Poems from Prison and Life by Marcos Ana (translated by David Duncombe)

One of our longstanding members and excellent poet David Duncombe has a new collection, Poems from Prison and Life by Marcos Ana. David has translated the poems of Marcos Ana, a political prisoner under Franco’s regime.

 Poems from Prison and Life by Marcos Ana (translated by David Duncombe)

£8.99  wwww.smokestack-books.co.uk

ISBN NO, 9781916312180

‘These poems were written in prison, in the depth of night, by the poor light of a peculiar lamp, assembled from an old inkwell, a little alcohol that I smuggled from the sick bay and a wick plaited from the lace of an espadrille. Afterwards when eyes and keys were waking up, I would hide my words in a shoe and while walking in the prison yard, on a circular path that led nowhere, I would memorise the poems, giving them form and harmony…’

The Spanish poet Marcos Ana (1920–2016) was Spain’s longest serving political prisoner. Captured at the end of the Spanish Civil War, he spent the next 23 years in Franco’s prisons, often in solitary confinement.

 In prison he started writing poems, which were smuggled out and published abroad, Ana was eventually released in 1961, following an international campaign led by Pablo Neruda, Rafael Alberti, Jean Paul Sartre, Yves Montand, Pablo Picasso and Joan Baez. Che Guevara was carrying one of Ana’s books when he was executed.

Clear, musical, painful and compelling, Poems from Prison and Life is the first English translation of Ana’s last book, published when he was 91, in order to ‘open a path of fire and rebellion in the hearts and minds of the new generations, in whose furrows we have sown our history.’

‘burning, militant poetry that exalts the voice of a people seeking the light of dawn, with peace in their banners and love in their throats… verses of struggle and hope.’ Pablo Neruda

 David Duncombe’s books include novels for children and five collections of poetry, Borders & Baggage, Joy Rider, Occupational Hazard, A Brave Show and Pencilling In. He has served in the Army and RAF, and taught in Nigeria and Derbyshire, where he was headteacher in a comprehensive school. He has travelled extensively in Spain and has family there,

Available from Smokestack Books (see above), Amazon Books (search for Marcos Ana, Poems from Prison and Life) or order from bookshops.

Matt Black – further dates for his Edinburgh Fringe Show ‘The Snoopy Question’


Many thanks to poet Matt Black for his highly entertaining show ‘The Snoopy Question’ – what a fabulous way to spend a Saturday afternoon! If you missed the show then you can catch it at the following venues:

“Excited to be doing double-bill evenings of 2 barking shows, myself with story/comedy/poetry show “The Snoopy Question” and the wonderful storyteller Maria Whatton with a great shaggy dog story” –

KENILWORTH Oct 19th, 7.30pm Tree House Bookshop, 4 The Square, Kenilworth CV8 1EB
BURTON Oct 23rd, 7.30pm Brewhouse Arts Centre, Union St, Burton on Trent, DE14 1AA
ALREWAS Nov 29th, 7.30pm The Bank Coffee House, Main St, Alrewas, DE13 7AE
BELPER Nov 30th, 7.30pm Number 28 Cafe, 28 Market Place, Belper DE56 1FZ (just myself)

The Snoopy Question
What happens when a man starts to think that dogs have the answer to all our problems? Starts to think he is a dog? What are dogs really like? Is it time for you to find your inner dog? A crazy canine journey into your own self with cheap props, a wild story, excellent poems, and Snoopy’s answer to world peace. Inspired by Lola (a rescue dog from Ireland) and current dog research, you’ll learn about dogs’ eyebrow techniques, how to talk to dogs nicely, and what percentage dog you are.
Comedy, science and poetry collide

City of Dogs
Imagine you wake up and realise you have a waggy tail and astonishing sense of smell. Maria Whatton takes us through a panorama of dog stories that land her behind bars forced to examine what really makes a dog a human’s best friend.

The Snoopy Question – show touring 2019-20
The Storm Officer – play touring 2020
What the Portuguese Water Spaniel Makes of Social Media
– book of dog poems coming out 2020
Tales from the Leaking Boot – travel haiku, Iron Press, 2018

Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2011-2013
+ 44 114 255 4030

‘Finding Our Voice’ with Cathy Grindrod and Henry Normal

Coming up soon we have a poetry event hosted by  Nottingham Poetry Society member Cathy Grindrod.

On Friday 5th July at 7.30pm at St Martin’s Church, Bilborough, NG8 3BH, there will be a performance by Bilborough Friday Writing Group (which Cathy facilitates).

Cathy will also be performing her own work, as will Henry Normal, (poet and BAFTA winning co-writer of TV shows including Mrs Merton and the Royle Family).  So this is a chance to hear from two award winning writers, as well as give your support to new and emerging writers.

It promises to be a ‘fun-filled evening of poems, stories and chat, refreshments and good company!’ What more could we ask for? Well it’s a free event! All welcome. Just turn up on the night.

Slam success

NPS Slam photo
Left to right: Leanne Moden (judge); Hilary Cave (3rd place); Elizabeth Sanders (1st place); Matt Miller (2nd place). Congratulations everyone!.

We had a fantastic afternoon yesterday at our 4th NPS Poetry Slam where we enjoyed listening to a wide range of poetry.  Thank you to all 12 of our competitors – you are absolute stars! Our thanks also go to the lovely Leanne Moden  for judging.  Our very worthy winners for 2019 are (drumroll please!) in 3rd place, Hilary Cave, in 2nd place, Matt Miller, and in 1st place, Elizabeth Sanders. Congratulations one and all.

Nottingham Poetry Festival 2019

Nottingham Poetry Festival is returning from 26th April to 5th May 2019 for its 4th outing! It takes part in various venues across Nottinghamshire and will include national and local poets.  Our very own Poetry Slam will be taking place as part of the festival on Saturday 27th April 2.30-5pm here at Nottingham Mechanics Institute.