My poems have appeared in Bath Magg, The RialtoFinished CreaturesShearsman MagazineVolume PoetryInk Sweat & Tears, and Anthropocene Poetry. In 2022, with composer Christopher Cook, I won the Rosamond Prize.

My work has appeared in the anthology Angled by the Flood: Poems about the Sea, edited by Elsa Hammond; and featured in Osmosis Press‘s ‘new writing’ series.

I teach life-writing and qualitative research methods at Oxford University, I am an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Education and of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing.

A poem for Ben about snow

Bath Magg

Woman spreading arms in daytime

People gather outside a building
camouflaged with strings
of light;

someone takes a photograph of an open
window in daytime, and later someone else impresses
the print

into a wooden frame stained brown, decorated
with a thin gold trim like something ordinary
that decays

such as oranges in blue plastic crates when time
has had its effect like a bird caught in the middle of
rainy water.

The Rialto 95

Open your eyes forget your arms

The venue flares with living light, a silent rave
of crystal jelly, swarms of filmy limbs each trailing

strobes of chemical excitement, frantic
glow-tips spark between ecstatic colonies of pulsing

bells, and brittle stars detach their arms, sensitive
to blue-green light that shimmers like a riot

and in the deepest parts they wait, transfixed,
for the web-cloaked vampire squid, spinning out the moment and

the throng is poised until the drop
releases them, a single palpitating heartbeat thrums

and radiates until their wonderland is visible from space,
its chiffon limits fading into the milky sea.

Angled by the Flood (2021)

Beauty and despair on the rail replacement bus

The journey is a mural etched in hazy relief
on the outside of the windows, viscous
and not at all malleable. It reflects your fatigue
in a pinched face set as a stubborn witness
to insular interests. Snow, painted with a palette
knife, clings to stunted black branches; it preserves,
in pale twisted shapes, a fragile history of the wind’s habits
during the night. Streetlights bloom like peonies, petals
bursting with sleet that will harden into rain that will freeze
in deathly black patches. Road signs coalesce from the syrupy
darkness and their retroreflective surfaces untangle and release
the colour spectrum from the beam of our headlights and display
the light’s intimate form: of fern breath frozen to a pane
of glass; chromatographic crystals split along visceral planes.

Ink Sweat and Tears

Author’s Note

A poem found in Annie Dillard’s Mornings Like This.

I did not write a word of it. Other hands composed
the lines. Pawing through, they [held] and wave[ed]

aloft the element of broken text. I lifted them. Sometimes
I dropped the books themselves; and added original

intentions to a loose collection of torn and damaged
fragments. The baffling quality of spiritual knowledge

looks sober on the page. Consequently, I took
wild liberties, poetry’s oldest and most sincere aim.

Shearsman magazine 123 / 124