I have had the pleasure of giving two readings at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield: a straight reading last year for the Enfield Poets, and a poetry-and-jazz collaboration evening in 2015. It is a wonderful venue, and I was delighted to contribute my new poem “Ancestral Memory” as part of their poem-of-the-month programme.
If you find yourself near Enfield in North London, do have a look in the window for the poster-sized print. Otherwise, you can read the poem from this photograph (with thanks to Anthony Fisher for taking it).
Two very different poems have appeared in the same week on opposite sides of my native continent.
PoetryBay has been publishing poetry from their Long Island base for many years; The Westerner, focused on themes of the American (and sometimes Wild) West, recently asked for a poem as well.
You can read “Tingle” in the free downloadable Christmas issue of The Westerner (the poem is on page ten), and subscribe to the magazine on their website.
The poem “Reading Dostoevsky in the John Lewis Café” is available at PoetryBay, along with many other excellent poems.
Wishing you all a lovely Christmas, whatever continent you’re on.
Yesterday you were still here.
Today snow has laid itself down
in the lanes, thick as fur.
The flap in the door is locked,
as it would be. You hated snow.
I expect you in my office chair
quick as a ghost, a look to say,
“I’ve been here all along.”
In your final days, my job
was to make sure you kept warm,
stoking the coal fire, tucking
your favourite blanket under
for the payment of a blink.
Once I thought I saw you smile.
Then that last fatherly duty
reassuring you, “I am here”.
My body looks for you at night,
a space at the foot of the bed,
and opening the front door slowly
I still look down before up.
No thud as you jump from the sofa.
No late-night wailing for food.
The house-sounds are empty sounds,
the space filled up with snow.
Paul Stephenson just posted an in-depth interview with me on his website.
We talk about The Knowledge (including at least one secret about the book most people probably don’t know), the current political climate, the place I grew up, and the teachers, places, and poets that have made a great impression on me.
I also mention the new book, due out July 2018.
You can read the full interview on Paul’s website.
I received my contributor’s copy of The Interpreter’s House 66 just now.
I am looking forward to digging into it as part of my rest and recovery from a nasty autumn cold. There are many names I recognise here, and a few whose work I’d like to get to know better.
There are a lot of inventions nowadays — tangible, digital, informational. My poem touches on that topic. You can see a quick snap of it here.
To order Issue 66 or subscribe, check out The Interpreter’s House website.
I moved to the English countryside from London just over five years ago, and haven’t looked back.
As you can imagine, the quirks of suburban and pastoral England have inspired quite a few poems, including a long poem sequence in the style of the heroic crown of sonnets, reminiscent of Sir John Betjeman’s Metro-Land.
Because these poems feel like their own entity, I have decided to make them available as an e-book. They are available on my website to download for just £0.99 (about $1.31).
These poems whisk you along from raves to roundabouts, weirs to war memorials — a kind of poetic tour, if you like, of what I find most curious and endearing about the place I now call home.
Click here to order your copy or learn more.