I have decided to cycle the length of the UK – Land’s End to John o’Groats – on my exercise bike. Over 1,500 km split across 57 ‘stages’. Okay, so there are no uphills – but there are no downhills either! It seemed like a good idea: keep fit, have a challenge to aim for,… Read More Sound body, sound mind..?
It seems lots of people are deserting WordPress for Substack, lured by the notion of creating ‘newsletters’ that people will pay to receive. That and knowing they’ll be rubbing virtual shoulders with famous names and literary goliaths – and the fact that Substack is currently ‘free’. So is it a good move? It’s tempting, of… Read More Substack: Nirvana or the Emperor’s New Clothes?
The Binding of the Sea would the tide never stop coming in inching ever higher as the months passed there were only two roads out each burdened with over-familiarity all novelty quagmire-sunk as if the peninsula had capitulated and the sea invaded the land going further afield they sought pubs in out-of-the-way locations explorers for… Read More The Binding of the Sea
There is an immediacy about childhood. We are impatient, fickle; we want today’s new thing, an ice cream, to go to the park. And we always want them now. For young children, tomorrow simply doesn’t exist. Then things change. School does that to us. It introduces us to “school days”, “weekends”, “holidays”; eventually it becomes… Read More Short-term, long-term, short-term; the Shifting Horizons of our lives
If you’re like me, there will be music you listen to which reflects your mood – particularly at the extremes. Right now The Cure’s “Galore” is blasting out of my stereo, one of my ‘go to’ albums when I’m in a really good mood. Today the weather’s great, I went for a run first thing,… Read More Music: the barometer of your Happy Place?
I was getting tired of being spammed by people using my website’s Contact page to do so. Something had to be done. So I added a checkbox that needed to be ticked in order for the contact form to be successfully sent. I thought this might filter out any automated messaging – and maybe help… Read More Think you’re secure with a WordPress ‘Contact’ page?
It seemed like a good idea. I mean, I had some free time on my hands after all. Not for right now you understand, but for some point in the future – just in case ‘posterity’ might ever need it… Over the years I have written (thus far) a number of volumes of poetry, and… Read More The downside of looking back too far…
My sixth collection of poetry – “The Homelessness of a Child” – is published today, 1st April. Perhaps long overdue, a fair proportion is an exploration of the hardships and repercussions of my difficult childhood. As the intro says: “By the time Ian Gouge went to university he had already lived in seventeen different places… Read More Published today! “The Homelessness of a Child”
Imagine the scene. The knock at the door. The delivery man. In his hands, an A4-sized box, the kind that contains those four-pack reams of paper you get for your inkjet printer. He smiles and hands you the box. “I’ll go and get the other eight”… Once you have closed the front door, you turn… Read More Not The National Poetry Competition
My sixth collection of poetry – “The Homelessness of a Child” – will be published on 10th April. Perhaps long overdue, a fair proportion is an exploration of the hardships and repercussions of my difficult childhood. As the intro says: “By the time Ian Gouge went to university he had already lived in seventeen different… Read More Forthcoming book – April publication
I’m thinking of taking a sabbatical from poetry. Giving it up for a while. A bit of ‘detox’. Why? Multiple reasons really. The easy one is to say that “I want to focus on my prose”. Very little collateral damage in that one I suspect. And it also has the benefit of being true! I… Read More Time for a Poetry ‘sabbatical’?
In one of Lawrence Durrell’s poems there is a wonderful line: Give us the language of diamonds The Death of General Uncebunke, Fourteen Carols (V) That simple phrase – “the language of diamonds” – has always seemed to me complex, profound, powerful, beautiful. The subtlety of it comes in the unpacking of it of course,… Read More ‘The Language of Diamonds’
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how many of us like to think of ourselves as ‘Writers’ (note the capital ‘w’!) when – to be frank – we don’t really put the hours in. Think about it. How could you be a surgeon without learning your craft and then operating on people day-in day-out, or a… Read More You can’t be a Writer without writing…
Every few months or so – usually at propitious or convenient points – I take stock of where I am with my writing. These reviews take the form of notes scribbled into one of many(!) notebooks, and essentially provide a snapshot of where I am with my creative work. When arriving at such moments (as… Read More A glance in the rear-view mirror…
If his “Selected Poems” (Ed. Peter Porter) is anything to go by, Lawrence Durrell’s poetry has not travelled well through time. Whilst they may have been stylistically appropriate for the 30s and 40s, I fear that do not sit well in the twenty-first century. Many seem contrived and clumsy, with (sometimes inconsistent) rhyming schemes shoe-horned… Read More “Selected Poems” – Lawrence Durrell
Why is it that so many of us live our lives – subconsciously or otherwise – as if there is a secret rewind button always available? A button that gifts us the opportunity to revisit past triumphs, to avoid horrible defeats; a button which permits us to take different decisions and make alternate choices. And… Read More The rewind button’s broken…
Andrew Motion’s “Randomly Moving Particles” is, in many ways, a quite remarkable tour de force of free verse; indeed, it is so ‘free’ that I am reminded of the narrative qualities of Robin Robertson’s award-winning “The Long Take”. Nowhere is the power of his work more in evidence than in ‘How Do the Dead Walk’,… Read More “Randomly Moving Particles”
As a writer and Indie Publisher I am always grateful that my distributor and the Nielsen book registration service have direct feeds into major on-line retailers. This facility means that, as soon as a book is published, it usually appears on global websites within 24-48 hours. However, what appears is only as good as the… Read More Why you shouldn’t believe everything an Amazon page says about a book…
John Birtwhistle’s latest collection of poetry, “in the event”, is an intriguing and eclectic mix; a real pic’n’mix of the traditional and modern, the poetic and the prosaic. It is a ‘something for everyone’ kind of book. Which, in a way, is both a strength and a weakness. There are ‘statement’ pieces – the more… Read More “in the event”
A few weeks ago, I attended – virtually, of course! – the Carcanet launch of John Birtwhistle’s latest poetry collection, “in the event”, with John himself reading. I met John just over forty years ago at the University of Southampton where I was studying English and John was ‘writer-in-residence’, or some such. There were writing… Read More A short memory of Jacques Berthoud