Steve Ely is a poet from the West Riding of Yorkshire. His first published book of poems, 'Oswald’s Book of Hours', was published by Smokestack in February 2013 and was nominated for the Forward prize for Best First Collection and also for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. A second book, ‘Englaland’ will be published, also by Smokestack, in April, 2014. Ely’s poetic response to the First World War, ‘How dear is life’, was commissioned by the Poetry Society and premiered at a reading at the South Bank Centre in October 2014. Ely’s work is widely published in journals, newspapers and magazines, including The London Review of Books, The Poetry Review, The Sunday Times, The Tablet, The North, Magma and many others. He is currently working on a number of book-length poetic projects, including ‘Bloody, proud and murderous men, adulterers and enemies of God’, an exploration of violence and the irrational; ‘Incendium amoris’, a collection of poems based on the writings, life and landscape of the fourteenth century hermit, mystic and pioneer of the English language, Richard Rolle, and; ‘We are Travellers’, a book-length poem about football. Ely is a powerful performer of his work and frequently reads at festivals, launches and other literary events.
Ely is also a novelist — his book ‘Ratmen’ was published by Blackheath Books in 2012. Ely is currently exploring the possibilities of re-publishing his ‘parable about the seductions of extremism’ and developing a screenplay based on the book. He is currently writing a second novel, on broadly ecological themes, provisionally entitled ‘Stan’.
Ely is also an academic writer. He has researched extensively into the life and work of Ted Hughes, and his work on the poet has been presented at the conference of the Ted Hughes Society and published in the Society’s journal. His book, ‘Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire’ will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. Ely is currently working with a range of partners to develop the inaugural ‘Ted Hughes Poetry Festival’ in Hughes’s childhood home town, Mexborough, for the summer of 2015.
Ely currently works as a freelance writer, teacher and educational consultant. During the last eighteen months, for example, he has written commissions, completed two books, signed contracts for two further books, worked as an English teacher in a secondary school, designed and taught an online course for the Poetry School, coached poetry in workshop settings, developed a Ted Hughes ‘performance trail’ in Mexborough, worked with Premier League academy footballers in Ypres, writing poetry to honour the 1914 ‘Christmas Truce’, mentored teachers, assessed the portfolios of teachers seeking to attain middle and senior leadership qualifications and provided ‘Executive Leadership’ in a special measures school. Prior to that, Ely worked as a teacher for twenty years, teaching English and Religious Education and ending his full-time teaching career as a Headteacher. He has also worked as a warehouseman and farm-labourer.
Ely occasionally blogs at http://steveely.wordpress.com and his website is at www.steveely.co.uk.
He maintains a presence on social media at: https://www.facebook.com/steve.ely.01 and https://twitter.com/JohonSchepe.
Ely is available for readings, commissions, workshops and so on and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ely has had dozens of poems and short stories published in a range of journals, magazines, anthologies, newspapers (etc), including The Sunday Times, The London Review of Books, The Poetry Review, The Tablet, Magma, 3am, The Morning Star, The Countryman's Weekly, Ian Park's anthology of Yorkshire Poetry, 'Versions of the North' and the Forward Book of Poetry 2013. Ely's pamphlet 'The Harrying of the North' was 'highly commended' by judge Simon Armitage in the Smith/Doorstop pamphlet competition and his poem 'Objective One' won the 'Raise Your Banners' political poetry competition in 2009.
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