The Rylands Brief: Poetry Manchester and the Present

A 6-part podcast series entitled The Rylands Brief produced by the Centre for New Writing, Creative Manchester and The University of Manchester Library explores the unopened John Rylands exhibition Carcanet at 50, and features editors, poets, archivists and friends of Carcanet Press.

The Rylands Brief is devised and written by John McAuliffe at the Centre for New Writing and Jessica Smith at the John Rylands Library. Thanks to Guillaume Dujat des Allimes for sound tech.

A new episode of the podcast will be issued each Friday.

Watch trailer

Episode 1: Eavan Boland’s Collection

In episode 1, Creative Arts Archivist at the John Rylands Library, Jessica Smith is in discussion with Carcanet Editor and University of Manchester Professor Michael Schmidt, talking about Eavan Boland’s Collection, Domestic Violence and her work and importance to Carcanet and the University Archives.

Episode 2: In conversation with Stella Halkyard

In Episode 2 of The Rylands Brief, archivist Jessica Smith talks to her predecessor at the John Rylands Library, Stella Halkyard, about her work with Carcanet Press, including her memories of the iconic building destroyed by an IRA bomb, which was for many years the publisher's Manchester base. Stella also remembers encounters with Christine Brooke-Rose and cinema-going with Les Murray.

Episode 3: Artist Stephen Raw talks about his work

Archivist Jessica Smith talks to artist Stephen Raw about his work with Carcanet Press, which began 30 years ago and includes many iconic covers. He talks to Jess about his work on Eavan Boland's books and about his changing process during his time working with the press.
This podcast features items from an exhibition which celebrates 50 years of Carcanet poetry press, an exhibition which was installed in the Rylands Library in Manchester in mid-March. The week that is was due to open, the Rylands Library closed as a result of the pandemic, and the exhibition as yet remains unvisited.


Episode 4: Poet John McAuliffe

In Episode 4 of The Rylands Brief, archivist Jessica Smith talks to poet John McAuliffe about his work with Carcanet's archive at the Rylands: he also talks to Jess about Thomas Kinsella's work, and about notable Rylands readings, by Bill Manhire, Elaine Feinstein, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and others.

Episode 5: Writer and editor Robyn Marsack

In Episode 5 of The Rylands Brief, archivist Jessica Smith talks to writer and editor Robyn Marsack about her work with Carcanet Press, which began in 1983, and most recently led to her editing Fifty Fifty, a collection of letters to celebrate Carcanet’s jubilee.

Episode 6: Poet Vahni Capideo

Archivist Jessica Smith talks to poet Vahni Capildeo about their work with Carcanet Press, which includes their 2016 Forward Prize winner, Measures of Expatriation and, last year's Skin Can Hold.  In this conversation, they talk to Jess about how their study of Old Norse chimed with their interest in "the movement of the sea" and in migration and "roaming".

Episode 7: Archivist Jessica Smith

Archivist Jessica Smith talks to John Mcauliffe about her work at the Rylands, picking out key items which made their way into the "Exploding the Archive" exhibition and reading a poem by Carcanet poet, Matthew Welton.