Under the Radar

undertheradarI was delighted to hear that I’ve had a poem accepted for Under the Radar, the magazine of Nine Arches Press. I’m particularly pleased as Matt Merritt is one of the editors and I enjoyed his book ‘The Elephant Tests’. I don’t send out a lot of submissions, partly because I don’t write very quickly (or at least produce poems I’d feel happy to publish) and partly because I like to select the magazines carefully. Is that better than a scatter-gun approach? Depends what you’re aiming for, I suppose. It does mean I end up in the period of the Long Wait quite often. We sometimes get submissions to Antiphon that say ‘I’ve had over 500 poems published in magazines’, and I wonder if the excitement of that 487th publication is as great as the first few, and whether, really, I’d ever write that many poems I feel the world must read. I’m a bit reluctant for Antiphon to become just another notch on someone’s bedpost – but you can never quite tell where a poem may catch an editor’s attention, and be just the thing they were looking for.


Queen Elizabeth I revisits Oxford

Well, almost – on Saturday, 23rd May University Church, Oxford is holding a re-enactment  of Queen Bess’s visit in 1566.  They’ve had a poetry competition as part of the event, and I’m very pleased that my poem ‘Who will wear the weasel fur?’ was shortlisted and will be on display in the Adam de Brome chapel of the church. The poem is based on the Sumptuary Laws of around that time , which attempted to restrict who could wear the finest and most expensive cloth and trimmings.

The day sounds fun – there will be music, dancing, food, poetry, and a play (possibly with hunting dogs and fire, like the original?). I can’t make it to the event, but if anyone’s around Oxford and wants to let me have a picture of the poem, that would be great!





angle7Seriously pleased to have two poems in the new issue of Angle, which is beautifully produced, as always. In fact it was studying Angle that made me think that Antiphon would work well in a similar format. At a first glance through, I’m delighted to be in the company of Jane Røken (one of my favourite poets), Jo Bell, Nick Balbo, Claudia Gary and various others I recognise from my poetry wanderings. I’m sad to read that they will only be producing one issue a year from now on – but I can guess the amount of work involved.


UniVerse 2015

Much fun was had tonight at the prize-giving for Sheffield Hallam’s poetry competition, UniVerse. Many thanks to the organisers for inviting me to be a judge and, along with Conor O’Callaghan, to read some poems at the event. I even got to wear a badge labelled ‘Judge’. (If you don’t know Conor’s poetry, check it out. He’s very good. He read Grace, a poem we published in Antiphon in issue 11.) All the prizewinners read splendidly, including my MA Writing colleague James Giddings, who read poems about his house being invaded by horses. And sharks.


Here’s me, reading against a backdrop of, well, me, in previous years. Not all those wine glasses are mine, though some may be.


And here is a selection of the famous canapes.



Life, the UniVerse and canapes

Since I was fortunate enough to win Sheffield Hallam University’s UniVerse poetry competition last year, I was invited on to the judging panel for 2015, and I’ve also been invited to read at the presentation ceremony on 23rd April. Tickets are available here if you’re in the vicinity.


I’m in the middle, here. The tall chap at the back is James Giddings, whose poem was chosen as the winner this year. He’s a good poet, interesting and unusual.

I was placed second or third in previous years too, so I’ve got four up on this wall now…


…and part of the prize is a great copy of the canvas to take away. They’re lined up behind my computer, reminding me that sometimes people like poetry.