This one’s the Preface to my new book The Calling, now available HERE


The essence of poetry

is economy.

Basically, we poets write

to get rich.

Why else d’you think

the art

of making great poetry

is such

a jealously guarded secret?

The training is tough,

hot heady

workshops with endless

cups of coffee,

peer-group meetings on

plush sofas

– and reading! Oh my, it’s like

concert pianists

practising, we read for hours a day

– even troubling

to memorise choice passages.

Then the cost of paper

– scrumpled balls

lobbed at overfull baskets,

sheaves kept

for later scrutiny. Yes, editing, honing,

shaving off slivers

until it’s ready for the sandpaper

of punctuation.

And hey, you know we don’t set up

our easel

before sun-drenched panoramas

– far from it,

the cramped attic garret is essential

for credibility.

Did I mention the actual writing?

Long stints

holding on for dear life to

a well-sucked

pencil, lost to time and place.

Success is still a lottery, mind.

Precious manuscripts

fill the recycle bin of hard-eyed

publishers – who

can take their pick like we’re

refugee orphans

pleading at the fence.

So the big money is

well deserved.

76 poems for £10, let’s see, that’s

13p per poem.

So, sports car or speedboat?

Decision time!

add The Calling to your collection