Unfortunately, I missed National Poetry Day through an outbreak of something like flu that my sickly 2nd years passed on to me. But here is my contribution belatedly. This year's theme was Heroes & Heroines and I dug out a poem I wrote in a workshop with the fabulous Caribbean poet, Jean Binta Breeze. She invited us to write a letter to someone famous that we admired. My subject was the late Rosa Parks, Civil Rights protester from the 60s, a woman of considerable courage and dignity. This poem about the Montgomery Bus Boycott also sits well with Black History Month - which I'm not too late for, after all.
So tell me, Rosa
what were the bus journeys like
after that one? After the man at the station
snapping your picture with his headlamp camera
and the man stubbing your prints into dirty stains,
pulling your fingers like you didn’t own your hand,
- after the jostling and mutters, all eyes watching,
I mean long after the pitched battles -
when you shifted the weight
of a day’s long hours
into the padded seat by the window,
were your bags loaded full of history,
or did you put on ordinariness
like a buttoned-up coat,
lean back against the thrust of brakes,
sitting in a world of your own
only a little straighter?
Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.
Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:
My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
- Leicester, East Midlands
- As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring.