Welcome

Welcome to my website, where you can read about my publications to date, my interests and experiences, my hopes for the future and my ideas. I use the blog to post poetry reviews and short essays on individual poems and  collections. There is also a contacts page where you can email me. I’ve spent most of my working life as an English teacher at the Manchester Grammar School. Teaching has been a wonderfully stimulating and rewarding way of life, despite the inhibiting pressure of exams. Now I organise poetry discussion groups, tutor for the Poetry School, work on the committee of Poets & Players to promote performances of poetry and music in Manchester, write reviews, read more widely and write more of my own poetry. You can link to the Poets & Players website here to see photographs and videos of our events over the last few years and details of future performances. .

 

Free Saturday Poetry Discussions in the Manchester Buddhist Centre:
We have been very fortunate to be offered accomodation in the library at the Manchester Buddhist Centre at 16–20 Turner Street, Manchester M4 1DZ. These are free events and open to anyone who wants to come, but people attending will need to bring their own copies of the poems we discuss. Poets we’ve read and talked about include Alice Oswald, Andrew Marvell, Anne Stevenson, Basil Bunting, David Constantine, Derek Mahon, Edward Thomas, Edwin Morgan, Elizabeth Bishop, Ezra Pound, Fiona Sampson, George Seferis, Jane Draycott, Jo Shapcott, John Donne, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Linda France, Michael Longley, Philip Larkin, Rebecca Perry, Rilke, Robin Robertson, Ruth Padel, Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Tishani Doshi, Tomas Tranströmer, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, W S Merwin and Wallace Stevens.

Entry is completely free, but donations of any size to the Buddhist Centre would be appreciated if you felt able to give anything.

 

Saturday 9th March, 10.30am – 12.30 pm: Ruth Padel, poems from Emerald  – Manchester Buddhist Centre

Entry is free and there is no need to book, but please bring copies of these poems, which you can find by clicking on the titles: “Salon Noir”, “The Emerald Tablet”, “Set in Gold”, “Clast”, “Second Chance”, “Gorey Bay, Jersey, 1933”, “Intermission”. “Salon Noir” is the poem I particularly want to discuss and as it’s several pages it will take a good bit of our time – please read at least that in advance. I think Emerald itself well worth buying – published by Chatto & Windus, RRP £10.

 

Saturday 13th April, 10.30am – 12.30 pm: Ruth Padel, poems from Emerald continued – Manchester Buddhist Centre

Although this will be a kind of continuation of March’s discussion we will concentrate on different poems and having been at the discussion in March won’t be in any way necessary to participation in this session. Several people brought copies of Emerald last time. It will certainly be possible to go outside the poems listed with sharing of books, so please bring a copy of Emerald if you have one. Entry is free and there is no need to book, but please bring copies of these poems, which you can find by clicking on the titles: “Salon Noir”, “The Emerald Tablet”, “Set in Gold”, “Clast”, “Second Chance”, “Gorey Bay, Jersey, 1933”, “Intermission”. If you’ve all read at least “Salon Noir” and “The Emerald Tablet” in advance we’ll have ample common ground. Emerald is well worth buying – published by Chatto & Windus, RRP £10.

 

Saturday 11th May, 10.30 am – 12.00 (note early end): Elizabeth Bishop

You’ll find a selection of Bishop’s poems on the Poetry Foundation website by clicking here. I’d particularly like to look at “Arrival at Santos” and “At the Fishhouses”. Please could people also bring “Crusoe in England”, “The Moose”, “Filling Station” and “The Armadillo”. I’d have particularly liked to read “Questions of Travel” too, though it isn’t on the Poetry Foundation site. Please could people who have books bring them – I’ll bring a couple.

 

Saturday 8th June, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Geoffrey Hill, Mercian Hymns

I would like to look at Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns, dense, layered but immensely readable prose poems set in the Midlands of the Saxon King Offa and of his own childhood. You can find links to Mercian Hymns, I, IV, V, VI, X, XI, XV, XVI, XXVII, XXX by clicking on this link to the Poetry Foundation website. Please read and bring those. I will bring several copies of the Hymns in book form and hope anyone else who has them as a separate volume or in one of Hill’s Selected or Collected Poems will bring them too so that we can range more widely.

There’s a vast mass of commentary but there’s no need to wander into its thickets. You might find it helpful to glance at the brief personal response in this article by Adam Thorpe.

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