My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-Four: The Bluebell Woods

The Bluebell Woods

The bluebell woods
Mixed media in calico

The Bluebell woods

These blue flowers love mutual company
and yet are free. They reflect sky
and on other days skies reflect them.
The petals spring in spring and leaves
die in summer — a life full of swag! And
I feel what Wordsworth would have felt
when he saw a bunch of golden daffodils.

By Jay Gandhi

Bluebell Woods

O may I go a wandering along
to find the deep bluebell woods
I long to see the fairies play,
I’m tired of Red Riding Hood
Unafraid of the bluebell ring
I’ll venture into Sherwood Forest
while I look for cousin hyacinth
I might see Robin Hood, at rest
I know the sap of English bluebells
has glue strong for binding books
for fastening feathers to arrows,
fired by medieval archers, on crooks,
In old dense woodlands I’ll go
forgetting in foliage all my cares, for
hours lie on bluebell woods ‘and pray
to fairies, to send my nightmares, away-

2019 © CER     Anjum Wasim Dar

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Benjamin Guilefoyle: The Woolly Hat Poet

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Benjamin Guilfoyle: The Woolly Hat Poet

is a woolly hat wearing performance poet. His unique brand of wonderfully warm, woolly and often silly words has seen him headline poetry nights all across the North of England. His poetry covers all bases from ‘loud cinema eaters’ to the life teachings of his hero, Mr Brian Blessed. He has two poetry publications; ‘Level Up’ from 2015 and his first poetry collection ‘Please insert disk 2’ from 2019.
Benjamin loves nothing more than to perform his poetry to a live audience and in 2019 is taking his poetry on the road with ‘The Wandering Poet Tour’. The tour will be to raise money for the Lancaster Homeless Shelter and the Lancaster Children’s Library. Benjamin will walk from Lancaster to Brighouse performing poetry in twelve towns along the way with support from local poets and performers.

benjamin
As part of his other poetry projects in 2019 Benjamin is working with the Morecambe Exchange to make a short film from one of his poems all about ‘Pilates’. He is also animating some poetry with the help of Cumbrian animator Hannah Fox.
In 2018 Benjamin entered his first poetry slam and became the Morecambe Fringe Festival slam champion which was a lovely surprise as he doesn’t usually go in for poetry competitions.

He is also a primary school teacher specialising in the early years.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/woollyhatpoems/

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I have always loved words, rhythm and rhyme. My mum used to read me and my sister poetry and heavily rhythmic books when I was very young so I think I always had an ear for patterns, sounds and rhythm.

When I was in college, many moons ago when Eminem was big, me and my mate Steve made a pact to be the world’s next big rap superstars. That was obviously a terrible idea as we were, or at least I was, the nerdiest, goofy looking ‘wanna be’ type kid. Kind of like the kid in the ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’ video by The Offspring. Steve was way cooler than me. He had a rap name and everything. He was called ‘MC Heat’. I regret nothing. We had an insane amount of fun.

When I moved to Lancaster in 2014 to pursue a career in teaching I was taken to an open mic night in town and that’s where I saw proper performance poets for the first time and I kind of fell in love with what I saw and heard. Until then I’d never thought of poetry as something that could be so hip and funky. I remember thinking to myself “I can do that”. So I went home and wrote a poem. I took it along to the next open mic night and read it off of A4 paper. I was terrified. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking, but people clapped. I went home and wrote more.

I fell in love with poetry and since then it has gotten out of control.

2. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I was very aware that there were other poets on the scene. I was also aware that nearly every other poet had a lot more experience than I had. It was pretty daunting at first to try and get up onstage with people who had been performing a lot longer than I had but I use every performance, whether I’m watching or performing, as an opportunity to learn from other performers. I always find things that I like in other performances and watching and talking to other poets has helped me to grow as a writer and a performer. I still have lots to learn.

I thinks that’s my favourite thing about poetry now, it’s that anything goes. If you want to perform it and you enjoy it then good for you. Poetry is a different beast for different people and no two poets are the same. The fact that performers will to take to the stage and read their own thoughts and feelings in front of strangers is one of the bravest things anyone can do.

So, as for a dominating presence, um, I wouldn’t say it was dominating, I just had to be brave and use every opportunity to learn how to shape my writing and performance.

3. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have one. I don’t have time fit a writing routine into my daily life. I’m a teacher. I’m too busy. I just write when I have something to write about. I often carry ideas and words in my head for ages and eventually I find the time and words to make something out of it. I try to write from a place of happiness. I look out for the small things in life that people might gloss over in their everyday life. My emotions occasionally play a part in my writing but I also want my poems to entertain so I try to think about things that people can relate to as well

4. What motivates you to write?

I am motivated by lots of things. I think the main themes I keep returning to are childhood, growing up and having courage. I like to write about nature as well. I quite often draw on my personal experiences from the past and use elements of those experiences to write poems that have a narrative. But on the other hand I have written a poem called ’12th Century Shower Scene’ which is all about that scene in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves where Kevin Costner is completely ‘starkers’ under a water fall so I’ll write about anything.

Songs. I’ll also take inspiration from songs. The words of Ben Folds have been a huge influence in my writing.

5. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I have inherited a love for rhythm and rhyme from the poems and books I read and was read as a child. The copy of ‘Noisy Poems’ – collected by Jill Bennett and Nick Sharratt – in our house had worn out pages. The first rhyme in the book rhymes Dorchester with orchestra and the book just gets better and better from there. There is also ‘Song of the train’ by David McCord in there and when read it has the rhythm of a train and you feel like you are the train. It’s superb. Repetitive, but for a young child it really is excellent writing.  We read lots of A.A. Milne poems and I think they have been a huge influence on me with regard to adding a narrative in to my poems. Books like Hairy MacLary and the Shirley Hughes poems and her ‘Alfie’ stories were also read a lot.

I have my mum to thank for all that.

6.  Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I feel as a poet I really should know more modern poets than I do. I’m pretty useless in that regard. There are poets that I have met and seen perform and they have really blown me away with the energy and passion that they bring to the stage. That’s what I love the most. Energy and passion and to see the performer believing in what they are saying. Of poets that I have either seen perform or have had the opportunity to know in some fashion I would say my favourite poets are Dominic Berry, Alex Slater, Rosie Fleeshman and ‘Th’Owd Chap’ George Melling. But really, I admire anyone who will get up on stage and perform their own work and for me that’s the beauty of poetry these days. There is so much great poetry out there. Some I will like and some I won’t but I admire anyone who will read their own work.

7. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Poetry was, when I first started writing properly, really a place where I could empty my head and try and make some sort of sense of life at a time when I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had just moved to Lancaster and left all my friends and the majority of my family back in Yorkshire. Poetry helped me to get my thoughts out and keep me sane. To a point I still use poetry in much the same way. I sometimes find in conversations I am stuck for the right words or I feel I should be able to talk about things much more eloquently than I actually do. Poetry gives me the chance to take my time and find the right words to get my point across. I wouldn’t say I do it as opposed to anything else. I’m never bored and always have little projects going on and poetry has just become one of my many hobbies that I am lucky enough to be able to share with people.

8. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Just start writing and don’t care about if it’s good or not. Just write. Probably about something you’re interested in at first and eventually you will find a writing style and themes that suit you. Every writer is different and that’s what’s so exciting. Every writer will do work that is fantastic and every writer will write pieces that are absolutely rubbish. Don’t be afraid of feedback. If it’s negative then it’s constructive. Use it to learn and develop your writing. Don’t share writing that you aren’t happy sharing. Just write and write and write. And read. You’ve got to be a reader if you want to be a writer.

9. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I am currently preparing for my first poetry tour which will commence on 21/5/19. The tour is called ‘The Wandering Poet Tour’ and is in aid of two local charities; the Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service and the Lancaster Children’s Library. The tour will see me walking 110+ miles from Lancaster to my hometown of Brighouse in West Yorkshire. I will be passing through Garstang, Preston, Wigan, Bolton, Prestwich, Salford, Oldham, Littleborough, Hebden Bridge, Halifax and finally Brighouse. I will be performing each night with support from poets local to each area. Because the tour is in aid of the homeless shelter I will have no place to stay. I will just rely on the kindness of my audiences to put me up for the night or risk becoming homeless myself. More information on the tour can be found at the Woolly Hat Poems Facebook page -> facebook/woollyhatpoems
I am also working on my first poetry collection. ‘Please insert disk 2’ is comprised of 42 poems with themes of childhood, love, happiness and survival. It is very close to completion and I am having to be careful not to rush in the final stages. I will be posting more about my collection in the very near future on the Woolly Hat Poems Facebook page.

