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. .

 

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 events are open to anyone who wants to come, and there’s no need to book, but people attending will need to bring their own copies of the poems we discuss.

There’s no payment for the group as such but I do ask people attending to make a £5 donation to the Buddhist Centre. I will collect this donation at the meeting.

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, Geoffrey Hill, George Seferis, Helen Dunmore, Jane Draycott, Jo Shapcott, John Donne, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Linda France, Mary Jean Chan, 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.

 

Saturday 11th January – poems by Jo Shapcott, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, Manchester Buddhist Centre library.

If people coming to the class have or can borrow copies of Shapcott’s Her Book and / or Of Mutability please bring them: by sharing we can look at poems I can’t provide links to that illustrate Shapcott’s remarkable range – surreal fantasies, poignant imaginary portraits, haunting explorations of human feelings through images of real and mythical animals, autobiographical or semi-autobiographical reflections on mortality, and in all these modes touches of wild subversive humour. Please all bring the at least the following poems, which we’ll make the core of our discussion and which you can find by clicking on the titles:

I Go Inside the Tree”, “Uncertainty Is Not a Good Dog”, “Barbican Audience”, “THE MAD COW TALKS BACK”; “HAIRLESS”; “Era”; “Tea Death”

Poems I particularly like that I can’t give links to include “Brando on Commuting”, “Love Song with a Flock of Sheep” and “Cabbage Dreams”; “Saving String” and “A Walk in the Snow”; “Cheetah Run”, “Rhinoceros”, “Elephant Woman”, “My Rattlesnake” and “Mrs Noah: Taken after the Flood”; “Of Mutability”, “Religion for Girls” and “Procedure”. Others will have other favourites to propose.

Jo Shapcott will be reading for Poets & Players in the Whitworth Art Gallery on Saturday on 25th January. You can find a link to event information by clicking here.

There’s no need to book and no payment for the group as such but I do ask people attending to make a £5 donation to the Buddhist Centre. I will collect this donation at the meeting.

 

Saturday 8th February – poems by Hugo Williams, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, Manchester Buddhist Centre library.

I want to look at poems from Hugo Williams’s new book, Lines Off. The title refers to Williams’s period of inactivity while recovering from a kidney transplant, but his comic skills are as evident as ever. I’ll bring a copy and maybe some of you will get hold of one, but you can find “Dear Arm”, “DIALYSIS DAYS”, “The Last of the Mohicans”, “CONSULTATION”, “THE LEAVING TEST” and “CREATURE” (called “Check-Up” in the book) by clicking HERE and “BIRDWATCHING” by clicking HERE. Others I’d particularly like to look at include “IN MY ABSENCE” and “TRANSPLANT 2014”, but if necessary Williams is easy to follow by ear.

There’s no need to book and no payment for the group as such but I do ask people attending to make a £5 donation to the Buddhist Centre. I will collect this donation at the meeting.

Saturday 14th March