My current interests focus on poetry in performance and the use of vernaculars to supplement and enhance the formal language of poetry. I am also interested in exploring how physical theatre amd mime might be used as an adjunct to the poetry reading.
Born 1948, Leytonstone, London. Has worked in Further Education, gardening, community arts, and as a legal advice worker. In 1996 I made the move into semi-retirement and am now living in Bradford. Winner of the Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry Competition 1998. Toured Massachusetts and Texas, USA, with the Bradford Six, reading in bookstores, cafes and colleges, 1999. Also toured Texas in O1 and O3. In 11/2000 received a Yorkshire Arts Writers Award.
COMMISSIONS & PROJECTS
98: Member of Management Committee of Interchange, a Bradford based writers support group.
5/00-7/00 The Poem Tree Project for the Forest of Bradford
I installed a series of poem trees in a woodland picnic area as part of Heaton Woods Sculpture Trail. The poems were provided by local schools, community groups, and writers and the project was launched with a poetry and music event. I liaised with the schools, community groups, and writers, organised publicity for poem submissions and the launch, and hung the poems on the trees.
10/00-member of Demotext workshop involving three poets
working with musicians on text /music performances in Kirklees, Leeds and Sheffield
9/02-4/03 The Creativity Project at Mind In Bradford.
I ran a regular session at the Tuesday drop in at Mind In Bradford, bringing in objects,
musical instruments, hats, masks to stimulate the imagination. I aim to run a more formalised writing workshop once the craft room is renovated.
10/02 Co-ordinator of the Bradford heat of the Cities of Culture Poetry Slam
Working with the Bradford City of Culture Team and the local media and local literary
organisations, I secured funding for, and organised the Bradford heat of the Cities of Culture
2/03 a Valentine event at W.H.Smith's in the White Rose Centre, Leeds
The day long commission involved encouraging customers of the store to write valentines
for family, loved ones and their pets.
3/03 Creative writing and mental health workshop-
I ran two workshops on the theme of creative writing and mental health at the Recovery and Discovery Conference in Bradford.
4/03 a workshop with Matt Black and Thom the World Poet in Atkin School, Austin Texas.
The workshop was part of a tour of Southern Texas for 4 U.K poets organised by Thom Woodruff . It is the third such tour I have been involved in and was kindly supported by a travel grant from the Arts Council, Yorkshire.
7/03 fundraiser and co-ordinator for the Lit-Picnic.
The Lit-picnic was a one day outdoor festival of readings, information and bookstalls reflecting the variety and range of literary activity in Bradford. The event was sponsored by
Bradford Poetry Workshop and was based in and around the bandstand in Lister Park, Bradford.
4/04-(ongoing) a series of creative writing workshops for mental health service users and carers for North Bradford Primary Care Trust , Reach Project, at Thorpe Edge Community Centre and Windhill Health Centre.
7/04 worked with Bradford Festival to organise a series of lunchtime poetry readings,
‘Bradword, the hidden river’, during the Bradford Festival.
10/04 working with Interchange Writers,( aka Bradford Writers Network) to secure funding to tour various Northern cities with a performance poetry troupe.
4/05 a series of writing workshops with patients at Lynfield Mount Hospital
4/05 a talk to students at Bradford College on creative writing in Community settings.
6/05 working with Bradford Book Festival organising three festival events- Sheffield poets, Mario Petrucci, and Filling the hole in Bradford.
6/05-9/05 working with contemporary music composer Caroline Rawlinson on ‘Leakage’, a jazz poetry piece, commissioned by the Leeds Lieder festival and performed at the festival in October.
6/05-9/05 worked with Lapidus North Yorkshire and the Centre for Citizenship and Community Mental Health Bradford University to organise a talk and workshop for John Fox of the American Poetry Therapy Association.
4/06 a talk to students at Bradford College on creative writing in Community settings.
6/06 Soundaround poem commissioned for the Architecture and Sound Project, Leeds College of Music, part of Leeds Architecture week
10/06 Worked for Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group in partnership with the REACH Project on a series of writing for health sessions at Kirkgate Community Centre Shipley, and Manningham Clinic
2004 (ongoing) A member of the Management Committee of the poetry events organization, Beehive Poets.
