'Tickover Speed', a new commission from the Canal & River Trust, has just been published online as part of the Canal Laureate scheme.
Go to: https://waterlines.org.uk/blog/the-skitter-and-splash-of-the-scullers-oars-a-new-poem-commission/
Having 'outed' myself as a poet in the local boating community – with news of the National Poetry Competition shortlisting – I thought I'd put on a gig. Holy Cross Church stands on a raised mound just a few yards from the South Oxford Canal, with amazing views east, across the ridge-and-furrow of the old mediaeval field-system, to the ruined manor house at Hampton Gay. On Saturday July 28th the church played host to 'Love Songs at Lammas' – an evening of poetry and music performance – with Jo Hamilton from Xogara, the Owl Light Trio, Bruno Guastalla and Pete McPhail. Alan Buckley joined me onstage to provide the poetry. The weather was balmy, the church was packed to the rafters, and we raised over £800.00 for the church restoration fund.
On 28th March the winners of the 2017 National Poetry Competition were announced at a glitzy gathering at the Savile Club in Mayfair. 'AngelBat' (see Archive) was one of ten poems to be shortlisted from the approx 13,000 entries submitted.
Summarizing the judges' decision Pascale Petit wrote:
"What a pleasure it was to come across ‘AngelBat’ with its playfulness and surprise ending. It’s a poem that feels like it wrote itself, the language transparent and relaxed. There is the love of the parent for the child, the child for the parent, and a mischievous goddess’s love for the world and all in it. The tone is airy and celebratory – and the lines capture the exuberant energy of a baby, and of a parent energised and learning from a baby. As I read it I felt as if I too was being swung upside-down and dangled. I loved the way the game kept shifting unpredictably. Who is being swung and who is doing the swinging? Why is the baby so wise and grown-up? Why does the parent want to swap places? The answers could be weighty, but their treatment is light. It is hard to write happiness, but ‘AngelBat’ turns philosophical insights about our human condition into a hybrid bat-angel of wonder."
For details of the shortlisted poems and the competition winners go to: