The Butcher’s Dog magazine

I’m delighted to be traveling to Newcastle to be among a stella cast of readers at the launch of issue 10 of The Butcher’s Dog magazine next week. I can highly recommend the purchase of a copy of this beautiful magazine.


I understand that this issue is to be the last before the editors take a break. I’m particularly pleased to have a poem in this issue since it is the first new work I have had published since my book came out in the spring. It’s nice to know you can still write poems that people want to publish!

Leicester Shindig

It was good to catch up with poets Rebecca Bird and Matthew Stewart and to meet Romalyn Ante at regular Leicester Shindig run by nine arches press and Jonathan and Maria Taylor.

Matthew’s ’The Knives of Villalejo’ is published by Eyewear.  The poet and critic Rory Waterman does a good job of highlighting the strengths of Matthew’s poetry in the collection’s cover notes, describing Matthew as – ‘a poet of consolidation, truth, and freshness, with a masterful sense of economy…his poems have the rare quality of resonating a long way beyond their modest physical limits.’  Here is a poem from the collection, chosen since I feel  it is typical for its brevity, apparent simplicity and understated depth. Also, I love that brilliant final phrase.


The same portraits are standing guard
and the same piano keys grin
with yellowed teeth. Two rosaries
lie coiled on a sunlit table
like dozing, sated rattlesnakes.
Everything’s still where they kept it.
Locking up and heading for home,
I whistle fiercely, wrestle off
the ransacking silence.


I met Rebecca Bird a few years ago when she was studying in Leicester. At the at time she was one of the editors of the now defunct ‘Hinterland’ magazine. The originality of her work impressed me then, and I featured a couple of her poems and an article on this blog. I am so pleased to see that her talent and hard work has resulted in the publication of these striking poems. ‘Shrinking Ultraviolet’ is also available from Eyewear.

Romalyn Ante’s ‘Rice and Rain’ is published by V. press. Romalyn writes about her familial home and about growing up in the Philippines. She is also a nurse. As a former nurse myself I was particularly interested in her ‘nursing’ poems; we had a chat and a little joke about her poem ‘Handover Notes’ after her reading.

Emily Blewitt

is another young poet I was glad to feature on this blog. a while back. I had the great pleasure of being asked by Emily to read through her excellent collection before publication.  The book, from Seren came out earlier this year and is highly recommended. I very much enjoyed reading Emily’s interview here.  Emily talks candidly about writing poems and the feeling of not knowing  if she can ‘do that again’. I had been feeling like this myself just before reading the piece.

The North

The new issue of The North contains the first full review of my new collection ‘The Great Animator’  by poet and editor Professor Noel Williams. I was gratified to read it and you can find an extract here. Or better still, buy The North.

Also available from The Poetry Business, publishers of the North, is this new anthology, edited by Helen Mort and Stuart Maconie.


Helen asked if I had any ‘pub’ themed poems a while ago, and I was happy to supply two –  one from my first book and one from the new book. I think she and Stuart have included them both,  though I haven’t seen a copy yet so I’m not sure. I’ll be ordering it myself later today.

John Foggin

I understand that John Foggin is featured in The Forward Anthology of poetry for a second time.  I’ve been a fan of John’s work for years and featured him here several times.

Other news

I have a poem in the current Magma magazine, and two will appear in a forthcoming issue of Stand. 

The writer Kathleen Jones posted a poem and a lovely mini- review of my new book here.  Do drop in and check out her blog.

I’m delighted to have been invited to read in Ludlow next month at the Poetry Lounge. I’m very much looking forward to it.  It’s been a while since I last gave a reading of any length (with Jane Commane in Litchfield in May) so all I need to do now is to remember how it is done.

Finally, since this post is entitled ‘Miscellany’, I though I’d include a photograph taken on my phone in Edinburgh this summer outside the Scottish parliment building. My son flicked drops of water into the pool after dipping his hands in to make swirling patterns.


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