Showing posts from April, 2013


It’s Thursday morning. I’m at the Uni early, sending emails from a free computer to poets in Kentucky, Michigan, New York.
This black kid’s talking to a pink-skinned kid with spots, and twisting teenage angst. The former’s got a gold chain round his neck,
and a giant watch. He’s doing all the talking. “If you want it, man, you gotta work for it. I want it all: the house, the car, the swimming pool.”
It's thirty years since Thatcherism, and still they talk that crap. Nothing marks you out more clearly for a life of scrubbing round for pence.
I’ve got to get away from them. In the canteen, Deutschland’s sitting by himself, ipod wires dangling, a metal band like ants brawling in his earphones.
Then Jess comes, armed with Lucozade and Skittles, and Martyna, due in three months, sits and sighs. We all agree that we’re too tired for class.
Jess shows the sandwiches her mother made. They’re wrapped at least twice round in clingfilm. “My Mummy loves me,” she beams, carefully unwrapping.
Martyna dreamt she ga…


I’d think about it carefully. If you go to university you may never write a decent poem again – email from poet friend, March 2010.

I left university yesterday. I don’t know if I’ve left with a degree because my last exam was a bit of a disaster and I might have failed the module as a result. That particular lecturer chose to give the exam 50% of the credit toward our final grade, which is unfair but wholly indicative of the quiet, cowardly sadism of the man. And I messed it up. Well, I gave one good answer, but the second one was a complete car wreck. I hadn’t revised lyric poetry because you can only revise so much and I’d been thoroughly working over comic and tragic plays and the metaphysical poets. But although one question had to be about poetry, none of the questions allowed you to write about the metaphysical poets. Even now, when I don’t want to chew Dr. Kildare’s head off anymore, that strikes me as perverse, cruel and a deliberate trap for students. He knew everybody liked D…

An 80s Photo Gallery

"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting" - Milan Kundera.


                                                                                                     Maple Dewleaf
When I was at college at sixteen My favourite poet was Dryden ‘MacFlecknoe’ was rude Johnny wasn’t a prude Like that ‘Paradise Lost’ bloke, the blind one.
At eighteen I bought lots of records Bob Dylan was my superhero ‘Hard Rain’ was a bastard and that’s why it lasted Those Faber fucks couldn’t come near-o.
Back then all the libraries had books in Not playgrounds and tables for coffee I found Allen and Jack On a shelf at the back And the last flakes of normal fell off me.
My reading, though, took me down alleys That some of you good folk have questioned. I liked Ezra Pound Though his views were unsound If not crazy (and that’s why the Section).
When the internet came I met writers Who were working all over the planet Wild Bill, Church and Speer Weber, Baatz and Vermeer (Yes, I threw in a painter to scan it.)
Their stuff told me how to dump caution And be me with invention and guts Once I knew about…