I’ve now a firm date for the launch of Out of Breath.

It’s Tuesday, March 25th, at Waterstones, Orchard Square, Sheffield. The event starts at 6.30 and will finish a little after 8.00.

As well as me reading from the new collection (that phrase still seems strange, almost a hostage to fortune) I’ve asked a some of our brilliant local poets and friends to help me out, reading from their own work as well as mine. At the moment, Sally Goldsmith and Suzannah Evans are firm bookings. There’ll be at least one other voice.

If you know me, you’ll probably be inundated with invitations to this event. My first collection! Seems impossible.

Antiphon Issue #1 seems to have been a hit. We were sent some great poems and were able to create a quality issue (see publishing twenty poems of the 500 we received.

The question is: can we do it again with Issue #2? We’re hoping for more poems, and even higher quality. We want to build a magazine that’s top quality for language and image. We know we’ll have more reviews and articles, but it’s the poetry that really matters. We’re especially keen to promote upcoming poets who are trying hard to get themselves established (because, that’s basically where we are, too).

So, please submit. Send us your very best and help us make Antiphon the best online poetry magazine in the UK.

It’s that time of year again: Sheffield’s Literary Festival, Off the Shelf. 

It’s a busy time for me. Yesterday I read at John Clare’s cottage in Helpston (it turns out I won second prize). The poems are here:

Tomorrow (Monday) I’m in an Off the Shelf debate on the Future of the Book. (Sheffield’s Quaker Meeting House, St James St, Mon, 10th Oct, 7.30. Freed admission.)

Weds: we’re running the usual (free, open invitation) poetry workshop at Bank St Arts Centre (12.00 to 3.00, Bank St, Sheffield). If you want to take part, bring copies of a poem to workshop, and we’ll have a discussion of Sean O-Brien’s November, too.
(Also that evening Rachel Genn launches her novel The Cure at Blackwells – should be a pleasant event).

Thursday I’ll be reading on the Speakers Steps at the House of Commons, again for the John Clare competition  – a strange prize, but an exciting one. Around 11.30, I believe, if you’re in the vicinity.

Monday 17th: I’ve a ten minute reading as part of the launch of new mag Uroborus, at Sheffield’s West Street Live (7.30). Another free event.

Weds 19th: Launch of Matter magazine no #11. I was part of the editorial team, but won’t be reading, merely listening to all the fine contributors (including Fay Musselwhite, Angelina Ayers, Rosemary Badcoe – lots of great writers)

Also sometime “real soon now” as they say in the software industry, I hope to have the website of Sheffield’s Public Poetry available for OTS to launch. This is proving harder than I thought to get together, but I think I’ll make it.

If you want to choose other OTS events, you can find a programme at:

And whilst all this is going on, Rosemary and I are putting the first fabulous issue of Antiphon together. I think it’s going to be particularly good and will, naturally enough, post a notice when it’s there for your delight and delectation. (Apologies to all poets who’ve not yet had a decision from us: we both need to agree to a poem before including it, and that’s caused a fair series of debates).

logoSheffield is holding its very first Poetry Festival on the weekend of April 1-3rd, with “fringe” events in the days preceding and following.

You can find out more at: where you can also download the full festival brochure. There are 34 events to choose from (I’m involved in a couple) including readings by Simon Armitage, George Szirtes, Geoff Hattersley, Geraldine Monk, Helen Mort, Ben Wilkinson, Chris Jones (on the Forward Prize shortlist last year), Elizabeth Barrett, Mark GoodwinMatthew Hollis, Maurice Riordan, Harriet Tarlo, local laureates Ann Atkinson and River Wolton and many local poets, less well known, but well worth hearing nevertheless.

The group I belong to, The Tuesday Poets, have a themed event “Out of Place” planned for March 29th, 7.30 at Bank Street Arts.

There are also launches of new books, an event for children, a poetry walk, a garden party, talks, social gatherings where you can meet many of the poets taking part and even a “poetry university challenge” in which notables from the two Sheffield universities show how little they really know about poetry.

It’s bound to be fun and interesting. Some of it might be exciting. If its successful, the hope is to make it a regular event, so please come along and support it.

Learned yesterday that I’m a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, which is exciting, as it’ll mean publication in their Aesthetica Annual, and a rather smaller competition by Trowell and District Writers gave “honours” to one of my children’s poems, which will go in their Chapter and Verse magazine, and Highly Commended two grown-up poems.

So, once again the Bridesmaid and not quite the Bride.

There’s a new work-in-progress poem to examine and comment on for me: “Talisman” if you’re interested [POEM REMOVED ON 12 MAY], and I’ve added a chapter from one of my children’s works-in-progress, “Mordred’s Tooth“, for a little variety.

Unfortunately, due to illness, I won’t get to read at the Scottish National Galleries in Edinburgh tonight. A big disappointment.

But there was some compensation last night, as I went to one of the best poetry readings I’ve ever attended: Simon Armitage (whom I hadn’t realised was quite so funny) supported by local poets Matt Clegg, Chris Jones, Liz Cashdan and Ben Wilkinson, all of whom gave us a good set, with quite different offerings. (When I update my links, I’ll connect to each of their sites, so you can see their different styles).

I’ve added a page called “What do you think?” for you to critique a work in progress. This will change from time to time (I hope). If you’ve ideas on what might make it better, please comment.

Latest News: 1st May: Here’s the URL for “Particles” – hardly the most serious poem I’ve ever written. I wrote it as a small exercise within the MA Writing at Hallam. Yesterday, it won 3rd prize as well as the “chuckle bonus” in the Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau poetry competition.

So, for 2009 to date, that’s one 3rd, one runner up (Envoi), one 3rd by readers vote (Orbis), one Special Merit (National Galleries of Scotland), two Highly Commended (Chesterfield and Norwich), and one shortlisted (The Poetry Business).


And here’s a list of work forthcoming

  • Poems: “Conjuror’s Hat” and “The Lost and the Damned”, Monkey Kettle (forthcoming, Spring 2009)
  • Poem: “Proxima Centauri” Norwich Writers’ Anthology (forthcoming, Spring 2009)
  • Poem: “Planting Dorothy’s Garden”, The North (forthcoming, Spring 2009)
  • Poem: “Sky-clad”, The Frogmore Papers (forthcoming, Spring 2009)
  • Poem: “Sabretooth”, Envoi (forthcoming, June 2009)
  • Reading at Woodseats Literary Festival, July 6th
  • Short story: “The Silver Quill”, Words (forthcoming, Summer 2009)
  • Poems: “Airbag”, “A Venetian Mask”, “Button Surgery”, “Holy Ground” and “Measures” Obsessed with Pipework (forthcoming, Winter 2009)


I’m also enjoying working in the “Matter” editorial team at the moment. You can follow Matter on Twitter.


My last academic book is a few years old now.

Whilst it’s not very ‘creative’ writing, I think it’s pretty readable, and it’s still selling so apparently useful:

My introductory book on communications and media
My introductory book on communications and media


Reviewed by Shaun Best, University of Manchester as:

“This is the most well written book I have read for some time. I would have very much wished for such a book when I was an undergraduate. It outlines very clearly and honestly the skills needed to be a successful independent learner. …the authors “voice” is one of a critical friend that the reader can trust

 I’m writing another book for Sage called, rather grandly but probably inaccurately”The Undergraduate Study Skills Handbook”. This won’t appear till 2010, though.


Academic papers:

I’m also expecting to deliver the following papers this year: