"'Optics' is a hefty collection, haunted by the weight of possibilities, yet one which flies on fleet, running feet, a lightness of breath, a Kafkaesque sense of absurdism, and fed on a simmering rage against the uncontrollable forces that shape us. Mark Connors takes us to the wild places on the edge of order where glimpses of the sublime still penetrate. 'Optics' pulls at the threads of our shifting perceptions over years. These poems are recounted with wit and a real sense of poetic form, whether in sonnets, villanelles, rhythmic quatrains, prose poems or in deftly handled organic verse, without once losing the intimacy of his conversational tone. These pages are full of close observations of inner and outer worlds. This fine collection is a poetic processing of perceived trauma and joy, 'in hours when there seems little hope of light'."
"'Optics' is such an entertaining and readable collection, laced with humour, honesty and bravado but threaded with the deeper pain of loss and love, and love again. Here lie startling juxtapositions of the ordinary with the beautifully observed extraordinary. Here, Connors's heart beats to the people and places of Yorkshire, its multiculturalism, its bad-temper, its warm and welcoming arms. Most of all, 'Optics' is where 'home reveals itself.'" Deborah Alma
"Mark Connors' poems are jostled, beset, invaded by the world around him. Sometimes it's people – a lover, a passer-by, a politician; sometimes it's a place, or an object suddenly seen with a tilted head. The things that make his poems are handled with freshness, humour, and often an almost-formal melancholy. The poems here are surprising, moving – and handled with a deft sense of line and wit." James Sheard
"Mark's poems read like conversations, as if he's sitting right next to you, poems set against the backdrop of country and town, the failures of governments, economics, social media, grief and mental health. 'Optics' is about seeing what really matters. This collection leaves you with the feeling he has questioned himself and his choices and has found hope and contentment in the simple things: love, the hills around us, the long, long run." Jane Burn
Monday 17th June • SOUNDBITES, Headingley.
Heart Café, Headingley LS6 3HN. 7 pm
Sunday 12th April • The Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop's Castle.
36 High Street, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire SY9 4BQ. 7.30 pm
Wednesday 1st April • WordSpace, Horsforth.
The Hop Shack, New Road Side, Horsforth. LS18 4QD. 7.30 pm
Saturday 28th March • Writing on Air Festival, Leeds.
Chapel FM, York Road, Leeds. LS14 6JB. 7.30 pm
Tuesday 17th March • The Writer’s Festival, Horsforth.
Leeds Trinity University, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth. LS18 5HD. 5 pm
Saturday 7th March • LEEDS LIT FEST, YAFFLE Showcase, Leeds.
The Carriageworks, The Electric Press, 3 Millenium Square, Leeds. LS2 3AD. 5pm
Wednesday 4th March • LEEDS LIT FEST, Leeds.
The Cardigan Arms, 364 Kirkstall Road, Kirkstall, Leeds. LS4 2HQ. 7.30 pm
Sunday 22nd September • 'Optics' Launch, Ilkley
The Flying Duck, 16 Chruch Street, Ilkley. LS29 9DS. 1.30pm
Saturday 28th September • WORD CLUB SPECIAL, Leeds
The Chemic Tavern, Leeds. LS6 2NG. 1.30 pm
Saturday 28th September • IEG, Chesterfield
Chesterfield Labour Club, Chesterfield. 7.30 pm
Thursday 10th October • The Purple Room, Ben Rhydding
The Wheatley Arms, Ben Rhydding. 7.30 pm
Sunday 20th October • Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop's Castle (compere - Pat Edward's Only Blood Launch)
36 High Street, Bishop's Castle. SY9 5BQ. 1.30 pm
Thursday 7th November • Shaken in Sheeptown, Skipton
Bojangles, New Market Street, Skipton. BD23 2HR. 7.30 pm
Sunday 10th November • The Runcible Spoon, Morley
The Miner's Arms, Morley. LS22 8LG. 4 pm
Thursday 14th November • Albert Poets, Huddersfield
The Albert, Victoria Street, Huddersfield. HD1 2QF. 7.30 pm
Thursday 28th November • York Explore, York
York Library, Library Square, York. YO1 7BS. 7.30 pm
Thursday 5th December • Journeys with Zaffar Kunial and Mark Connors
Kala Sangham, 1 Forster Square, Bradford. BD1 4TY.
Friday 20th December • Bradford Art + Bradford Words
Bread & Roses, North Parade, Bradford. BD1 3HT