Monday, October 29, 2018

Short short poem - online course

 UPDATE: The course is now full!

I think you all probably know that I'm a fan of short things. So when the Poetry School asked me if I'd like to run an online masterclass, and, if so, on what - after swallowing the urge to say, Don't be silly, I can't run a MASTERCLASS, are you sure you mean me? - I said, How about short short poems? And they said, OK. So, I’m excited - and a little daunted - to tell you that registration is now open! There are only 10 places, we kick off in Jan, and it’s open internationally, so you can join us from anywhere. Here's the blurb:

Short Short Poems: White Space and Silence (Masterclass)

Leave no word unturned

Living in this age of constant word bombardment, why not give your reader the gift of a bit more white space, a little more silence? A poem can be any length, from one line to a whole book. But there is something magical about the very short poem, under ten lines or so; while less is not necessarily more, it is definitely different. ‘The short poem, at its best, brings about an almost instantaneous surge of both understanding and sensation unavailble elsewhere’, writes Simon Armitage in the introduction to the Short and Sweet anthology. In this advanced Masterclass we will be exploring the tiniest of poems, written by poets from Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson and Charles Causley to Rae Armantrout, Andrea Cohen and Selima Hill, alongside the shortest new offerings in today’s poetry journals. We will weigh the weight of each word, each breath and comma, to assess what needs to be said and what can remain between the lines, a useful skill for any writer. We will also create our own short poems, as well as exploring the effects of a constellation of poems on a page, and excavating our longer works-in-progress to see what treasures might be hidden inside.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our Interactive and International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no regular live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

Booking details here:

Thursday, October 04, 2018

National Poetry Day special offer!


It's National Poetry Day here in the UK today, and to celebrate, I have a special offer: buy a copy of my poetry collection, Terms & Conditions and get a FREE copy of my poetry pamphlet, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open, FREE postage in the UK (£3 for rest of world) – and I will donate £1 from every sale to Book Aid International, a charity making sure everyone has access to books.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The White Road Audiobook!

Today's the 10th birthday of my first book, The White Road & Other Stories, published in 2008 by the fab Salt Publishing! To celebrate, I've made an audiobook with the wonderful Soundbite Recording, which will be out later this month. Here's a teaser:

 More info on the book here>>

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Powers of Ten

I'm very happy to have found a home at the Blue Fifth Review for an odd little hybrid poem/fiction inspired by the wonderfully strange 1970s science film "Powers of Ten" ! You can read the piece here and watch the film below!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Writing and Mental Health

I've never been asked questions about writing and mental health & well-being before - here is an excerpt from my responses to questions by the Ignis Poetry Collective, a new organisation aiming to "explore and improve mental health via poetry and writing"
Do you think there has there been a direct impact upon your mental health/well-being as a result of leaving behind science journalism in favour of fiction and poetry? 

Yes – I was much calmer when I was a science journalist! I had some sort of structure, I had deadlines, I was being paid for each article, and more than that I was leaving the house to meet fascinating people, learning about new technologies and breakthroughs, it was very stimulating, I loved that job. But writing fiction was my dream from childhood, and at a certain point there was no more ignoring that. When I started writing short stories, I also started experiencing great mood swings and anxiety, because I was delving inside myself, spending more time alone – and obviously no-one was waiting for me to produce anything, and the chances of getting paid for it were fairly slim.
You can read the full interview here: