Clare Shaw: Flood

Clare ShawClare Shaw was born in Burnley. She has three poetry collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement‘fierce … memorable and visceral’. Her third collection, Flood, was published in June 2018. She is a Royal Literary Fellow, and a regular tutor for the Writing Project, the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation. She also works as a mental health trainer and consultant.


Clare Shaw FloodThe title of Flood is very straightforward – it offers an eyewitness account of the floods of  2013 and 2015 that devastated large areasof the UK, including my hometown of Hebden Bridge. Throughout the collection, flood also acts as a metaphor for other powerfully destructive experiences – the Jimmy Savile story, breakdown, hospitalisation, bereavement, the end of a relationship, trauma. It’s not all about destruction though – as much as Flooddescribes how destructive experiences canhurt us, it also expresses how we survivethem as individuals and communities; how we support each other to recover and rebuild.

This collection is a long love letter to the Calder Valley. Starting with my Burnley childhood, it tells the story of how I finally  found my family and community in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge: it delights in the urban and rural landscapes of West Yorkshire.Referencing other flooded areas of the UK, it celebrates the landscapes I love, likeCumbria. And it’s a love letter to ‘my people’ –the people who sustained me – my daughter, my community and my friends. And beyond that, the people through whom the most difficult narratives played out: my mother; the relationship I fought and failed to save; long-term patients in a 1990s psychiatric hospital.


Thu 13 Jun 2019 6pm


Liverpool Central Library

William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW

Some other events

John Connolly

John Connolly

Sat 27 Apr 2019 7pm Kendal Library

Clare Shaw Flood

Clare Shaw: Flood

Thu 13 Jun 2019 6pm Liverpool Central Library



Tue 30 Apr 2019 6.30pm Bolton Library

Catherine Isaac

Catherine Isaac

Tomorrow 2pm Halewood Library

Matt Cain

Matt Cain - 'The Madonna of Bolton' Book Launch and Disco

Fri 17 May 2019 8pm Manchester Central Library

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