Poetry

Candleshoe jacket 2014

In looking for a suitable sample to put on here, I chose one which is a) short and b) not too complex behind the scenes. It’s a straightforward descriptive piece, but I hope I made it lively and three-dimensional. The real life location is in Leicester, near the DMU student district; I was waiting there for a venue to open, then I could take part as a reader.

As usual in real life, other things happened which I couldn’t get into the poem. I found a whole cucumber on the pavement outside the shop, and two ice-cream vendors were having a turf war because one of them had occupied a pitch which affected the others’ business. I really wanted to put the vendors in, but they didn’t work as part of a poem; and the cucumber would have lent a sharp surrealist touch. But no.

This one appears in the latest collection, The Complete Electric Artisan.

WAITING ON WESTERN ROAD

At 5pm the buildings shake their people loose:

the japanese canal with its painted-on lily pads

is an enamelled trackway,

the air is as sultry as a dark peony whose time has come

and I’m outside the 24/7 convenience store

sharp grit in the turnstile of commerce.

The concrete and its small thrust stage

these littered people, spreading –

they are drawn to the urban pocket park

growing its metal lamp-posts,

their bark-chip playground a citadel

with its towers and plastic slides.

Ice-cream charms are spangling the planet

with rusted atonal clangs –

and elephantine, a delivery van

goes nosing the tarmacked streets

a liner at the dock:

petrol in the freighted atmosphere,

a curtain-wall of windows

from the clamorous 19th century

with arterial plumbing clung to its sides

like tied mountaineers, but frozen.

 

PREVIOUS COLLECTIONS:

I’m published mostly by Shoestring Press, and you can find their site at http://www.shoestringpress.co.uk. 

sv jacket imageEverything apart from Newborough County (out of print) should be available on Amazon, although I recommend trying the publishers’ site or your local indie bookshop first. SV featured in the Forward Poetry awards for 2002, and helped me to define a style where I felt confident as a poet. You’ll know how important that is!

Newborough County  (Shoestring, 2001)

Secret Villages  (Flambard Press, 2001)

Borderville  (Shoestring, 2011)

Candleshoe  (Shoestring, 2014)

The Complete Electric Artisan (Shoestring, 2017).