The Stay Up Your Own End Poetry Project and Competition

I’m very proud to be involved with a new local poetry project run by the talented Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists aka Steve Pottinger, Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse, here’s the details (supplied by PPP) on how you can get involved if you want to.

Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists have a new project. It’s a commission from Creative Black Country, called ‘Stay Up Your Own End’. If you’d like to join in we’re looking for poems about different areas of the Black Country (no don’t have to be from the Black Country to submit, but the poem does have to be based here). Here’s the information…

For the first of our ‘Stay Up Your Own End’ events, commissioned by Creative Black Country, Walsall poet Richard Archer has given this prompt to get you started on writing a poem about some aspect of life in Walsall borough.

“Impressions about a place can be formed from any contact, long or short. What is your take on Walsall? Good or bad? How has living in, discovering, or visiting Walsall had an impact on your outlook? What impression has Walsall made on you during these times of lockdown and isolation?

The UK has many impressions of Walsall, some good:

The Art Gallery
The beautiful Arboretum

some bad:

Walsall obesity crisis
Gang violence in Walsall

and some odd:

The Giant Walsall Sinkhole
The Walsall Anarchists Bomb Plot

What is your impression of our borough?”

Write your poem about Walsall, and email it to by midday on Sunday June 7th for the chance to win a £25 prize.

All poems will be posted on our Facebook page and read by poet Heather Wastie who will pick her winner.

Happy writing!

I Think I Need to Stop Watching the News?

The Nightly News has become my daily drug,
I mainline every headline
convulse as the stories hit me,
I just can’t tear my eyes away.
In front of me the world is twisting,
changing beyond recognition as
newsflashes, opinions, updates and more
smash in to my eager synapses.
Everything has become a soundbite
all repeated continuously while in the background
a surge of pandemonium swells.
I ride these waves of truth and rumour,
ride them as they rise and fall and
I fall hard with them,
brain on fire with all I’ve witnessed,
overdosing on information.


The Freevese Poetry Festival – A review

Yesterday Brownhills Community Centre opened their doors to host Walsall’s first poetry festival and after the end of a fantastically successful day I think it’s fair to say the area opened its heart to poetry.

In planning since October last year Freevese is the brainchild of Matt Humphries, Ian Davies and myself Richard Archer, our idea being to run a poetry event that would feature talented poets across the region coupled with the chance for local poets to share their work, all to an audience who might be new to poetry.

So what of the day itself? The festival opened with local comic poet Rik Sanders aka Willis the Poet who shared the stage with some of the areas funniest poets before launching in to a blisteringly hilarious comic set of his own. I think it was fair to say this was the funniest I have ever seen Rik and with the audience in tears of laughter Freeverse was off to a brilliant start.

Next up was the first of the festival’s open mic sessions, headlined by the fantastic Holly Daffurn whose raw emotional poetry shone with warmth and beauty, wowing the audience. The festival was always about allowing local poets to join in so it was great to follow Holly with a selection of the area’s talent all bringing their unique voices to the stage.

This was followed by Rob Francis and Paul McDonald and a selection of their pupils from the Department of English at Wolverhampton University. Rob and Paul read from their published works while their pupils entertained the audience with their poems and stories. It was great to have the festival supported by the University and for them to give their time to perform at the event.

While the Wolverhampton University read the festival also ran a free poetry workshop, organised by Scarlett Ward and Sallyanne Rock the workshop was on the theme of finding your poetic voice and was very well attended. Afterwards poets spoke of how the workshop had inspired them to write a poem on its themes and all agreed it had been a great inspirational event.

Sallyanne Rock and Scarlett Ward at the Freeverse Festival, photo by Scarlett Ward

Following on form this was the last of the Festival’s open mic sessions. Opened by local poet Paul Elwell and finished by another great poet from the area Gerald Kells, a great selection of the region’s poets took the mic showing how fantastic the poetry talent is in the region.

Sadly all good things must come to an end and it was time for the final act to take the stage. Poets, Prattlers and Pandiemonailists are a local poetry collective better known as Steve Pottinger, Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt who finished the day with a marvellous set of poems that were linked in one way or another. The audience enjoyed poems, on the perils of the internet, lost hats and minicab receptionists, all delivered in PPP’s brilliant chaotic entertaining style.

And just like that the Festival was over, nine months of planning culminating in seven wonderful hours of poetry on the day, after thank yous and cheers it was time for everyone to head home. But not after hearing the fantastic news that Freevese will return next year, hope to see you there.

Richard Archer, Mat Humphries and Ian Davies, photo by Jo Humphries.

