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Next Generation Poets in Birmingham !

Gregory Leadbetter and Jonathan Davidson are two poets whose work I love and go back to again and again. They are also champions of poetry – and on Tuesday night this week – because of their passion and organisational skills – I was able to see two of the Next Generation Poets…


I was particularly excited as I have been almost buying Sean Borodale’s collection BEE JOURNAL – ever since it won the T S Eliot Prize in 2012 (and the Costa Book Award in 2013). Here was my chance to hear some of it, actually from the man himself.

I was expecting someone older

Sean Borodale

He is a quiet, thoughtful, wonderful poet – an excerpt from 24th MAY: COLLECTING THE BEES

He just wears a veil, this farmer, no gloves

and lifts open a dribbly wax-clogged

blackwood box.

We in our whites mute with held breath.

Hello bees.

Drops four frames into our silence



He told me afterwards that he had wanted to keep bees, and hadn’t thought of writing about them until he saw them, and then I think, he was hit with an overwhelming need to – and a feeling of “rightness”. He wrote all his poems there, with the bees – in his beekeper’s garb – huge fat white gloves and all.


I hadn’t heard of Emily Berry before Tuesday – but I now too own her book “Dear Boy”

And her poems opened my eyes to new ways of writing, and how wonderful “the poetry establishment” is – as this book is published by Faber and Faber; plus it won theForward Prize for Best First Collection and the Hawthornden Prize


Stephen Morrison-Burke – the Birmingham Poet Laureate of 2012 kicked the evening off.  And that was my only regret of the evening… not telling him just how much I liked his poems – and his warm confident performance.

The other Next Generation Poets 2014 (POETRY BOOK SOCIETY) can be found on and include

Adam Foulds (The Broken Word)

Rebecca Goss (Her Birth) and

Kei Miller (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion)

– three of my own favourite ‘discoveries’ of this year. They are appearing around the country until March 2015 – and oh wow (not my exact words when I noticed..) they are coming to OSWESTRY on 10th February  at BOOKA bookshop !!!!! I’m there !!!!!

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