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Yikes! Reeling at the moment….Apologies for too much empty cyberspace. Okay, cyber-corner. Of Kent.

And it continues. Only time to say hey here’s my day:

1) A labyrinth workshop with MA students! Can’t wait. In case you’ve forgotten about this walk I did a few months ago, go see. This time it’s an actual workshop which I’m fortunate enough to help lead: writing, walking, meditating. I long for the peace I know the few hours will bring, and the opening out. Long for it. Ends at 4 pm. Kid pick up — first M, then E — home by 5.30 pm.

2) THEN the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year gig. Now this promises to be a great night. Last year’s winner Vicky Wilson, Friend of Canterbury Festival Nick Hunt, and yours truly have combed the longlist to come up with the shortlist. The shortlist read. Music plays. I read, Vicky reads. We all enjoy listening to each other. Music plays. Winners announced! Photos taken! 

I had a wonderful time last year. If you fancy hearing some poetry — some good poetry — come along. If you fancy some good music — original music — come along. Fine, fine players and writers all. Believe me I know. I’ve read it and heard it.


Poetry & Music Evening

Thursday 9th October

8.00 pm at the Dominican Priory, Canterbury

(Bar available from 7.15/30 pm)

Tickets £5, available from
Festival Box Office 01227-378188
online :
or at the Door on the day from 7.00 pm.

Okay, since I’m not allowed to write here until I’ve posted me poems, predictably here I am again. Just to say that tomorrow night I’m off to Orange Street to see an event which promises to be good: poets from the anthology Circled Like a Target, guest poet Juha Virtanen, an open mic. Doors open at 5.30 pm.

Relieved to be going to hear work. Oh, and by the way, our lovely babysitter for the night is one of our favs: T, flute player, Oxford music student and ex-Langton (E’s school) head boy. Must remember to get some food in for them!

Oh and by the way: R in Rome. Had a text which mentioned mosquitoes and a tasty three-course meal. Even more relieved (justfied?!) in going out tomorrow night. 

If you can, come join. Talented folks.




CanterburyPoets in association with

SaveAs writers group

and Conversation Quarterly,

invite you to their second

poetry evening


Sunday September14th, 2008


Doors open at 17.30

and events start at 18.00


Reading new material

and poems from their collection

Circled Like a Target

Vicky Wilson

Frances Knight

Judith Diamond

Lyn White

& friends


the Guest Poet slot




Open Mic



and music from 8.00 – Late



For information on these poetry meetings


Yes, we had actually QUITE A LOT OF FUN today at Word on the Street — truly! From Ed who arrived with half a dozen friends at 10 am (having been up for three days, hmm…), to Alis, to Stewart, to Vicky, to Lyn, Arwen, Hannah, Richard, Luigi, Chris, Gary, Pat, Nancy…To Cassy at the council, to Daren at the library, to Whippersnapper: it was all very jolly, and despite the bone-chilling wind, there were some audiences, some laughs, and chins scratched over Beach Reads, the new anthology, etc. As everyone knows by now, parties are amongst my favourite things. Next in line are gatherings of any sort, even of near strangers, which is what this was.

There were loads of photos taken, some for the Gazette apparently, but John T is in there first, so I’m popping this one up for now. His caption is Camera never lies. Find this at once endearing and horrifying: the pasted-in stonework is hilarious, but the happy jowl is disturbing. Oh well! At least the hair is glossy (or is that my silver grey catching the light?!)

Word on the Street by John T

More photos of more participants promised from various quarters, so stay tuned….



Also discovered today that a short interview with me has appeared in:




In my heat of the moment rampage last post, I clean forgot to mention important stuff about Thursday:

1) M had a violin exam that morning. Who knows how it went! We were all a bit perplexed when she came back downstairs saying that the examiner had asked her to play D minor to the 5th. Apparently she paused, then said that she didn’t think she knew that one, she knew E minor to the 5th. Whereupon the examiner shuffled papers and asked her to play what she knew. Good for M for speaking up. But we wonder if he thought she was doing a different grade….Oh well. She played like a trooper anyway.

write here

2) Also spent last Thursday arranging WORD ON THE STREET, a Canterbury City Council and Kent Libraries event connected to the Laureateship. In celebration of the National Year of Reading, and the launch of the 2008 Write Here programme, we are holding open mic (and open air!) readings and performances on the steps of the library (the Beaney!) on the High Street Saturday 29 March, 10-4. There are three reading slots, 10 am, 12 pm, and 1 pm, and so far — hey — a great and varied line-up, FREE OF CHARGE.
10 am: yours truly, Alis Hawkins — and three super students

12 pm: Stewart Ross, Poet-of-the-Year Vicky Wilson, Lyn White — and two super students

1 pm: six members of Save As, a thriving local writing group…(hey guys, where are you on the web?!)

AND — Danny Rhodes says he’ll be lurking. Perhaps in true performance manner, he will have a little baton of work in his back pocket. Pick a slot Danny!

Word on the Street is the first of several ‘well-public’ things the Council and the Laureate (er, me) have arranged in the hopes of encouraging literary activities, and especially of consolidating what already exists in the region. And I have to say that putting this together has been nothing but pleasure: the response has been so positive, so willing. I’m particularly grateful to Alis Hawkins and Stewart Ross — I’ve never met Alis and only spoken to her once online, and she just said ‘yeah, alright’ — and Stewart Ross — known him for years, lives up the road, a busy man…he just said ‘sure’ as well. Ian Hocking too was all up for it…but is on his way back from a far-flung place. Thanks anyway Ian! And with a 20% student take up — hey, it’s pretty good!
It’s beginning to feel like there may actually be a writing community hereabouts…

Also on the day: drama and word games by Whippersnapper Theatre Company; Great Beach reads survey; details of a Call for Work (I love this: come one, come all!) for an eventual anthology; and notification of the website — currently holding…but I’m informed its life is imminent.


Phew. And just in case that isn’t enough Thursday for you, Word on the Street (arf arf) is that I’m supposed to be on BBC Radio Kent this afternoon at 2.30. Talking about it all. I think.

word on the street

but as you can see from the last post, I’m slightly at sixes and sevens. As they say.

Canterbury Festival logoAnyone who’s interested: I’m doing a FREE workshop for the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition on Tuesday night, 4 March.

Purpose: kickstarting and/or workshopping poems for the competition

Time: 7.30 pm

Venue: Dominican Priory, St Peters Lane, Canterbury CT1 2BP

Book through:
So come on down!

More details about the competition itself — which I’m judging along with Vicky Wilson (Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2007) — to follow.


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.