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:

Visit the writers' development service I co-run at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

About Me

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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. In addition, I co-run The Writers' Shed, a service for writers, at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

Friday, 23 April 2010

Volcanic Spurts & Small Press Melts

What can I say? my hand is bandaged with the first twinges of RSI. Seriously - that's not hyperbole. This is because my desk is piled with towers of pre-mocks marking - my students are doing timed essays left, right and centre.

But SO much news to catch up on!

First, there was an amazing 4 days in Iceland at Easter - yes, land of the smoking ash! We hopped in between eruptions and it blew us away - a breathtaking wilderness of lava and glaciers, steaming geysers, walking through a continental rift, being regaled by Viking stories and another spectacular auroral show to boot. Catch the first instalment of my Iceland blog on:

And then I come home and hear that my publisher, Sam Smith, will be retiring from the small press scene. Original Plus is an example of how small presses on a shoestring budget nurture emerging poets that would never make it into print otherwise. All Sam's books are printed on his own computer and sent on to a low-cost press for binding. That press was run by another poet-editor, Martin Holroyd, who is now shutting up shop after many years service. Fair dos. And my book, Firebridge to Skyshore: A Northern Lights Journey, published only last May, will suddenly be looking for a new home. This is how it goes in the poetry world.

But while I'm musing over possibilities for re-launching my book, I want to dwell on the unique achievement of small presses like Original Plus and the special place of poet-editors like Sam and Martin. Here's what I wrote last year when my book took flight:

'My friend Rod Duncan was chatting about whether new breakthroughs in publishing – the digital download, print on demand, electronic 'books' – could mean more and more books appear in electronic form in the future. And would actual paper books, lovingly crafted as Sam's books are, become a niche market for those that can't resist the tangible object? When my own arrived, I sniffed it, listened to it, weighed it in my hand. And the pleasure of seeing the books yesterday fanned out on the table is beyond description. As good as Gloria's plum bread. '

Time to rest this dodgy wrist. Next weekend, I'll be in the Cotsworlds with my writers' group, Leicester Writers' Club, for our annual weekend away. Workshops, feasts and hopefully new writing when the ash clears ...

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