Welcome to my website! - updated 1st October 2017
I'm a poet, critic, bibliophile and fanatic in the cause of good English.
June 2017 has been a month which will go down in history. I'm a writer, not a politician, but got very involved in the election, blogging furiously under a pen name! The new collection, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn (Shoestring Press), which I edited, is being reprinted! Rip Bulkeley and I were interviewed by BBC Oxford on the 14th and you may be able to catch the video on their website.
On the 26th John Lucas, the distinguished poet, critic and publisher of Shoestring Press, celebrated his eightieth birthday. I had been working away in secret and was able to present him with an anthology by 72 poets, called Strike up the Band
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.
Contact me on