1997 (ongoing) Secretary and treasurer of Bradford Poetry Workshop a community based writing workshop providing advice and support to poets
2004-2008 Joint coordinator with Kate Evans, and Anne Maney of Lapidus North Yorkshire, the regional branch of Lapidus which promotes creative writing for personal development and writing in health settings.
5/2007-2010 Stanza representative for the Poetry Society in Bradford/ Leeds providing an email posting of events of interests to poets in the area..
5/ 2007 Co-ordinated a multi cultural poetry reading at Bradford Town Hall to celebrate the Mayor, his worshipful Choudhary Rangzeb’s term in office.
6/2007 Participated in a consultation on the training need of writers in Bradford.
6/2007 Funded by Bradford Council to report on Sheffield’s Writers Resources Centres.
6/2007 Some exploratory work on developing a new City Centre café as an open mic poetry venue focused at a younger multi cultural audience.
4/2007-(ongoing) Working with the organizing committee of the socialist song festival ‘Raise Your Banners’ to develop a poetry element to the Festival, including organising a reading at
The Alhambra studio by Adrian Mitchell, Andy Croft and Keith Armstrong
11/07 Attended Developing Poetry and Emotional Health-a joint training session run by Lapidus and the Samaritans.
08/ ongoing Member of Manningham Library project board.
6/09 Organised and raised funds for Bradford/Leeds Stanza Poetry Society Centenary event at East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, West Yorkshire.
11/09 Member of the organising committee of the socialist song festival ‘Raise Your Banners’ with responsibility for organising a BookFair and a poetry competition.
5/2010 Fund raising for Beehive Poets for to meet the costs of visiting readers from outside West Yorkshire.
9/2010 ongoing facilitating a writing group in an older peoples luncheon club for Manningham Mills Community Association.
Two collections of poetry:
The lovelife of the absent-minded; Phoenix Press, Newbury, Berks 1993 ISBN 0 900852 178
Somewhere Else; The Utistugu Press 2003 0 9545585 0 2
Poems in MAGAZINES
Braquemard, Foolscap, Poetry Wales, Special Twenty, the Bound Spiral, Kudos, Sandwiches, Doctor's Dilemma, Poetry London Newsletter, Fat Chance, Scratch, Edible Society, Rivet, and Poems on the Buses 1995, 1996, 1997, Krax, Pennine Platform, Island, Manifold, Lapidus Journal, Tadeeb, Green Places, Brittle Star, Nutshell, and the Yorkshire Journal.
Poems on websites:
(black cat poets) http://www3.mistral.co.uk/black cat (Ixion) www.btinternet.com/~ixionmag
Out of Ilkley-Poems for the Ilkley Litarature Festival 2010 Ilkley Poetry Map
Poems in ANTHOLOGIES
The Poetry Business Competition, Affirming Flame, Of Eros and Dust, The Blue Nose Poetry Anthology, What Poets Eat, On my Head Son, Vertical Images, Beyond Bedlam, Spirit of Bradford, the Albert anthology '97; Release the Bradford Six 1998;Love, Sex, Death and Carrots ( Interchange Writers 2000); Schokt(Interchange 2005); Sundoves, Bumblebees & Blue Streak Bananas,( Poets4Peace anthology); The Bridport Poetry Competition anthology 2002; The Torriano Anthology 2003, Taste 2006, Bloodline ( Blinking Eye 2007), Shoes anthology Cartwright Hall Gallery; P.S.I Love You (Bradford Playhouse 2010); The New Victoria, Heirloom to a City;
Bradford & Islington Poetry Workshop anthologies: one?, Nagging Heads, Above the Neck, Out of Our Heads, Stonequarry 1&2,
Macmillan children's anthologies: Join in...or else! The Works and Read Me Out Loud.
Beehive Poets anthologies:-not quite opposite Morrisons,-Through,-Preasepe, -Swarm, , .
