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 14th January, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Edwin Morgan – Manchester Buddhist Centre
Edwin Morgan was an enormously prolific poet and translator, with fantastic range. You’ll find a number of his poems on the Scottish Poetry Library website by clicking here and then clicking on “Poems”.
If you bring copies of at least “Glasgow 5 March 1971”, “The First Men on Mercury”, “The Loch Ness Monster’s Song”, “Seven Decades”, “Strawberries”, “In the Snack-bar” and “Trio” from that selection that will illustrate something of his variety and give a base for discussion.
You can also hear him reading four poems himself on the Poetry Archive by clicking here.
Many poems I’d like us to talk about aren’t on the net. It would be very helpful if anyone who has a copy of Morgan’s Collected Poems (published by Carcanet) or of his individual volumes would bring them along. I’ll bring some myself. He’s very approachable, so we could cover poems people haven’t read in advance by sharing books. However, one that I’d particularly like to look at that would benefit from advance reading is “Campobasso Italy Undated Reported March 1971”
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 – Manchester Buddhist Centre