The starlings lean
like woodsmoke on the fields
and blow away.
In autumn 2021 my most recent book The Bicycles of Ice and Salt was published by Indigo Dreams, and earlier in 2021 Fan-peckled was published by Fair Acre Press – buy them here. In December 2021 Fan-peckled received the Michael Marks Award for Illustration – no surprise to me as Shropshire-based artist/illustrator Katy Alston is so hugely talented! Poems from Fan-peckled have been previously published in Under the Radar and Reliquiae. Also in 2021 I had poems commended in the Welshpool Poetry Festival Prize, Teignmouth Poetry Festival Competition and The Plough Prize. And in the middle of the 2020-21 winter lockdowns I was commissioned by Feral Productions to write nine new poems for our project about Herefordshire’s red phone boxes – Last Call. In 2022 new poems have been published in Raceme, Finished Creatures, Anthropocene, Pennine Platform, Acumen and Interpreter’s House. I’m working on my third collection now, working title ‘High Nowhere’.
During 2019 I was Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival, a kind of roaming poet on the Malverns, leading walks and workshops, encouraging poets everywhere to contribute to poems of hills, which are being published now on the LPF website. With my commissioned poem ‘One Uncertain History’, I featured in March 2019 on BBC Radio 4’s Ramblings programme, ‘Walking a Poem on the Malverns‘, presented by Clare Balding.
My second collection How Time is in Fields came out in spring 2019 from Indigo Dreams Press and is available to buy here.
I was BBC Poet for Shropshire for National Poetry Day 2019 – my commissioned poem for this (all about Shropshire’s unexpected elephants) can be read, watched and listened to here!
My poetry has appeared in The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, Firth, Lighthouse, Agenda, Magma, Ambit, Poetry Salzburg Review, The North, Envoi, ArtemisPOETRY, Earthlines, The Moth, Under The Radar, Bare Fiction, Poetry Ireland Review, Dark Mountain, New Writing Scotland, Pushing Out The Boat, Northwords Now, Acumen, Atrium and others. Read Grass Verge Near Soissons published on Ink, Sweat and Tears here and Lost and Found in the Palacio de Pena published by And Other Poems here. In 2015 my commissioned poem Bread Generations was featured on Radio 4’s ethical and religious discussion programme Something Understood. My first collection Not Lost Since Last Time was published by Oversteps Books in 2013 and launched at StAnza International Poetry Festival. You can read reviews of my work here.
In 2008, I won the Dartington Hall Ways With Words Poetry Competition, in 2009 won both the Torbay Open Poetry Prize and the Ravenglass Poetry Press Competition, and in 2010 was a winner in both the Mirehouse Poetry Competition and the Elmet Poetry Prize. In 2011 my pamphlet from Roncadora Press, ‘Lost at Sea’ was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Prize. I was shortlisted for the Magma Poetry Prize 2012, and Commended in the William Soutar Prize 2013. In 2015 I was Highly Commended in the Bristol Poetry Prize, 3rd in the Prole Laureate Prize, shortlisted for the prestigious Keats-Shelley Award, Commended in Battered Moons and winner of the Fire River Poets Open Competition. In 2019 my poem ‘The Anchorite and the Solid Sky’ came 2nd in the WoLF Poetry Competition, judged by Roy McFarlane.
My poetry has been anthologised by Worple Press, Vanguard Poetry, Sidekick Books, Candlestick Press, Second Light Press, Grey Hen Press, Cinnamon Press and Fair Acre Press. I’ve contributed to seven publications so far from Beautiful Dragons Press.
I’ve read at Shore Poets in Edinburgh, Wigtown Book Festival 2012 and 2013, StAnza International Poetry Festival 2013, Wenlock Poetry Festival 2013 and Dartington Hall Ways With Words Festival 2013. In 2014 I read at Wenlock Poetry Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival.
In 2015 I was Poet in Residence for Wenlock Poetry Festival, and read at the Finale event with Carol Ann Duffy and Imtiaz Dharker. I have also performed at Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Cheltenham Book Festival and at Welshpool and Swindon Poetry Festivals.
Read ‘What’s Human’, which was included in the tenth issue of Best Scottish Poems, an online annual selection of twenty of the best poems by Scottish poets to appear in books, pamphlets and literary magazines.
I’m a member of Writing West Midland’s writer development programme, Room 204 and of Border Poets. I used to organise The Poetry Lounge in Ludlow, but now help fix up Shrewsbury Poetry Night.