As a boy in South Africa I dreamed of a romanticized England; now, in England, I dream of South Africa, and though I’ll never live there I sometimes still feel it’s where I most belong.
I was born in England but spent my first fifteen years in Pietermaritzburg, in Natal, where my father was a university lecturer. My mother was South African (half Afrikaans). I came to England for the last three years of my schooling at Leighton Park School in Reading. I studied English at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and Merton College, Oxford.
My father teased me with having a magpie mind as a boy, and I have one now.
My poetry reflects changing interests in languages and literature, history, art and mythology. I’ve loved classical Greek history and mythology since boyhood and taught myself Modern Greek as an adult. I know enough French and Italian to enjoy reading in both languages. I had no interest at all in the South African history our teachers crammed down our throats in Pietermaritzburg, but I’ve discovered since how full of wonderful stories it was, like the early history of America on a more concentrated scale.
My poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Acumen, Ambit, the London Magazine and Quattrocento. I’ve published a pamphlet (Homelands, with Dagger Press) and a collection of short poems (Through the Window, with Rockingham Press). My book Their Mountain Mother, mainly consisting of a long narrative poem about the Basuto hero Moshoeshoe, was published by Hearing Eye Press in August 2009.
I am the secretary of the Manchester group Poets and Players, which organizes performances of poetry and music, and have become a regular student at the excellent Poetry School.