5 Jun 2017

Happening Tonight

The culmination of several months work, volunteering to support Dr Catherine Marcangeli in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Mersey Sound, 'Happening Tonight' was intended as a low key reading of work from Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, fifty years to the day after the publication of Penguin Modern Poets No10. Along with students from Edge Hill University and a brace of established contemporary poets, the evening became one of magic and surprise.
Firstly a BBC film crew asked to be invited along to film the event, with a view to preparing a BBC4 documentary on the anthology, then on the day of the reading, I discovered that Roger McGough himself was going to be making a special appearance. If I wasn't nervous already, meeting one of my poetic heroes in person was a major event.
Novice reader Eve Lewis gave a spirited rendition of classic poems, no small feat for a student just entering her second year on the Creative Writing course. 
On one of the hottest nights of the year so far and in front of the spotlight, I was wilting delivering my own response to the Mersey Sound - 'Miss My Mersey Mermaid'. 
Mark Greenwood of the Dock Road Press cooly and calmly showed us how it was done with a selection of original work and his own performance pieces. 
Fellow Masters student Sue Comer, herself a conceptual artist as well as a writer, gave a lovely, measured performance in a three part homage to the book. 
Tom jenks, the imaginative and inventive founder of Zimzalla, read his favourites from the anthology in his own inimitable style. 
After a brief interval and a phony hiatus by myself, I was overjoyed to reveal my special guest, Roger himself, the very epitome of calm and controlled performance. 
Although his appearance was meant to be a secret, I think word may have leaked out, earlier.. 
Fellow collaborator Brendan Quinn gave a powerful performance to a sequence of poems, one for each of the big three. 
The elegant and talented Patricia Farrell reads her own performance piece 'Take my hand and let us rumple the surface of this ice cream'. 
Robert Edge showed no nerves as he rounded up the shows penultimate performance. 
By this time I was sufficiently relaxed to allow myself a slight smile - with the satisfaction that the evening had gone well. 
My final guest, my own tutor in poetry, the great Professor Robert Sheppard presented the rousing 'Batwoman Sutras' 
To round off the evening Roger McGough took questions from the audience, before enjoying a natter and a beer with the crowd. The mark of a true professional! 

10 Apr 2017

The Steampaladin's Return

As brave helios' steeds retire

behind this ice-choked horizon

tinting grinding floes incarnadrine

A boreal frost rimes my beard and

biting wind recalls fond moments -

the edge of my lady's blade at my nape

keener than any shard of ancient crystal

I might lay before her,

An embarrassment of riches

rooms of gold and precious scintillants

would pale into insignificant trifles

before the luminance of her visage.

Long have I journeyed in her name

beyond the comfortable bounds of latitude

to bring the glory of her word,

the mercy of her hand.

My capital now distant in time and space

Behemoth wading green oceans and frozen steppes

I have traversed them all and gladly

would do so again, should she command

her hand, her gaze, her glory

to be shared, to be revered across empire.

I hasten home, now my love

bringing word that your claim is laid

on these vagrant lands beyond the shores

of great Albion resounding

its hallowed spires of burnished brass,

in purifying tides of steam.

A cleansing tide radiates forth

bringing order and modernity

to the far flung corners of the world

telegraphing the visage of the god-queen

in her majestic splendour.

I crave the winds to bear me with all speed

To Albion, embodying wisdom and virtue

whose beating heart resides in her hallowed and regal breast

which god willing, your champion shall behold

on return to Londones gleaming spires,

its capitals shining streets.

Till then, my queen, my love I remain,

your mortal instrument. Your paladin. Your hero.

11 Mar 2017

One Mans Meat

Myself and the talented Brendan Quinn, deliver a collaborative piece at the Robert Sheppard Symposium, 8 March 2017.


10 Mar 2017

A Primal Fear

A calculated risk
dipping a toe
in unknown waters,
breaking surface tension
expecting to feel naked ankles
brushed by plaster belmonites.
Wiggling toes gripped by 
pink whiteness
ten foot spider crab
claws poking out from behind glass
secured decades before.
This japanese monster loose
stalking fear on a tide of blood
should I venture too far from sure.

Pale sunlight spears Triassic waves
through black nylon gloom
drawn tight across a view
Ichthyosaur regards me with
a gleam of savage patience.
Aeons passing a saucer eye
awaiting the moment to strike
in dusty galleries as the
limbic screams retreat 
decades after haunting
every stretch of darkness
with gently smiling

11 Feb 2017

And The Word Was - Creativity

Post launch and time to reflect on the final exhibit and the process of curating the exhibit. Its been some months in the making and a lesson in curation and organisation. Stepping back and looking at the work, I am relieved and immensley gratified to have the chance to work with some talented and generous artists and writers, who have given up their time to both assist with the behind the scenes practicalities and to take time out of their packed schedules to create new pieces especially for the show.

The exhibit will run until the 24th of February and features the work of Brendan Quinn, poet and writer studying for a Masters, Jessie Hill, second year BA writer and Film student, Jen Murphy, MA student writer, Sue Comer, visual artist and MA student and Philippa Holloway, Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student.

I am also extremely grateful to the inventive and entertaining writer and editor Mr Nicholas Royle, who runs the Nightjar press and edits the Best British Short Stories sequence, who, after a presentation to the creative writing Masters seminar group, kindly agreed to open the exhibition and spend time chstting to the artists and the audience in his usual candid and enthralling fashion.





18 Nov 2016


Considering all, I wandered alone.
As a boreal evening bloomed above, 
I paused on frost crisp turf, 

Breezes draining sound into the valley
to fold into the treeline below
through the wintered air.

Panoplies of gems swarming above
revealed a paredolian sight
in a remote web of stars.

Pulsing, glowing lightly ,
a star more vigorous than its fellows,                                                                 
writhing against a ribbon of gas. 

I apprehended a note
Infrasonic, descending the scales
to tickle my ear, keening softly .

Tremulous with fear, fading ululations
concerted with the pulsar parsecs distant,
a grieving wail of ending.

Dark saurians had ambled across
sweating jungles here as its
star stuff had evaporated.

Millennia hence, after
crossing vacuous ethers,                                                                                       
plaintive and strident

The echo of its passing
arrived here, as I beheld
Its shimmering vision falter.

In the dusted heavens
a singular smudge of umbra
wiped away that glistening face.

Silence, vast and utter
cleaved around me,                                                                                                                    
the pall of aeons.

Spell broken, mind freed,
I descended the shadows behind the hill
As velvet clouds drew closed above.