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01 Oct 2010

Mark Grist, Poet in Residence, Blog 1 - Oct 2010

Well, hello there! My name's Mark and I'm a poet. A performance poet, in fact. Most of my material is designed to be heard, or seen, rather than read and so I'm hoping that you'll bear with me as I post up my rantings over the coming months. I'm really chuffed to be working as the Forward Press Poet in Residence and I'm looking forward to sharing the highs (and no doubt lows) of my current career.

Hmm ... Probably best to start with this 'career' I've mentioned. Over the past four years I've had what could be described as a perfectly sensible, worthwhile career. Following University I took up a PGCE and became a secondary school English teacher. It was something I'd always wanted to do (having been inspired by my old English teachers) and it's been great! I'm really passionate about teaching and am certain that I've taken much, much more from working with young adults than I've given back in return.

Over the past few years I started writing more and more (particularly for my students) and began performing poetry in my spare time. I won the title 'Poet Laureate of Peterborough' a couple of years ago, and am currently 'The Chief Bard of the Fens.' (I have a throne and everything.) I was also asked to go on a National tour with Phrased and Confused a while back, and then after getting Arts Council funding, I took my double act, Dead Poets, to Edinburgh, with my partner in crime, Mc Mixy. Whilst there we received six 4-star reviews. Nobody was more surprised than us, but I realised that I might have a shot at trying to write and perform for a living. That is, if I was willing to go for it.

And so... (Insert excessive drum roll here)...

As a result I've decided to venture out into the unknown and become a professional (gulp) poet. This means I'm now studying an MA in Creative and Life writing at Goldsmith's University in London, whilst touring the country as one half of Dead Poets, and performing solo shows anywhere that'll have me. It's terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure!

What I'm hoping to do here is document the highs and lows of the coming year. Has it all been a completely insane decision? Will I return to teaching with my tail tucked between my legs? Or will I emerge triumphant with only a handful of bailiffs loitering around the door? Who knows? I'll report back here on a regular basis and I can guarantee an honest account of the move from professional stability to artistic freedom. Hopefully we'll (or I'll) learn something from the whole process. I'll also post up ideas and techniques that have helped me when writing. who knows? They might prove useful to somebody else.

First day at Goldsmith's tomorrow ... fingers crossed!

Our Love is a Filthy Love

Our love is a filthy love
That spends the day wrapping
us in sweated sheets
Licking the juice from our faces
Before blearily delving under again
To burp sweet nothings into our navels.

Our giggling desire bubbles
Within my slowly bobbling covers
And slaps salmon like across our bodies
Threading through our thighs
Whilst I crumble lovingly
Against the poached egg of your morning face.

And as the alarm clock bleeds into the floor
And the kettle chugs water over the worktop
And the Samaritans hammer on our front door
We link in stink,
stick and slicky for hours
And I think to myself that I'm glad I bought you flowers

To find out more about about our current Love theme, visit our Competition section. If you're in need of inspiration or would like help with composing your love poem then try our handy How to Write a Love Poem workshop.

If you would like to email Mark with your comments, suggestions and questions you can do so by emailing poetinresidence@forwardpress.co.uk.

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Forward Poetry's ethos has always been to act as a bridge to publication rather than a barrier. This, along with our passion for poetry and creative writing, has seen a humble family business evolve into the biggest publisher of new poetry in the world. We understand that poetry is subjective, that everyone writes in a different style and that what one person can love, another can hate! Our collections showcase a variety of themes, writing styles and poets from all walks of life. They are carefully edited and compiled to celebrate and complement the craft that all of our contributors enjoy poetry.


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