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

Fourteen Poems To Say I Love You

I was lucky enough to be included in this small and perfectly formed Valentine  collection from the brilliant Candlestick Press.  They picked my sonnet ‘Punctuation’ from ‘A Bench for Billie Holiday’ [Valley Press, 2018] and along with poets like Elizabeth Barret Browning and newcomer William Shakespeare [very promising],  I’m in great company.

Poetry Journeys

Last Friday I made one of my favourite journeys from Leeds to Bridlington. It is a fabulous train-ride where I marvel at the buildings and structures I see out the window, never feeling I want to read, always worried I might miss something. Selby Abbey, Wressle Castle, the Humber Bridge, Hull Paragon Station, Beverley Minster … Read more

January 2023

I often find the transition from one year to the other slightly difficult to negotiate. The recognition of another year gone, and counting the losses of twelve months, recognising the approach of another birthday, all conspire to make me feel slightly uneasy. To be sure it is a symbolic gateway but a powerful one. Last … Read more

Shepherd’s Sonnet

Earlier this week I found myself at the Leeds University Chaplaincy building for a lunchtime Quaker Meeting. It’s a meeting I often try to get to because it gives me thirty minutes of silence and thought in a hectic schedule. My own religious beliefs are not fixed or based on miraculous happenings; I tend to … Read more

Apollo in the Classroom

Apollo the Greek god came with me to work in a primary school, the wonderful Ireland Wood Primary, this week. I went on the bus and I wish I could say that he did too, but he was so heavy, a very large plaster bust, that I had him delivered to the school the day … Read more

The Walker on the Shore

This weekend we were able to take in some early autumn sea air walking our puppy along the dunes at Wilsthorpe, just outside Bridlington. For me it was the last chance to catch my breath before some of my annual regular work tasks occupy a more central position in my life.   So this morning I … Read more


I don’t think a year goes by without me trying to write poems about spring and autumn, for me they are seasons that are constantly inspiring in their changes, they are frameworks to hang ideas upon, ideas about being human, about the beginnings and endings of our own lives. This poem was written at least … Read more


Famously unamused, she sits and staresAcross Woodhouse Lane to a distant hill,Her plinth so high, I wonder how she fares,Her present location a bitter pill;She once sat outside Leeds Town Hall and reignedOver the city-centre, and then came the moveTo the park, her expression slightly strainedWatching youngsters experiment with love.For me she’s where she has … Read more