Help support Southcart Books

Recently my local bookshop Southcart Books have come close to closing due to no fault of their own, after a successful online petition the shop has been granted a short reprieve. Here’s the latest news from owner Scott Carter…

we have managed to secure a short reprieve from our landlords if we can hit financial targets they have set us ( better than being kicked out friday ) , what that means in real time is that over the next 6 weeks we have got to sell a mighty amount of books(good job we have 1000s in stock) , so please think of us for your book buying needs either in the shop itself or via our online buying platform , please visit our eBay store below , this is a slight weight off our shoulders but now the real hard work begins

or you can kindly donate directly via this link

Sign and share the petition to save the shop and show your support by clicking here

I would like to add myself that Southcart is a huge supporter of the arts in my home town, hosting free poetry and authors events. I’ve launched books at the shop as have others and I can honestly say that without the shop the town and the artistic community they support will lose out. Please help if you can.


Bullet Verse an interview with Matt Humphries

Matt and Bullet Verse

Walsall poet Matt Humphries is set to release his new collection of poetry “Bullet Verse” on Saturday 24th February at Southcart books. The event is part of a triple book launch including my own book and one from poet and author Paul Morris, so with that in mind I thought it might be fun to sit down with Matt and get some more details about what we can expect from his new book and more.

Q. Tell me about your new book, how did you come up with the title and concept?

Well the title was given me by another poet (Ian Davis) who when I asked him to describe my poetry said “It’s short and punchy,” he then said he thought “Bullet Verse” was a good title. I agreed and absolutely love the thinking behind the books name.
My concept was that I had written a book previously but rushed it and as a result wasn’t proud of it. I am extremely proud of Bullet Verse. I have a theme of trying to provoke thought throughout, I’m no Mike Skinner but I believe some of my work captures an experience a lot of readers won’t have lived. If I can make one reader think then Bullet Verse will have been a success.


Q. What can readers expect to find inside your collection?

Most people who know me will say I’m friendly enough but not very confident, my poetry reflects this in a lot of respects. You will find attempts at humour, social commentary, travel and adventures, along with one of my life long passions mental health. Having been through the mental health system as a patient I found myself sitting on the other side of the table while I was working for Mind as a Recovery Worker. I truly believe to quote Eleanor Longdon “That recovery is not only possible, but it is inevitable”. In many respects mental health has been my life’s work.
For the reasons listed above my poetry is often the odd one out. I’m not sure if I write this way deliberately but it’s how it turns out. It’s a reflection of self with a theme of hope running through. Least I hope that’s what it is.

Q. If you had to pick a favourite piece from the book, what would you choose and why?

Can I choose two!! My most successful poem is “Walls,” which took me to the glitzy Great Western Hotel in Peterborough to perform in the final of the Poetry Rivals competition. I didn’t win but it was an amazing experience.

We build walls, we build walls,
We build walls so high
That they nearly reach the sky
When all we really need to do is reach out.

The second one is the Reception which is about a wedding reception, not my own I might add. I wrote it straight off as a bit of a laugh but whenever I read it people seem to like it.

Brothers and sisters conspired to get wasted
Teenage couples planned to get naked
G&T and lager washed down with pork pie.

Q. Can you give readers a glimpse inside your head of your writing process, how do you put your poems together, what inspires you to write and how long does it take you to put a typical poem together?

I think that writers are insecure in lots of ways, I’m no different to that despite my bombastic character. I am writing all the time, on the bus, in the office, in the shower I’ll be thinking of poems, all the time, for me it’s a constant process. Without trying to sound dramatic, in a lot of respects writing was my saviour, since my mom parked on Bath University when I was eight I had am ambition to write. The only lessons I tried in at school were Cooking and English. If I haven’t written anything for longer than two days I feel lost so I’ll just write anything.
I don’t really have a set process, because I’ve always got a lot going on in my head and I work in the community I find inspiration everywhere. I can meet someone with a nice turn of phrase and they might spark an idea for a poem. I’ve always had a burning anger at injustice so will often write about events in wider society. I read but not enough, and certainly not enough poetry. A lot of my reading material is set in youth sub cultures but I find I get so many ideas from this reading matter.
The time it takes for me to put a poem together varies, sometimes they will almost write themselves and other times they will develop over a course of time. I’m still revisiting two or three poems that nobody has seen or heard but I don’t think they are right yet. I admire poets who can produce really polished, thought-provoking work, I aspire to it but I’m not that poet. I’m more get an idea, jot it down, quick edit then post it somewhere.

