Michael Marks Award

Very happy to hear Petrol, Cyan, Electric has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. Huge thanks to Peter and Ann Sansom and everyone at the Poetry Business for their work on the pamphlet.  Many congratulations to the other shortlisted poets, including my fellow Smith/Doorstop namesake Kim Moore, and to Pighog Press for their shortlisting in the Publishers’ Award. Winners will be announced at the British Library on November 19th, meanwhile you can find out more here.

Wordsworths GardenAs the award is jointly hosted by the Wordsworth Trust, I thought this would be a good excuse to share a view from Wordsworth’s garden taken when I read at Dove Cottage earlier in the year. No wonder he was so inspired by Nature.


Off The Shelf

Just returned from a visit to Sheffield for Off the Shelf, where I got to spend some time at the lovely Poetry Business HQ where Peter and Ann work so hard (surrounded by books on all sides!)  Good to read with fellow PB competition winners David Attwooll and Emma Danes alongside Simon Armitage. All that, and secondhand bookshops, vinyl record collectors, and stunning scenery.

Book PrizeBank Street Arts where Peter and Ann have their offices is hosting the Sheffield International Artists Book Prize so we were treated to an exhibition of some beautiful, quirky, imaginative little books. This is The Great Fire of Eydon by Isla Millar (UK Student Prize Winner). Find out more here.


Eclipse on Film


I’m currently working on a film to accompany Eclipse, so am deep in wonderful moon images and carrying my camera with me everywhere. Shame it’s so tricky to film the night sky. What I love about film making is suddenly being much more visually aware – noticing more than ever how light falls, making interesting shapes and shadows, creating the best effects.

And the way images like this NASA picture of the Earth and Moon remind us that we really are suspended in the darkness on this beautiful spinning planet. Amazing.


from Eclipse

Leaves fly like light debris
and a loud tarpaulin flaps quickly,
noise on the noise of the wind.

Fat clouds smoke across flat blue-black sky,
and quiet stars are replicas
in a painted ceiling.

I know those pin-prick holes
will be lost when I turn on the light,
but for now I am caught in the thrall of silver,

the vertigo of night sky lit
with hypnotic beams of violet and indigo
in white, whispers of madness and violence –

answerable rhythms that pull at my tides,
call to my hunger for a small heart cake,
a crust of bread.

All because the moon shows one side
of a chimney whiter than expected
as I stand, cold feet on wooden boards.

From Eclipse


image Michael S. Quinton, National Geographic 



Eclipse2Poetry and science meet in this short poem sequence that looks to the skies to explore the many ways we try to comprehend our vast, mysterious, universe… exploration, equations, imagination… science or superstition…

Informed by fascinating conversations with University of Sussex astronomers during my residency in the Physics and Astronomy Department, the sequence is infused with the mysteries of dark matter. Scientists say we see only 4% of the universe, the rest is dark matter, dark energy. But no-one’s sure exactly what that is.

This lyric sequence tells the story of one particular encounter, which in turn spins us back to ancient moon myths, mathematical equations, and characters across the centuries who looked to the skies, trying to find answers. From Galileo and Newton to today’s scientists working to solve the mystery of dark matter, Eclipse celebrates the curiosity we share when we look up at the night sky.

Winner in 2012/13 iOTA Shot competition.


from Petrol, Cyan, Electric


Clifftop, Birling Gap

The planet tilts on an axis
too true to see

as we stand, angled
together in an attitude

of upturned prayer. There
is something necessary

in the touch of your hand –
the dream of cellular dust, debris.

Elsewhere, stars collapse
and flare, burn into black holes.

from Petrol, Cyan, Electric



On Petrol, Cyan, Electric

This collection combines a conversational tone with passages of linguistic intensity to take on the big subjects: light, love, life. Domestic settings and the characters that populate them are particularly satisfying. I also enjoy the way the poems dabble or flirt with form and technique – couplets, half rhyme, the sonnet – before ultimately spinning on their heel and waltzing off in another direction. The poems asked me to accompany them and I went willingly.

– Simon Armitage

Winner in the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition 2012/13
Available from the Poetry Business here

Petrol Cyan Electric books


Petrol, Cyan, Electric

PCE titleCounting down to the publication of my new short collection, with the launch coming up in Grasmere on 18th May. Very exciting to be working with Peter Sansom and his lovely team at the Poetry Business on final preparations for the collection, which was chosen by Simon Armitage as one of the winners in the PB Book and Pamphlet competition. Congratulations to fellow winners Emma Danes, David Attwooll, and David Grubb with commendations for Ben Wilkinson and Steve Ely.

As the title suggests, there’s a touch of blue running through these poems, which have been inspired by things as diverse as electricity pylons, trawler fishing and Glenn Miller’s ‘In The Mood’.


Eclipse – Iota Shot Winner

003Eclipse, inspired by all things lunar and informed by conversations with Sussex scientists about the mysteries of Dark Matter, has been chosen as one of the winners in the iOTA Shot awards for short collections and will appear later this year.

Templar are a wonderful independent press based in the beautiful Derwent valley in Derbyshire. The annual Derwent poetry festival in November should be a date in everyone’s diary – find out more at

Congratulations to Sarah Roby and Kelley Swain on their winning short collections.