Monday, 25 March 2019


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 (above).  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.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

SLQ November Competition

Sentinel's quarterly magazine competition  is an impartially run, fair crack of the whip for poets weighing up their annual spend on prizes. I'm judging for the second time - and I remember from the process a few years ago many poems I picked up, put down, picked up again. It's a responsibility.  Entry numbers, I think, range from 100 to 300+: And in his report the judge will endeavour to give credit where it's due.  I'm all ears. 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

October Online

A sprinkling of poems on popular ezines this month, Today Nine Muses Press, tomorrow, scheduled for the beautiful Poetry Shed and a verse attached to this goat’s head in the Ekphrastic Review a week or two ago.  Everyone should try the Ekphrastic Review, & although they didn’t post my piece on El Bobo – that too is available in some good book shops.  Further ekphrastic platform challenges offered monthly on the Nine Muses site.  

Sunday, 7 October 2018

At Harbour Books and the Poetry Cafe

That was a really good weekend on the poetic chase: Rosie invited me to Words on Waves at Harbour Books, Whitstable on Thursday, National poetry day, where we had good readers and a good crowd and then on Saturday we joined Quentin and Colin Pink at the Poetry Café.  Colin having stepped in at a morning’s notice.  Rosie had the wit to wear a bright scarf, I think we all acquitted ourselves pretty well. 

It was such an enthusiastic audience, there were more laughs all round than we anticipated and the PC basement loses it echo with a full house.  It’s a good spot.  Peter couldn't make it was the downside, there will be other times.