Q. After the launch what are your next creative plans?

I am currently in the process of writing my first novel set in the week of the 1990 World Cup semi-final. It’s had a lot of incarnations since I first started it in 2010 but I’m working with a Developmental Editor on this version and obviously I’m a very different writer in 2018 to the one I was in 2010.
I’ll be hoping to attend a few more open mics although reading my work petrifies me and I’ll be supporting Walsall Poetry Society in any way I can along with Southcart Books and I’ll probably be posting on Facebook. I would also like to develop my website further and reach a wider audience. In addition I enter quite a lot of competitions, no wonder my wife says I don’t pay her enough attention!!

Q. Where can folks find you online?

You can find my poetry on the book of face here

Or on my WordPress website Extra Pages here

STOP THE PRESS – As I was preparing this post Matt has told me his book is has reached the final of the Words Matter Publishing book writing contest!

Come back next week for a chat with Paul Morris about his new book.


Postcode Lottery

We don’t have much choice on where we’re bought up,
We’re forged by bricks, mortar, schools and pubs.
It’s a real postcode lottery,
And it was WS1 that raised and nurtured me.
WS1, just two letters and a number,
What it stood for I often wondered.
I found out it was supposed to be for Walsall South,
Or what a smeghole, the jury’s still out.

WS1 it’s where I learned to ride a bike,
Where I learned to fight kids I didn’t like.
Where I learned how to wag from school,
Where I learned how to play the fool.
It’s where I first fell in love… with Doctor Who
It’s where I first drank cider and also spewed
It’s where I first broke my arm , my nose and my toe
It’s where I first realised I hated Black Forest Gateaux.

Now I must quickly interrupt this poem to point out that although it seems trivial to hate Black Forest Gateaux it was the Seventies there was a lot of it about. Vienetta my saviour was many years away.

Then we moved away to WS5,
The suburbs, where folk seem more dead than alive.
It was a place to escape too if you could afford the cost,
It was a place where I felt completely lost.
The streets were litter free, birds sang,
To me it was like living in a foreign land.
A land of sunshine and blue skies,
A land which was really a graveyard where pensioners came to die.

So eventually I left there and moved back to WS1
Back to where it had all begun.
I gradually lost my hair so I grew a beard,
I had a daughter , every day she tells me I’m weird.
I flick the V’s when I walk past my old school
I started writing poetry – so I still play the fool.
I returned as they say to the scene of the crime
And I’ll try not to make the same mistakes this time.

Though I make no promises.


The Diverse Verse 3 poetry anthology is now open for submissions

My last successful poetry anthology, Diverse Verse 2.


Diverse Verse 3 the poetry book from Walsall with an international reach is ready to accept submissions.

Here’s how you can get involved and see your poem in print

All you need to do to be involved is to email me a poem to the email address below and it will be considered for the book based on the following rules. Please note entry is free.

  1. All poems must be the authors own work, please don’t submit something that isn’t yours.
  2. Poems are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world.
  3. Please submit no more than one poem.
  4. A submitted poem must be in arial font in a format free word document. If you are unable to do such then just paste your poem into the body of your email.
  5. Poems on any subject and theme are welcome, however sexually explicit poetry and poems with extreme bad language will not be considered.
  6. Poems should be no longer than 400 words approx.
  7. Previously published poems can be submitted as long as the writer holds the copyright.
  8. When submitting poems please include your full name for inclusion in the book’s contents, an alias is acceptable.
  9. Email your poems to
  10. The book will be published via Lulu the online publishers.
  11. Closing date for submissions is 31st December 2017.
  12. Anyone who is in the book will be notified after submissions close.
  13. Poems that do not conform to the guidelines will be rejected automatically.
  14. The copyright of any poem selected remains with the author.

I hope to have the book out in 2018 by the spring at the latest, money raised from sales of the collection will go to Cancer research UK.

Diverse Verse 1 in the press

The launch of Diverse Verse 2.

Buy a copy of Diverse Verse 1 by clicking here

Buy a copy of Diverse Verse 2 by clicking here.


Books are my Bag

When I was a child there was a way
To make my little face light up.
That was simply to let me enjoy
Reading one of my favourite books.
From toddler to balding parent
From big books to small.
I’d while away any spare time
Trying to read them all.
Sadly as I got older I became fickle,
My love of print began to dwindle.
I fancied a new cheap thrill,
So I began an affair with a Kindle.
She was willing I have to say
We’d be at it every night.
My eager finger tracing her slim lines,
As we frolicked in her dim electric light.
But flings like this never last,
I longed for something finer in my hands.
My forgiving books welcomed me back
I knew they would understand.
They didn’t care I’d been unfaithful,
That for years I’d not given them a look.
I swore we would never part again,
As I was reunited with my books.
So from that day forward,
Though I don’t really like to brag.
I’m doing a book a day or more,
At last books again are my bag.

