Author: James (page 1 of 13)

The Carol Singers

Lovely to attend Bournemouth Library’s Carol Service this morning and read a new poem ‘The Carol Singers.’ A lovely event with readings and singing – including babies wriggling and rhyming – and wonderful performances from St. James’ Primary School Choir, with The Mayor in attendance. Just the ticket this festive time of year!








The Carol Singers

Then all at once we hear their voices ringing
Somewhere out there in the dark, like church bells
Blown by some new wind to set them singing
In our minds: falling snow and Christmas smells,
Stamp of hooves, and snorts, and harness jingling,
With taste of mince pies and mulled wine mingling,
And peace and goodwill and ‘all will be well’s:
A two thousand year old story that still tells
Of something ancient again beginning,
‘Til suddenly what was outside now is in,
And everyone is singing, heart and soul,
Becoming a part of all that’s been heard,
As if only for this time, this place, the whole
World is singing the same song with one word.


James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

Written for Bournemouth’s Christmas celebrations 2014




Light up Bournemouth with your poems!

With festivals including Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year, autumn and winter are all about light – not to mention the Bournemouth ‘Gardens of Light’ now launched in the lower gardens.

So you if have any poems on the theme of light, or fancy writing one, you can send them directly to me at, and I’ll arrange for them to be posted on the December online Celebrating Poetry link, and also printed and mounted on the Poetry Wall in the foyer of Bournemouth Library.  Let’s light up Bournemouth with poetry!


The Consummation of Light

A little light sometimes so hard to find,
Light that plays around the nursery blind,
Light that permeates the dawning of the mind,
Shine away the darkness and glorify the days.

Light I blocked out seeking my own solitude,
Light I bent for a bit of latitude,
Light that never dimmed despite my shattered attitude,
Pining for time’s darkness to certify the days.

Starlight streaming after sunshine’s curfew,
Light that came wailing to my mortal rescue,
Light behind death’s curtain forever shining through,
Prophesy in darkness and be a sign for days.

World beyond words, vision beyond sight,
Tonight but not only for tonight,
I give you this light
To mine inside you all the glory of your days.

James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

A poem written on the theme of ‘light’ in celebration of our autumn and winter festivals and in support of Bournemouth’s ‘Gardens of Light’ installations 2014.

Poetry and three cheers for the Kasbah Club!

It was lovely to be invited to attend a special presentation evening at the Kasbah Club in Pokesdown on Saturday. Along with a whole string of other worthy charities – including Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation – the sports club has raised a wonderful amount for Alzheimers, and it was a pleasure to accept, on behalf of Alzheimers Research UK, a cheque for more then £1,200, and to read a poem in support of Dementia Awareness.
James Manlow-20141


Meeting Writers

Southbourne Library Coffee Morning
Lovely time reading and talking poetry in Southbourne this morning.

Next stop today, Jane Skellett’s


Professional Development Opportunities for Bournemouth Writers

Arts Fanatics
New career and professional development opportunities for Bournemouth writers coming soon to Bournemouth from Lit Up (Literature Development Project). . .


The Forget-me-nots – a poem for Remembrance Day 2014

The Forget-me-nots

On ‘Poppy Day’ – I kid you not –
I saw a blue forget-me-not;
And walking, wondered at the reason
That here miraculous it blew:
A yellow sun amongst such blue
Petals lonely, out of season.

That ghosted flower left behind
Now flutters each year in my mind.
Once war knew well each season’s place –
Spring offensive, winter ceasefire:
Humans gave it a natural face
To hide the bending of our nature.

So many flowers, many fields.
The mind thinks on, yet what’s not healed ’s
Reminder to us still of debts
We owe to others here no longer;
Knowledge that gnaws at our regrets
And sense of sacrifice the stronger

Felt in each new generation:
The men and women that live on
In our remembrance, whose lots
Went horror-humbling to make us wise;
Who died red poppy deaths yet rise
As thoughts of blue forget-me-nots.

James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

A poem written for Remembrance Day 2014
and to commemorate the centenary of the First World War


Image: Creative Commons licensed 

Wimborne Literary Festival

Wimborne Literary Festival
Wimborne Literary Festival now underway. Looking forward to reading on Friday.


Two poems in autumn Envoi

Two poems from me-  ‘Loneliness Is the Wolf’ and ‘After the Earthquake’ – in latest edition of Envoi. Nice surprise for the weekend – thanks Envoi!

Bournemouth Gardens of Light – call for poems on ‘light’

Festival of Light

In celebration of this year’s Bournemouth Gardens of Light Festival, I invite poets and residents to send in poems on the theme of ‘Light’.

These will be exhibited at a special ‘Light’ poetry display in the foyer of Bournemouth Library. The poems will be mounted and available to tour to other venues later.

It is proposed to include the poems on the theme of  ‘Light’ sent in during the 2013 Poet Laureateship process. Please let me know if you don’t want your poem included, or if you would like to display a photo and biography too.

As discussed previously, a book of collected Light poems is still planned as soon as funding is available. This is a great opportunity to showcase local poets in the meantime. So let’s light up the festival with a burst of poetry!

You can send your light poems
directly to me:

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