Press Release

Woolly Hat Poet set to walk 125 miles on an 12-date tour for charity – and he needs a member of the audience to put him up each night Lancaster-based Benjamin Guilfoyle will strap on his walking boots for an epic 125-mile hike from Lancaster to Brighouse in Yorkshire for his first big poetry tour.
But audiences on the 12-date tour are in for a shock – because he will make an on-stage appeal every performance for one of them to give him a bed for the night.
Benjamin is raining money for two charities – the Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service and the Lancaster Children’s Library – with every penny from ticket sales and donations while on the tour donated to the charities.
And to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, the poet will have nowhere to stay each night of his tour – and will be sleeping rough unless someone in the audience steps forward and offers him a bed for the night.
Benjamin said: “The Wandering Poet tour is all about being kind and doing something for others to make their day a little bit brighter. I want to be able to use my poetry and this tour to make a difference, however small, and to support these two local charities because without support they might not be around that much longer.”
“My poetry comes from a place of happiness. I use my poems to tell stories and to focus on the smaller things in life that we might overlook and those small victories that get us through our everyday lives.”
“My poetry, I hope, will make my audiences laugh and there will be at least one poems in the show that they can relate to on a personal level.”
The performance poet – know as the Woolly Hat Poet  – heads out on the road in May for a gruelling 12-date tour, taking in Lancaster, Garstang, Preston, Wigan, Bolton, Prestwich, Salford, Oldham, Littleborough, Hebden Bridge, Halifax and finally his home-town of Brighouse on consecutive nights.
The Wandering Poet Tour is inspired by Yorkshire’s own Simon Armitage and his Coast to Coast walk in 2015.
Each show Benjamin will be joined by local poetic talent, musicians and artists to give each show a local voice.
The tour kicks off on May 21 in Lancaster and will run each day until June 1.
NOTES:
Full tour dates and venues:

Lancaster – The Gregson Community Arts Centre – 21/5/19 – 7PM
Garstang – Garstang Library – 22/5/19 – 7PM
Preston – Vinyl Tap – 23/5/19 – 7PM
Wigan – The Old Courts – 24/5/19 – 7PM
Bolton – Bolton Library – 25/5/19 – 2PM
Prestwich – Prestwich Library – 26/5/19 – 1PM
Salford – The Eagle Inn – 27/5/19 – 7PM
Oldham – Oldham Library – 28/5/19 – 7PM
Littleborough – Ebor Studio & Gallery Frank – 29/5/19 – 7PM
Hebden Bridge – Nelson’s Wine Bar – 30/5/19 – 9PM
Halifax – The Book Corner – 31/5/19 – 7PM
Brighouse – St Martin’s Church – 1/6/19 – 7PM
Woolly Hat Poet on Facebook: facebook/woollyhatpoems  
Benjamin Guilfoyle is a performance poet and a primary school teacher specialising in the early years. Benjamin authored his first poetry pamphlet ‘Level Up’ in 2015 and a full poetry collection ‘Please insert disk 2’ in 2019.
The poet is available for interview.
Photographs
Available on request OR Attached to this email

Contacts:
Email: woollyhatpoems@gmail.com // Phone: 07792660866 or 01524 752837 // Twitter: @woollyhatpoems

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jacqueline Saphra

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Dad

Jacqueline Saphra

Jacqueline Saphra’s The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye 2011) was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (The Emma Press 2014) won the Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller was published by Hercules Editions in 2017. In the same year All My Mad Mothers (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize. Her most recent play, The Noises, was produced at The Old Red Lion Theatre in April 2019. Her next collection, Dad , Remember you are Dead’ will be out from Nine Arches Press in September 2019. She lives in London and teaches at The Poetry School. http://www.jacquelinesaphra.com

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

My favourite books as a child were poetry books. The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse, Mother Goose, Now We are Six and When We were Very Young were big influences. I loved Edward Lear and Hilaire Belloc. I wrote at school too. In those days there were no targets to speak of and no SATs. Friends and I would disappear into a small spare room at the end of a corridor somewhere and write poems together.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I suppose it was my mother, who would read to me every night until I learned to read to myself. I was an insatiable reader of novels too. Certain primary school teachers were very influential too and would encourage us to write whatever poetry we wanted to as part of the school curriculum – it was considered important by those teachers to encourage us to be creative without any objective in view.

