The lovely people at Northern Soul are running a feature on ginnels, what we call snickets on this side of the border. It’s called Ginnel Watch and you should really check it out. There are some great pictures and features. Snickets are some an inherent part of any English town, you almost forget they’re there. I wanted to share with you this poem by the infinitely talented John Wedgewood Clarke, whose pamphlet In Between is all about the snickets of York. It was the first collection of his that I read and I would highly recommend it. I know he won’t mind me sharing this, it certainly needs a wider audience.

Straker’s Passage

Tend my gutter gardens with your eyes.
Touch me up, fumble into entrances,
tag my curves, follow footfalls
to the centre of your maze.
If you spin this brick with your hand,
I’ll grant you it back: cobbled skin,
flakes, crust and cloth. Geese on the Foss
bray clear through the clearance
of this scum, this hole in the city,
named for the stick slid across the surface
of corn measures, removing all excess,
the spilt seed gathered up and sold.


There’s a real mix of imagery here; of solid, tangible touchable things alongside the untouchable, the sounds of the geese, the flow of the Foss. They overlap like watermarks. York is an incredible city, its people are in the very ground, the stones. I love how this captures that feeling of continuity.

And so, to the business of any other news:

I’m back, after a break away from blogging. There were a few reasons I left, partly because I had taken some freelance work on and needed to get into a good routine so that I could see where I would fit extra curricular activities in, but I will admit that I was trolled by someone on my blog and it knocked my confidence a bit. I monitor all the responses to my posts, I am fully aware that people who have faced the utter devastation of child death and infertility read these posts and have had the courage to speak about their own experiences here on my blog, I will not put them in the line of fire from some ignorant basement dwelling sock wanker and their desperate need for attention at any costs. So if you want to troll someone talking about their life, the effects of baby loss etc etc you’ll not get the attention here.

Now I have had my little rant, I will quickly fill you in on some details. I passed my MA with a distinction! I had a fab time at the awards ceremony and met loads of lovely people, friends from Facebook amongst them. I am also no longer dog walking, I picked up some more freelance work and am actively looking for more. For the first time in my life I am not lying when I call myself a writer, because 80% of my income now comes from writing. It feels like a huge step forward, I am getting there. I would still like to have more time for more creative writing and more time for my PhD, but the hard truth is, if you don’t get funding for your PhD then you have to find the money to live, pay your bills and  your tuition fees, all while finding the twenty plus hours needed for the actual work. It’s worth it, it is hard, hard work, but I am still loving it. And now I have at least two full days a week which are devoted to it, so again, moving forward! And last but not least, my book is coming out mid October! I shall be upgrading this website so that it has a sales button on it, but you’re quite welcome to buy it from the wonderful people at Valley Press when it goes on sale. Eeeek!

For a sneak preview of a couple of poems being read by what appears to be a big guinea pig, you can view a video here: twitter link

Other things that I will be working on are using my You Tube channel more, and putting together some poetry Vlogs – reviews etc. So watch this space.

Until next week!



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