Latest writing

  • May 2024

    I’ve been rather quiet of late, thinking, writing and editing my poetry. And yesterday this new poem came almost fully formed, ripe for my new collection ‘Notes of Your Music’ due out in October from Valley Press.

    As a poem it’s pretty much first draft, so will probably change substantially by publication date. But it’s how I’m feeling today.

    Spring (they/them)

    Spring comes mooching around the corner, late,
    Does not apologise but does that trick with green
    Where trees and hearts light up, inflate
    With joy and I mark them in as seen.
    For I keep the register, and they’re here
    With a coronation-type flummery,
    The something special scenting the air,
    This yearly fresh leafing ceremony.
    My blood is far slower to heat these days
    And winters can feel so hard, dark and long
    But sitting on my step, the vivid haze
    Of growth, the blue sky, the black bird song,
    All will be well, my aching bones will warm,
    Forget the days of rain and winter storm

  • 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 me as a child in various low-key ways. Watching rugby rather than football on the TV. Feeling a kinship with Welsh actors in films. Having a genetic disposition to love Welsh choir music; the Treorchy Male Voice Choir was on repeat in our west London house on Sunday mornings. My lovely, troubled Dad who never lost the Welsh cadence to his voice, I celebrate his sensitivity and the love of reading which he gave to all his children.

    His story of St David’s Day was going to school in Ferndale wearing a leek [he was born in 1909] and having eaten it by lunchtime. Nothing hungrier than a ten year old.

    In March I’m hoping for some bardic spirit to infuse me as I carry on with thinking and writing for the next poetry collection. I’m hoping for the inspiration of Dylan, Edward, R.S [all the Thomases] to help me on my way.

  • 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 winners in the afternoon, electric performances from local poets Catherine Scott and Amanda Crundall.

    Fellow judge Wendy Pratt was with me to announce the winners and runners up and to read the entries from any winners who couldn’t make it. It was inspiring to hear so many fabulous poems on the theme of My Perfect Place. Particularly to have our triumvirate of woman poets to take all the adult prizes and to be there to read them in person. The audience were very appreciative, and I came away feeling replenished by the warmth and creativity of the day.

    A full list of the prizewinners and their poems can be found by clicking here.

    On a personal note it was so lovely to be able to cycle on a sunny day from our Bridlington base, past the beautiful priory church, to the library. It almost felt like Spring.

  • 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 adore. Lucy found out I was a poet and asked me to send her some of my poetry.  I sent her my collections  ‘Deadly Sensitive‘ from 1999 and ‘Coma Songs’ from 2003.

    To my astonishment she contacted me a week or so later and had picked two of my poems, one from each volume, to appear in a book she was editing with Guy Cuthbertson entitled ‘Branch Lines:  Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry’. I was to be among a very august company.  Gillian Clarke, U A Fanthorpe, Andrew Motion, Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon were some of the terrific poets represented who claimed the influence of Edward Thomas in their work.

    I felt very humble.

    Here’s my poem, originally written twenty five years ago. I think It has a fitting seasonal feel to it.


    Waking slowly, I look
    through the window
    at the silver sky and fields of frost,
    reflections of each other,
    where nothing moves,
    where lines of wall and hedge converge,
    and at their corners
    large trees see out the final
    chilly disciplines of their watch.
    I carefully clasp my mug of tea
    as if it holds your heartbeat,
    your dreaming breath.

    A dog barks on a nearby farm,
    the sky becomes the faintest blue,
    and cattle move stiffly
    out of a frozen enchantment.
    The machinery of morning is starting up,
    and I stand there, considering,
    to trace
    your sleeping outline in the hills.

  • St Michael’s Churchyard

    We nose amongst the gravestones, dog and I,
    Inside a choir sings a Christmas song
    While 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 know
    Amongst angels of stone and memory.
    The dog just wags her silly tail. The flow
    Of choir and life practice are much the same,
    Follow the line, attempt to read the tune,
    And if we stray, lose ourselves, try again;
    Here my path is steady, I’m nearly done.
    Trusting the faithful find what they might seek,
    I feel the lightest feather brush my cheek.

    James Nash © 2023

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