Being interviewed by the RLF on poetry and the writer’s life.

‘After a while most of us find we’re doing the same stuff; I tried new things.’


What has it been like being a poet and publisher the past couple of decades? These are some of the things I talk about in this interview with poet, Geoff Hattersley, for the Royal Literary Fund.

Listen to the whole podcast.



Dowson’s Cynara poem – a microlecture.

Another microlecture, this time on Ernest Dowson’s “Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae”.

“Paradise”, a poem for National Poetry Day. #nationalpoetryday #poems #poets #poetry


Paradise is various and has no ghosts;
in it there is nothing to remember.

Only children can live there, unknowing,
part-time, between ordinary terrors.

Perhaps it is one great garden, rampant
with green, with fruit that force themselves

through blossom that’s still on the branch.
There must be water – a stream, a beck, a river.

It could be a street, the tap of a raindrop
releasing the spirit of warm paving stone,

the angle of shadow across bright red brick,
the smell of a warm car parked in a market place.

Fruit and flower still force themselves in,
through cracks in brick and kerbstone,

in guttering and old ledges, high up.
The animals, too, they walk, fly and crawl

as if they had never been away, flies
in the kitchen, black clouds of starlings

that turn between buildings, cat in the hedge,
woodlouse and spider in corners overlooked.

All built flimsy on earth, its deep miles
of rock and lava, its delicate blue membrane of air

all of a piece as we hurtle as debris away
from the lost beginning of the universe.

To be there would be to remember nothing,
to walk in the weaponless fields

before the clock had started. Now it’s only
sensed – in the movement of limbs into water,

in the whirr of a sparrow’s wings, perhaps,
or a sudden scent of dogrose, or something that

slowly develops, like the face of a friend
to a patient doused in amnesia, after a crash.

For someone it’s happening now, for the first time;
like that boy and his dog who tumble and run

down a sloping field of wheat, leaving dark trails
the wind cannot smooth away as evening come on

and motorway drivers flick on their lights,
eager for static destinations –

all of them moving through the in-between hours
when the glancing traveller catches

figures on forecourts like golden statues.
And when the boy who has cake for the asking

becomes the man who must struggle for his bread
he’ll think he lived in Eden once or twice

in a time when he could roam between stream and street
and everything lay before him like a sloping field of wheat.


Michael Blackburn. Published in The Ascending Boy, Flambard Press, 1999.

Albion Days: “a landscape of language disturbed, it yields close and intimate scents”.

My latest poetry title, Albion Days, is now available on Amazon:

Albion Days-small

Michael Blackburn’s Albion Days activates a mannered 19th-century prose work by arranging it in parts. Like a landscape of language disturbed, it yields close and intimate scents – She was/frankness /itself/her bees and/her flowers/the/farmyard. Not far from Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman”, is it? – with her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls. Mary Russell Mitford, meet Edie Sedgwick. – Michael Coffey

A recreation of an Old England that endures but is simultaneously always on the verge of disappearing.

An unusual, large format book (120 pages):

Albion Days1

One for your collection, from Amazon: £6.99.

Wasting Time on the Internet with Kenneth Goldsmith #kennethgoldsmith

I used to wake up at eight pm
I’ve slept thirty six hours straight before
I wake up I turn on the news
and it was Sunday and I was like
what the fuck this is fucking crazy
what the hell happened to Saturday
and I go downstairs and I’m like
hey dad is this Sunday and he goes
no shit it’s fucking Sunday
and I’m like wait and you didn’t
wake me up and he goes I thought
you were gonna get up by yourself
and I’m like oh fuck and I’ve just slept
thirty six hours