John Challis is a poet, producer and editor. He was born in London in 1984 and is currently working on a first collection of poetry. In 2010 he was gained an award to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Since then John has started a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University on contemporary poetry and Film Noir, and now works as a teaching associate. He was awarded a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North in 2012 to help develop his first collection.
I recently saw John read at Blackwells bookshop in Sheffield and was struck by the clarity and concision of his poetry. John kindly agreed to send some poems
and generously sent ‘Accident Hotspot’ which is previously unpublished.
John’s poems have appeared in The Rialto, Clinic II, Lung Jazz: Young British Poets For Oxfam (Cinnamon , 2012). John also edits NCLA’s online journal of Creative Writing, Friction Magazine, and is the director of the Newcastle based live literature, theatre and music events company, Trashed Organ.
Our bodies, central to this evening’s action,
are lit by streaks of rain.
The radio strains to hear its voice
under this guttural chorus.
We brave the road the dark has taken,
whittle a lane with our headlights.
We yawn past sleepers on the shoulder,
having met their mile quotas,
and when the headlights appear
behind us, and use our mirrors
to blind us, the impatient will pass,
stretching the fabric of the dark;
the dark speaks back with sirens.
Everything slows to a curve of brake-
lights glowing beneath the flood.
In the window the phosphorus smudge
of a fluorescent accident worker
is mining a car from the water.