Paul Sutherland, Canadian-British poet, arrived in the UK in 1973. He has six collections and has edited six others. Seven Earth Odes, (Endpapers Press, 2004) won critical praise in the UK and from US and Canada. Paul Sutherland is founding editor of Dream Catcher a distinguished national-international journal in its 22nd issue. A notable performer, he’s read his poetry in public over a hundred times. He attends festivals and leads workshops in creative writing for all ages and abilities. His poems have appeared in such journals as Orbis, Fin, Brando’s Hat, Pennine Platform, Poetry New Zealand, Nassau Review (USA), Lincolnshire Echo and Aireings among others, as well as in wide ranging anthologies such as North Yorkshire 199, Spires and Steeples, Tales of the Fox, Pendulum and in Lincolnshire Anthology, and forth-coming in International Other Voices Anthology due out in 2009. A poem of his was selected for inclusion in Writing Your Self, (edited by Myra Schneider and John Killick,) due out in Nov 2009. He works with artists in other art forms. For example, he collaborated with the calligrapher Mick Paine to produce a collection of his poems called ‘Selected Ben Nicholson Miniatures’ in two art books with a calligraphic response to each poem. Since turning freelance (2004), he’s been involved in a wide range of literary based projects and events promoting his writing. He’s seeking a publisher for his next collection Journeyings. He won the 2008 Nassau Review Poetry Prize for best poem submitted to the journal.
PUBLICATIONS | PERFORMANCE HISTORY
Paul Sutherland’s Major Publication and Editorial Work
2008. Selected Ben Nicholson Miniatures PS’s poems with calligraphic response from letterer Mick Paine, handmade books. The Poetry Library in London has purchased a copy.
2004. Seven Earth Odes (Endpapers Press) collection of PS’s poetry.
Ian Duhig, short-listed for the TS Eliot prize this year, says: the odes show the great care that has gone into their construction, with fresh and considered language, with various moods and fascinating material that is specific to the author's experiences yet important to us all.
Sam Gardiner, prize winning UK poet, says: the poems have a splendidly sustained contemplative quality with absorbing images and memorable phrases.
Mario Susko, US-Croatian poet with many collections, says: Paul Sutherland's masterful ability to 'travel' between the abstract, almost philosophical layers of thinking and the very concrete, earth-like, is something any reader will find fascinating.'
Josephine Dickinson, published both in US and UK, says of the Odes and Sequence, 'Paul Sutherland is one of the few people who successfully manages to write out what must be an intensely experienced spirituality.
Allan Forrie, editor of Thistledown Press, (Canada) said of Seven Earth Odes we immensely appreciate the writing.
2004. Holy Week Sequence (T.C. Parry Press) collection of PS’s poems.
The Very Revd Dr Rowan Williams, His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury praises the book: This is a superb sequence of poems. They have wonderful economy and stillness. I do hope they find a readership worthy of them.
Poet, Ian Parks says: Sutherland manages to walk the difficult tightrope between spiritual and temporal, finite and infinite, human and divine.
Tony Flynn (pub Bloodaxe) praised the Sequence' as remarkable.
2000 Mid Atlantic (CD) PS poems with musician Gramme Scott. 2008
Mid Atlantic was accepted in 2008 for the Sound Blast, a Poetry Book Society and Apple and Snakes collaborative retail website
1981 The Town Boy (self-published)
1970 Winter Poems (self-published)
Other Examples of Publication
-Anthology, International Other Voices, (expected to be published this year, Paula Brown Publishing, USA) one PS’s poem selected
- Anthology of poems about Hugh MacDiarmid, from Brownsbank, 2 PS’s poems accepted
- Writing Your Self ed Myra Schneider and John Killick, a PS contributes poem which is discussed in the book (pub date. Nov 2009)
- Two PS’s poems selected for An anthology of ancient and modern poetry about the Blessed Prophet. The verses are to be inserted in a calligraphed and illuminated text to be printed in Turkey ed Tim Winters (Quilum Press).
