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. .

 

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, David Constantine, Derek Mahon, Edwin Morgan, Elizabeth Bishop, Fiona Sampson, George Seferis, Jane Draycott, Jo Shapcott, John Donne, Linda France, Michael Longley, Philip Larkin, Rilke, Robin Robertson, Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Tomas Tranströmer, T S Eliot, W B Yeats and W S Merwin.

 


Saturday 11th February, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Dante – Manchester Buddhist Centre

This time I would like to focus on Cantos 1 – 2 of the Inferno, describing Dante’s meeting with Virgil and Virgil’s explanation of why he needs to go through Hell. You can find the text on the Princeton website by clicking here, clicking Enter, then selecting Inferno Cantos I and II. It would be good if you could also bring Inferno XXVI, lines 85 – 142, in the hope that we have time to read it. The translation given is my preferred one, that by Robert and Jean Hollander. However, you’re welcome to bring other versions instead.

 


Saturday 11th March, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Dante’s Purgatorio – Manchester Buddhist Centre

The first section of Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Inferno, presents the darkness, hopelessness and horror of Hell. The second, the Purgatorio, starts with light and love, and is a journey among souls joyfully embracing whatever pains they suffer as part of a healing process. I’ll talk fairly briefly about the overall structure of the book as a whole and we’ll read the first Canto; then we’ll read and focus on the end of Canto 25, from line 109 on, the whole of Canto 26 and the first half of Canto 27. You can find these texts on the Princeton website by clicking here, clicking Enter, then selecting Purgatorio Cantos I, XXV, XXVI and XXVII. The translation given is my preferred one, that by Robert and Jean Hollander. However, you’re welcome to bring other versions instead if it’s more convenient.