[This is a different version of the first chapter of the book – currently up on the Galley Beggar website.] The story of my great-great-great grandfather’s life is the best true story I know. It has everything – a strong, handsome, charismatic, tragic lead man (William Litt). It involves crime, disloyalty, poetry, love. It’s a […]
I heard about getting in the Carcanet New Poetries 7 anthology quite a few months ago, but wasn’t allowed to say anything publicly. Not until it went up on their blog, which happened today (16th Feb 2018). I haven’t published many (hardly any) poems. I hope that will change, after this. You can read […]
When I was looking for a publisher for my non-fiction book, Wrestliana, I put together this poster. It’s based on the posters that Cumberland & Westmoreland wrestling matches used to be advertised with in the early 1800s. That’s when my great-great-grandfather William Litt was doing his best wrestling. More about him next time. I did […]
I’ve done quite a bit of lyric writing for the composer Emily Hall. Click on her name for a previous blog about our collaborations. Emily has now issued the three main song cycles we’ve done as very beautifully designed and printed scores. A recording of Life Cycle, made by Mara Carlyle, Oliver Coates and John […]
There’s a write up of the event here.
2017 saw the first performances of The Itch-Witch, an opera for children of around nine years old – to be rehearsed and performed by them. Emily Hall wrote the music. It was a Snappy Opera commission from Mahogany Opera Group. I wrote a lot more lyrics than were used. This one tells the origin […]
Earlier this year I wrote a short article for the British Library website about John Donne. It’s intended for ‘A’ Level students, but I said some things I wanted to say about the moment by moment nature of Donne’s poetry. It’s amazing but weirder and weirder the closer you look at it. https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/a-close-reading-of-donnes-song-go-and-catch-a-falling-star
I watch a lot of chess. (I also watch skateboarding and, more recently, surfing.) I mean on YouTube mostly, though sometimes live. I’m not a good chess player, and although I’ve learned something about openings, tactics, strategy and endgames, I’m still a patzer. (Chess word for rubbish player.) I’m not sure exactly what it is […]
I have been taking this blogging business too seriously; trying to come up with finished statements, rather than put something out. I doubt I’ll be able to change, but here goes. It’s usually easier for any generation to acknowledge the qualities of the generation above the one above them – not the mothers, the grandmothers. And […]
Around the time of the launch of Mutants: Selected Essays, I did an interview with Caroline Edwards of Birkbeck about the Future of Fiction. It’s here. In podcast form. Caroline asked some difficult stuff, and I said more than I meant to say.