I was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire to an Irish mother and a Yorkshire father. My mother, now retired, was a nurse (she is now a tireless seamstress and maker of soft toys) and my father built gear boxes for David Brown tractors. He also played and composed brass band music. In fact, it was his passion and he had some success, notably with the great march 'Simoraine'. I arrived three years after my sister Lorraine, who is a very talented artist and graphic designer.
Our house wasn't absolutely festooned with books but, among them, we had 'Ulysses', some Ian Flemings and Arnold Silcock's wonderful anthology, 'Verse and Worse'. Combine these with your dad's adult reader's card for Huddersfield's excellent public library and you have the crucial elements necessary for a lifelong love of literature.
I went on to study English at Nottingham University and then took an MA in Critical Theory at Sussex University. I thought about taking a PhD and pursuing an academic career but realised that I wanted to write rather than professionally study writing (not that a writer or poet ever stops studying).
I drifted from record shop to call centre to technical writing and now eke out a living mixing some technical work with more creative projects, commissions and radio work when I get the chance. Recently I've been tutoring for The Poetry School, Morley College and City Lit; I occasionally do school work as well. Outside of work, I study Italian and have embarked on a course of jazz trumpet studies.
My debut collection, Los Alamos Mon Amour was published by Salt in 2008 and I was delighted that it was short-listed for a Forward prize. Since then I have published Bonjour Tetris with Penned in the Margins and my second full collection from Salt, Neptune Blue, came out in 2011.
In between publications, I enjoy developing live, multi-media events, including Psycho Poetica and The Debris Field. You can learn a little more about all these books and events by nosing around this site. Sample poems are scattered throughout and I've starting blogging again: see Mo' Better Blues.
I'm delighted to announce that my latest collection of poetry was launched in May this year. It is called Sunspots and is published by Penned in the Margins. Sunspots is a book-length sequence 'about' the Sun and largely from the Sun's point of view. It is the result of four years of research and travel and intense contemplation of our local star. Working with Penned, I have created a live show based on the book and I will be touring around the UK from October 2015. You can find details about the show here.