Friday, December 12, 2014

25 Edge Hill Poets: Joanne Ashcroft


from What the Tree Said

sweet green my worlds seemed as buds

sense-locked by me & laid

carved in hearts

along my trunk


words stirred


cordless my leaves began a breathing

beyond my arms unfurling


charmed in transport


their core (or mine) tendrilled

some over-green

some straining peaks

all sun-trailing

in hues bluntly


in small red scales

ripening were its tongues

with nutshellings scratched in

digestions gone rogue sounds escaping



Having successfully completed a BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill, I continued on to study the MA Creative Writing with a focus on poetry. I chose to continue at Edge Hill to further the study of innovative poetries, and poetics, which I had begun to explore, both from a literary critical and to drive my writing practice, during the BA. During my MA, I was joint winner of the inaugural Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship 2010. From Parts Becoming Whole (The Knives Forks Spoons Press, 2011) is my first collection of poetry and came directly out of the poetry written during the MA. Towards the end of my MA I became a member of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group at Edge Hill. I went on to be winner of Poetry Wales Purple Moose Prize 2012, my pamphlet Maps and Love Songs for Mina Loy is published Seren.

Working with the poet Philip Davenport (as ‘Arthur and Martha’) introduced me to using experimental poetry and visual art in community projects. I have led a series of ‘poetry as reminiscence’ workshops in the community which involved using experimental poetry writing techniques with older people. I have had my poetry and reviews published in various magazines and journals and have presented papers on my work at conferences. I am currently undertaking creative writing practice-led research at Edge Hill University investigating the idea of ‘multi-voice lyric’ in contemporary innovative poetry. Alongside this I have taught undergraduate 1st and 3rd year poetry (and fiction) modules at Edge Hill. I have continued to read my work most recently at the Blue Bus reading series in London with Robert Hampson and Elaine Randell, at Storm and Sky with Rhys Trimble in Liverpool and at Peter Barlow’s Cigarette in Manchester with Lucy Burnett, Nathan Thompson and Steve Spence.

I am drawn to poetry in which sound manifests as the dominant textual register. Modernist poetry and innovative or experimental modern poetries are where my passions and inspirations are fired.
My own poetry explores how sound aspects of language are intrinsic in poetic compositional processes and how this shapes the resultant poem. My poetics are a work in progress, especially at this point when I am developing that alongside experimenting in my creative work. As part of my current research I am experimenting in writing poetry which explores possibilities for polyphony and rhythms of identities. For this I am using Bakhtin’s ideas about dialogisms applied to poetry and drawing on Julia Kristeva’s ideas, in particular about language and the maternal body in exploring possibilities for dialogisms between speech and the female body. This writing is entering the arena of complex dialogic relations between variously endophonic and exophonic assemblages of sound sequences.

To me, poetry embodies an openness to otherness, is an active seeking after the unknown for the experience (and pleasure) of journeying (in words) rather than for the closure of arriving at an end point. It is open to possibilities and doesn’t use language to silence the other, rather, because it is not afraid of difference or not knowing, it encourages interactions and proliferations which serve only to extend and enrich the work. Poetry is painting with words, is mapping sounds into rhythms on the pages in endless combinations. Writing poetry allays my own fears of being unanswered. Poetry enables me to see (versions of) myself. Writing poetry is a release for some of the psychic energy which otherwise has me blowing light bulbs!

Video (more of What the Tree Said):
and of The Other Room reading at

See her reading her collaborative piece with Patricia Farrell here.

Details of the Edge Hill Creative Writing MA here.