-Lincolnshire Anthology, Hang on to Your Hollyhocks, editor/ contributor Duridhill Publishing
-Return, editor (Dream Catcher Books)
-Anthology, Pendulum (Avalanche Books) 4 PS’s poems selected
- Anthology, Spires and Steeples (North Kesteven District Council, Arts NK)
Commissioned to write poems for this anthology
-PS poems in St Stephen’s School Anthology (Bradford) part of Creative Partnerships project. Commissioned to write poems to accompany their pupils trip to London.
- Anthology, Haiku, (Wolds Words (Literature) Festival) Two PS’s poems
- Anthology, Tales of the Fox (CD) (Leeds Trinity and All Saints College)
- Anthology, North Yorkshire One Nine Nine (Sutton Press)
-Tundra Gap, editor/ contributor (Dream Catcher Books)
-International Other Voices, website (print anthology planned)
-Out of the Shadows, editor (Dream Catcher Books)
-Dream Catcher, twice yearly literary journal, editor (on going)
now in its 13th year.
-Ursula, editor (collected, edited and published in memory of Ursula Wadey
2008, PS’s poems selected and displayed at St James Hospital Leeds as part of a Poster Poems project organised by Tonic, NHS Trust.
2007 PS’s poems used in the calligrapher Mick Paine’s installation work, including exhibitions in The Rope Walk Gallery (Barton upon Humber) and ‘the complex frontier’ exhibited in Intercontinental Hotel, London.
2007 PS’s poems exhibited at St Stephen’s School (Bradford) as part of a project of pupils when he was commissioned to write poems to accompany their trip to London.
Awards since turning Freelance
2004 Arts Council of England, Grants for the Arts, to develop freelance career
and work with disabled adults (Blackbird Flies) to create a performance piece.
2004 Awarded Arts Council of England grant to edit Out of the Shadows
2006 First and second places in the Wolds Words haiku competition
2007 Accepted on Lincolnshire Creative Solution Initiatives programme,
subsequently won extra funds to develop his writing skills.
2008 Awarded a grant to develop freelance career, website and writer’s pack
from East Midlands Business Ltd
2008 Won the competition for best poem in 2008 submitted to the Nassau Review (a US literature journal)
Some Magazines and Newspapers
Poems/ prose in Orbis, Brando’s Hat, Nightingale, Pennine Platform, Aireings, PTO, The Thinker, Text Bones, The Threshing Floor, Lincolnshire Echo, Poetry New Zealand, Fin and Nassau Review (USA) and forth-coming in Tadeeb International.
2 poems nominated for Forward Prize, 2005 & 2006
Over 100 readings internationally of his own poetry. Some highlights: Off the Shelf Festival, Neo Cafe, Cockermouth, Borders Oxford and St, Oxford, London, Poetry Festival, Bristol, Borders, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Lincoln Book Festival, Wolds Words Festival, Bradford, Beehive Poets, Sticky Bun Poets, Sheffield, Nehru Centre, London, Poetry Cafe, Salisbury, Borders, Cambridge, Derby Arts Centre, The Flux Gallery, Leeds, Blue Bell Cafe, Penrith, Amnesty International event, Newcastle, Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality, Irish Centre London, Dead Good Poets Society Liverpool, as well as in Canada and the US.
WORKSHOP | READINGS EXPERIENCE","REFERENCE/S
Paul Sutherland’s Workshops
Paul Sutherland runs a variety creative writing workshops through his vast experience.
He works with a large range of abilities, ages and ethnicities in such places as community centres, libraries, schools and in higher education, art centres, museums with writing groups or with individual writers on a one to one basis. He inspires and encourages beginners or experienced writers alike.
