various of Maurice's admirers, including Mary Aherne, John Alderton. James Booth, Phil Bowen, Malcolm Carson, Gillian Clarke, Andy Croft, Robert Edric, Robert Etty, Felix Hodcraft, Angela Leithton, John Lucas, John Osbourne, Carlol Rumens, Barrie Rutter, Laurence Sail, Matt Simpson, SarajhStutt, Malcolm Watson and David Wheatley.

For the Shoestring book:

Celebrating a Century: A Festschrift for Maurice Rutherford (

Here's a link to the Maurice Rutherford website where you can find some of Maurice's poems.

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