I'm pleased to report that I've got two new poems in the forthcoming issue of Poetry Birmingham. What's more, they're in excellent company...
Tuesday, 31 May 2022
Friday, 20 May 2022
My article on Ben Wilkinson's poetry
My article on Ben Wilkinson's poetry is now up at The Friday Poem, tracing his development from his first pamphlet through to his second full collection, Same Difference (Seren Books, 2022). Here's a small taster...
...Same Difference sees Wilkinson concluding a process that began with The Sparks, resolving the co-existence of accessibility and erudition in his poetry, and employing a coherent and cogent method that combines allusion and directness of speech. By resolving these potential clashes and making them work in synch he’s already generated an approach that’s highly unusual in the context of contemporary UK poetry...
You can read it in full by clicking on this link.
Sunday, 15 May 2022
Job, hobby or vocation?
How would you describe poetry’s role
in your life? As a job, a hobby or a vocation?
For me, it’s definitely not a job. However, the fact I don’t use poetry as a means to generating my primary source of income doesn’t mean it’s any less important to me, nor does it mean my own poems are any worse (or better!) than stuff by people who do. Moreover, in my own personal case, viewing poetry as a job would kill off my capacity to write. This is because poems are ring-fenced in my mind as one of the few parts of my life in which I can do as I please without worrying about the fallout!
But then the term ‘hobby’ makes my hackles rise immediately. It insinuates I might be playing at being a poet, categorising my writing alongside stamp collecting or trainspotting. And it also gives the impression that poetry plays a secondary role in my life, which isn’t true.
And what about ‘vocation’? There’s a concern it might sound pretentious or feel like a pose, but it’s the word that works best for me. It doesn’t mean I necessarily spend umpteen hours a day writing poetry, but then I’d argue anyway that the genre doesn’t require or even benefit from lengthy periods at a desk. Instead, poems are often better for being filtered through lived experiences. My life feeds into my poetry and my poetry into my life. And that interwoven relationship is the reason why writing poems is a vocation for me.