What’s the book called?

A few months ago I had two main pre-occupations with regard to my forthcoming book.  The first was what to call the collection. Of course I had a few ideas, but wasn’t happy with any of them. And the second dilemma was what to have on the cover.

In Sheffield for my weekly attendance of the MA at Sheffield Hallam, I wondered up the steps of the public library and into the Graves Gallery on the top floor. There I found an exhibition of work by the Sheffield born artist Leonard Beaumont. I was very taken with the work on display, and went away with a couple of postcards, one of these being a 1932 linocut print ‘Sun Bathers’.


On my way back to Narborough on the train that evening, I wrote a poem inspired by this wonderful picture. At that time I was writing regularly and quickly (many poets have told me they work well on trains) and the poem ‘The Sun Bathers’ came together with relatively few revisions. Fairly soon after this trip I decided that the title ‘The Sun Bathers’ would be a good one for my book. I approached the curators of Sheffield Museum to see if the image was available.

After an anxious period when it looked as though there would be financial barriers to the use of the image, the gallery kindly contacted Leonard Beaumont’s family who, to my delight, agreed to its use in exchange for a copy of the book.

I won’t print or try to ‘explain’ the poem here- it is currently ‘out there’ somewhere in submissions land. But seeing as the book is due in a few months and the poem may not be published before then, I’d like to invite you to buy a copy when it’s published in November, or alternatively come and see me read it, as I’m sure you are intrigued to see and hear how the poem turned out! (Dates of publication and readings to be posted soon.)

The Leonard Beaumont exhibition is on at the Graves Gallery Sheffield until September.


    • Thank you Mark. I had started to look around for student artists to help out with something similar when Mr Beaumont’s family gave the OK. He seems to have been a humble and self depreciating bloke although obviously a man of great talent. He was responsible for, among other things, designing Sainsbury’s distinctive logo and packaging in the 1950’s. Hope to catch up with you sometime. R


  1. What a lovely instance of synchronicity. Leonard Beaumont’s lino cut will make a gorgeous cover and the title The Sun Bathers has great resonance and appeal. Intrigued to read your poem. Hope you get it placed in a magazine soon. Looking forward to buying a copy of your collection when it comes out and would really like to hear you read from it. My wife and I are always looking for good reasons to go on a trip so will await news of your reading schedule.


    • Thanks David. It would be good to meet up after all our written exchanges. You have certainly provided a lot of positive responses and encouragement since this blog started up a couple of years ago.


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