So all that remains is the thanks.

Thank you to all out headline acts and thank you to everyone who took up the mic to perform in our open mic sets.

Thank you to Scarlett and Sallyanne for running the workshop.

Thank your to Creative Black Country for funding the event and Wolverhampton University for their support.

Thank you to Brownhills Community Centre for hosting the day.

Special big thanks to Jo Humphries for running the merchandise stall and helping sort out the feedback cards.

Fianlly a big thank you to everyone who attended, helped promote the day on socail media or by word of mouth and took the time to tell us how much they enjoyed the festival.

Here’s to the next one.



Freeverse Poetry Festival

Orators and their Opinions open mic and Walsall Poetry Society are proud to announce that this summer they are getting together to bring you Freeverse, a free poetry festival featuring poets from Walsall, the West Midlands and Beyond.

Freeverse will take place on Saturday 6th July at Brownhills Community Centre
starting at midday and the best thing is it’s all free to attend, here’s the line up for the day.

Willis the Poet aka Rik Sanders

““Willis the Poet is without a doubt one of the funniest poets it has been my pleasure to hear perform. His easy yet intensely witty interaction with his audience makes every performance a time of laughter, hilarity and sheer out and out fun!”

Rik will not only be performing but also hosting a comedy poetry open mic – sign up on the day – welcoming all poets new and old to step up and make people laugh

Holly Daffurn

“Holly Daffurn’s work rages from the political to the confessional, flitting from witty anecdotes to stark cutting observations. Featuring a combination of rhythmical and fast-paced poems mixed in with carefully crafted passages that shrug off any expectation of rhyme, the uniting feature in all of her work is a distinct and brazen honesty.”

Holly will be headlining one of the three open mics that will take place at the festival.

Samantha Roden, R M Francis and Paul McDonald

Also three Original Plus poets from the region will read from their recently published chapbooks. Paul McDonald is a Walsall based award winning poet, novelists, flash fiction writer and academic. His work has been widely published, including Tindal Street Press, Indigo Dreams, Cinnamon Press, V.Press and Original Plus. He’s Course Leader for Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton, author of three novels five poetry collections and a recently published flash fiction collection. Samantha Roden grew up in Birmingham, and now resides in Wolverhampton. She is a poet, academic and educational author and was named one of Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets, 2017 . Her first Pamphlet, Catch Ourselves in Glass, was published in June 2017 by Original Plus Books. R . M Francis is a writer from Dudley, Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, and author of four poetry chapbooks, placed with the Black Light Engine Room, Lapwing Publishing and Original Plus his first full collection with Smokestack Books and his debut novel with Wild Pressed Books are due out in 2020.

Headlining our third and final open mic will be two local poets Gerald Kells and Paul Elwell, then finishing the day we will have our main event.

Steve Pottinger, Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse aka Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.

“Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists are a collective of Black Country poets who believe in changing the world one poem at a time. They’re funny, serious, and thoughtful by turns. Above all, they’re very entertaining.”

As if that wasn’t enough local poet Scarlett Ward will be running a poetry workshop during the day as well.

Scarlett Ward

Find Your Voice.

FYV is a workshop that will be ran by Midlands poet Scarlett Ward and special guest poet Sallyanne Rock. We will be looking at examples of Poets that use their accents, colloquialisms and tone of voice to strengthen the sense of identity within their poetry, and looking how we can use them as inspiration when we come to writing our own work. Hints, prompts, games and tips- all in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. Free entry, 3.30pm, 20 spaces available, 45 mins duration. Dow be nervous mucka, we’m here to have a laff.

Scarlett Ward is a 26 year old Wiccan Poet working from Cannock, Staffordshire. She came 3rd place in the WoLf poetry competition as judged by Roy McFarlane in January 2019, and her debut collection ‘ache’ is to be released this summer with Verve Poetry Press.

Sallyanne Rock is a poet and writer living in Worcestershire. Her work appears in various journals online and in print, and she has performed her poetry across the Midlands region.She is currently working with Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer, running a series of creative writing workshops for young people.

So here’s the running schedule for the day.

Midday – doors open

12:15 Introduction and welcome

12:30 WIllis the Poet set plus poetry open mic with a comedy theme – sign up on the day.

13:20 break

13:40 Open mic headlined by Holly Daffurn – sign up on the day.

14:30 Break

14:50 R M Francis, Paul McDoanld and Samantha Roden

15:40 Break

16:10 Open mic headlined by Greald Kells and Paul Elwell – sign up on the day

17:20 Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.

