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 to arrange a reading or to buy one of my books.
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, work as a member of Poets & Players to promote performances of poetry and music, write occasional reviews, read more widely and write more of my own poetry.
I’ve organised a series of poetry discussions in the Becker Room in the Central Library (Elliott House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester) on the fourth Saturday of the month, starting in September and will post details of what we will discuss here. These are free, open access discussions but if you want to attend you will need to bring your own copy of the text and should have read some of the poems in advance. Meeting dates for 2012 are 22nd Sept, 27th Oct, 24th Nov and for 2013 they are 26th Jan, 23rd Feb, 30th Mar, 27th April and 25th May.
Sat 26th January 2013, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm:
Elizabeth Bishop. Poems I thought we might concentrate on are “The Man-Moth”, “The Bight”, “At the Fishhouses”, “Arrival at Santos”, “Questions of Travel”, “Song for the Rainy Season”, “The Armadillo”, “The Riverman”, “First Death in Nova Scotia”, “Filling Station”, “Crusoe in England” and “The Moose”. It would be very helpful if people who come to the session could bring copies of all these, and have read some though not necessarily all of them.
Sat 23rd February, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm:
While I hope people will bring books of Stevens’ poems, Amazon doesn’t seem to offer much at the moment (for the real Stevens enthusiast I’d recommend the Collected Poetry and Prose by the Library of America, or the beautiful old Knopf The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens if you can get your hands on it). So I’m suggesting poems available online at http://www.poemhunter.com/wallace-stevens/poems/ :
Three longer poems, “Peter Quince at the Clavier”, “Sunday Morning” and “The Idea of Order at Key West”; and among shorter poems “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm”, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”, “Domination of Black”, “In the Carolinas”, “The Snow Man” and “Six Significant Landscapes”. I’d be delighted if other short poems were introduced on the day – there are several I’ll introduce myself if it turns out that most people bring books.
Sat 30th March, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm:
Sylvia Plath, poems from Selected Poems, ed Ted Hughes. To give a common basis for discussion I’d like people to have read as many as they can of “You’re”, “Morning Song”, “The Moon and the Yew Tree”, “Mirror”, “Elm”, “Daddy”, “Ariel”, “Mary’s Song” and “Edge”, which are all in the Selected Poems , and “Balloons”, “Mushrooms” and “Lady Lazarus”, which are easily available on the Internet. Please feel free to talk about any others you want to, bearing in mind that members of the group won’t necessarily have copies of poems not in the Selected Poems.
Sat 27th April, 10.30 am – 12.3o pm:
John Donne: John Donne: To give a common basis for discussion I’d like people to have texts of “The Flea”, “The Good Morrow”, “The Sun Rising”, “The Canonization”, “The Anniversary”, “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, “The Ecstacy”, “Elegy: To his Mistress Going to Bed”, ” A Hymn to Christ, at the Author’s Last Going into Germany” and “A Hymn to God the Father”, and to have read as many of these as they can, as well as whatever else takes your fancy.
I’ve made my selection from Metaphysical Poetry, ed. Colin Burrow, in the Penguin Classics series, and if you don’t have a volume of Donne already that would be a convenient book to buy for this session and for the one on Herbert and Marvell in June. There are many different editions and selections, though, and you should feel free to bring whatever you have or can get hold of most easily.
You’ll find pretty well all of Donne online, too. One site you could go to is http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/donnebib.htm though I notice that that uses an early edition.
Sat 25th May, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm:
Jane Draycott: poems mainly from Over (Carcanet Press). I hope people will want to read the whole book, but a few special suggestions would be “The Square”, “The Girls’ Book of Model-Making”, “Pass”, “Turquoise”, “Island”, “The Funeral of Queen Victoria”, “Lookout Mountain”, “Door”, “India” and “Zulu”.
I’d also like to look at a couple of poems from The Night Tree. There’s a link to the brilliant title poem in the sidebar on the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association page at http://www.keats-shelley.co.uk/ksma%20awards.html and you can hear Jane reading the “Single Lens” sequence at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgYRFDEOkVQ .
You can also hear Jane Draycott reading newer poems for Poets & Players at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpgxXcSV9ck
Sat 22nd June, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm:
George Herbert and Andrew Marvell: poems from Metaphysical Poetry, ed. Colin Burrow, Penguin Classics