“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 →

When you’re not sure what to say…

Today, even though I managed to write a few hundred words (my writing diary), I allowed myself to be distracted by meandering through a few WordPress sites. I had entered "writing" and later "literature" into the 'search' function just to see what came up. Not surprisingly there was a great deal. Which is fantastic, of... 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 →

This is what writing’s all about…

Sometimes, as a writer, you get those moments when you are bowled over by what you have written. It's almost as if it had come from someone else. Those moments can be as a result of modest things - a line in a poem, perhaps - or something much larger - a paragraph or even... 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 →

Free book offer

I would like to offer a free ebook copy of my collection of short stories "Secrets & Wisdom". Unfortunately I cannot embed an ebook file into the site, only a pdf which is not great. But the offer stands. So if you would like a copy of "Secrets & Wisdom" please let me have an... 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 →

“Secrets & Wisdom”

"My friends call me Angel." It had been her favourite line, delivered with a slight tilt of the head and playful smile intended to lay bare the lie, to seed the notion that she was - if they played their cards right - anything but angelic. She had stood before her bathroom mirror and rehearsed,... 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 →

“Degrees of Separation”

It was a cursory glance; the kind of sweeping, superficial look designed to absorb as much as possible in one movement, as if the most critical thing was to use one’s eyes efficiently. He established the approximate size and scale of the room, its tone, an overall sense of feeling. The walls were part-panelled and... 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 →

“Upstate”

James Wood's "Upstate" is my kind of book. Not just the kind of book I like to read, but the kind of book I'd like to write. In many ways it is the kind of book I do write. It's modest, undramatic (in terms of no false and phoney events and cliff-hangers); it's about people,... 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 →

Protest

Protest   the banners were hand-made crafted from garage leftovers and worn out felt-tips      or their kids’ ancient painting sets letters shadowed in highlighter orange for emphasis      and fire colours running in the rain   they stole chants from the terraces recycled      repurposed they stole chants from the home... Continue Reading →

“Everything Under”

"Everything Under" is a modern delight. Not always an easy read - both in terms of theme and style - it is one of those modern contemporary novels (like "Elmet" perhaps) that simply stands out as being really good. There are two things I particularly love about the book. The first is the way the... Continue Reading →

What I think about when I’m running (with apologies to Haruki Murakami)…

Mostly I think about running. Having just started again some nine years - and one knee operation! - after I ran the London Marathon, the predominant current thought is "this used to be easier"! There was a time when I'd think nothing of a fourteen-mile training run, over two hours non-stop, at a pace these... Continue Reading →

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