Poetry/Life update

So, I’ve just submitted my six poems for the fourth module of my MA. I’ve got a dissertation to write between now and December (which is basically 15-20 more poems). However, the taught component is done, so essentially it’s time to figure out the next thing.



From February 14-29, I’m hosting a small compilation of some old poems. It’s called blip, and you can download it for free by clicking the front cover below.


Most of what I want to say is in the poems or the blurb. But, since you’re here, I’ll write a little about what this is and why it’s here.


Poems about Fishing

I wrote a poem. Well, some poems.

The old line “there’s plenty more fish in the sea” apparently bugs me a lot. I first wrote a short poem about it back in November 2012, thought it was pretty okay, and then earmarked it for a long-delayed fanzine, so it hasn’t really been seen much. (I then checked this website and realised it’s been here all this time, but I still consider it unshared up till now.)

Then I unwittingly harped on the theme in a poem I wrote this February, which I put up on World Poetry Day (March 21st). I think there’s something here, but I wouldn’t call it done. I put it up because…

…I figured I should either make it a trilogy/three-part poem/triumvirate on a theme/whatever, or a massive In Memoriam-style treatise on how much this one phrase bugs me, or stick my fingers in my ears and pretend I’m not a moron who keeps writing the same poems. I went for the first option this week, and so here they all are:


Input, output, poem

Hello again. My brief life update is that my collaboration Nando’s and Nandon’ts recieved its second draft performance at the Y Theatre, Leicester, which was enormously helpful, and I look forward to working it up into a full piece with Will Breden. Also, DSMing Curve Young Company’s The Tempest turns full-on on Monday, as tech/show week starts! Strange to think exactly a year after the Shakespeare Marathon (if I didn’t write about it this time last year prod me for details), I’m doing another many-hours Bard project.

For this entry I thought I’d go a little more into what I’ve been putting into my brain, since it will out itself eventually in my writing. Also, I have many thoughts about some things. I’m going to look at a book, a comic, and a film. Then there’s a poem I happened to write for those who scroll to the end. UPDATE: I’ve also renovated the poetry and prose sections.


Writer’s guilt

One thing I have a lot of trouble with is writing on any sort of schedule. The corollary of this is that I feel guilty when I don’t, which can serve to delay getting back on the horse even more. It’s been a long time since I last blogged, so I’ll fill in some of the gaps.


Train rolling into the station

Exciting times over here. The plays I’m directing are opening in exactly one week from now, and closing two days afterwards. The technical rehearsal is in three days, and there are all sorts of meetings and rehearsals and props and costume is getting sorted out… My actors are working super hard, the crew seem prepared for the challenges, and I couldn’t be happier with my production team. Everything is coming together, and it’s very exciting indeed. Plus, I found out that I’m producing a play written by my friend Ivo de Jager next term, which will be an exciting new challenge.

Speaking of Ivo, he was the most recent guest on my radio show. It’s going much more successfully than I thought it might. Not only am I learning a lot doing it, but the show’s being appreciated. My guests enjoy doing it, my listeners enjoy listening to my guests and readers, and I have a small but dedicated team of readers offering their voices to the mix. I’m definitely going to try to do continue it next term, as I feel I’m barely scratching the surface of the format. You can find a link to the podcast of it on the right.

On top of all this, the poetry module I’m taking is frustrating but rewarding. Each week we’re tackle a different form, each week my group produces some beautiful and interesting responses to it. The work is often astonishingly personal, and there’s a great supportive atmosphere. Although I often wish I took more time and care with my poems, I find being forced to produce them very helpful. This also means that most of them will need to be revised, but the one below I am happy to share:

A Poet’s Charm

I call the spirits, wind, and fire, and earth,
to rain on this, my latest work. I call
upon the ghosts of poets past – infuse
my verse with subtle phrases, words so rare,
so beautiful that worlds will sing them long
after my death. But I resolve that this
shall be the last time that I beg for help,
crawl on my knees for this petty assistance.
From now, I shall rely upon my wit,
to find such words in mind alone. I call
upon experience – pour lessons, heartbreaks,
joys, revelations into pointed phrases.
I call upon invention: stoke my fires,
make words that move the earth, and redirect
the screaming wind. Let spirits comfort others.
Our pens are sharp, and quick, and keen, and ours.

So yes, although the play is being neglected, the short story section of this site is a joke, and I should probably invent a personal life one of these days, were I an American I’d say I had a lot to be thankful for. As I’m British, however, and don’t observe Thanksgiving, I shall merely say,

More soon.


Form and poetry

Happy November!

The plays I’m directing are going well. A little worrying they will be seen by a paying audience in just four weeks time, but we will persevere. It is, however, eating up all my available time, along with choir and suchlike.

Luckily, as part of my English degree I’m doing a module called Forms of Modern Poetry, which forces me to write a poem every week in different forms. We’re in a bit of an iambic rut at the moment, but that’s not a bad thing.

I wanted to do the course because I felt my poetry was getting a bit wooly, unfocused, and I wanted to develop some more skills to use. Plus, seeing poetry as exercise rather than art helps you produce more work, I find. We’re in a bit of an iambic rut at the moment, since that metre is used so much in poetry, but it’s good work.

In honour of Hallowe’en just passed, here’s a bit from Sleepy Hollow I wrote in couplets last week. Also, I’m putting in a poem I just wrote, a complete breather from the formal strictures I have been placed in, called Fishing.

Scene from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Then sudden out of misty night,
A Headless Horseman came to fight.
The spirit gave a fearsome cry
That told a man was soon to die.

A slash! The Horseman’s sword was keen.
It cut through midnight sharp and clean.
Ichabod ran, towards the stream,
Praying this was a frightful dream.

But no! The Horseman thundered to
That neck so bare, so fresh, so new.
Ichabod ran, ran for his soul,
For righteous corpses must be whole.

But then came silence. Yes, the sound
Of racing hooves upon the ground
Had stopped. He dared to look around.
The headless man could not be found.

Crane stumbled, fell upon his hand
Which broke his fall. He tried to stand.
The grass was wet. He almost slipped,
but managed it. His clothing dripped.

He looked around. The appatirion
Had ceased his unrelenting mission.
The river’s bank was empty, Crane
Free from the spirit’s foul campaign.


They tell me
‘There are plenty more fish in the sea’
As I sit here on the dock
Line drawn, hook baited
Still waiting for a bite.

Finally, here’s a link to a letter from Robert Heinlein, where he gives Theodore Sturgeon advice on overcoming writer’s block. It’s a good read.
More soon.

Reciting poetry

In lieu of a decent update, I’m going to point you to some readings of a few poems of mine I recorded a short while ago. It’s very experimental, and I can only apologise for the sound quality, but I think it’s a more interesting way of sharing *some* (not all by any means) of my verse. Here’s a link to my playlist, featuring “Rest” and “Stratford-upon-Avon” at time of writing.

Poetry on Soundcloud


Two sides of poetry

This is not the full poetry blog I have been promising, but that will come soon. For now, here are two poems I wrote recently. As with all my poetry, this is first-draft stuff, and I’m not sure either are publishable. They do highlight the two sides to my work, however: the cerebral and the emotional. Still not very comfortable putting poetry up, but here goes.