The Perennial Question: What Next?

It's that time of year again. As seems to have been the case for - what? - the last two or three years now, I arrive into December putting the finishing touches to the final drafts for new books that will see the light of day in February; all that remains is the generation and... Continue Reading →

“After the Formalities”

Anthony Anaxagorou's "After the Formalities" is a 'difficult' volume of poetry. Difficult in a number of senses: in some of its themes and narratives; in the structure of many of the individual pieces; in some of the language and punctuation. It is also difficult in its variability. There are a small number of exceptional pieces... Continue Reading →

Is there room in the market for a new literary journal?

The idea is simple enough. A bi-annual literary compendium containing prose, poetry, and literary non-fiction. It would be produced in paperback book not pamphlet form, and probably run to about 200-pages long. Significantly, the bulk of the content would most likely come from writers capable of crafting high-quality material yet who are struggling to get... Continue Reading →

“The Gravity Wave”

There is much to admire in Peter Sirr's "The Gravity Wave", a range of subjects, of styles that keeps the collection from becoming - as so many can be - a little bit repetitive. Having said that, however, I found myself not quite 'grabbed' by it; to my taste it was a book that felt... Continue Reading →

“Unknown Soldier”

I confess that in the beginning I struggled with Seni Seneviratne's "Unknown Soldier". There was something about the two voices in the first section that didn't quite work for me, and I wonder if using the photographs (from the third section, 'Album') proved as much a straitjacket as an inspiration. However, in the second section,... Continue Reading →

“The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here”

Vidyan Ravinthiran's "Million-petalled Flower" may well be a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, but I'm afraid it didn't work for me; a little too flat and uninspiring. So much so that I couldn't finish it. I dislike abandoning poetry books, but there you go... It - and a number of other recent dissatisfactions with my own... Continue Reading →

Ripon Poetry Festival 2019

The third annual Ripon Poetry Festival opens on Thursday 10th October at 7pm with an event featuring readings by members of the Ripon Writers' Group. The group has been active in the city for many years and was on the programme for the inaugural festival two years ago. Saturday sees the official launch of the... Continue Reading →

Getting published is easy; it’s getting read that’s hard…

Someone's moved the goal posts. The Holy Grail has shifted. It used to be that writers dreamed of being published, because 'being published' meant something. Now, thanks to Indie Publishing and services likes Amazon's KDP, lulu, IngramSpark etc., getting published is a piece of cake; having your words turned to into real physical books (or... Continue Reading →

Just write! It can be that easy…

Occasionally you come across posts from people who are struggling to write, either because they say they can't find a subject, or because they are waiting for 'the Muse' / inspiration to hit them. But in a way, writing is no different from almost any other endeavour. Take golf. When once teased about how much... Continue Reading →

“Hand & Skull”

In some places Zoë Brigley's collection "Hand & Skull" is remarkable. Indeed, in many of the pieces she manages to convey, with alacrity, what it means to be a woman - and what some men can represent to women, not all of it positive. I can't recall reading a female poet who has put me... Continue Reading →

The difficulty with juggling…

I have always liked to have multiple projects on the go: poetry and prose; differing themes and styles. I like to think the variety keeps things fresh. There comes a time, however, when striking a workable balance, juggling more than one thing, simply doesn't work - and that happens when I'm getting close to finishing... Continue Reading →

Kindle ebook offers!

Check out my Author page on Amazon. Over the next two weeks there are various offers on a number of my books: "An Infinity of Mirrors" - my largest and most ambitious novel, 18th-25th July, just $0.99! "Degrees of Separation" - short stories, 19th-22nd July, FREE! "At Maunston Quay" - my latest novel, 18th-25th July,... Continue Reading →

It’s OK it’s not a Masterpiece…

I currently run a monthly poetry group in the Midlands; a 'Stanza' group affiliated to the Poetry Society. Each month members bring along a piece of their own work for a gentle but often incisive critique by others in the group. I emphasise to the group each month that it's important to bring along something... Continue Reading →

On the process of writing poetry

Years ago - but maybe not so many years ago - my process of writing poetry was relatively straightforward. And immensely naïve. I used to think (subconsciously at least) that the first words written had some kind of 'sacred' quality to them; that because they had come first, were the outpourings of 'the Muse', had... Continue Reading →

When is a ‘diary’ not…

If anyone happened to stray onto the "My Writing Diary" page of this site, they would think I was a lazy so-and-so. I've just checked: the last entry there was 10 months ago! Since then, I have finished the novel I was working on at that time, and published a collection of poetry. Not only... Continue Reading →

“Deaf Republic”

If one of the prime objectives of poetry is to communicate - and through that communication to enthral, entertain, stimulate, challenge and so on - then Ilya Kaminsky's "Deaf Republic" is a success. It isn't poetry in any traditional sense, and seems to bestride the line that divides verse and the short story. Indeed, it... Continue Reading →

“Erato”

A great deal in Rees-Jones' "Erato" is prose, plain and simple. Some of it may be very lyrical and 'poetic', but it's still prose. And it looks like prose; and you read it like prose. There are also some good poems too, the quality of some of the imagery unquestionable. And because of that -... Continue Reading →

A Candle, Guttered

A Candle, Guttered   betrayed by this soft groove a fountainhead of hot time melted in darkness its bequest      an uneven trail pale witness of lives traded for a compendium of importance or of trivia      perhaps   did we notice or were we overcome by such moments a testimony compiled from... Continue Reading →

Grief

Grief there is a space where you used to be   I see it on grey station platforms and in shuffling supermarket aisles   strange how it is never occupied despite the throng   I feel it during countryside walks my forlorn hand abandoned constantly surprised to find yours not there   a voice   ... Continue Reading →

“Surge”

Jay Bernard's collection "Surge" is rooted in the New Cross Fire of 1981; a birthday party that went tragically wrong, and where thirteen young black people lost their lives. Whilst "Surge" never strays too far from its source material, it avoids becoming a 'one trick pony', the same song sung time and again, and in... Continue Reading →

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