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

ha ha. I’m an older poet! I’m not sure how much older poets ‘dominate’ these days – I think that’s a bit of a myth now, although it certainly used to be the case. We can learn a lot from our ‘older’ and more experienced poets – they’ve been at it a long time. There is a dominance of youth, if anything: the new, the fresh, the young seems to get a lot more attention and often some of our more experienced and brilliant older poets are pushed into the background. If you are looking for really great poetry is a lot to be said for experience (of life and of writing). My new book does do a bit of a head to head with the male canon though because I believe that women need to reclaim the space. Being older is a real issue for women poets, who often start writing later because they’ve been bringing up families and often working at the same time but are taken less seriously and valued less than new young poets. I’ve blogged about this. https://jacquelinesaphra.wordpress.com/the-slow-game-women-poetry-and-the-cult-of-youth/

4. What is your daily writing routine?

You’re asking that question at a difficult moment. My new book is out in September and my play, The Noises has just finished its London run so I haven’t been writing much. Fallow periods are important and I have two or three projects in my mind to occupy the next couple of years.

However I normally try to show up most days in case the muse wants to visit. You have to leave the door open for her!  If the writing isn’t happening (and sometimes when it is), I read poetry or poetry criticism. In between writing, I often go the gym for an hour or two.
My other habit is to go away to a friend’s cottage in Suffolk by myself for as long as a fortnight and create my own writing retreat. I find I can work for hours I take long, thinking walks along the marshes and take my notebook with me.

5. What motivates you to write?

I just have to. I have things to communicate, things I feel strongly about. I can’t write a poem without a feeling.

6. What is your work ethic?

Mainly it’s ‘Don’t wait for inspiration to strike’. Pasteur said ‘Chance favours the prepared mind’. You can always do something. Poetry can be like practising your scales before you tackle the Beethoven Sonata. Not everything you write needs to end up in a book, or even being read by someone else. Lots of it can end up in a drawer or on your metaphorical cutting room floor. Be prepared for plenty of ‘wastage’, knowing that everything you write – especially your (many) failures are contributing to the poems that make it out into the world. Often a whole series of failed poems might be the dress rehearsals for the actual ‘performance’.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I’ve already mentioned AA Milne, Edward Lear, Hilaire Belloc, but I’d add to them Coleridge, Blake and of course Shakespeare. Then there was Leonard Cohen and also Bob Dylan. From them I learned about metre and rhyme – not very fashionable these days, but rhyme and metre are the historical roots of poetry and often give it a uniquely emotional effect and of course its music. In my early twenties I read may of the 60s, 70s and 80s feminist poets like Adrienne Rich, Alice Walker, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Marge Piercy …  I lived in a flat with three other women and we used to read and recommend those books to each other. Those writers were formative for me because they taught me that politics with a personal perspective can be part of the poetic discourse. And of course they were women. If they could do it, why couldn’t I?

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I could go on and on so here are a few (I seem to be drawn to American poets particularly) Marilyn Hacker (formal skills and great storytelling), Carol Rumens (unsung beauty) , Tony Hoagland (emotional honesty, understanding the line in free verse, use of narrative, humour), Natalie Diaz (huge emotional courage and skill to harness it), Alicia Ostriker (political, passionate and  brave), Naomi Shihab Nye (both political and humanitarian perspective), Ellen Bass (gorgeous, immediate and great storytelling).

9. Why do you write?

To communicate. Because I have to. Because I love it.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read and write. In approximately those proportions.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

My one-woman play, ‘The Noises’ just finished a three-week run in London after years of development. I’m gearing up to write another one, this time with more characters in it. ‘The Noises’ was accessible to visually impaired and blind people and I’m trying to incorporate access into my next script. It’s a huge creative challenge and opportunity to enrich the work.

My next book, ‘Dad, Remember you are Dead’ will be out from Nine Arches Press in September 2019.

