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2022-09-08 10:20
I thought I'd posted this a couple of weeks back, and realise now that I didn't, but better late than never – this is an excellent tribute to the poet Martin Stannard, with contributio… Read More
2022-07-11 14:42
Excellent thread about line-breaks by Caroline Bird, here. There have been a few related discussions elsewhere on Twitter, too, which can only be good. It never hurts to discuss why we like… Read More
2022-07-01 08:15
A reminder that I have an e-chapbook – Magnetite and other poems – out now from Wild Art Publishing. It collects bird-themed poems from my three full collecti… Read More
2022-06-30 08:14
A couple of years ago, I reviewed Robert Selby's The Coming Down Time for Magma. To cut a long story short, I absolutely loved it.So, I'm really looking forward to the above, a collection ce… Read More
2022-05-29 11:17
Nine Arches Press and Writing West Midlands have revealed the full programme for SkyLines, an all-new Poetry & Spoken Word Festival which comes to Coventry from 15-17 July… Read More
Some More Current Reading
2022-05-22 11:20
I've also been enjoying dipping in and out of Ian Duhig's New and Selected Poems, a book I'd been meaning to get hold of for a while. I've long been a fan of his work, and the new poems are… Read More
Some Current Reading
2022-05-21 11:20
Since last Monday's reading, I've been enjoying Chase Dimock's Sentinel Species – I'll write about it at more length when I've finished, but it really is excellent.I've also been brows… Read More
New E-book Out Now!
2022-05-11 09:35
 I have an e-chapbook – Magnetite and other poems – out now from Wild Art Publishing. It collects bird-themed poems from my three full collections along with a couple of new… Read More
2022-05-07 11:04
The other day, poet Matthew Stewart tweeted this, sparking off a very interesting discussion about the use of the first person in poetry, and the frequent assumption by readers (and Matthew… Read More
2022-04-23 11:51
April 21st (Thursday just gone) was World Curlew Day. Curlews (or Eurasian Curlews to give them their full name) are one of my favourite species, but sadly are in steep decline. In the last… Read More
2022-04-21 14:41
This is probably the first time (and will probably be the last, too) that I'll link to a Vanity Fair article on Polyolbion, but this is well worth a read.Frank O'Hara's influence on English… Read More
2022-04-14 07:19
A bit of a change of tack – this article was flagged up on Twitter today. I found it fascinating, partly because of the recent family history research that I've been doing, I think, an… Read More
Lovecraftian Horror
2022-04-13 09:00
My old friend (and former boss – he was a good one) Mark Howard Jones has a new book out for all those of you who enjoy a few eldritch horrors (as I do). Star-Spawned: Lovecraftian Hor… Read More
2022-04-12 08:00
Just a reminder that I'm reading with Chase Dimock as part of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, on Monday, May 16th. The event – The Vanishing Earth – is themed around extinction… Read More
2022-04-07 15:25
I've taken a break from posting for 10 days or so because I was up in Scotland co-leading a readers' holiday, preceded by a couple of days of family history research around Portsoy (where my… Read More
2022-03-28 17:17
SkyLines, a festival of poetry and spoken word events organised by Nine Arches Press and Writing West Midlands, will take place in Coventry on July 15-17. Keep an eye on the website for furt… Read More
2022-03-28 07:35
Just a reminder about Wild Art Photographer of the Year – the 2022 competition is now open for entries. It's a competition that puts the emphasis firmly on the more creative, artistic… Read More
2022-03-26 12:17
Shaun Hill's warm blooded things is the latest publication from Nine Arches Press, and looks terrific, based on the poems I've seen so far. Nine Arches also have plenty of other books c… Read More
2022-03-22 13:38
Over at Rogue Strands, Matthew Stewart has posted this very well argued review of Helena Nelson's Pearls (Happenstance Press). I haven't read it yet, but this does what all good reviews do a… Read More
2022-03-21 13:46
No, not that one. It's Cheltenham Poetry Festival I'm talking about. I'm just going to briefly remind you that I'm reading as part of it with American poet Chase Dimock on Monday, May 16th (… Read More
2022-03-18 09:03
Thanks to Sue Ibrahim, I have realised that I have comment approval switched on for this blog. Not really because there was anything too controversial, or abusive, or potentially libellous g… Read More
2022-03-17 10:29
Just a reminder that iamb has new poets and poems appearing on a regular basis, as well as a great archive of writers. It's a beautifully designed website, too – easy on the eye and eq… Read More
2022-03-16 15:29
This is a really fascinating and excellent response by Sue Ibrahim to some of the questions raised by that article about Larkin I posted about, and it's something that I've been thinking abo… Read More
2022-03-15 08:30
