Sunday, 29 May 2016

London Launch

Thursday, 19 May 2016

If you go down to the woods today

If you're in London on a Saturday, I'd recommend heading down to the Bethnal Green nature reserve before the end of May to enjoy the Voiced installation. This is poetry written to be spoken and heard - far from the written page and dusty annals or ivory towers. Just voices/pulses in the air triggered by motion.

Five new poems-songs-charms inspired by this rich patch of land in the heart of the East End are embedded in the reserve and set off by footsteps or movement. This makes me wonder if a fox or magpie may trigger a poem and if so how it might react.. I suspect rather non-plussed..

Anyway ... these sound pieces are written to be heard, among the trees and ruins of St Jude's church. They are all quite different and non-linear and somehow the words combine with the space to make a multi-dimensional experience that weaves the past into the present.

I'm proud to have a poem - Charm for Delayed Birth  - and my voice - as part of the installation and hope the whole project enhances peoples' enjoyment and appreciation of the reserve with its layers of natural and human history.
For once when I heard my own voice, I didn't feel like cringing because it has been curated so well it springs from the setting it draws from.

Here are some details from the press release which you can read here -

Phytology: 7th May – 3rd September 2016
Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. Middleton Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 9RR
Admission, free.
Opening times: Saturday 11:00am – 6:00pm, and other times by appointment.
For more information and details about forthcoming events including the Campfire Club programme see

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


I wanted to post this in April when I scribbled it down but already we are past this point and into the inevitability of May

The plants and trees are changing daily here
April is the most vigorous of months
(Rough winds doth shake)
the shivering leaflets and wrapped buds,
astonishing cow parsley (bean stalk)
All around bird life
wren, a tick, calling loud
and birds everywhere with insects and grubs in their beaks
and birdsong everywhere
and on our decking a mouse with fine-boned hands who hunches over crumbs
and the wood anemone and bluebells
the greenery and growth like a cancer or foetus
multiplying and dividing unstoppably
stopper out of the bottle
and the sheer fresh green in the energy of the sun
and all across the shreds of cloud and a northerly wind
shaking the new leaves open
I touch a bud and feel its deep earth energy
walk the earth and soak it in
crazy april growth
eating itself

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Book launch

Here are a few photos from the launch of two new Pavilion Poetry books - Slant Light - my first collection, and Every Little Sound by Ruby Robinson this week in Liverpool. It was quite an experience to read from the book and talk about the poems to an interested audience in special surroundings. A beautiful day to visit Liverpool for the first time and also meet fellow Pavilion authors and the whole editorial team.
 I'm proud of my dark green book and the poems inside its covers and I hope it reaches a few hearts/minds/ears as it makes its quiet way about the place..
I chose to group the poems I read into loose themes - direct inspiration from the natural world, Anglo Saxon charms, and then oblique ways of looking at the world. There was also a Q&A which I enjoyed for its spontaneity and interaction.
As soon as I finished my reading, I thought 'I want to do that again and I want to do it better'.
Im really delighted to be taking part in the Linklater Voice Coaching Method course next month and then reading at Greenwich, Ledbury Festival and at Poetry in Palmer's Green later this year. 
I do feel lucky to be published by such an exciting new press and I'm really looking forward to finding the space to write again. This is all a bit self-promotional but I think is probably part of being a poet these days, as is the ability to perform.
All in all, a week to celebrate, so thanks for reading.
The reading room at the university's School of The Arts
With some of the fantastic interns from Liverpool University Press who helped with typesetting and marketing the books
New authors outside the pavilion

Friday, 8 April 2016

Short and sweet..

Delighted to have a poem in Issue Three of The Compass Magazine - a beautifully designed and curated online poetry resource. Some wonderful poems here with my favourites by Pascale Petit and Liz Berry.
Poems that are unafraid to be true about their intentions - 

Mine is a playful poem really, written in the style of Les Murray, and with the idea of an 'islanders' mentality in mind, with all is positive and negative connotations.
I love observing things, closely. Have you ever looked at a bank of barnacles, millions of them encrusting rocks and piers and abandoned wood? There is a uniformity in their serried ranks, a pleasing efficiency in the way they occupy every millimetre of useful surface with their almost hexagonal forms, and then if you look up close, they are aged and new and all in between - there are larger misshapen individuals, tiny, neat ones that fit in a crevice, others snarled with threads of hair or twine, and each is marked with a tiny cross that will open like some strange space pod and wave in the salt wash in a mass feed as the tide comes.
The way they feel under bare feet too - almost painful and strong enough to resist human weight.


Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the Liverpool launch of Slant Light soon and a London launch later this spring. I have sold a few books - hurray! 
I was also privileged to be a judge of the Greenwich University/PNSEL 2016  poetry competition.
It was interesting to be 'on the other side' of a poetry competition, reading anonymous entries, shortlisting and discussing them with the other judges. How subjective it is, and yet how clearly the winning poem announced itself despite our differing tastes.
It was interesting to hear some of the shortlisted poets read at the Made in Greenwich gallery last week and reminded me of how brave you have to be to stand up and read your words to an audience. 
I remember doing so at university and being absolutely terrified.
Happy Aprils, thanks for reading. I'll be back with a more interesting post soon.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

Something Gallant

Lots of loosely connected links to follow in this blog post but do bear with me as they're good ones and worth your time ;-)

I do like the deceptively throwaway tone of this love poem by Annie Freud from her latest collection, The Remains, published by Picador. It kind of sums up where I am at the moment: both in diction and content. love poems that come at the subject slant are my favourite and this is a good example -‘something-gallant’

I don't really know her work but look forward to reading her collection some time soon. Feels pretty good to be writing this speedy blog post while Gabriel sleeps.

In other news, it is only two months till the launch of my book, Slant Light, which is part of the Miriam Allott Visiting Writers' Series at the University of Liverpool.
I've got a couple of readings in north and south London lined up for later in the year, and the launch in Liverpool, on April 20th. It's beginning to feel like an exciting and real prospect.

You can book free tickets and find out details here -

And in May, the VOICED project is officially launched at the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve in May. I am really looking forward to seeing what the artists Lucia Montero and Duncan Robertson have done with our words and songs inspired by this unique place. They are working on a sound installation to be embedded in the reserve, which I think will be fascinating.
Here are some details on the event, and the artists/writers involved in the project -

Spring is coming; I can feel it in the light and the crocuses are beautiful this week; egg yolk yellow, imperial purple and rich cream. Are there any other crocus colours? Ive not seen any. The blackthorn by our house is in full blossom and the daffs are doing their coronal thing. I feel like this is going to be a good year. Thanks for reading.. till next time. x