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-Three: A Grandma’s Garden I

Grandma's Garden I

 

Grandma’s Garden I

My Grandmas garden was in another land
It was a land of beauty called a heaven
I believe it did not really need one more
nature had completed it to the very core
Though grandpa also loved the plants
but he loved the green vegetables more
Grandma proudly planted flowers, said
she worked hard, and had more in store.
Roses she loved the best, apples grew on
shorter trees, but many fell as soon as ripe
many were lost in winter wind’s furore-
Grandpa smiled ‘not a word’ just a snore’
Grandmas garden was loved by all
she would bring in the flowers and place
them in vases and bowls, and they too
would nod and sway and swing in view
displaying colors yellow green n purple
tulips pansies and roses in plenty
sweet scented sweet peas and apple
blossoms shaded , holy grace, amply
But time brought a drastic change
the land  was taken over by force
Grandmas garden had to be sold
Grandma cried but tried to be bold
Farewell my flowers farewell, I will
remember you for ever, where ever
I may go or be, for you gave comfort
and made me and Grandpa, happy.
2019 © CER     Anjum Wasim Dar

Front Garden

Half way up the hill a right turn up a steep drive
to a semi detached house we called “Nanna’s and Grandad’s”.

It must have been one summer Mam, Step-Dad, Sister and I
sprawl on the front lawn despite being dressed in our Sunday Best,

our hands try to gently clamp the frisky yellow Labrador puppy
we call “Sheba” who wants to explore the new smells

Mam would have us dress not to show her up
out of respect to her mam and dad,

I am surprised she doesnt lay a teatowel on the ground for us
to perch on and prevent grass stains when we have this picture taken

with the latest Kodak instamatic. Later when they can no longer cope
the grass is replaced by layers of concrete slabs and easy cut shrubs.

2019 Paul Brookes

Monostich

I copied in the Moral Science examination.

By Jay Gandhi

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-Two: A Rubato

Rubato

Rubato

Rubato

More than 10000 pieces of broken mirrors
are stuck together for the installation.

Some bits are dull, some are luminous,
some from the crashed wardrobes of a big shot
while others from the remains of the dashed cars.

they reflect with different intensities
but create the Large beat—

This is the same beat on which the world dances.

By Jay Gandhi

A Rubato

A book begins and ends in a garden.
A book begins and ends in delight.
See the coloured pages
scattered like pixels.

Each bird note is a colour.
Each rustle is a colour.
Sometimes a rubato
out of the usual rhythm
of this morning and evening

The garden of memory.
His rock garden reminded my late dad
of his favourite Lake District mountains.
Each page is a leaf,
each leaf an instrument
played by the gust.
Every chorus of leaves
a fresh painting of the garden.

2019 Paul Brookes

Rubato
Yellow buds tremble  quiver, as
sound waves invisibly caress
delicate tender petals, lovingly
inciting impelling rousing spurring awakening layered
Encasement to unravel transform
fold by fold, unfurl
manifest a colorful coronet
on a swaying thin stem
Balancing on thinner clasping unseen roots in the soil
listening responding blossoming
with the call-hurry
to prayer, to prayer
To salvation, to salvation
awakened to accept
the truth-
prayer is better than sleep, prayer is better than sleep

And now I shall sleep
one by one
the petals close
to a bud, to become the peaceful scented rose.
2019 © CER   Anjum Wasim Dar

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Daniel Edward Moore

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Daniel

Daniel Edward Moore

Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island with the poet, Laura Coe Moore.
His poems have been in Spoon River Poetry Review, Columbia Journal, Cream City Review, Western Humanities Review, and others.
His poems are forthcoming in Weber Review, West Trade Review, Duende Literary Journal,
Isthmus Review, The Meadow, Bluestem Magazine, Coachella Review, Faultline, Slipstream, Barren Magazine and Jenny Magazine.
His chapbook “Boys,” is forthcoming from Duck Lake Books in February 2020.
His first book, ‘Waxing the Dents,’ was a finalist for the Brick Road Poetry Book Prize and will be released in April 2020.
His work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net.
Visit him at Danieledwardmoore.com.

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I began writing poetry in 1989 after buying a copy of Plath’s “Ariel,” at a garage sale.
I had been journaling for years, but had never been exposed to such radically honest,
and beautifully dark language that felt so cathartic. It struck something very deep in me,
giving me permission to be more human than I’d ever been before. I started wring my life into the world, one poem at a time.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Reading Sylvia Plath and then eventually other confessional poets like Lowell, Sexton, Berryman and the gang.  The most serious turning point occurred at a Writers Conference in the early 90’s when a Featured poet said to me that I had to read Mark Doty, because she heard how our voices resonated for her. I had no idea who he was. I took her advice and read ‘Bethlehem in Broad Daylight” and nothing was ever the same again. From that moment on every poem he wrote I hung in my mind like a piece of art on a museum wall.

