Category: Blog (page 1 of 10)

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




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.

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:

Poet Profile Pages – an opportunity for all Bournemouth poets

Thanks to everyone who has been sending in their poems for the monthly themed Online Celebrating Poetry pages published on the council website – a good way to get your work known by Bournemouth residents and beyond. It would be great now to expand this by adding extra web pages to showcase information about you! – the poets themselves.

On National Poetry Day I launched a new project called Poetry Profile Pages. Each ‘Poet Profile Page’ will feature a short biog. , author photo and links to poems, plus hyperlinks to websites/FB pages/Soundcloud etc. Poets known for their written work, spoken word and performance all welcome.

If you’d like to be showcased here, please email me the following at

  • Short biog. (2oo word max)
  • author photo
  • and links to any poems, websites, social media pages etc. that you would like to be included.
    If you have books or sound recordings for sale, it is fine to include links to these too.

In order to get the project rolling, pages will be published in order of the material that arrives. There will be a house style and everyone will get the same amount of exposure and space on the pages. If the designers require anything else I will let you know.

Meanwhile, I look forward to receiving your material. The council pages are viewed regularly not just by Bournemouth residents but by tourists and those visiting the town from elsewhere in the UK and from around the world too. This is a great opportunity to showcase your work.


Space for Peace – wonderful event last night

St Peters Church, labelled for non-commercial reuse





Wonderful time at Space for Peace last night at St Peter’s Church, attended by the Deputy Mayor & Mayoress. Pleasure to read my poem ‘Peace’ alongside local choirs, faith groups and fellow artists. The interactive movement particularly was so atmospheric and moving with everyone, especially the children, carrying candles, while songs were sung and music played from Judaism, Islam, Christianity and other faiths – all melting into one another in the name of companionship and peace. Thought provoking, enlightening, and very special.


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