Monday, August 31, 2015

Podcast: Reuben Woolley

Poet Reuben Woolley talks about his writing and why his ambition is to close down his popular online magazine I am not a silent poet –

He reads a selection of poems and invites listeners to write a poem on the subject of abuse. Some of the poems feature strong language and graphic imagery which, while suitable for the hard-hitting subject matter, may not be suitable for all audiences.

Here's another poem by Reuben:

This episode also features poems by myself and Bel Blue written in response to Fran Smith's prompt on trees. My poem is based on the photo Country Doctor by W. Eugene Smith which you can view here. There are no trees in the picture but there are in the poem.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Show: 23.07.08 with Clare Connolly and Melt-Banana plus Nick Stibbs on Walt Whitman

This show from 2008 is a real mixed bag with live music from singer-song writer Clare Connolly and an interview with Yako from legendary Japanese hardcore punk band Melt-Banana. You can read a more recent interview with the band here. Nick Stibbs explores the life and work of Walt Whitman and there's plenty more music and spoken word besides.

Joe Arroyo - Rebellion 
The Bleechers - Check him out
John Guy - Wells next-the-sea
Moog Cookbook - Novacaine For The Soul
Mr Hopkinson’s Computer - Fools Gold
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Development
The 3 Amigos - Supersonic
Toma - Forever Flight Of The Friend
Luke Van Egmond - Moments of Colour
Melt-Banana - Free The Bee
Aidan Smith - Murder Ballad
Scott Walker - Jackie
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Canyons of Your Mind
Andre Mangeot - Cloud Burst
The Conservatives - Baby
Magic Phil - Sex, Drugs and Uncle Frank
The Yellow Magic Orchestra - Firecracker
The Man From Uranus - Plastics

Friday, July 31, 2015

Podcast: Fran Smith

Fran Smith joins me to talk about how she discovered poetry. She reads some of her poems and challenges us to write poems about trees. There are also sonnets which we both wrote in response to Jonathan Edwards' prompts in the last podcast.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Podcast: Jonathan Edwards

Winner of the 2014 Costa Poetry Award Jonathan Edwards joins me in conversation and reads from his collection My Family and Other Superheroes. He also sets two writing prompts:

1) A sonnet with a twist – See the poem below for inspiration.
2) Observe people, places and animals. Use your pen as a camera and write a poem from your observations. This technique produced many of the poems in Jonathan's collection which you can buy here.

Share your poems in the comments below or email


You know the sort: they borrow each other’s t-shirts,
wear each other’s sweat under their armpits.
In the pub, you swear you hear one’s voice and turn
to find the other chatting up your girl,
or else you catch one, curling up his lip,
as if he’s trying on his brother’s smile,
or you go to the bar and they both show up.
One has a knackered Transit, the other jump leads.
They’ve one gym membership and their own bodies,
tell the punch lines to each other’s jokes
and if you’re fool enough to bother one,
you’ll find yourself outside with both of them.
You know the sort: the elder has a child
who’s got her mother’s mouth, her uncle’s eyes.

Jonathan Edwards

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Podcast: Mab Jones

On this edition I am joined by Mab Jones who shares some of her poems and talks about her recent visit to Japan to learn the Japanese art of rakugo – story telling. She would also like to hear your poems on the theme of Japan. They could be about anything related to Japan or poems in a Japanese form about anything at all. Haiku are easy to go for or try one of these. You could even write in Japanese.
Post your poems in the comments or email
You can also hear the poem I wrote in response to Will Ford's prompt on the last podcast.

Here's another of Mab's poems you can buy her book Poor Queen here.

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll

Let curiosity be your guide.
Let the dark that dwells inside
Dare here. Let go of fear
As babies do their mother’s hand.
And at your feet: a doorway, now.
A smiling mouth. Step in. Slide down. 
Let yourself be swallowed whole.
Inside, all your life, you’ve yearned:
Eat me. Drink me. Let possibility
Open wide, consume the you
You thought you knew. Sink deeper.
Fall. Let go of all and, like that ancient
Apple, land. Rise up, then. Stand.
Your naked flesh on newborn feet -
Tentative. Teetering. Testing
Soft soles on an old world’s teeth.
Your eyes, unpeeled. Your heart, a seed.
Prepared for an adventure, here,

That’s furiouser and furiouser.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Poem: Sandstorm by Fran Smith

Fran Smith has written the following poem in response to Julie Prichard's prompt — a grain of sand. Fran is a regular at poetry events in Newport and Cardiff and it's great to have this wonderful contribution. I hope the prompts on these podcasts inspire many more original poems from listeners. You can hear my response to Julie's prompt on the most recent podcast with Will Ford who also has a prompt for you to try.

Sand Storm

Insignificant like grains of sand, molecules of
Shells crushed; a life living once, but now
Ground down to ground catching glimmers of
Sun rays mirroring unity with laser light
Significant for a moment, shining as a star in
Limelight; light moves on, and on and on into
Desert wilderness; deserted in ordered chaos
Blowing up storms of drought causing flesh to
Burn wretched and shrivel to flakes of dust to
Dust to dust: Lost in myriads of desert sand,
Deserted again.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Podcast: Will Ford

Cardiff writer Will Ford talks about his writing, performances and publications and offers advice to other writers. He also offers a writing prompt "There’s something flickering in the corner of my eye and I don’t know whether I should look at it..."
Do share your poems in the comments below or at
Photo by: Yvette Robertshaw Photography

Here's an extract of Will's long poem The Coward which he discusses during the podcast.

The candle on the wooden table
Casts a shadow that moves in the breeze
That steals in between the planks of this hut
In my head I sink down to my knees
Clasping my hands in a desperate prayer
The blood in my veins starts to freeze
In my head I see myself
Thrashing around on the floor
A stray bullet rips at my left side
My guts open up like a door
My insides all outside
Not even the pride
Of dying a hero in war
But what's so heroic about being dead?
Every man one day must die
But not every man will use his last breath
As the fuel to ask himself why
A coward will lie forever condemned
Not just till the day that he dies

To die in battle is to die with honour
So they told us in basic training
Even if just one step is taken
And you slip in the mud that is raining
When the shell impact turns you into meat
There'll be no time for complaining
When shellfire turns you into a hero
And your remains are collected and binned
You'll be remembered for your sacrifice
And the cheerful way that you grinned
But I asked myself in my coward's crater
Where will your medal be pinned?