Types of workshops offered:
1. World Poetry Workshops. With children, adolescents or adults, Paul explores various poetic forms in translation from other cultures, (e.g. haiku, rubai, renga, Sufi poetry) and then encourages participants to undertake experimenting in these styles to see what they discover and produce. World poetry may not only challenge technique but subject matter.
2. Generic Creative Writing. In such sessions Paul inspires participants through different exercises to write ‘creatively’ and express themselves. Initial results often mix poetry and prose. Automatic, free writing or flow writing is one prompt used. A strong therapeutic element exists to help participants gain confidence through guided self-expression. Paul employs this style of workshop to explore, discuss and gain a response on a wide range of themes.
3. Story-based (art) workshops. Participants tend to be children. Through a story being read and performed, acted out (less reading the better) children are stimulated to write poems and/or do paintings from one or two specific episodes. They transform the story’s emphasis into poems and art of their own with Paul’s careful, patient, energetic lead.
4. Creative Writing Walks. These sessions teach/encourage direct observation of nature for example. Paul enhances the participants experience through his prepared knowledge of the location and through his own observational skills as a poet. He often writes along with the participants, pointing out features of the environment which attract his attention.
5. Spiritual Writing. Paul helps participants’ explore personal beliefs through the vehicle of spiritual writing, across cultures and eras. In these often full day workshops he calmly provokes much conversation and realisation. High quality debate and dialogue leads to better writing. Paul’s role is to facilitate and enable, almost to take a back seat.
6. Group or ‘One to one’ sessions with Participants with Learning Difficulties. To overcome their limited communication skills requires Paul’s specially creative and sensitive leadership. After he asks considered questions using props, he senses and reveals ‘the poetry’ in even the shortest responses. He gently probes to find out what ‘engages’ an individual, prompting them to speak. Highly imaginative forms of story-telling can emerge which in time the participant can identify and value as their words.
7. Master Classes in Poetry. Paul uses his skills as a poet and editor to help other writers write better. These workshops are formal with participants given specific lengths of time to present their writing for his reactions and suggestions. It is often considered better to have in advance the writing to be discussed. After very close reading of a particular piece of work, Paul offers a critique engaging in one to one discussion with the poet. Such classes can be extended and Paul can take on the role of writer in resident or as mentor.
Paul is extremely adaptable. He can consult with participants and help them edit their work to produce an attractive anthology. Or he can assist them in performing; guiding them to recognise and use the skills of reading poems aloud in a public space for an audience’s enjoyment and appreciation. He can collaborate with other art form specialists to create a larger, more complex and sensitive visual-audio outcome to the project. He has experience in helping organisations, schools or groups etc achieve these aspirations.
What is different about Paul Sutherland’s workshops
- He’s both receptive and knowledgeable: sensitive to participants’ needs and aspirations and, through his poetry and vast reading, aware of the issues involved in contemporary writing.
- His freelance, professional poet’s status gives authority and focus to his comments and suggestions. But he knows about the struggles, disappointments and rejections that a writer must go through to reach some recognition. He can share his experience with participants and listen to theirs; offering consolation and some pointers, helping them build the capacity to go on.
- As a Canadian-British writer, from a mixed background, he is responsive to the needs of participants from other cultures and sees the overwhelming creative potential in combining/ connecting different cultural references, experiences, beliefs, philosophies and observations.
- 12 year as the editor of a respected literary art journal, Dream Catcher, helps Paul be a subtle and astute reader, guiding effectively other writers to improve and develop their style and voice.
- His many years of interest in and working with children, adolescents and adults, with sometime severe learning difficulties, enables him to be a patient, supportive and ‘in tune’ workshop leader and facilitator.
- He’s gained, over years of commitment, a skill in discovering and pointing out what is most engaging and creative in someone’s expression, written or spoken. No matter how limited at first it appears, he’ll take the time to understand what a person wants to say and help them build on it.
What will participants Gain from Attending His Workshops
- Paul Sutherland’s approach and experience gives a calm, supportive and creative
atmosphere to his workshops. He works hard to sustain this milieu through out his sessions.
