Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2014

To Give Anything Less Than Your Best Is To Sacrifice the Gift - an appeal

On the 14 September, myself and Helen Mort will both be running the inaugural Chesterfield Marathon. And I've a small favour to ask.

As a keen 5K and 10K runner, this is my first full marathon, and one I've be training hard for: new trainers, 80s-style headband, "There Is No Finish Line"-emblazoned vest, the works. Even Charlie, our lovely racing whippet, has been out helping us on the shorter runs.

But the big reason we've put in the hours and many, many miles of training is to raise as much as we can for a cause close to both of our hearts: Shelter.

Every 11 minutes, a family in Britain loses their home.

Shelter believes that everyone should have a place to live and they campaign to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing, giving advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need and trying to generate lasting political change.

What'd help MASSIVELY is if you could sponsor the two of us, to help Shelter carry on doing the vital work…

"Life goes on": For Real featured in The North magazine

In the latest issue of The North magazine #52, you'll find a feature on this year's Poetry Business Competition Winners and the winning pamphlets, from Jim Caruth, Rebecca Farmer, Holly Hopkins and myself.

Each one includes three poems as a sampler, and notes on how the collection came about - inspiration, themes, the beating heart and rhythmic pulse behind the poems. Here's mine.

Also in issue are poems from the likes of Alison Brackenbury, Peter Didsbury, Carrie Etter, Owen Gallagher and Connie Bensley, reviews of the new books from Vona Groarke, Jen Hadfield, Michael Hulse, Jean Sprackland, Sinead Morrissey and Helen Mort, and a host of other features besides.

You can get your mitts on a copy direct from The Poetry Business website here, or else in good indie bookshops.

"Concave mirror of dreams": Rogue Strands verdict on For Real

‘This is poetry that bares its heart, not for the sake of confession or self-gratification, but for transforming qualities that are capable of moving its reader ... sorrow and struggle are laced with passion and optimism. The verse in For Real is brave, and hugely authentic.’

The rest of the review can be read here, and the pamphlet can be purchased for £6 (inc. p&p) here.

Offside Stories

The results are in!

Delighted to announce that my poem 'John Barnes', from my sequence of Kopite Sonnets on Liverpool FC Legends, has won The Pride and the Passion: Offside Stories, a competition celebrating the best poetry and prose about the beautiful game.

The poem centres on Barnes' incredible flair and ability as a player, but also the racist abuse and intolerance he suffered and - to his great credit - rose above, during his incredible career for Liverpool and England.

Especially chuffed since the competition was judged by poet, broadcaster and all-round good guy Ian McMillan, alongside Derby County FC captain, Shaun Barker. Here's their verdict on the poem:

"a truly accomplished piece; packed with craft and hard work and revealing the way that football can be a prism of history and, yes, a conduit of passion and pride."

Carol Farrelly was overall winner in the prose category, for a fascinating and gripping-sounding story that brings to life the tra…