Born in Frome in Somerset, and growing up on a hill just south of Bath, I went to secondary school in Bristol, and wrote poems and climbed trees instead of playing football. After falling off my bike a lot I studied Keats and Coleridge, the blues and psychedelia, the repeal of the Corn Laws, and William Turner. Then Aberystwyth University unwisely let me in to study Art and English. For a time I lived on on the Dyfi estuary in a green railway carriage with a dog called Biggles. In an attempt at adulthood I trained to teach, though continued writing.
My first teaching job was in Turkey, in a munitions factory in Kirrikale then in Ankara. I left in 1980 just in time to miss a coup d’etat but catch an attempted one in Spain. While this was happening I met my wife, a New Zealander, in a small town near Barcelona. She reads my poems to this day. We moved to the Bristol area and between us produced a Bristolian who achieved adulthood more convincingly than I did. On our allotment (heavy clay, hard work but fertile) we see foxes, goldfinches in the summer, and sometimes a sparrowhawk. All these creatures get into the poems along with the leeks and beans.
I published poems in magazines in the 80s and 90s but it wasn’t until I left teaching that poetry got the attention it needed. In the last three years or so I’ve published in Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Magma, Brittle Star, Raceme, South Bank Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, and Under the Radarand a poem has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. I was the winner of the international Bristol Poetry Prize 2018, and my collection The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead was published by The Blue Nib in March 2019.