Saturday 13 May 2023

International Dylan Thomas Day, 14 May 2023



Wishing all my friends 

a Happy International Dylan Day



David and I enjoyed many happy visits to Laugharne and the Carmarthenshire coast from our Swansea home. You can barely make out the Writing Shed, but the Dylan Thomas Boathouse is the last white building beyond the castle on this side of the estuary, where the tidal stream bends to the left. You can see it more clearly in the photograph below.

Lidia Chriarelli* has once again curated an anniversary website to mark the occasion - here. My thanks to Lidia for including my Swansea-based contribution, a picture-poem. You will find it here, if you click the link and then scroll down. 

You might also be interested in Dear Dylan, an anthology of Dylan-inspired poetry and prose from Indigo Dreams Publishing, edited by Anna Saunders and Ronnie Goodyer. This volume (see here) was published on #DylanDay 2021 and contains one of my poems, 'Tentacles and Tar'. 

Laugharne, evening light

* There is an expansive interview with Lidia Chiarelli here in The Poet online; do take a look.



Tuesday 21 March 2023




I hope everyone has been enjoying World Poetry Day, 2023. Some of us 'celebrated' with a trip to the dentist ... but I am just in time to say that Spring, a new Stickleback download, has been produced by Mark Davidson of the Hedgehog Poetry Press. It contains one of my ekphrastic poems. Do take a look here

The photo above shows me with my poetry collection, Driftwood by Starlight, which can be purchased from Peter Thabit Jones of The Seventh Quarry Press here. The poems concern heritage, conservation, Cornwall, our fragile coast and other topics.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

'Voices For The Silent', New Anthology from Indigo Dreams Publishing



What can poetry do?  

There have been many who advocate art for art's sake, or l'art pour l'art, as the slogan was initially rendered in nineteenth century France. 

There have also been many, and indeed there are an ever-increasing number, of artists (in the broadest sense) who see their work as a focus for, or extension of, their activism. 

I feel fortunate to have had poems included in a variety of charity anthologies over the years, raising funds and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, Welney WWT and the Born Free Foundation, to name but three. 

I am delighted to add another to the list in the form of Voices for the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2022), the new companion volume to For the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019), edited by Ronnie Goodyer, Poet-in-Residence at the League Against Cruel Sports. These companion (or stand-alone) volumes have been produced to aid the work of this charity, and not surprisingly some of the selected poems concern animal cruelty. Others focus on habitats and the wonders and complexities of the natural world. 

The new book includes poems by well-known names such as Margaret Atwood, Gillian Clarke, Pablo Neruda, Philip Larkin, John Clare, Mary Oliver, William Cowper, William Blake and Thomas Hardy, alongside a host of contributors who are part of the contemporary poetry scene.

Voices for the Silent costs £15 in Great Britain. Prices for other parts of the world are listed on the Indigo Dreams Publishing website. The book includes six wonderful pages of illustrations by Sam Cannon. The superb cover photographs are by Andy Parkinson.  

Subjects in the anthology range from a stag to a sparrowhawk, from a Chequered Skipper butterfly to an elephant. My poem, 'Basking Shark Blues', was inspired by the brooding Hebridean waters off the coast of Skye where I spent an evening watching one of these gentle giants of the ocean.


Evening, Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Fingerstone Poem Quoted in 'The Maker', The Charles Causley Literary Blog


Launceston Castle

Those who know me will be aware of my love affair with Cornwall. It is a county I have visited all my life, initially to spend time with relations who lived at Widemouth Bay on the north coast. I recall many days further south, not far from the Helford River in the 1970s and 80s, enjoying occasional walks along Frenchman's Pill and the tree-lined watercourses that inspired Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek. I began to discover other writers who made Cornwall come alive on the page: Charles Causley, Thomas Hardy, R.S. Hawker, Anne Ridler, Jack Clemo, W.S. Graham, John Betjeman, Ursula K. Le Guin and Lionel Johnson, to name but a few. 

I forget how I first encountered the poems of Charles Causley, but I was immediately drawn to them. And indeed, I have found some firm favourites among his body of work, favourites such as 'Who?', with its brilliant repetition in line 1 of the first stanza, and 'Morwenstow', in which the speaker interrogates the sea on the subject of its wildness. I have visited Causley's hometown of Launceston a couple of times in recent years and have enjoyed exploring the castle, which dominates the scene. I even tried to do a quick pen-and-ink sketch of it.

