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One of the first poetic influences that meant anything to me and played a part in my future development as a writer, was seeing a book called 'The Energy of Slaves' in a Bristol bookshop when I was a design student there in 1972. I was already aware of Leonard Cohen through his early songs, released towards the end of the 1960s, but was grateful to find an extra resource for his talent. He had been a published poet since 1955 and had a number of poetry books available. I bought them all, including the two novels. Reading Cohen's literature gave me the grounding I was looking for. I saw something modern in his poetry that was compelling. I also found him to be an interesting role model – and for a young man, starting out in life many miles from home I needed one – the Beatles and Betjeman had ceased to be enough. Leonard Cohen seemed instantly international and I realised that if I was going to write poetry, it had to reach out beyond the limiting shores of England. A few years earlier, in 1967, I had bought a copy of 'The Mersey Sound' – an anthology of three Liverpool poets containing the work of Roger McGough and others, but I found it too much of a novelty – neither did I want the deadpan English tradition either. A better book to have bought at the time would have been 'The New Poetry', a selection of more than twenty poets chosen by Alfred Alvarez. It contained the work of Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, all of whom I caught up with later. It also featured the wonderful Philip Larkin, Britain's last truly great poet and also Geoffrey Hill.

"if you are going to offer poetry, you have to offer yourself and your soul with it."

My next important influence was T. S. Eliot, and along with many others, he took me through the next stage of my literary education, the pursuit of which, had become my life. I spent the next seven years writing and studying poetry, but by the end of the decade I needed to make a better living, with more stable prospects. I returned to my original subject, art and design. Unfortunately for my budding writing career I was too successful in the world of visual arts, and was soon promoted to the position of creative director working in the field of advertising and marketing – an unusually gregarious role for me, who had previously tended towards being a recluse – but I was good, I was out there, I was locally famous in my field of work and although, apart from some copywriting, this role took me away from my lost, literary career, I still managed to find time for poetry and even music. By the nineties I was working as a freelance designer, which gave me much more time for my own work, and also better suited my natural disposition as a loner. By then I had written four books of poetry, plus two epic poems. Hardly any of this was presented for possible publication though, and I can never quite find an answer to the question why? It never quite seemed to be the plan. Most people, as now, were writing individual poems and trying to get them published. I was more interested in publishing my books in their entirety, and also the epic poems in full, which were all produced as individual experiences. It was in fact, a very artistic concept of presentation, rather than just bunches of collected poems. It was the music of me. Of course, there was no chance of my extended efforts seeing the light of day and they spent the passing years gathering dust and personal anguish in attic-bound boxes – never too far from my side. Or maybe the truth is that I, as a very private person, thought I could not live up to the challenge of becoming the embodiment of the 'emerging poet' these poems were written by. I had great confidence in my writing, but perhaps less so in myself – the glory days of being creative director had washed off, leaving some stains on the soul – and if you are going to offer poetry, you have to offer yourself and your soul with it.
During the nineties I continued to write, but I also became immersed in a museum project which took up much of my resources for the next twenty years – although for ten of those years, I did enter into a very successful phase of digital 3d Art, where I worked under the art name 'e-brink'. There is a web site displaying some of my work and you will find a link to this site at the bottom of this page.

"I decided the time was right to withdraw from everything else and start to present my work"

However, a few years ago the poetry urge came again, as it always had in the past, and with the same certainty and vigour. Because of this seemingly unstoppable force, I decided the time was right to withdraw from everything else and start to present my work to the public and I have been working towards that end for a few years now. In fact, in a very crowded and limiting field, I have managed to get some poems individually published, which is important – the endorsement of others is a wonderful thing. My main goal now is putting together a plan for my poetry in its entirety, which will involve the production of several new books. Meanwhile, I have published a short book of twenty-nine poems that was written, more or less, in the nineties. It is called 'Hope in the Heart of Hatred'. This book will act as a bridge between my earlier work and the new. I have also published an anthology of one hundred and two new poems called: 'Gain of Function'. See the books page.
Sometimes I think my life has been more about my writing than it has me, and therefore this web site page undoubtedly reflects that too – it is not so much about me as about my poems and my interest in poetry.

"Tell all the truth but tell it slant —"

Emily Dickinson – American Poet – 1830-1886


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