- From this friendly ethos, participants can feel free to write, imagine their potential, express ideas and feelings and make observations; enter into discussion with Paul and other participants.
- They will gain a greater understanding of their writing and be more able to share, ‘opening up’ to their fellow practitioners around the table.
- Paul’s attitude will help participants respond with more confidence, certain that their point of view will be given a fair hearing.
- They will feel able to contribute more and more to the workshop and to break-times between sessions; socialising and networking in a situation of respect and mutual goodwill.
- Each aspiring writer or beginner of any age or capability will have had a stimulating and invaluable experience, encountering the art of writing, listening and reading, on many levels.
- Participants will go away feeling fulfilled and refreshed, more ready to return home and write, overcoming whatever block.
Paul Sutherland’s Poetry in Performance
- He’s performed his poetry over twenty years. Since becoming a freelance poet in 2004 he’s read his work in public over a hundred times.
- He’s stood up before audiences in numerous kinds of venues: at festivals, in libraries, in cafes, on the street, in theatres, in the meeting places of writing groups, in churches, in bookshops, as part of a regular series of events or as one-off readings; in designated spaces or in spaces where any number of activities were going on at the same time, in quiet locations and noisy.
- His sometime divergent and sometime convergent mix of Canadian-British perspectives is exciting and challenging, informative and entertaining.
- With age and many re-writings his poetry has matured to develop a deep musical rhythm; a flexible style, inward and concerned, spoken in a stately yet soft voice with a purity of language.
- He’s learned to check the ‘big voice’, bringing modulation and various tones to performances.
- His delivery is gentle but direct. He’s become a good story-teller, developing anecdote, giving another, more casual dimension to his repertoire, easing the audience into his next poem.
- As he’s active writer, he’s always producing new material and discovering further areas of interest and commitment, translating life, experience, ideas and observations into new words.
- He can perform as a solo act or with other poets. He’s performed with contemporary Jazz musicians in art centres and has collaborator with a calligrapher to create superb visual impact.
Over the years he’s reading his work with such poets as: Jackie Kay, Ian Duhig, Ian Parks, Keith Armstrong, Graham Mort, Josephine Dickinson, Peter Lewin, Rob Etty, Tom Bryan, Chris Tutton, Joolz Denby, Stephen Wade, Jenny Clarkson, Rennie Parker, Toby Martinez, Helen Burke, India Russell, Andy Croft, David Lightfoot, Antony Dunn, Oz Hardwick, Peter Knaggs, and with respected Canadian poets (including Gary Geddes) on two tours and many others.
Paul Sutherland’s Talks on Literature Related Subjects
- His recurrent subject is small press publication and journals such as Dream Catcher. He explores and reveals the needs and necessity of small presses for authors and readers interested in contemporary writing. Sometimes he speaks to those who want to be published, outlining the Dos and Don’ts of submitting poetry and short fiction. He compares the scale of small and mainstream houses and looks at their advantages and problems in the literary marketplace and development of a writer’s career and aspirations.
- He gives talks on specific writers/poets he has studied: such as T.S. Eliot, Derek Walcott and Omar Khayyam. He informs and often raises intriguing questions about the relationship between a poet’s life and work. He uses hand-outs, encourages and gives ample time for questioning.
- He speaks also on generic subjects such as Post-Colonial Writing, English Pastoral Poetry,
World Poetry, e.g. Sufi poetry, Haiku and Dream Poetry.
* Recently he’s started offering talks on the creativity of children: on its value and how to develop and sustain it; its importance in adulthood. Based on his work in Bradford schools for Creative Partnerships, he outlines various methods he’s learned to stimulate and engage with the child’s creativity. Some of his observations and techniques are particular relevant in areas of greater ethnic cultural diversity. Teachers have found his insights inspiring and useful.
Paul Sutherland’s Editorial Role
- Paul has learned the essentials of creating a good book, its appearance, content and overall feel.
