‘Michaelmas’ was chosen by Michael Schmidt as one of four poems to represent Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s sadly slim output in his Harvill Book of Twentieth Century Poetry in English, and, since reading Forrest-Thomson’s fantastic Collected Poems, I’ve been wondering why, as it’s a curiously difficult poem among an overall oeuvre renowned for being contrary, albeit not as contrary… Continue reading On Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s ‘Michaelmas’
I’m greatly enjoying the Places of Poetry project, which aims to map poems of place in England and Wales. It’s co-led by the brilliant poet Paul Farley and Andrew McRae, and co-managed by the universities of Exeter and Lancaster. Thus far, I’ve pinned 21 of my poems on the map, which is very satisfying. There are… Continue reading Places of Poetry
My mum passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. Here she is in, I think, the late ’Fifties.
I was sad to hear today of the passing of Les Murray. In September 2015, Hamish Ironside (pictured with Les below) and I went for dinner and a few pints with Les at the Anglers in Teddington when he was over for a reading tour and was staying, curiously, in the same hotel as the All-Blacks who were… Continue reading Les Murray
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the official confirmation of the desperately sad passing of Martin Lucas, poet, founder of Presence, all-round genius and lovely bloke. My appreciation of Martin, written a month or two afterwards, is still on the website of A Hundred Gourds.
Of late, my reading seems to have been stuck in an early-Twentieth Century time-warp: Ivor Gurney’s Collected Poems – his post-war war poems are undisputedly great, as well as others concerning his native Gloucestershire, especially during the two years 1920–22 immediately before his confinement in asylums, for the rest of his life; Helen Thomas’s beautiful and… Continue reading Writing the past (again)
For some bizarre reason, the Arts Council have withdrawn funding from The Poetry Business which, to my mind, does more for poetry in this country than any other organisation bar none. To help plug the gap, there is a Crowdfund campaign to which donations will, I am sure, be gratefully received.
This time last week, 10 of my fellow Poetry Business Writing School 2017–2019 poets – David Hale, Keith Hutson, Hannah Lowe, Marie Naughton, Stephen Payne, Kathy Pimlott, Emma Simon, David Underdown, Tom Weir and Rod Whitworth – and I were preparing for our end-of-programme celebratory reading in the Jerwood Centre next to Dove Cottage in… Continue reading Grasmere
I’m very much looking forward to taking part in the celebratory end-of-course reading with my fellow 2017–2019 Poetry Business Writing School participants at the Jerwood Centre, Dove Cottage, Grasmere, this Sunday afternoon. It feels like a huge honour and privilege to read there, and in such wonderful company.
Lawrence Sail is one of those poets who seems to have been around for years – probably because he has. I wasn’t aware of his poem ‘The Cablecar’ until Ann and Peter Sansom used it as an exemplar in one of their Poetry Business Saturday writing exercises. It immediately grabbed me as a wonderful poem,… Continue reading On Lawrence Sail’s ‘The Cablecar’