Thursday, 19 October 2017

TS Eliot Prize shortlist

The shortlist for the 25th TS Eliot Prize has been announced, and it's heartening to see a book from Nine Arches Press, Jacqueline Saphra's excellent All My Mad Mothersin there.

Of the rest of the list, James Sheard's The Abandoned Settlements is the only one I've read so far – it's worth buying for the stunning title poem alone, and is another very worthy contender. Some really interesting choices on there – I look forward to reading more ahead of the award announcement.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Nature and Place Poetry Competition

The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2018, run by poetry magazine The Rialto, in partnership with the RSPB, BirdLife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, is open for entries.
The judge is Michael Longley, who will pick the winning five poems. 
Editor of The Rialto Michael Mackmin said: “We’re delighted Michael Longley accepted our invitation to judge the Nature and Place Poetry Competition this year, especially given the strong presence of nature and place themes in his own work which serves as an inspiration for many readers and writers of poetry.”
Now in its 5th year, the Nature and Place Poetry Competition has a first prize of £1,000, and second and third place prizes of £500 and a place on a creative writing course, plus two additional prizes for the two runners up of personal tours with naturalists and nature writers Mark Cocker and Nick Davies.

To find out everything you need to know about submitting your poems, go to
The closing date is midnight on 1 March 2018.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Which waders 2?

What's the wader in the foreground? I'll give you a clue – it's a species that causes beginner birders quite a lot of trouble, being very variable in appearance.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Which waders?

It's time for a birdy ID challenge or two. On September 22nd, Bird Watching Magazine staged a readers' day at Frampton Marsh RSPB, near Boston, Lincolnshire. The weather was fantastic, and because of the extremely high tide on The Wash, just on the far side of the sea bank, there were large numbers of waders (shorebirds, if you're American), present.

Here's a few on one of the scrapes just along from the car-park. The first person to correctly them will get a free copy of my last poetry collection, The Elephant Tests, which coincidentally contains a poem entitled At Frampton Marsh. And should that pique your interest, you can find out more about that book and about Nine Arches Press here.