I started creating lots of poems to support and illustrate the "Enflame Newcastle" and "Enchant Newcastle" series I was writing on "technoglossy / lingwiz(ar)dry" – "the language of magic and the magic of language" – and have carried on from there. Here's a selection from my poetry portfolio, organized into categories.
My first foray into poetry performance was at the North East Voices Poetry Slam held in Northumbria University Library in November 2009, which I really enjoyed, despite my trepidation. (Having been dumped by FaceBook a couple of days prior, standing to recite was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but the atmosphere was so supportive, it spurred me on.)
When I moved back to Swansea in 2012, I started attending "Poets in the Bookshop" at Tŷ Llên, the Dylan Thomas Centre. I also started Creative Writing and Psychotherapy Practitioner classes with the Department of Adult and Continuing Education (DACE) at Swansea University. I graduated in 2014 with a Certificate of Higher Education (Distinction) in Creative Writing / Psychotherapy.
I would like very much to thank my excellent mentors, Andrew Hubbard, and Dr Catriona Ryan (on the writing side), and Ms Dianne Godden and Ms Viv Kelly (on the psychotherapy side). Both of these aspects inform the two threads of my creative work and my ongoing personal development to a great extent.
Once I had written and really "worked up" a substantial number of poems, I started to attend the many "open-mic" poetry events that happen all over Swansea (these include "Talisman", "Mad as Birds" and "Howl" – thanks so much to Rebecca Lowe, Natalie Ann Holborow, and Iqbal Malik, the organisers, for their unstinting encouragement and support).
Having honed the poems through performance, and created plenty of new ones, they started appearing in the South Wales Evening Post. I've had 2 poems published in "The Seventh Quarry Poetry" (Issue 32 Summer/Autumn 2020), edited by Peter Thabit Jones, with several more lined up in 2021, I am promised – space permitting – although the competition for column-inches is unbelievable!
In Sandalle’s International “Five ’n’ Ten" Play Writing Competition (2014) I was Runner-up with several submissions in the Five-minute Monologue division. In 2016 I reached the semi-final of the Swansea Poetry Slam at Cinema and Co. In the 12th Welsh Poetry Competition (International English Language Poetry Contest, 2018), I gained a Special Mention for the poem presented here as 'Late Bloomer.' In the Creative Futures Literary Awards Competition (2018), I reached the Short-list (18 out of 500) for 'Chemistry Lessens' (a poem) and 'Chemistry A - Z: An Ultra-Modern Fairy-Tale' (a prose piece); and yes, the theme was 'Chemistry'!
I was a participant in the "New World, New Beginnings" poetry workshop as part of the Swansea University "Being Human Festival" in November 2020. I was invited to perform work I had written, and this was recorded and broadcast; two poems have been published in the resulting collection, edited by Owen Sheers, Professor of Creativity at Swansea, who led the workshop alongside Eric Ngalle Charles.
Chris Norris, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University, expert in English Literature and Literary Theory, and author of many volumes of philosophical poetry has described my poetry as "... very fine - formally spot-on, vividly imagined and intellectually as well as intuitively agile ... widely ... rang[ing] and with a light touch where needed."