I did say that I'd be avoiding the constantly alarming news, but it's not entirely possible. I've heard the word 'escalation' more in the last three weeks than I have since the early 1980s… Read More
2022-03-14 08:30
I'm delighted to be reading alongside US poet Chase Dimock as part of this year's Cheltenham Poetry Festival, on May 16th. The online event, titled The Vanishing Earth, focuses on the natura… Read More
2022-03-13 10:45
I'm not in the habit of reading The Spectator, but Twitter drew my attention to this article by Nicola Shulman, which certainly throws some interesting new light on the poetry of o… Read More
2022-03-12 17:45
Yes, yes, I know. My promises to resume posting regularly here have been about as reliable as the Tory government', I'm not going to go there. I have the urge to blog, and to write mor… Read More
2022-01-21 15:44
I've talked about this species before, both in the context of the search for it in the last 10 to 15 years, and with respect to a poem of mine that was, in part at least, inspired by it.This… Read More
Ian ‘DIM’ Wallace, 1933-2021
2021-11-08 15:09
There have been a lot of tributes online to the great Donald Ian Mackenzie Wallace (known to all as Ian or ‘DIM’ Wallace, after the signature he used on his artwork), who pa… Read More
2021-10-25 11:51
Good to see Luke Kennard winning this year's Forward Poetry Prize for his excellent Notes on the Sonnets, first and foremost because it's a great collection and just the latest in a lin… Read More
2021-10-23 19:50
This is a very interesting blogpost, from Jeremy Wikely, about clarity and obscurity in poetry. I wouldn't say I have any answers to the questions raised, although I don't generally enjoy po… Read More
2021-10-21 14:00
This, I'm afraid, is utterly depressing and terrifying in equal measure. I'm used, like any other birdwatcher, to reading about worrying declines in all sorts of species. Turtle Dove is one… Read More
2021-10-19 15:09
I'm not going to apologise for giving Nine Arches Press another plug. It's all going on over there at the moment. As well as Daniel Sluman's nomination for the TS Eliot Prize, Primers Volume… Read More
2021-10-18 15:43
Very sad to hear of the death of Irish poet Brendan Kennelly today. When I first started reading a lot of poetry, having drifted away from it a bit after university, I remember seeing and en… Read More
2021-10-16 10:00
Great news this week that Nine Arches Press poet Daniel Sluman is on the TS Eliot Prize shortlist for single window, a hybrid memoir of poetry and images. I've loved Dan's previous collectio… Read More
2021-10-15 10:41
It's always nice to be able to post about good news, and Dominic Couzens winning the British Trust for Ornithology's Dilys Breese Medal earlier this week is certainly that. It's awarded… Read More
2021-10-08 09:47
Yesterday was National Poetry Day, a fact which I have to admit had escaped my notice until it was too late to do anything about it. Busy week at work, and all that.Mark Antony Owen, who has… Read More
2021-10-07 07:30
After reading that John Snow article the other day, I came across this fine piece from the same writer, James Mettyear, about his hero-worship of Tony Greig. Greig was a hero to a whole gene… Read More
2021-10-06 07:30
Angela France's collection Terminarchy is one of Nine Arches' most recent publications, and it's a fine book that explores subjects such as climate change, among others. I've enjoyed Angela'… Read More
2021-10-04 07:45
To be fair, the title of this post is a bit of a cheat. John Snow, the former England fast bowler who's the subject of this article, was of course more of a cricketer who did a bit of poetin… Read More
2021-07-15 10:29
At the end of the ITN News last night, there was an item about the Anchor Church at Ingleby, Derbyshire. The gist of it was pretty similar to this article, but they went rather more heavily… Read More
2021-07-09 12:15
Very sad news this week of the death of Michael Horowitz, described here as a beat poet and a performance poet, but a whole lot more than that, given his untiring work to popularise any and… Read More
2021-05-25 07:56
There's a couple of interesting posts over at Matthew Stewart's Rogue Strands blog, in which he looks at the difference between the poetry worlds of London and the rest of the UK, and at reg… Read More
2021-05-21 14:52
All this week I've been hearing stuff on Radio 4 building up to the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan on May 24th.* Now, and I'm sure I've said this on here before, I love a lot of Dylan songs, but… Read More
Lectio Violant, By Steve Ely - Zoom Launch
2021-05-03 15:08
The Zoom launch of poet Steve Ely's new Shearsman collection, Lectio Violant, will take place on Tuesday, May 25th, at 7pm.You can register to attend here. Official release date is May… Read More
2021-04-29 15:17
This is my regular recommendation that you have a browse at the Nine Arches Press website – it's full of great individual poetry collections (the most recent being Jacqueline Saphra's… Read More
2021-04-23 15:30
