Happy Valentine’s Day – My new poem on Ink Sweat and Tears

A quick post to let you know that a poem of mine has been posted on Ink Sweat and Tears today – it’s not exactly a love poem…

It is taken from my new pamphlet ‘£5 for this love’ which is being published by Paper Swans Press later this year!

I’d love to know what you think of the poem – please feel free to leave a comment!




A poem from last year – ‘Bereft’

With NaPoWriMo in full flow, my days are filled with trying to write one poem that I am happy to share on my blog! As a result my output is pretty variable. So I thought I’d share a poem that I am pleased with, but it was written a while ago (last year, the day after the UK election results – to be precise!). I hope you like it!

 “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” – George Orwell

I hold a loss in both hands
Shuffle thoughts and search for colour
Cling to values
And skin clawing expressions

Cold, blue bodies fill the room
Processions prepare
To share in hope
At the failing house

Hollow opinions swell
Footsteps hit moving caskets
Tripping on crossed cracks
Doorsteps break hearts

Apathy swings opinion
Away from red shame-vaults
Intentional power takes action
To deliver mournful results

I’d rather not pay for the children I don’t have – NaPoWriMo day 3

Here is today’s poem:

I’d rather not pay for the children I don’t have

Have you ever booked plane tickets
without having children?
Ok, that sounds wrong,
have you ever not had children
and still had to pay for them?

I have this place I’d like to go to.
It needs me to travel,
by a plane,
and what I’d really like to do
is not have to pay for the children.

This isn’t very clear,
I can see that now.
Basically, I have no children,
but I need plane tickets.

It really shouldn’t be this hard.
I don’t want to pay more
for those plane tickets.
I don’t have any children,
you see?

So I would like to travel,
during the school holidays,
without children.

I’d like to travel and not pay
for the children.
Because they are not there.

I’d like to pay for just me.
I don’t want to take any children,
have any children,
or even see any children.

Not for this journey.


That is poem number 3 on this NaPoWriMo journey. I have been helping my friend Mark book tickets plane tickets to Greece. He was baffled as to why the costs were so high. We soon worked out it was because he was trying to book the tickets during the easter holidays. The poem is slightly about this… but also about other stuff! I hope you like it.

A few crazy months of Poetry events and experiences

What a few exciting months of poetry I have experienced. To sum up in a few sentences: I have attended the amazing Swindon festival of poetry  (5 days of incredible poetry, with some of the nicest people on this earth), I have taken on editorship of a poetry website, I have won my first award (almost…), had my first, maybe last, Villanelle published and I attended the forward prize for poetry awards.

So let’s start this chronologically – I had my Villanelle published. It was a strange moment when I realised I was writing a Villanelle, not being one to steer towards the formal side of poetry. I found the experience quite unsettling, but to then have it accepted by the great Fat Damsel website was the icing on the cake. You can read the Villanelle “Wrap Dresses” here –  it is a poem about motherhood and our own unique place in this world.

The wonderful Carrie Etter offered me a ticket to go to the Forward Prize poetry event – having read and enjoyed all of the first book nominees, I was very excited to be seeing the poets in action and to be part of such a great celebration of poetry. The evening was truly remarkable with so much talent on one stage, but the star of the show was the best collection winner “Claudia Rankine” – her collection “Citizen: An American Lyric” is truly astonishing and her delivery of the poems on the night was a lesson to us all.

Next is the (I don’t have enough words to describe just how incredible this experience was) Swindon festival of Poetry. 5 days of back to back poetry events, workshops and readings. The entire event is up there as one of the best experiences of my life, the people, the poetry and the sheer energy was unforgettable. It’s tough to nail it down to a few things, but the highlights for me were:

Kei Miller reading from his first two collections – it has changed the way I look at my poetry and was truly inspirational.

Jo Bell – as the resident poet she had a lot to live up to – I think the key to making this work was to make every visitor feel special and Jo did this in so many ways, from the readings of her work, to holding great workshops, helping out the organiser’s in their hour of need and putting up with all our ridiculous questions about living on a longboat! Jo really was the star of the show and it wouldn’t have been the same experience, had she not so willingly thrown herself into the event.

Brilliant readings and workshops from  Jacqueline Saphra and Robert Vas Dias – other stand-out readings were (and there are a lot), Jo Bell and Jonathan Davidson in a train carriage keeping us all entertained, Tania Hershman and her wonderful blend of flash fiction and poetry, Luke Kennard delivered some wonderfully varied poetry and has definitely gained me as a new follower! There was an incredibly powerful reading from Isabel Palmer, I can’t wait until I have some time to dive into her new pamphlet. Then there was the exuberant performance of Sophie Herxheimer – she had us all entertained and surprised with the many giant sized poems she provided. It’s tough to recap everything, but there really were so many highlights (some of which haven’t even been covered here) – it will be the must attend event of 2016!

Next up is my (almost) award – I was runner up in the Candelstick Press micro poem competition. It was along the theme of light and is obviously restricted to under 140 letters. My poem used the space available in Twitter quite effectively (I thought) and aimed to play with the meaning of the word light, whilst tying into the process of writing. Take a look below and let me know what you think.

Finally, we come to my editorship of a fantastic poetry website “Amaryllis”, Poetry Swindon’s – poetry blog. It has published brilliant poets and has amazing poetry. I am extremely proud to be taking it forward and I hope I can enhance the already wonderful collection of poetry featured on the site. I look forward to seeing your submissions to the site.

Published Poetry, Bookshops and Comics

This is a strange blog post. I am going to blend a few different thoughts and ideas – and hope it culminates into something coherent.

So starting with Poetry – my second poem “No meaning” has been published in the “Poems To survive in” collection of The Fat Damsel website.

I am amongst some excellent poets and poems and feel very fortunate to have had some excellent feedback and input from Louise Larchbourne (the guest editor for the issue).

I hope you get a chance to read it, and enjoy it – as you are unlikely to find it in a book store any time soon…

Which takes me neatly onto my second point – Bookshops. Continue reading

Swindon is a town full of wonder (and culture) – it just needs to shout a little louder!

To those of you who know me, this post may seem a little surprising – I have spent most of my life deriding Swindon… and this post is my attempt at redemption. The reason for writing this post stems from the recent telegraph article, referring to Swindon as “ugly”, it was unnecessarily negative, and hopefully in this post I can highlight some of the great things to see and do in Swindon.

The truth is, that I have spent most of my life ignorant to all that Swindon has to offer (this is partly my fault, partly Swindon’s), I simply assumed that it had nothing to offer me and in return it was never clear to me what was on offer. Enough of my ignorance, let’s talk about Swindon! Continue reading

My poetry start…

4 months ago – I found poetry. I was trying to write prose and found my brain couldn’t, or didn’t want to write in the way I had been accustomed.

So I started writing poetry and it has been a roller-coaster ride, reading any poetry I can get my hands on – as well as writing a lot!

Looking back on my first poems, they feel incredibly naive – At the time I was very proud of them, but the poems lack any real depth – I have spent my time developing this further and I hope it shows in the output!

This exploration into form, rhythm, themes etc. has been exhilarating – it has also been frustrating, trying to put down on paper the way I feel. Persistence has been the key to continuing to write and also not holding anything back – it is easy to edit yourself as you write – resisting this urge had been important to progressing. Continue reading