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.
My last successful poetry anthology, Diverse Verse 2.
UPDATE – THE SUBMISSION WINDOW IS NOW CLOSED
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.
- All poems must be the authors own work, please don’t submit something that isn’t yours.
- Poems are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world.
- Please submit no more than one poem.
- 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.
- Poems on any subject and theme are welcome, however sexually explicit poetry and poems with extreme bad language will not be considered.
- Poems should be no longer than 400 words approx.
- Previously published poems can be submitted as long as the writer holds the copyright.
- When submitting poems please include your full name for inclusion in the book’s contents, an alias is acceptable.
- Email your poems to Diverseverse@aol.co.uk
- The book will be published via Lulu the online publishers.
- Closing date for submissions is 31st December 2017.
- Anyone who is in the book will be notified after submissions close.
- Poems that do not conform to the guidelines will be rejected automatically.
- 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.
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, 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
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 (email@example.com) 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.
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?
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.
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.
Hold me tight as the wind blows,
As the leaves gather round our feet.
So you’ll think of me next Autumn,
When you’re walking down this street.
Hold me close as the clouds gather,
And raindrops begin to land.
So you’ll remember me next Autumn,
When you hold another’s hand.
Then let me go as the sky darkens,
Free me like an Autumn leaf.
No longer attached too what I loved,
Our time together sadly too brief.
I’m reprinting this poem not because it feels like Autumn here in the UK at the moment but because I’m proud to say I heard this week it’s taken first prize in a local poetry contest. The Friends of Merrions Wood chose this poem as a winner in their seasonal poetry contest and it should be in their next news letter, considering I used to play in that very wood when I was young I’m proud to have won,.
Catch me tomorrow at Southcart Books in Walsall as part of their great free event, Things that go bump in the night. I’ll be performing some spooky poems and there will be some great talks from Sage Paranormal.