Sunday, 23 May 2010


Apologies for the length of time that's passed since my last post - ten days in Shanghai took me out of circulation.

Travelling is a key part of my job and often becomes humdrum, especially when I'm visiting somewhere for the umpteenth time. However, this trip was different. Shanghai's an intoxicating city, a challenge to the senses, the emotions and preconceptions. Best of all, I was accompanied throughout by Chinese friends - a wonderful way to get under a city's skin. They welcomed me into their lives and helped me cast new light on my own.

I'm not one for writing travel poetry as such, but such experiences feed my poetry indirectly. I've returned with a refeshed view of my day-to-day life, with new counterpoints. It's time to pick up a pen once more.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Michael Marks Publishers' Award

Excellent news today that Happenstance Press, the publishers of my forthcoming pamphlet, have been nominated for The Michael Marks Publishers' Award for the second year running.

This award provides recognition for outstanding U.K. publishers of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their previous year's publishing programme. I'm delighted for Helena Nelson, Happenstance's editor. Here's wishing her luck for the awards ceremony on 16th June!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Marrying adjectives to nouns

This match-making process is one of the toughest parts of writing poetry.

It often fails by being too forced in its attempted coupling or by following a path that's already too well-trodden. As a poet, I'm constantly wrestling with the task of marrying adjectives to nouns in a way that casts new light yet immediately sounds natural.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Nicola Barker on Englishness

While reading an interview with Nicola Barker in today's Observer, I came across an interesting reflection on Englishness:

"Nobody loves England more than the people who don't actually have to live there. I love our inclusiveness. It's become very fashionable of late for people to witter on about what Englishness is, as if Englishness is in danger of disappearing. The English have always been a mongrel race and proud of it. We are everything and nothing."

Barker makes these remarks in the context of her childhood in South Africa. I find them especially relevant to my own writing, as exile is a double-edged sword: it provides an extra perspective and counterpoint, yet can easily lead to nostalgia for something that never existed.