At the age of eleven, in my first year at secondary school, I wrote a poem about the Arctic:
There are six months of Arctic light
And then six months of Arctic night
Or else the other way around, I don’t remember. It was published in the school magazine but I no longer have a copy and the school is long gone.
Obligatory juvenilia followed, all the way into my early twenties. It ended with the publication of the poem ‘Drowning’ in the magazine Spare Rib.
It got a whole page to itself, accompanied by a dark, swirling drawing. No doubt to highlight the dark swirling content of the poem.
I didn’t return to write poetry for twenty years. After I’d completed an MA at the University of East Anglia, writing about poets – George Barker and Anne Sexton.
Back in London, I joined the Poetry Society and went to Carole Satyamurti’s surgery session where she helped me polish poems ‘Bruised fruit’ and ‘The midnight bird’.
I attended the Poetry School’s ‘Experimental Strategies’ workshop run by Robert Vas Dias and wrote ‘Old lives’, published in Stratagems .
By now, there was no more Spare Rib, but there were online writing forums, and competitions. I won second prize in the English Association’s 2007 Fellows’ Poetry Prize.
After nearly 40 years elsewhere, I returned to live in the north west and discovered the Poetry School here too. How apposite to attend Sean O’Brien’s workshop ‘It’s About Time’ and Helen Mort’s ‘Northern Surrealism’.
‘Resurrection’ – Stanley Spencer Poems: An Anthology – Two Rivers Press 2017
‘The Revolutionary’ – written for and selected by The Wordsworth Trust for the Wordsworth birthday poetry competition, April, 2016.
‘The blackbirds come’ – published online by the Poetry Society for their celebration of the centenary of ‘Adelstop’, June, 2014.
Fox Shade and Other Poems – Best of 2012 Poetry Pentathlon