Beyond his workshop service, with its advice and assistance to improve writings, he can take on an editorial role that brings the diverse aspects of a publication into an excellent whole.
- He’s discovered through experience with Dream Catcher the necessity of balancing texts, varying subject matter, seeking to create an intriguing diversity within a recognised unity. A good must have both.
- He’s worked closely with artists, designers, calligraphers to achieve a unique harmony between different artforms and approaches.
- He’s acquired skills in negotiation, co-operation and compromise to ensure the finished product is acceptable and valued by all involved, which can demand long-term commitment.
- The difficult, often hidden, task requires an experienced and working editor like Paul to collect and evaluate all the bits of a book – the text, messages, design brief and artwork – and make it cohere as a beautiful piece of art.
Endorsements and Quotes
Ian Duhig (twice winner of the National Poetry Competition (UK) and short-listed for the TS Eliot Prize 2007) says of Paul Sutherland’s poetry:
‘Paul Sutherland makes a poetry of contradiction: psychological and intellectual inquiry are matched by a ready emotional depth; epic and intimate scales overlap; it’s homeless and historically rooted; free and exact.’
Joolz Denby (poet novelist and performing star, short-listed for the Orange Prize, 2005) says:
‘A sustained triumph, Seven Earth Odes is an odyssey of the heart.’
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, says of the Holy Week Sequence:
‘This is a superb sequence of poems. They have wonderful economy and stillness. I do hope they find a readership worthy of them.’
Allan Forrie, editor of Thistledown Press, (Canada) said of Seven Earth Odes ‘we immensely appreciate the writing’.
Mario Susko, USA, Croatia, international poet, says:
Paul Sutherland’s masterful ability to ‘travel’ between the abstract, almost philosophical, layers of thinking and the very concrete, earth-like, is something any reader will find fascinating.’
Richard Storer, Head of Humanities, Leeds Trinity and All Saints (UK): ‘It was a pleasure to meet you on the day and to hear you read your work –and though I was not able to attend the workshop I know it was much enjoyed and appreciated by everyone who took part in it. Hope we will work with you again sometime.’
Gordon Wilson, Driftnet Poets, Grimsby (UK), ‘Paul Sutherland’s workshops are marked by an informed and supportive structure and expertise. He is engaging and enlightening and sets exercises that challenge and reward. His manner is serenely enthusiastic, encouraging and inspirational. Good fun and great value for money.’
Marion Saunders, Creative Workshop Coordinator, Lincoln (UK).
Paul Sutherland has been running a number of popular poetry workshops as a member of the Creative Collective for children and young people at the Lincoln Central Library during 2002-2004. Paul's wonderful calm way and inspiring use of language unleashes a world of new words from the youngsters producing amazing work.'
Carol Bevitt, Nottingham Writers Club, after Paul Sutherland gave a talk on small presses:
‘I'm certain you will be seeing future submissions from some of our members. I know that your talk opened up an avenue of publication that many had not considered before. We all hope both your writing, and Dream Catcher continues to prosper.’
Alex Davis, Literature Development Officer, Derby,
‘Just wanted to send a quick email to say thanks a lot for your participation in the Dream Catcher launch- not only for bringing the event to Derby but also for stepping in at the last minute with some of your work! Hope that the event was a success from your perspective- we had some very positive comments on the feedback forms so we were happy with that.’
Teegan, a seven year old, on the St Stephen’s London trip, who Paul inspired to write poems:
‘I’ll never forget you.’
GROUP SIZE PREFERENCE
GROUP AGE PREFERENCE
AREA/S PREPARED TO TRAVEL
UK, Canada, USA, Continent
I aim to inspire as many as possible to express themselves through words and to develop my writing career toward becoming a more widely recognised author.
Objective 2009-10: to have another collection published; to see more of my poems in print and to achieve a major Writer in Residence, post raising my profile generally.