On one Saturday morning shopping trip to Guildford when I was 14, while my parents spent ages in Debenham’s, I went into a secondhand bookshop and bought, for about 75 pence, a Penguin Modern Classics copy of Little Herr Friedemann and Other Stories by Thomas Mann. The only story I half-remember from it is a … Continue reading On disillusionment
My review of Greta Stoddart’s collection, Fool is up on The Friday Poem, here. It was a labour of love to undertake all the requisite back-catalogue re-reading before I read Fool and eventually started to write. As ever, the Friday Poem website has lots of really interesting reviews, articles and, of course, poems to read. … Continue reading Review of Greta Stoddart
The first and only occasion I’ve met Fokkina McDonnell in person was at the tail-end of the last century, at a British Haiku Society conference in Ludlow. At the time, I don’t think I knew that Fokkina also wrote longer poems; gradually though, in the last decade or so, and especially from her blog, available … Continue reading On Fokkina McDonnell’s ‘Safe House’
With thanks to Chris Boultwood and Judy Kendall, my essay on the haiku of Caroline Gourlay, published in Presence #73 in July, is now on the journal’s website, here. I owe a personal debt to Caroline, for a good deal of encouragement and friendly advice when I was starting out as a haiku poet 30 … Continue reading On the haiku of Caroline Gourlay
Having savoured Colm Tóibín’s book On Elizabeth Bishop, I then re-read words on Bishop by another great Irish writer, Eavan Boland: the chapter ‘Elizabeth Bishop: an unromantic American’ in her wonderful book A Journey with Two Maps (Carcanet, 2011), available here.The focus of that book is on Boland’s own poetic journey and how women poets … Continue reading On (Eavan Boland and Colm Tóibín, again, on) Elizabeth Bishop
all daythe drop and roll of acornson a tin roofThe benefit of having the Haiku Calendar on my work desk is that the monthly selections quickly seep into my consciousness. This one, one of the three runners-up for October in this year's calendar, must’ve been written, probably twenty-five or so miles to the north-west of where I am, … Continue reading On a haiku by Sheila Butterworth
There’s a good case to be made for October being the loveliest month, in England at any rate; though only really when the sun shines and the plentiful golden yellows are at their best, like Samuel Palmer landscapes before your eyes.It’s also a month of melancholy, too, which suits me just fine. The ideal time … Continue reading On (Colm Tóibín on) Elizabeth Bishop
I’m delighted to say that, on Sunday, 25 September, 2022, I’ll be a guest reader at the next Red Door Poets online reading. Details are available here.
Thanks to Chuck Brickley, I’ve recently had the great honour of co-judging, with Kat Lehmann, the Haiku Society of America’s annual haiku competition, named in memory of Harold G. Henderson, who played a pivotal role in helping to popularise haiku in English.I’ve been reflecting on why it's such a great honour. The answer is complex. … Continue reading Haiku Society of America Haiku Award
I’ve written about the clarity and excellence of Simon Chard’s haiku before, here, and I make no apology for doing so again. Over the last few years, his haiku have been as consistently good as those of any English-language haiku poet and it’s no wonder that he’s won several competitions, including the Haiku Presence Award … Continue reading On Simon Chard
On Saturday, fellow poets Ian Parks, Simon Beech, Tracy Day Dawson and I walked the route of Ted Hughes’s paper round up from Mexborough to Old Denaby, as described here. Ian, born and brought up in Mexborough, led us on the route which took in the former newsagent’s where Hughes and his family lived from … Continue reading On Ted Hughes
The Monday before last I went to the Bedford, Balham, for the Live Canon launch of Mary Mulholland’s pamphlet, What the Sheep Taught me. It was and is a beautiful old pub, with an amazing performance space. Before Mary read, her guest readers were Simon Maddrell, Alice Hiller and Chris Hardy, all of whom read … Continue reading On Mary Mulholland and Larkin
I’ve been to see the Sickert exhibition at Tate Britain, having meant to go and see it in Liverpool when it was on show there. Poster for Sickert exhibition at Tate Britain Sickert’s long been among my favourite British artists – and artists per se. The exhibition traces his development from his beginnings as Whistler’s … Continue reading On Sickert
Ben Banyard has kindly published two more of my poems over on his Black Nore Review website. I’m very grateful to Ben for providing this platform. My poems are available here.
My reviews of these two fine pamphlets are up on the Sphinx website, where, as always, there are many other reviews to read. Thanks to Nell Nelson for her encouragement and skilfully editing of my chunter.The review of Amanda Dalton’s Notes on Water is here.The review of Greg Freeman’s The Fall of Singapore is here.