Welcome to my website! - updated 1st May 2017
I'm a poet, critic, bibliophile and fanatic in the cause of good English.
I've just got the new Journal of the Friends of the Dymock Poets, with my article on the Georgians, subtitled 'Must Poetry be Difficult?'
Reading in the University Church, Oxford, on the evening of Friday March 17th, 'The Pity of War'.
The new Shoestring Press collection, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn, which I edited, has had to be reprinted! Fifty excellent poets have contributed, including Alan Brownjohn, Tony Curtis, Ann Drysdale, Paul Groves, Pascale Petit, Penelope Shuttle and Sean Street. It sold out at the Labour Party conference and got some marvellous reviews - 'Glorious' (Daily Mirror), 'a joy to behold' (Daily Telegraph). It has also inspired a competition in the Spectator and attracted far more attention than books of poetry usually do. You can read London Grip's review here.
Meanwhile, I spent much of the summer editing another anthology,
Infinite Riches in a Little Room, which features the best work of Back Room Poets and is published by Albion Beatnik. I am now working on a third anthology, but that's a secret!
The Wilfred Owen Association was kind enough to reprint scenes from my play Doppelganger in their current newsletter. Please contact me if you wish to perform it.
My new collection, Letter to my Rival, was published by Shoestring on 25 November 2015, along with new collections by Ann Drysdale and Angela Kirby and the reviews are excellent.
Effie was issued as a Random House audiobook at the end of March 2015 and you can order it here. The e-book version for PC and the e-book version for Kindle (both pdf.s) are now available.
I was the first editor of The Interpreter's House, a little magazine founded, in 1996, in Bedfordshire where I then lived. It's still going. Simon Curtis was the second editor, but tragically he died and Letter to my Rival is dedicated to him.
My first interest, on which I wrote my doctoral thesis, was the novels of Thomas Hardy. Since then I've published various studies of the Victorians and post- Victorians - Preface to Hardy (Longman), Women in the English Novel, 1800-1900, Margaret Oliphant: A Critical Biography, and Six Women Novelists, all published by Macmillan. More recently I wrote a book on a fascinating subject - Effie: A Victorian Scandal, From Ruskin's Wife to Millais' Muse (Book Guild).
Then I got into modern poetry. As an editor I saw some of the best contemporary poems and short stories before they were published, and eventually brought out some of my own. I've appeared in several magazines and have three collections in print - The Sun's Yellow Eye (National Poetry Foundation), The Latin Master's Story (Rockingham), and The First Wife's Tale (Shoestring Press), which was long-listed for Welsh Book of the Year.
The poets of the First World War are another great interest. So is children's literature, and I've written a story for girls aged 10-14, Clare and Effie
(Honno), which is based on the lives of Gwen and Augustus John.
When I can't think of a poem, I occasionally translate one. (Well, I had to learn Latin at school). I was particularly inspired by the work of Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered in the Spanish Civil War, and Bloodaxe published my English versions of his Selected Poems in 1992. See my Lorca page.
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