Carl Tomlinson is a writer of integrity, passion, wisdom and wit.
His poems challenge us to move beyond a naïve appreciation of the ‘natural’ and recognise the ways our landscapes have been profoundly altered by human presence.
‘Changing Places’ gifts us a host of compelling characters – both people and places – and bids us listen to what they really have to say, not just what we want to hear.
Tomlinson’s poetry is moving, musical and memorable.
Hear it breathe, both on the page and in the air.
He’s got a nerve, has Carl Tomlinson.
Most poets dance around loss, desolation, and the presence of the past. He doesn’t.
You’re straight in there with a jolt and a bucket of ice-water over your head. But he’ll wake you up, and that’s terribly rare and precious.
It’s supposed to be the poet’s main job, but almost no one can do it. He’s not just yelling; not just kicking. Far from it.
He’s a perfectly poised poet; unnervingly statuesque. ‘Changing Places’ is the real thing in a bookshop full of fakes.
Professor Charles Foster
These are poems of space and boundaries, gains and loss, sky and soil.
The lie of Carl Tomlinson’s personal land and heritage makes for moving reading – love runs through and between the lines, love for what has been and what now remains.
Open, wry, friendly narratives feel like murmured conversations perched on a bar stool in a country pub, reminiscing about what happened down the years to people we all used to know.
In ‘Petrichor’, Tomlinson likes the way the term “… allows us to believe a little more than what is true” and this is exactly how the best poems in this book work their magic on us.
3 page spread in Lancashire Life Magazine June 2021. – click here for more details
Love of the land. A phrase so easy to say, almost a cliché.
And yet it’s what Edward Thomas laid down his life for.
There is a long, long tradition of poetry in English inspired by it, uplifted by it.
Many of Carl Tomlinson’s poems are firmly in that tradition, and potently so.
These are poems that are not easily spooked. They lean into their collar as they move steadily and willingly either door-to-door or up and down a field.
Sphinx Reviews – click here for full review
About the Author
Carl was born in Lancashire – where his father’s family had farmed for 150 years – and moved to Wiltshire as a child. He has clear and fond memories of working with his grandfather – making hay, milking cows and lifting potatoes. He attended Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury before reading Spanish and French at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. By his 21st birthday he had buried half his immediate family.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Carl spent most of his career working with his father as a director of a metal-finishing business. He studied for an MA in Coaching and Mentoring at Oxford Brookes University. He is now a coach and part-time finance director.
Carl and his wife Kate live with their dog on a smallholding in Oxfordshire. They have two adult children.
Despite writing a lot as a teenager he stopped after leaving school, only starting again in earnest after chance encounters with the Oxfordshire writers Sarah J Bryson and Alan Buckley. He regularly reads at open-mic events and at the Catweazle Club in Oxford. He has been published in magazines, anthologies and online. His poem Market Forces won Oxford City Council’s competition celebrate the Covered Market and will shortly form part of an audio installation there.
The First Poem of the Pamphlet:
The lie of the land
The lie of the land
says she is ours to command
will yield to the strongest hand
that we may mark it as home
fence it off as our own
keep out the unwelcome unknown.
The slugs and the rats and the weeds
know nothing of title deeds,
don’t care about heritage seeds.
The pigeons, the pheasants and rooks
haven’t read the Domesday book.
They just shit on my dirty looks.
The lie of the land
says a man is an island,
that we are where we stand,
that it’s ours and not yours
and the world isn’t there any more
when we slide the bolt on the door,
that we’re safer alone,
that we need clearer zones
and that we can tame it with drones.
This is the lie of the land,
that wall and fence and gate
make an independent state.