I was delighted when Sue Wallace-Shaddad asked me if she could include a few stanzas from 'Penwith Fingerstone', one of my Cornish poems, in her November post for The Maker, which you can find on The Charles Causley Literary Blog. The poem, which features in Driftwood by Starlight (The Seventh Quarry Press, 2021), was awarded Third Prize by Brian Patten in the 2017 Milestones Poetry Competition, administered by Write Out Loud. As it happens, I posted a photo (here) of the fingerpost on Twitter a few days ago for #FingerpostFriday.


Thursday 3 November 2022




I have subscribed to Reach Poetry magazine for over twenty years. The magazine is edited by Ronnie Goodyer of Indigo Dreams Publishing. From time to time Ronnie has issued a particular challenge. The most recent was for a Terza Rima Sonnet, one of my favourite forms. 

I decided to have a go, and submitted my poem, 'Navigating Knapdale', which was published in the September 2022 issue. The focus of the narrative was a trip to Knapdale Forest in search of beavers. We failed to spot any; it is rare to do so in the daylight, but sometimes the quest is the thing that counts. Or so Cavafy implied in his well-loved poem, 'Ithaka'.


Beaver landscape, Knapdale ... in the rain

  •  My post here, written over 100 issues ago, explains some of the reasons I enjoy this monthly magazine so much.

Tuesday 25 October 2022



A lamp post at Mallaig, Scotland

LUCI PER LA CITTÀ / LIGHTS FOR THE CITY, hailed as a great Festival of Lights, opens today in Turin, Italy, thanks to the vision of Lidia Chiarelli, poet, creative and Charter Member (with Aeronwy Thomas, Gianpiero Actis, Silvana Gatti, Sandrina Piras) of the international poetic and artistic movement, Immagine e Poesia. The organisers from Immagine e Poesia are joined by Arte Città Amica in this enterprise.

'two projects at the same time': 

-An Art Exhibition at the Villa Amoretti in Turin, 
which opens on 25 October2022.
-An International Website with Poetry, Aphorisms, 
Short Stories, Art, Music and Photography.

These two projects, the Luci per la Città Exhibition and the International Website, have been created as a tribute to Guido Chiarelli (1902-1982), on the 120th anniversary of his birth. Chiarelli is hailed as the man who transformed Torino into a "Ville Lumière" by illuminating the city streets with his futuristic designs in the 1950s and 1960s.  


* * *


I wish to thank Lidia very much for inviting me to supply a written contribution for the international Luci per la Città website. You can read my poem,  'Stars in Suburbia', here

I was born in London and spent the first couple of years of my life in the capital, before moving out with my family to Kent's 'commuter-land'. Our road began at the foot of a slope near the railway station. The public library was situated near the top, where our road joined the High Street at right angles. We lived at the halfway point, neither up nor down. 

My bedroom window looked out onto the road where a lamp post (like the one in my picture here) sent its beams into the night sky. Looking back, it seems hard to believe that we still had a gas lamp, requiring the occasional services of a lamplighter; but I have looked into this, and am assured by those who know these things that my memory is indeed correct. 

Unlike Leerie in the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, which I came to love, our lamplighter would not have had to make daily visits as the lamps had become partially mechanised by my the time of my 1960s childhood. But they would have required winding at regular intervals. The image of the lamp post also reminds me of the one in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis where Lucy Pevensie first caught sight of Mr Tumnus the faun

I have not had the opportunity of visiting Torino, but David and I lived in Rome from 1985 to 1986. How well I remember the beautiful lights around Spagna and Piazza Navona in the run-up to Christmas. I can still smell the scent of hot chestnuts and pizza rustica. I even remember the sparkle of snow! 

P.S. I couldn't resist including images of two of my favourite UK lamp posts, the top one in Mallaig on the Scottish mainland, where one can catch a ferry to Skye, and the one below from Lyme Regis, designed in the shape of an ammonite


Ammonite-style lamp post, Lyme Regis, UK


Monday 17 October 2022

Parts One to Five of my Mini Poetry Interview conducted by Thomas Whyte


On the Homeric trail at Nestor's Palace, 'sandy Pylos' (2010)

My complete Poetry Q&A, conducted by Thomas Whyte in five sections, has now been posted on his Poetry Mini Interviews blog. 

You can find the five sections (in reverse order) here.

Alternatively the individual sections can be accessed via the following links:

  • Part One - bio and how I first engaged with poetry
  • Part Two - poets who influenced the way in which I thought about writing
  • Part Three - poetry books I have been reading recently
  • Part Four - current writing
  • Part Five - particular poems, books or poets that I read again when I need a lift  

Do take a look at the other interviews which can be found by clicking here and looking at the livelink list of names on the lefthand side.  

Thank you so much, Thomas, for inviting me to take part.