The second round of voting in the Saboteur Awards 2021 is now open – you have until May 5th to make your voice heard about some of the best of the year's literature. You don't have to… Read More
2021-04-05 11:45
The first ever issue of Spelt is out now, and you can read more about it and buy a copy here. It promises "poetry and creative non-fiction that has something to say about the rural experienc… Read More
2021-03-29 14:29
Sad news at the end of last week the death of Welsh-born poet Harry Guest, a major figure in the British Poetry Revival of the late 60s and 70s. I have his 2002 Collected Poems, A Puzzling H… Read More
2021-03-28 15:53
I received my copy of Magma 79 yesterday, and as always there's a really good mixture of poetry (including poems from the latest Magma Open Pamphlet Competition), articles and reviews. I hav… Read More
2021-03-25 08:45
I stumbled across this article on the BBC website last week sometime, and it set me thinking. I can remember, back in 1988, all the fuss in the music press about The Las, when the original s… Read More
2021-03-23 15:14
Lockdown has been something of a mixed blessing for writing poetry. On the one hand, there's been a lot more time to do so. On the other, there's been less inspiration, for me at least, beca… Read More
2021-03-21 11:00
Up front, a warning. This post is about cricket, and pretty much nothing else. And it's long. There's obviously a long way to go, given that we have no idea whether this summer will pan… Read More
2021-03-19 08:30
This is a really good article about Aussie off-spinner Jason Krejza, and his brief but memorable test career. He comes across as a thoughtful chap, wistful rather than embittered, and it's h… Read More
2021-03-18 08:30
This is a really interesting Twitter feed. It's a reminder of how ephemeral much poetry is – it's so easy for it to slip past us in magazines or online, or in slim volumes which sit in… Read More
2021-03-17 08:35
This is a really excellent post about ADHD, and mental health generally, from Kirsten Irving. If nothing else, it ought to encourage all of us to think hard about it, and about how we treat… Read More
2021-03-14 14:35
Interesting blog post here from Sue Ibrahim. Of course, it's getting difficult to remember exactly what a poetry reading is like, and I've only seen a couple on Zoom during the past year. Bu… Read More
2021-03-09 11:00
I know I've mentioned it on here before, but I'm just going to give another plug to the Backlisted podcast. Over what now runs to more than 120 episodes, they've discussed a huge variety of… Read More
2021-03-05 12:00
I stumbled across this article the other day, and although I knew all about Brian Langford's record-breaking spell of bowling, I'd never come across the bit about Doug Insole before. Called… Read More
2021-03-04 13:18
It's World Book Day today, and there's an awful lot on Twitter relating to it. My favourite so far has been from Kirsten Irving (@KofTheTriffids), who has posted about some of the books that… Read More
2021-03-01 15:00
Wikipedia, and the Internet generally, are dangerous things. Yesterday, I heard the end of Tess of the D'Urbervilles on Radio 4, and looked it up online, never having read it. Wikipedia… Read More
2021-03-01 13:28
A bit late, I know, but the sun's starting to break through, and there are daffodils out, so Happy St David's Day! Read More
What I Do To Get Through
2021-02-25 11:17
I'm proud and delighted to say that I was one of the many contributors to the above book, What I Do To Get Through, edited by Olivia Sagan and James Withey. It's a book about different appro… Read More
2021-02-23 13:24
Someone on Twitter posted this link the other day – it's a little compendium of thoughts on writing and writers (and indeed, creativity and life more generally). It comes from a huge v… Read More
2021-02-20 12:16
One of my poems, Starlings, from my last collection The Elephant Tests, is featured today on Purple Crow, which you can read more about here and here.Purple Crow promises to deliver all… Read More
2021-02-18 09:56
OK, I know I've said this before, but I've decided it's time to start using this blog again, and for the reason I initially set it up - to talk about poetry, mainly, although there will be d… Read More
2020-11-08 19:09
I think I've mentioned my admiration for the podcast Backlisted on here before. I've certainly mentioned my admiration for George and Weedon Grossmith's wonderful The Diary of a Nobody.A rec… Read More
2020-10-02 16:40
I was very sad to hear of the death of poet Derek Mahon earlier today, after a short illness.Here's what The Guardian had to say about him, and here's the story from The Irish Times.I like a… Read More
2020-09-18 11:02
Over the last year or two, I've been trying to trace some family history, and at the end of last year, I sent off for one of's DNA tests. When the results came back, there… Read More
2020-07-16 08:00
Last weekend, as I was going to bed, I noticed a very bright light in the northern sky, not that far above the horizon. I stupidly assumed it was Venus or Jupiter, and that it was looking sl… Read More