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I’m more aware of contemporary poets my own age, and the new breed of younger poets who have so much passion and beauty in their work.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I’m up at 4:00 every morning, even on the weekends and I begin with a 20 minute mindfulness meditation. Then I check my email, finish all poetry business related work, look at my submission page, respond to my website and Facebook, and then dive into working on new drafts and do a few new submissions before heading to the office at 6:30.

5. What motivates you to write?

Too many things to list here. But mainly what I call the “Politics of Intimacy.” I’m obsessed with how people connect and break in relationship, how they are healed and broken at the very same time. For me, poetry is a gift I have to explore the realms of that place and those people, and of course the inner terrain of my life. Rarely, do I write from the outside in, most of my work is born from listening to an internal conversation and being invited to join in.

6. What is your work ethic?

To be as truthful as possible, to practice right speech, to be fearless and fierce in my work.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Greatly, as I said before the “Confessional Poets,” birthed me.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Carl Phillips work and voice has had the most powerful influence on my life and work.
For me, he is the purest embodiment of how flesh, language, emotional syntax, non-duality and radical courage can re-create people’s minds and hearts in a dark and suffering world.
Other poets such as Sam Sax, Louise Gluck, John Sibley Williams and Forrest Gander always inspire me to stop, pay attention and learn to serve the poem.

9. Why do you write?

Living would not be a possibility.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

By reading other poets. By listening in silence to the sound of your thoughts.
By loving your life with words.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I am honoured to have two books coming out next year.
My chapbook, “Boys,” will be published by Duck Lake books in February 2020,
and my first full-length collection “Waxing the Dents,” was a finalist for the Brick Road Poetry Prize and will be released in April 2020.
I am also near completing my next poetry book, “Dear Elegy,” which will be going to some private Editors soon for its final revision stages, then hit the streets looking for a home by the first of the year hopefully.
Also, my chapbook, “Glass Animal,” which is out looking for a publisher has been getting some seriously kind responses and I anticipate it coming out soon as well.

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-One: Morello

Morello

Morello

Morello

When I die, call a hospital and donate me. someday, someone may see a better vision with my very eyes.

In this life I know I have been useless— at least death should be useful.

By Jay Gandhi

Morello

White plaster peels from damp walls
red plastic shot cases wobble
on gust blasted window sills
of this empty house of trouble.

You insistent we have to go,
fretted your dad would find out.
The white plaster trod on posh carpet.
The red shotcases moved about.
Need to go. Now your voice echoed
Until our voices hung in empty billows.

Its garden overgrown snapped beneath our feet
as we ran through its black rusty squeaking gate
into a stable yard and up for the rafters leap
into damp spiky haybails cracked our pates
with no vinegar and brown paper
to heal our heads and youthful fever.

2019 Paul Brookes

Morello
Not of Morello cheese or of cherries
nor of Morello gang of 107th street
nor of dollar bills printed, counterfeit
nor of Morello’s lost airship, at sea.
nor of Joe the famous Jazz drummer
nor of Tom the famous guitarist
nor of any character from TV artists
but surely of the famous Morello
special personal horse of  Lorenzo il
Magnifico, an Italian Statesman  de
facto,  a  poet prince  Italiano
Morello refused oats from any other
hand, no heel pressure no kicks or whips
but reverence bestowed,neighed and
whinnied in respectful loving return-
Noble Barbary breed, with hardy
stamina fiery temper and high speed
Magnate Lorenzo with his favorite steed
would lead the pageant , to the play
Then reciting his poem to inspire
‘to horse, to horse for frolic and fun
dance and carol on and on, everyone
enjoy the jousts play on, all the way ’.
This is the story of high spirited Morello
the favored mount of Magnificent Lorenzo’
2019  © CER      Anjum Wasim Dar

For #WorldCurlewDay and Easter my poem “Our Home”

Our Home

where the linnet calls
it breaks big white back
of winter; craggs out
grey veins dry stone walls
of territory.

Male Ring Ouzel calls,
cock Lapwings tumble,
Short Eared Owls hunt
wasteland: incomers.
birds swoop upstream bones
moved by these false springs.

Then the Curlew calls.
Spring staggers from brok
en white shells, tubers
unsteady or sharp
suck out hill’s feathered
underside.

There the Golden Plover
takes fledglings across
warming ice: snow broth
whispers down to crack
the river’s quiet
hibernating voice.

Copyright Paul Brookes, Published in South West broadsheet 1993