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Fiction

Fiction has featured only occasionally in the output of Haworth Hodgkinson, most recently in the form of two short stories, The Floor and Candles and Pizzas, published in the Lemon Tree Writers collection Point of Balance (2013).

His first short story The Syke came about when he realised that an already long narrative poem was in the process of breaking out of its poetic constraints. This story, along with the play Callum McAllion's Voice and an untitled piece of music, all dating from 1995, make up a trilogy of related works in which cyclic structures are explored on a larger scale than would be feasible in poetry. The untitled music slowly works its way round four repetitions of a basic ground-plan of meditation and interruption, The Syke follows the seasons for five years on a riverbank, and in Callum McAllion's Voice we are led into six loops of the thought processes of its protagonist. A further projected piece, a theatrical exploration of seven Greek myths linked to seven prime numbers, never came to fruition.

Since then, he has produced a handful of further stories, and three of them have been published in the magazine Pushing Out the Boat. Most of his stories tend towards extreme brevity, so it seems unlikely that he will ever turn to novel writing.

A feature of the short stories of Haworth Hodgkinson that has often been commented on is that food almost always plays a major role. Apart from the small vegetable stew, the oddly perfumed soup and the cauliflowers in the stories featured here, one year-cycle of The Syke is dominated by feasting, and there are other stories in which pizzas, coffee, an omelette, and unnamed yellow vegetables play crucial roles.

Point of Balance

Point of Balance

Pushing Out the Boat 7

Pushing Out the Boat


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