I wonder if that’s what ‘Life’ does, getting in the way, forcing us to take our eyes off the ball, allowing us to forget what’s important… In many respects it’s also the easy option, isn’t it? A kind of abdication. Knowing what matters to us, believing in it, keeping the faith – all of that… Read More Rediscovering what’s important?
Not for me, I’m afraid. I managed about a third of Claire Crowther’s “Solar Cruise”. Perhaps the subject – being so scientific – doesn’t lend itself to poetry; but I’m sure it isn’t just words like ‘nucleus’ or ‘electron’ which put the breaks on the poetic. The layout of some of the pieces – you… Read More “Solar Cruise”
Sometimes volumes of poetry that focus on a single theme or issue seem to sacrifice the quality of the writing in favour of ‘the cause’. Marvin Thompson’s “Road Trip” is rooted in both place – Wales – and subject – being black in an essentially white environment – and succeeds by never making that sacrifice.… Read More “Road Trip”
In spite of myself I actually liked Will Harris’ “Rendang”. ‘In spite of myself’? Well, there’s a lot in this volume which I would challenge as being poetry; perhaps it’s prose poetry at best. Yet there is much that is poetic (if that’s not paradoxical), and the lyric quality of the pieces – thoughtful, reminiscence,… Read More “Rendang”
If you asked me to find a single phrase to describe Juana Adcock’s “Split” I confess I would struggle. ‘It depends’ seems such a lame response… But it does. It depends, for example, on whether I’ve just read “The Task of the Translator” or “The Overburden”: one I liked, the second I did not. And… Read More “Split”
I am scheduled to be interviewed next week by the internet-based UK radio station, ‘Chat and Spin’. They regularly interview writers, musicians, artists and the like, a ten-minute slot which gives you a chance to talk about your work. Looking forward to it – even if it is live and not pre-recorded! The slot is… Read More Radio Interview next week!
Kwame Dawes and John Kinsella’s “Tangling with the Epic” is probably, above all, ‘clever’. It is a dialogue between the two comprised entirely of Spenserian stanzas, batted backwards and forwards across a literary net. It is clever in the sense of its formulaic execution, of sticking to the brief. But for me it is also… Read More “Tangling with the Epic”
A reading of my poem, “The Skip”.
Sidings they arc from sight with bizarre elegance an overgrown divergence designated to home the unwanted or the forgotten weeds climb rusting axles clogging memories of motion and birds flit in the eerie silence to reserve a first-class nesting site
Really looking forward to appearing on the panel of writers at this free event in Ripon Library on 14th March, being grilled about being a writer – and only having a minute to answer each question!
Zoë Skoulding’s “Footnotes to Water” is somewhat obsessed with its subject. Water flows through the poems, washing inexorably over you in wave after wave. Which is fine, though a little more variety – if only to better demonstrate the poet’s linguistic skill – might be nice. In many of the pieces I struggled with the… Read More “Footnotes to Water”
Compulsion abstracted from reality he painted consumed by a nameless passion accidentally acquainted no slave to fashion he claimed a lack of choice for rolling with the punches rarely on the verge of controlling unbidden instinctive hunches it’s not important what’s created he claimed his… Read More Compulsion – a poem
Obituary fettered by an obscured unnatural view he sought another as if a fresh vista might renew a weary perspective on his mother tongue the tricks he’d sleight-handed since the womb his genius for linguistic husbandry were devoted to a life beyond the tomb his embalming for posterity it was the one… Read More Obituary – a poem
On Being Thrown Over Would your love for me increase were I to die or would my barely-mourned decease erase me from your memory? Would your febrile eyes seek out a physical response, the fuel to weave a quilt of lies made posthumously cruel? Was I no more than ornament, a transient… Read More On Being Thrown Over – a poem
It was a little over two months ago I wrote the first version of the post below. Given the books I was working on were finally published today – Published Today! – the questions posed below become even more relevant. I’m heading into the bulk of 2020 without a firm plan. I have been through the… Read More The Perennial Question: What Next? (part 2)
I am delighted to announce three new books for 2020, the first two of these released today, 1st February 2020! The third is published in a week’s time. Liam is haunted by his age and the history it forces upon him. Yet he is also plagued by the need to make more – to generate… Read More Published Today!
I really don’t like not finishing reading a book once I’ve started, but sometimes I find that’s the only way to move on. Unfortunately Charlotte Ansell’s “Deluge” falls into that category. I’ve been dipping into it for many weeks now and am still only half-way through. It sits on a table by the sofa and… Read More “Deluge”
I really like Mary Jean Chan’s “Flèche” – even though, based on my track record of how I respond to a reasonably large proportion of modern verse, I shouldn’t… Why is that? Two main reasons, both normally bête noires. The first is the significant experimentation in form (especially how the pieces appear on the page)… Read More “Flèche”
The thing that struck me most about Jericho Brown’s “The Tradition” was more generic than specific. As I struggled to get beneath the words, to find some kind of rhythm that appealed to me, a language I could interpret, I realised how much reading poetry – unlike prose, you could argue – is dependant on… Read More “The Tradition”
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… Read More The Perennial Question: What Next?