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, Fiona Sampson, George Seferis, Jane Draycott, Jo Shapcott, John Donne, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Linda France, Michael Longley, Philip Larkin, Rebecca Perry, Rilke, Robin Robertson, Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Tomas Tranströmer, T S Eliot, W B Yeats and 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 8th September, 10.30am – 12.30 pm: short poems from Wallace Stevens’s Harmonium – Manchester Buddhist Centre

Links to Wikipedia go to pages with information and comment, with the poem in a yellow box to the right. It’s just the poems I’m concerned with, except that there’s a lovely quotation from Robert Buttel, “Of the modern poets, Wallace Stevens seem to me the most successful creator of artistic experiences which hum with the energy and motion of life.” That’s what I’m particularly interested in, what it is about the poems’ words and rhythms that hum with this energy – though of course if people want to discuss interpretations of a more theoretical kind we’ll do that too.

There’s no need to book and entry is free, though donations to the Buddhist Centre are always appreciated. Please bring your own copies of these poems. You can reach texts by clicking on the titles: “The Load of Sugar-Cane”, “Tea”, “Fabliau of Florida”, “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”, “The Plot Against the Giant”, “Ploughing on Sunday”, “Domination of Black”, “Six Significant Landscapes” and “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”. If there’s time I’d also like to look at “Peter Quince at the Clavier”.

If people enjoy these, I’d like to look at some of the more philosophical poems at a later point, perhaps at October’s meeting.

 

Saturday 13th October, 10.30am – 12.30pm: Wallace Stevens 2 – Manchester Buddhist Centre

As ever, entry is free and there is no need to book, but please bring copies of the poems I mention, which you can find by clicking on the poems’ titles.
I particularly want to look at “The Idea of Order at Key West”. Please also bring “Sunday Morning”, “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm”“The Plain Sense of Things” and “The Snow Man” . We clearly won’t be able to discuss all of them, but I’d like to have some freedom of manoeuvre according to time and to accomodate anyone who’d particularly like to focus on one or other of the poems.

 

Saturday 10th November, 10.30am – 12.30 pm: Ezra Pound, some shorter poems – Manchester Buddhist Centre

As ever, entry is free and there is no need to book, but please bring copies of the poems I mention, which you can find by clicking on the poems’ titles.

For those thinking of buying a Pound selection that will cover this and next month’s sessions I’d strongly recommend Ezra Pound, New Selected Poems and Translations, edited by Richard Sieburth, because it contains a generous and annotated selection from the Cantos as well as a good selection of the shorter poems. The old Collected Shorter Poems, or the Selected Poems edited by T S Eliot would also be useful for this session, but they don’t include any of the Cantos.

You can find the poems I’d like you to read in advance and bring to this class by clicking on the titles: “The Return”, “The Garden”“In a Station of the Metro”“Liu Ch’e”“Fan-Piece for her Imperial Lord”“The Gipsy”, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter”, “Exile’s Letter”. However, I hope we’ll have enough books between us to look beyond these.

 

Saturday 8th December, 10.30am – 12.30 pm; Ezra Pound, passages from the Cantos – Manchester Buddhist Centre