Support your local independent bookshop, I’m supporting Southcart Books.

Happy Black Country Day


Happy Black Country Day, and what better way than to celebrate than with a poem about my home town of Walsall which is a proud part of this great region.


My Roots are Showing

Air cushioned souls
descends a cobbled hill.
Worn stones with tarmac patches
wind past a church that
casts a shadow
over a town built before it,
But now living in it.

A town built on
lime and leather,
saddles and soot,
an arboretum and an art gallery,
Highgate mild and pork scratchings.
Foundations built to last.

A town where we’re not scared
to roll up our denim sleeves
to show our tattooed hearts.
A town I joyfully bounce through
pen in one hand, pasty in another
trying to capture its soul

Diverse Verse 2 sells out again at Southcart Books

It seems I just can’t print copies of Diverse Verse 2 fast enough because as soon as I get them to Southcart Books they’re sold out and I have to order some more. I shouldn’t complain though as that’s more money plus what will be made this month in digital sales that can be donated to Cancer Research UK.

Part of this success story is due to Southcart itself, this is a shop that supports local authors, writers, musicians, photograhers and more. They have a local author table and shelves full of great works by talented folk from Walsall and beyond plus they hold a regular open mic. ( Last Saturday of the month but the next one’s on the 1st July.)

If you’re a local author, poet etc with a book or CD out then you can’t go wrong getting in touch with Scott and Amy who run the shop ( and see what they can do for you. Even better why not pop along with your books to the next open mic and give everyone a taste of your work. You’ll be glad you did.

Diverse Verse 2 is launched and ready to buy.

I open the event with a reading of one of my poems in the book.

Yesterday the poetry book I’ve compiled for charity “Diverse Verse 2” was launched at Southcart Books in Walsall, and I’m pleased to say the event was a roaring success.

20 poets including myself turned up to read and with the audience that came to support the launch and enjoy the great poems at times it was hard to move. The book’s sales will support Cancer Research UK and yesterday we raised £115 and sold every single copy I’d had printed.

Here’s some photos from the event and after them I’ll let you know where the book can be bought from.

Paul Elwell reads his poem “When I Was.”

Carole Howard reads “Lesson from a Tree.”

Rick Sanders with impeccable comic timing reads us poems on snooker and Goldilocks.

Rick Sanders also wrote a review of the event on his blog which you can read by clicking this link.

Ian Henery reads to us about Walsall in the Civil War

Nina Lewis reads “Tidal mark.”

Al Lane tells us of the horrors of the morning after the work Christmas party.

Interestingly I first came across Al’s work online, click this link to go read his blog.

Scarlett Ward reads “Wordless”

Janet Jenkins reads “Umbrella Time”

Samatee tell us about the very last Dodo

Of course there were more readers and plenty more photos all available on Southcart Books page here.

These poems come courtesy of Elaine Christie and Scott Carter

Speaking of Southcart Books I will be having some more copies printed soon and delivered to the shop, keep an eye on their Facebook page if you are local and want to reserve one. Price will be £8.

Or if you can’t make it to the shop copies are now available to buy online, click this link here to take you to Lulu Publishing.

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported this book, all who sent in poems, Southcart Books for allowing me to use their open mic as a launch, everyone who read or came to listen at the launch and everyone who shared the book’s details via social media and more. Now to get working on my next book and who knows maybe Diverse Verse 3 soon?

Diverse Verse 2 cover reveal

So Diverse Verse 2 the poetry collection for charity I’ve been working on is now out and available to buy.

It will firstly be available at Southcart Books from today onwards towards the official launch this Saturday,then online for everyone who can’t make it to the shop.

Pictures taken by Scott Carter.

Diverse Verse 2 is ready for launch

Late last year I launched a call for poets for a poetry anthology for charity entitled “Diverse Verse 2.” I’m pleased to say the book is at the printers and we have a launch date.

On the 27th May as part of Southcart Book’s open mic “Diverse Verse 2” will be launched. The official Facebook event is here if you are interested, it should be a great day with lots of superb poets reading and hopefully I’ll sell a few books for charity.