Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 9)

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.


Shot at Dawn

Enjoyed John Foster’s play Shot at Dawn (Dopplegang Productions) last night – poignant, thought provoking and very dramatic set in council chambers – great acting.

Obviously some printing issues with the use of my poem in the programme. Here is the sonnet as is should have appeared.

Still four days left of the Arts Festival. . .


If I should die, safe in a Bournemouth bed,
let it not be still thinking that such war
was sportsmanship, or that the dead
could just get up and play on as before.
O football was played famously for sure
when boys (no matter what the papers said)
knew well by then that ‘war to end all war’
meant death, their death: futility that led
to pity only, just to go on again
manning the guns and felling fellow men
like walking trees through fields in lawless dreams
freefalling into nightmares, which in peacetime
ruptured still – in families – yours and mine:
a loved one woken by inhuman screams.

James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

a poem, after Rupert Brooke, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War


Poetry this week – lots still happening in Bournemouth

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival continues this week and there is still lots going on poetry wise too. This month only Poetry Corner at the Hotel Miramar and The Platform at the Mad Cucumber Lounge happen to coincide, both tonight from 7pm onwards – but I know there’ll be good audiences for both. Don’t forget Verbal Remedies tomorrow Wed 8th 7.30pm at Twisted Tea Pot Cafe.

I’ll be reading at Poetry Corner tonight then attending John Foster’s new play Shot at Dawn tomorrow night.

As always some great things going on in Bournemouth in the way of creative writing. Whatever you’re doing this week, enjoy and be inspired!  – James

Arts Festical pic





National Poetry Day 2014

The theme for National Poetry Day this year is ‘remember’. What is the poem that you carry around in your head? Tag any line or link you like with #thinkofapoem to join in the poetry celebration, and your research will go to help the Poetry and Memory Project.

Full of Life Day reading
Memory of course is so important for continuing to live a full and varied life as we get older. Yesterday was Full of Life Day and I had a great time reading poems with a lovely group of Castlepoint coffee-morners.


Jack image


Next up for me  is ‘The Trench Composers’, Monday 6th Oct, 7.30pm St Peter’s Church – an Arts by the Sea Festival event. Joined by fellow poets Anne Peterson and Bob Hill, I’ll be reading poems from the First World War poets during an atmospheric evening of haunting and poignant music from composers who fought in the trenches, performed by Jack Maguire Ensemble. Tickets available here.

On Tues 7th, I’ll be reading at Poetry Corner with Steve Biddle, Poet in Residence at the Hotel Miramar, as part of the Bournemouth Emerging Art Fringe, and on Wed 6th I’m looking forward to attending the opening of John Foster’s new play ‘Shot at Dawn’ by Doppleganger Productions.
Speaking of Fringe events, the Bournemouth Triangle BIG POEM is now underway, launched recently at the Mad Cucumber Lounge. Thanks to all who have added lines so far. Add your own lines to this big community poem here.


Two new poems from me today- First Sight and If I Were the Mayor.

17 poems from Bournemouth poets and local residents, including one from me, on September’s theme of ‘Age’.
Taking our cue from National Poetry Day, next month’s theme will be ‘memories’.
Send your poems here.

Launched today – Poet Profile Pages – a great opportunity for all Bournemouth poets whether known for written work, spoken word or performance, to showcase themselves. Click here for details.


So happy National Poetry Day everyone!National Poetry Day Remember

If I close my eyes and try to remember a poem, some of the lines that come back to me are from the last stanza of Yeats’ ‘When You Are Old’.  I’ll post them in the comment box here. Feel free to join me by clicking comment and posting your lines in the box, or better still tweet or post them yourselves remembering to include the hashtag.

May poetry inspire and comfort you today and everyday.






First Sight

Twenty-six weeks growing
inside your mother’s womb,
what can you see, O my daughter,
now that you can open your eyes?

What can be the purpose
of those widening portals
before there is a world to see?
What is it you are looking at?

Closing mine, I think of
your eyes like two worlds
incubating silently in
the skull’s sockets;
All the colours
swirl like pretty storms
across the untouched
surfaces of birthed planets.

James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

Matter of the Universe, 14




Image: Oil on canvas, “Matter of the Universe – penetration 2” painted by Bernadetta Skwarczynska aka Seven’Art

Full of Life Day – 1st of October

Full of Life Day

Happy Full of Life Day everyone! Enjoyed reading poems at this morning’s coffee morning.


The online Celebrating Poetry link for September happened to be ‘Age’. Read poems on that theme by Bournemouth poets and local residents here, including a new one from me.

The theme for October is: Memories.

Online Celebrating Poetry link – call for poems – theme for Oct: Memories

Thanks to everyone who found themselves inspired by September’s theme of  ‘Age.’ You can read those poems here.

The theme for October is: ‘Memories’.

You can send in your poems (maximum of two poems per poet please). As always, they can be in any style – long , short, funny, serious, sad, humorous.

Remember, poets are of all ages – children and adults are welcome to send in their poems. Have you been keeping a poem in a box somewhere all these years – maybe now is the time to share it?

Please send poems directly to me at  and I’ll arrange for them to be posted up to the online Celebrating Poetry link on the Council website.

Happy writing!

Meet Me

at the edge of each morning. The breeze
lifts a branch; a bird goes flapping. Edge of
senses: hands above skin; first kisses in
the air; mysteries of perfume. Your name
called again. Silence in the dance. Tick. Drip.

With Art’s staunch atlas opened like a rose
by the light behind such blindfolds, we pick
our way back to the edge of the World’s Wood.

James Manlow
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth

A poem for the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival 2014
Festival theme: ‘The Edge’


Image: Compagnie Carabosse’s ‘Fire Gardens’
Lower Gardens, runs Fri 26th Sep-Sat 27th Sep, Free event


Bournemouth 2014 Arts by the Sea Festival commences!


Moni and I really enjoyed attending last night’s opening of the Bathing Beauties exhibition at the Arts University Bournemouth (our favourite pieces were ‘Serendipity’ and ‘Sea-pod). Guests were then serenaded by enchanting mermaids to awaiting coaches to take them down to the seafront, where Compagnie Carabosse’s ‘Fire Gardens’ was already in full swing, setting the scene for the evening performances. A fantastic opening to the 2014 Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival, full of spectacle and wonder. 





Bournemouth Triangle BIG POEM

Bournemouth Triangle BIG POEM – a Bournemouth Emerging Art Fringe event, as part of this year’s Arts by the Sea Festival.

Hi everyone!  Below, I’ve written a couple of verses to start off a BIG POEM about the Triangle – the area, the people, the community. Please feel free to add verses, lines, words, thoughts, ideas, comments about what the Triangle and community means to you. Just scroll down to add your contribution in the box.

Anyone who would prefer to send an audio or visual contribution can do so by emailing a Soundcloud or YouTube link to, or posting it straight to and these also will then be embedded into the final poem.

Let’s see what we can come up with for a real community poem!


Bournemouth Triangle – BIG POEM

Bournemouth Triangle, a better place
To eat your way around the world and dance
Bright nights away towards the morning’s
Fresh coffee, family play. On such soul days

Seek something out of the ordinary
Here where it’s blooming marvellous and lion
Days shake out with pride their multicoloured manes.
All good things come in threes, and those three points

Meet here. Discover. . .

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