Four Ways; Phoenix Press,Newbury,Berks 1985; ISBN 0 900852 11 9 ( a four poets anthology including, Sue Stewart, Louise Hudson and Bart Keegan )
Runner up in the Poetry Business Competion 1989,
Commendation Sutton Poetry Competition 1992,
Runner up in the Newcastle Brown/Poetry Society Competition 1993,
First prize in the Arrival Press football poem competiton 1996,
Runner up in the Yorkshire Open Competition 1996.
Prize winner Poems on the Buses 1997.
Winner Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry Competition 1998.
Shortlisted for the Beehive Press Competition 1999.
Runner up in the Lace International Competition 01.
Runner up in the Bradford Age Concern Competition 01
Winner of the Age Concern Bradford Poetry Competition 02
Runner up in the Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition 02
Supplementary prize winner Bridport Prize International Competition.02
Winner of the Black Horse Poets Competition 02
Third prize Trewithen Poetry Prize competition.02
Runner up at the Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition 03
Runner up in the Plough Arts Centre Competition 04
Runner up Norwich Writers Circle Competition 04
Third Prize Plough Arts Centre Competition 04
Winner of the York Writers Poetry Competition 05.
Shortlisted for the Plough Arts Centre Competition 05
Winner of the Leeds Peace Poetry Competition 2006
Winner of Bradford Writers Circle ‘war poem’ Competition. 2006
Winner of the Leeds Peace Poetry Competition 2008
Winner of the Torriano Open Poetry Competition 2008
Winner of the Airedale Writers Circle poetry competition 2009
Commendation in the Ilkley Literature Festival poetry competition 2010
11/2000 Yorkshire Arts Writers Award
3/2003 Arts Council, England,Yorkshire Travel grant
Bruce Barnes has been in the employment of Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group (BAMHAG) since 2 January 2001 as a User & Carer Link Project Worker. during this time I have known Bruce in my capacity as a manager within the organisation, and as both a friend and colleague.
Bruce has a great deal of experience working within community settings, and with a variety of people. As a User & Carer Link Project Worker Bruce's job description includes using creative arts techniques to consult with mental health service users and their carers. Bruce has used creative arts effectively to produce informal service evaluation exercises with Bradford's Assertive Outreach team, and has done more structured workshops for service user groups within Mind in Bradford. I am also aware that Bruce has done a level of freelance work within the area of mental health, and has facilitated a creativity workshop at Bradford's the Recovery & Discovery Conference in 2003, which was positively received.
Manager, Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group, Bradford
Bruce Barnes founded the Bradford Poetry Workshop, which has established itself in the last few years as probably the leading local provider of detailed, quality criticism and discussion of new poems.
The workshop meets monthly in the New Beehive, Bradford. Bruce usually chairs the event and ensures its smooth running. As a member over the last few years I have noticed how skilfully and unobtrusively Bruce facilitates the group, ensuring a space which is both safe and yet alert and critical. A range of people come to the group with a range of writing styles. Bruce makes all welcome and acknowledges what there is of merit in all contributions, whilst also maintaing high standards. He has a way of bringing out the best in people.
Bruce produced and edited an anthology - One? - which published local poets, some well known, others not. He's been involved in other literature initiatives, such as setting up the Lit-picnic, an outdoor literary event. Bruce is someone who has ideas about sharing poetry, creating conviviality and someone who makes those ideas happen. He combines enthusiasm with practicality.
It is worth adding that Bruce Barnes has won numerous prizes. I probably don't know all of them, but I do know that he won 1st prize at the Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry Competition (1998) and in the Black Horse Poets Open Poetry Competition (2002). He took First Prize in an Age Concern Poetry Competition and he's won top prizes in the Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition, Lace Open Competition, Trewithen Poetry Prize Competition and the Bridport Prize. These competitions attract large entries and are of course judged anonymously. To have won so many is testimony to both the skill and the wide appeal of Bruce's work.
Bruce's collections include The Lovelife of the Absent-minded and Somewhere Else. His poems are charming, quirky, loud, funny, melancholic, richly textured and musical. Their success in competitions is some evidence of their quality as purely 'page poems'. Bruce is also a lively interpreter and reader of his own work.
Bruce Barnes is someone who combines a real knowledge and deep love of poetry with the ability to convey his enthusiasm and inspire others.
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Bradford
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