Selected Poems: Cliff Yates


Cliff Yates is one of my favourite poets, writing in an idiom I’d like to call “Skelmersdale Mystic/Domestic.” If he was in a band that band would produce hit singles that would linger in your head for years and if he was a greengrocer his vegetables would always be startling shapes. There’s childhood here, and love, and a way of seeing the world with the wrappers off that is, ultimately, Yatesian – Ian McMillan

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Cliff Yates was born in Birmingham. He left school at sixteen and did a variety of jobs before returning to full-time education. He won both the Aldeburgh First Collection prize and the Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition with Henry’s Clock (Smith|Doorstop, 1999), received an Arts Council England Writer’s Award for Frank Freeman’s Dancing School (Salt, 2009; KFS, 2015) and an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts for Jam (Smith|Doorstop, 2016).

His Selected Poems ebook is published by Smith|Doorstop. Pamphlets include 14 Ways of Listening to the Archers, Emergency Rations, Bike, Rain and Birmingham Canal Navigation. A former English teacher whose students were renowned for winning poetry competitions, he wrote Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School (Poetry Society, 1999) during his time as Poetry Society poet-in-residence.

Formerly Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Aston University, he is a tutor for the Arvon Foundation.

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