2020-07-03 15:58
So, its been a long time. What can I say? The whole Covid-19 lockdown situation has dominated everything for the past few months, and Polyolbion has had to take a back seat. But here I am ag… Read More
2020-02-11 11:06
I haven't posted much on here at all lately, and in the time that I've been away there was the very sad news of the death of Roddy Lumsden.His funeral was yesterday, and there have been a lo… Read More
John Ash: Selected Poems
2019-12-20 15:47
Following on from last week's post about the death of John Ash, I've been reading through his Selected Poems, from Carcanet. It's consistently excellent, but my favourite poems there are gen… Read More
2019-12-17 10:33
Fascinating article here if you have any interest in Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon poetry more generally, linguistics, the Sutton Hoo burial, or early medieval history.What's intriguing is that it fo… Read More
2019-12-12 12:33
Very sad to read this morning of the death of John Ash, a very fine poet who somehow often seemed to slip below the radar of surveys of contemporary UK poetry (perhaps because he had lived a… Read More
2019-12-10 09:16
I have a new poem – Peninkulma – posted today at Ink, Sweat & Tears. I hope you enjoy it, and that you'll enjoy looking through the many fine poems on the site Read More
2019-11-27 08:30
Poet Matthew Stewart kindly pointed me in the direction of this post by poet Mat Riches, which talks a little about a couple of poems from my first chapbook, Making The Most Of The Light, wh… Read More
2019-11-21 12:30
I was very pleased to see this announcement earlier today – Poet Laureate Simon Armitage is promoting The Laurel Prize, for poetry themed around environmental issues, and the natural w… Read More
2019-11-08 11:42
I came across this post at Rogue Strands earlier – lovely to see fine poetry being published there, and to read about the forthcoming second Rogue Strands poetry evening, featuring Kat… Read More
Magma 75: Loss
2019-10-29 12:32
I received the new issue of Magma in the post today – No75, themed around Loss. It contains my poem Grail Birds, which was partly inspired by Tim Gallagher's fascinating book The Grail… Read More
2019-10-16 11:28
Poetry competitions do seem to cause quite a bit of controversy, whether because of high entry fees, the use of 'sifters' (meaning that big name judge isn't necessarily going to see your wor… Read More
2019-10-01 10:17
I'm not going to entirely rehash the old debate about whether song lyrics are poetry (yes, I'd say, although not the same sort of poetry you generally see on the page), but Richard Thompson… Read More
2019-09-24 09:46
Very sad to hear of the death of the poet, playwright and translator Elaine Feinstein. I hadn't realised previously that she actually grew up in my home town of Leicester (I knew she had a c… Read More
2019-09-12 10:12
Sad news overnight of another death, that of US lo-fi indie icon Daniel Johnston, who suffered a heart attack at his home in Austin, Texas.I first came across him back in 1996. Stewart Lee… Read More
2019-08-08 13:18
Sad news this morning of the death of David Berman, US poet and the frontman and driving force behind indie band Silver Jews. I bought his collection Actual Air, way back when, and enjoyed i… Read More
2019-07-04 07:53
Peter Riley is as excellent as ever in The Fortnightly Review, talking about WS Graham, and specifically the New Selected Poems edited by Matthew Francis, the Selected Poems edited by Michae… Read More
2019-07-03 07:45
I've only just got into the habit of downloading podcasts to listen to during my commute (yes, I'm years behind the times). A lot of the time it's Cricket – the Test Match Special podc… Read More
2019-07-02 11:31
Nice interview with David Lynch here. I've long been a fan anyway, but he has all sorts of interesting things to say about art and creativity generally Read More
2019-06-14 11:02
The Places Of Poetry blog is a terrific idea – basically you can pin your own poems of place on the map of the UK, as well as enjoying browsing the map and discovering a lot of excelle… Read More
2019-06-13 09:04
I've been a huge fan of American indie stalwarts Yo La Tengo for a long time now, and one of their most consistently enjoyable albums is Fakebook, from way back in 1990.  It's far from… Read More
2019-06-12 09:01
I'm sorry the link has to be to the Daily Mail, but this interview with Robin Smith about the mental health problems he suffered after retiring from cricket is excellent, both moving and, ul… Read More
2019-06-04 08:14
The other day, ahead of the release of his new album Western Stars, The Guardian ran this piece ranking all Springsteen's albums.First thing to say is that, much as I love Springsteen, I thi… Read More
Hugo Williams: Lines Off
2019-05-25 11:30
This is out any day now. I don't suppose Hugo Williams will ever be the height of poetry fashion, but he always strikes me as something of a one-off, wringing the maximum effect out of decep… Read More

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