The Processes of Making a Poem – an interview about the Truth Teller’s Project

Truth Tellers (see more here) is still being exhibited until May 30th at The Exchange, King’s College London. Below is an interview with me talking about poem writing from a practice-based research perspective.

‘Truth Tellers: traumatic truth-making as art and politics’


So thrilled this 9-month in the making project is about to come to fruition in an exhibition running from April 25th to May 30th. Truth Tellers explores how sense was made of the collective trauma of the 2017 Manchester Arena attacks by developing new Art-IR analytical methods that combine creative practices and international relations methods to recover and explore the aesthetic codes of trauma, community and identity.

For more information about the project you can visit here:

‘A Crack of Light: Poems of commemoration, reconstruction and reconciliation from the Post-War series’ poets-in-residence.’

Image result for A crack of light poemsFor the past nine months or so I’ve been a poet-in-residence of the seminar series ‘Post-war: Commemoration, Reconstruction and Reconciliation’. It’s been an incredible experience embedded in the colonial archives at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford and you can hear a selection of the poem I’ve written here.

Geography Lessons: a new poem in an important anthology


Last summer Dr Sam Illingworth put out a call for poems on the theme of climate change to form a new anthology raising funds for the Environmental Justice Foundation, supporting refugees displaced by climate change.

I write a lot about climate change. It forms the backbone of the poems I’m writing at the moment which are about love and family and faith, yes, but can’t ignore the wildfires exhausting the vineyards outside their backdoor. I can’t ignore them so neither can the poems.

To have one’s writing actually do something about it, however, (albeit in a tiny, screaming-into-the-void kind of way) is something I’ve never experienced before. A friend once asked me why no one was writing poems that did something. I gave him a long, well-researched reply about a poem not intending but being. I still think that’s true. Poem’s don’t deliver slogans, they are worlds complete in and of themselves. Or should be. But I was wrong, too. A poem is a fully functioning world, yes — but it has glass walls and eyes that gesture towards our own world living outside it. A properly functioning poem has its textual world and another world strung though it like ribbon through a wool baby-jacket. In its mixing of the two… it can do something real. So I’m delighted to have a poem in this anthology and ask that if you can afford it, you consider buying a copy.

Copies are available here:

A New Poem in The Tangerine Magazine

DQ2uFxLWAAA6kDyThe Tangerine Magazine is a great magazine of new writing based in Belfast, where I went to university and probably one of my favourite places in the world.
Edited by Tara McEvoy and her team, the publication is interested in work that looks at the drunkenness of ‘things being various’. I’m not quite sure what that line, taken from Louis MacNeice’s ‘Snow’, means (and that’s a good thing) but I think about and feel it a lot.

So, I’m over-the-moon to have a poem in its pages this winter. You can buy a copy here, if you like. You should. It’s beautiful and packed with great writing.