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 quilts) 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, plenty of first edition Ian Flemings and Arnold Silcock's wonderful anthology, Verse and Worse. Combine these with your dad's adult reader's card for Huddersfield's brilliant public library and you have the crucial elements necessary for a lifelong love of literature.
I think I was about six years old when I decided I wanted to be a writer. The first thing I wrote was an illustrated Doctor Who and the Daleks 'novella' for my primary school teacher, Mrs Gardner. I continued to dabble and eventually went on to study English at Nottingham University and then I 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 copy editing with copy writing, plus a little technical work and as many creative projects, commissions and radio work as I can muster. 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 am learning jazz trumpet.
My debut poetry 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. This began something of an astronomical strand in my work, leading directly to my latest book, Sunspots.
In between publications, I enjoy developing live, multimedia 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 after a lengthy break: see Mo' Better Blues.
Throughout 2014 I was poet-in-residence at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) where I worked with scientists, engineers and students to produce the anthology Laboratorio, which is available from Sidekick Books. I continue to work with some of the staff of MSSL and my interest in crossovers between poetry and science continues.
I'm delighted to announce that my latest collection of poetry was launched in May2015. 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.
At the moment I'm writing more prose and contemplating a return to some kind of theatrical writing after my fun on the road with the Sunspots tour.