Thursday, 8 August 2019


I am longlisted for this year’s Canterbury Prize yeh!  So a place in the anthology assured & while I didn’t win with my ekphrastic shot at The Miser Who Lost His Treasure,  I will be in Earyworks next anthology as I was shortlisted for their competition as well.  I’m delighted with both of course, already.  Win or lose it is a pleasure to share print.  

Looking over the misguided register my submissions this year – aye, there are many – I see ‘longlist’ crops up: Erbacce Pamphlet, Firth Magazine.  It is plausible – as I don’t go for the big prizes and prefer the one judge reads all competitions – this is because there are more poems about. Which might be the case for all competitions.   Paddle faster.
L'avare qui a perdu son tresor

Friday, 28 June 2019

Webzine Progress

Bonnie's Crew & Runcible Spoon
I am happy to have two poems enthusiastically accepted by Katt at Runcible Spoon - Baker Street, with /Loves sweet tooth... /its fingertips and lollipops, strawberries and cream/ and another completed after many revisions, Threshold. Also an estuary poem, Sea window accepted this month by the big-hearted Bonnie's Crew. Familiar faces in both: poetry is a good place to be.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019


The usual thing: acquire superpowers, write the book, get the girl – all the girls – become Pres.  Young man’s stuff, but it’s all superheroes these days. This verse, with abandoned references to the cautionary tales and films of the past, keeps the recent film in mind, as its anchor point, even if – desperately unexpanded – the sense skates wildly on.    Sonnets, Gosh.

His ersatz candles burn nuit jour nuit jour
smoking ad-man, he recollects men haven’t
burnt full credit yet with brainboxes unspent
on pyromanic favours. Running water
from the tap burns chlorine off as we adore
bygone years of a limitless lament:
these days there's nothing left to quit for Lent,
allowing TV is the fire’s replacement.

Superman's transfixed by dreams of celluloid.
Being too greedy, love, he’s blue-eyed, GM
hints at a likeness to Dorian Gee,
in his wainscot the termites heard chomping,
senses dislocate: that’s hell. Avoid
extremes, our minds intact serve best as can be.



Monday, 25 March 2019



The dolphins seemed unfriendly
No sooner had we landed when, at a loss,
we struck out for the islands, not by airplane –
wheels on the shallows – but in the drink, again
cast off into the Med, each of us a Pangloss –
ebullience deranged –sailing for Paxos,
island of the  shotgun, Easter rain
whose white chalk gullies and a firefly lane
lit us home through the olive alleys, moss.
O’Hara was right to remind us of Pan,
the great god Pan, last seen somewhere near
the isthmus maybe down from Ithaca,
in the sparseness of the Archipelago:
I have to go there, but the boat’s tossed so, I can
not swim a stroke: the dolphins, oh! the medusae approach.

O’Hara was right to remind us of Pan
I am happy to have Poem of the Week on writeoutloud this week The dolphins seemed unfriendly, with accompanying picture of Pan. This is my second POTW and by coincidence both conjure boat trips and Greek islands.  My deep thanks for a terrific clout on the back from this week’s choosing editor, and I quote:  

“… master-class that drops us in the Med, talks of Paxos and Pan, and is delivered with the unfettered imagination and skill of a true poet. A beautiful piece of writing sure to transport you the way only poetry can…” 

The great grin of cheese.  I also have a poem in The Journal this summer, The videographer’s picnic.  (-:

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Tetbury Goods Shed

What had been the Writers in the (Cirencester) Brewery, I understand, is reincarnated at the Tetbury Goods Shed,  same sociable, questioning and supportive ambience, moved from a café proper to this Finnish Railway carriage.  There’s a wider gauge in the cold countries.  Last Wednesday evening was very amiably hosted by Phil Kirby with guest poet, Mike Bartholomew-Briggs.  A really good poetic night out, lightly peppered with prose.  A couple of photos spliced below, taken by Nancy Mattson who has spent some time in Finland and vouched for the authenticity of the carriage maps, and, given the setting, was prompted to read her poem on finding 7 nuns at Platform One of Seven Sisters.  This is what we want.

Sunday, 13 January 2019


Searching anthologies for new blood, I have again unearthed DH Lawrence’s animal poems,  always so light and memorable.  Lizard, below, a good example, makes the point man has long  been a dull thing, often viewed as a disappointment really.  Hey ho!  I have enough of Lawrence’s bats, snakes and and wild things in Heaney and Hughes’ Rattlebag to meet my appetite there, I’ll give Frank O’Hara a go.
A lizard ran out on a rock and looked up, listening
no doubt to the sounding of the spheres.
And what a dandy fellow! The right toss of a chin for you
And swirl of a tail!
If men were so much men as lizards are lizards
they’d be worth looking at.


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Lone Stars #90

Milo Rosebud of San Antonio has allowed a shortfall on postage to send me the latest edition of Lone Stars Magazine, which has that great, wild look of a pamphlet with no print design exonerated by stars and border cartoons.  My entry, on the prompt of  "In another life" glosses an extraordinary, terrible episode in Dostoyevsky's younger years. It keeps bringing me back to the lyrics of Heroes, but Bowie's kisses were for Visconti's girlfriend, and that is fine too.  My poem repeated below, slightly corrected, I believe, for rhythm.

Another death

Taken from a dasha in the heart
of Mother Russia, put on the ruined path
to death, worked over every step,
to every melancholy Gulag

on the eve of execution the bell
tolls One. We pass around the loving cup
with a genie in the bottle,
tomorrow’s close at hand. Is come.

Kisses then, thoughts squawk, white shirttails
at our muddy knees, like Peter Pans
in hen houses except we fly around
all tears, embraces, our dear companions’ faces.

Smoke cigarettes. Prepare, my friends,
for blindfolds and the itchy trigger finger
of the one who fires first
and then the coup de grâce.

Political prisoners in our night shirts,
trussed in groups of three,
they line us up, shoot overhead.
On our knees, some would sooner die.