I love the vibrant, changing life of the forest hills and of the two great rivers below my house; each day is always rediscovery.
I studied English at Hull, and gained an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester MU. I was in L’Arche in Sussex in the 1990s, developing work projects and supporting people in their homes. In the 2000s, I supported clients with disabilities in Swindon’s supported employment project, and was Skills Factory Coordinator and a trainer, developing work training initiatives for Year 9 – 10 students, and others who included Jobcentreplus clients. In the early 2010s, I was Ammerdown’s Training and Interfaith Officer, leading retreats, developing training days for local schools, and the Centre’s outreach to local Muslims.
Since 2014, having completed a PGCE at Cardiff University, I’ve been a Lecturer in English in Swindon, UK. Teaching is active listening, so I learn daily from students how to bring out and express their gifts and capabilities.
I continue to lead music retreats, and training events, in various locations across the UK. A keen doublebass player, I have run such retreats for many years in places such as Ammerdown, Belmont Abbey, Minsteracres, Douai Abbey, and Launde Abbey, as well as at numerous parishes and for diocesan and other organisations.
I am a choral poet (librettist), gaining commissions internationally with composers such as Kim Andre Arnesen, Janet Wheeler, Chris Hutchings, Carson Cooman and Paul Spicer. Several major work and a host of smaller pieces, including best sellers such as ‘Flight Song’ have resulted 2018 saw the release of three of my texts on a major record label, Naxos.
My writing is a song of living, vital, abundant life behind what is seen, infused from the outset by Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Wordsworth, later by Larkin and R.S. Thomas; and my verbal imagination is transformed by international giants such as Czesław Miłosz, Ninia Cassian, Miroslav Holub, Seamus Heaney and Dylan Thomas; by Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Claudia Rankine; by great Arab poets such as Mahmoud Darwish and by Ocean Vuong, John Burnside and Merle Collins. I listen out for great poetry: it is an exciting and continuing journey.
I believe passionately in getting to know the other; tolerance is not enough; an active respect means we honour, celebrate, engage and learn. Difference is not a threat to our identity, but enriches it.