Please note the venue provides free parking and provides refreshments plus drinks – alcoholic and non alcoholic. Entry to the event is free if you do like the acts you see and wish to support them then the performers will be operating a contribute what you want system by passing the hat round.

Freeverse is supported and sponsored by Creative Black Country and supported by the University of Wolverhampton.

For queries and questions or more information please email

A big thanks you to everyone involved with supporting this festival, thanks to all our guest poets for agreeing to perform, thanks to Brownhills Community Centre for letting us use their space and a big thank you to Matthew Cash of Burdizzo Banners who came up with the festival logo.

My new poetry book “A Pigeon Among the Cats” is now available

After a lot of hard work my new poetry collection “A Pigeon Among the Cats,” is now finished and out in the world, flying free. Published by Pretty Tattered Soul Press run by the fantastic Paul B Morris the book can be found on Amazon right now.

The UK version can be found here, paperback or Kindle

The US version can be found here, paperback or Kindle

Here’s the title poem from the book….

Some days I feel like a neurotic pigeon,
pecking out a meagre existence,
surviving on my dumb luck alone
in a world full of cats.
I constantly walk on eggshells,
while all around me the
sleek fat chic pad confidently by,
their lips curled in sneers or snarls.

I’m an endangered species
with no defence except
my novelty value.
Which is no real protection for a neurotic pigeon
whose dumb luck could run out at any time,
constantly scrabbling to exist
in a world full of cats.
A pigeon who realises that his problem is
he’s that bloody stupid he’s forgotten he’s got wings.


National Poetry Day is tomorrow, here’s all you need to know

It’s National Poetry Day tomorrow and if you’re a poet or interested in taking part it’s very easy to join in.

Each National Poetry Day has a theme and this years is change. So why not share a poem you’ve written on the theme or write a brand new one, even if you don’t fancy putting pen to paper you can still share a poem on change from your favourite poet.

Where can you do the sharing? Well if you have a blog you could use that, National Poetry Day are on Twitter and Facebook, so if you share there be sure to tag them in and use the hashtag #nationalpoetryday.

If you want to know more why not check out the National Poetry Day website here, its packed full of resources and ideas.


Persona Non Grata charity collection

I’m very pleased to announce I have a poem in the forthcoming charity anthology “Persona Non Grata” published by Fly on the Wall Poetry and edited by Isabelle Kenyon.

Copies of the book can be pre-ordered here and money raised goes to support Shelter and Crisis Aid UK

Further Within Darkness and Light

I’m very pleased to have three poems in the charity poetry collection Further Within Darkness and Light, compiled by Walsall poet and author Paul B Morris. Sales of the book go to benefit the charity Mind and you can get a copy via the link below

Click here to buy a copy.

Call for Poetry Submissions from Fly on the Wall Poetry Press

Fly on the Wall Poetry Press:
For charitable anthologies

Submissions are now open!
June 10th – September 10th 2018

Theme: ‘Outsiders’

Guidelines: I am looking for poems which respond to this theme in any way which you see fit. I am expecting there to be a wide range of interpretations – that’s exactly what I want!
For example – you may interpret ‘outsiders’ as the homeless, the lonely elderly, sexual abuse survivors, ‘the undesirables’, the uneducated, the bullied – you name it, if you can make it fit, I want to read it.
You may like to think about a cause you would like to fundraise for as you write. This anthology will be much more fluid in that I want the charity (or charities) we raise money for, to be inspired by YOUR ideas. This means that you are in the driving seat.
If you feel passionate about something in society which makes you, or others, ‘Outsiders’, I want you to write about it.

How To Submit: Go to and follow the below!

• You can submit an unlimited number of poems, credited where previously published. However, please do just submit once.
• There is a £2.00 fee to submit to Fly on the Wall Poetry Press – this is so that I can give my contributors a free copy of the book only. The paypal button below will take you to pay – if you don’t have paypal please email
• Send your poems in a word doc – one poem on each page, to with the subject as follows: ‘Your Name/Submission’. Please enclose a short biography also of your writing credits. Past experience will not sway my decision but is useful to add context to your work.
• If your paypal email is different to the email you use to submit to me, please state this in your email.

Cockatiels and Bold Women

I’m very pleased to have had two poems accepted into Cockatiels and Bold Women, a poetry anthology being sold to raise money for St GIles Hospice. Compiled by Staffordshire Poet Laureate Emily Rose Galvin the collection is intriguingly split up into five sections based on prompts from Hospice residents and all the poets in the book have risen to the challenge of producing great poems based on these.

Buy the book by just clicking on the link here.