March 2024

Cymru am Byth. It’s St David’s Day and on this date I always feel a bit of my Welsh heritage nudging me. My Welshness is probably on a level with that of my great poetic hero Edward Thomas, Welsh parents but brought up in London. If only I had his genius. It manifested itself to … Read more

February 2024

One of my favourite occasions every year is the presentation of the prizes in the East Riding Poetry Competition. This year’s day, Saturday 3rd February, proved no exception. It was held in the light-filled North Bridlington Library with a morning workshop by East Riding Poet Laureate Cassandra Parkin, and just before the announcement of the … Read more

January 2024

Every published poet and writer can remember the breaks they are given occasionally. I got one back in 2005 when I interviewed poet Lucy Newlyn about her poetry collection ‘Ginnel’ for a Leeds arts magazine.  We had a brilliant telephone chat where she talked about her love for the poet Edward Thomas whom I also … Read more

St Michael’s Churchyard

We nose amongst the gravestones, dog and I,Inside a choir sings a Christmas songWhile I read the names of lives gone by,Sometimes the past and present get along.The old church music always comforts me,I hum along to carols that I knowAmongst angels of stone and memory.The dog just wags her silly tail. The flowOf choir … Read more


There was an ad some time ago [probably longer ago than I think], ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’, and in the same vein I hear myself thinking, ‘I can’t believe it’s November already’. October was spent doing many things that I love, slowly getting a collection together to share with my publisher, hosting half … Read more

Inspirations: September 2023

As a writer locations are often the things which inspire me.  A quick look through my photographs on my mobile tell me what I observed in the last month, and what made me pause a while.  These will indeed help me to write over the next week when David and I will be staying in … Read more

The Ilkley Literature Festival

Two main activities bring me joy in my working life apart from my own writing; these are working with children and young people in schools and colleges and hosting event at the Ilkley Literature Festival.  Fifty years old this year, the festival is still vibrant and young at heart. There is something so inspiring about … Read more

Getting your mojo back

All writers, and artists generally I should imagine, have times of what feels like low creativity. The urge to write dwindles and it feels as if you can no longer call yourself a poet. This happened to me during the writing of ‘A Bench for Billie Holiday’, about five or six years ago. I remember … Read more


I am lucky to have a variety of people to talk to, my partner David, many Leeds friends and my sister Judith to name just a few. The conversations can be had in cafés, on dog-walks by the sea, [see picture above] and sometimes with friends at the gym. This poem was written after a … Read more

Max Shaw – New Writer

This month I’m introducing the poet Max Shaw. At the beginning of his writing career, I’ve been mentoring Max very lightly, anxious not to take anything away from his distinctive voice. I asked him some questions and they and his answers are below. I’ve also included one of his very atmospheric poems… What do you … Read more