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/

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Physics & Poetry in a Test-tube

Here's a thing that's weird and wonderful. In just under a fortnight, I'm doing a talk for the Leicester Physics Centre. Me - who was rubbish at science at school! Who thought it was all test-tubes and Bunsen burners, alarming chemicals and diagrams of electrical circuits. Who just didn't get it.

The talk is 'Physics and Poetry of the Northern Lights' and arises out of my book 'Firebridge to Skyshore' and related performances. I've been lucky enough to be involved in this really interesting collaboration with auroral scientists from the University of Leicester. And they've invited me to give this Public Lecture on Tuesday 30th November (see Events above).

And no-one can be more surprised than me to find myself talking on a regular basis about ions and electrons, explaining diagrams of magnetospheres and solar plasma, and beyond that, translating it all into metre and metaphor. I think of poetry as singing with words so my poem about solar wind is called 'Solar Arias'. In my talk I will be unravelling the science of the aurora borealis from a layperson's point of view. But I will also be taking the leap from aurora to story. For it was ancient legends and voices of the arctic that first drew me in.

I never guessed that my childhood love of stories about icy wildernesses would take me literally to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights but also imaginatively into the realms of outer space. 'If you could put your feet upon pure light/ Walk the trembling Roadway ...' this is where it would take you. I will be relating these extraordinary journeys, real and imagined, in my talk. And I look forward to the company I'll find along the way.

The talk is FREE so just drop in for 6.30. And make sure you wrap up well for some aurora-watching ...

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