At the end of the school year which sets the timeframe for my working year, there are always occasions – leaving dos and retirements – which are simultaneously joyous and sad, like a prefiguring of funerals that celebrate lives well lived. The last two weeks have seen more than the usual number of them, and… Continue reading Summer lull
the soft splash of a lap swimmer’s strokes morning coolness One of the June selections for this year’s Haiku Calendar, this haiku, by a former Associate Editor of The Heron’s Nest, is exemplary in its mood of serenity. For me, the swimmer’s action has an implicitly metronomic, perhaps hypnotic, quality to it, which contrasts with, and… Continue reading On a haiku by Robert Gilliland
I’m delighted to have a poem up on the Poetry Village website today – many thanks to David Coldwell. I wrote the poem on an Arvon week at marvellous Lumb Bank during the heatwave last June.
‘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.