Cliff Forshaw Poet


"A tour de force of poetic skill and decidedly shiver-making... these powerful and hard-hitting poems prove Forshaw’s claim to our attention" - Ore

Cliff Forshaw, photo courtesy of Caroline Forbes ­

"...the Howlin' Wolf of Hull poetry..." georgiasam blog­

Cliff is a poet and painter. His latest collection Pilgrim Tongues (Wrecking Ball, 2015) travels from Hull to Vietnam and back, by way of Israel, Transylvania, California and Cambodia, continuing the voyages he embarked upon in Wake (Flarestack Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2009).

Previous collections include:

Vandemonian (Arc, 2013), which focuses on Van Diemen's land and its inhabitants – human and animal, newcomer and Aborigine – to piece together a fragmentary history of Tasmania

Trans (The Collective Press, Wales, 2005) which culminates in a rewriting of Ovid's Metamorphoses

Cliff is updating the site and adding new material, including paintings from his latest project Hull: Place, Poetry, Paint.

The blog is now active, and new poems, paintings and reflections will appear there at regular intervals.

The new links page also accesses poems, ebooks, films and recorded material held on other sites; it also gives contact details via Cliff's staff page. 

Hole, Cliff's satirical poem in which Philip Larkin leads us through a Dantean Hell (in search of Hull), is The Common online's March poetry feature:

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"The high energy of Cliff Forshaw's poems makes me think particularly of John Donne and the other Metaphysicals: argument, wit, erudition and force of feeling all working to convey an authentic vision of the world we live in."

Christopher Reid

"As always, Cliff Forshaw's writing embodies a large intelligence. These are poems of voyage, exertion and discovery, enjoying the challenge of unpredictable and unusual locations, both geographical and psychological. At the same time, they demonstrate grounded, dependable craft. They never trick the reader, but, witty and exuberant, send us on our poetic journeys with new imaginative maps."

Carol Rumens

"Cliff Forshaw is a poet of rooted non-attachments, a nomad of the suburbs and a boulevardier of the wild places. As maps go, Pilgrim Tongues is the one that will get you lost, but you'll thank its author for it, later, or maybe even at the time."

David Wheatley

"The voice here is distinctive and mercurial - cool, intelligent yet engaged - the spirit of Larkin, perhaps, re-emerging, muscular and revitalised, in the 21st century."

Flarestack Prize judges.

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