A Poem by Matthew Stewart

So, it occurred to me that Matthew has been publishing exemplar (and exemplary) poems by each of the poets that are appearing at Rogue Strands on the 28th November—have I mentioned that before?—but a bit like being the photographer who never gets to be in front of the camera, he’s not going to write about himself.

Oh yes, donations here please

Therefore, I’m taking it upon myself to write a Rogue Strands-style intro for him.

I’ve been a fan of Matthew’s work since I stumbled across it on the Twitters at least four years ago. I was lucky enough to snap up the last copies of his two HappenStance pamphlets, Tasting Notes and Inventing Truth and to meet him (and his lovely wife, Marina) when they were over in London to launch his excellent first collection, The Knives of Villalejo. That meeting, and the pints that followed have basically led to this. I knew I should have stuck to water that evening!!!

Only joking…*

I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the poems Matthew is working on towards his next collection and I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes. While he has always had a keen eye for developing small details about the immediate world into something that resonates at a much wider level (see almost any page in Knives for more details), he’s certainly moving on in terms of his work. Where Knives dealt a lot with family, his new work is building on different memories and truths.

Sadly, his beloved Aldershot FC didn’t manage the kind of win that leads to an eruption yesterday; a six-nil tonking at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge saw to that, but the poem below does speak of one of life’s greatest joys – whatever the capacity of your club’s ground.

At the Far Post

Forget your novels, plays or films,
the only remaining moment
I can suspend my disbelief

is an overcast Saturday
in March, stood among curses, coughs
and scarves on a crumbling terrace,

as our winger hoists a deep cross,
our striker buries his header
and all of us erupt.

This poem was first published at Wild Court

*Or am I?

The other poet’s pages on Rogue Strands are here
Ramona Herdman
Katy Evans-Bush
Rory Waterman
Rishi Dastidar
Robin Houghton
Some knobhead

Pro-Rogue Strands

AKA Rogue Strands II: The Roguening

Yep, it’s back…almost a year to the day. It’s my enormous pleasure to be able to start talking about this properly, but after the success of last year’s event, Matthew Stewart and I are finally able to put on the second of these nights.

Hopefully, we can start picking up the pace a little bit now, although that is dependent on Matthew being able to get over from Spain. However, that’s an issue for another time.

For now, I want to concentrate on what an amazing line up of poets we’ve assembled.

Feast your mince pies on this lot:

I mean, how good is this list?

How good is that list of people, even factoring me into it? That is a mix of poets to be proud of and all for the princely sum of £3 (or more if you want) that goes to help out the wonderful folks at The Trussell Trust.

Last year we raised over £300. I want to do much more than that this year, so if you can’t make it then please do feel free to donate here –

Matthew is going to share more in terms of bios and a poem from each of the readers in the next few weeks and I will talk more about them here, but for now join me in my excitement.

It’s an honour for me to read with all of these poets, I’m a fan of all of them, so I’m a big giddy about it. Let me know if you’re coming along.


  1. Priority Seat
  2. Orthopaedic Hovercraft (Credit to my wife for this one)
  3. The Screaming of Rhubarb
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Tans
  5. Burnt Parsnips


17K running – Missed a run this week due to a visiting mother

0 Poems worked on Nada, nowt, zilch. Although, half an idea about a combination of Unwinese and Nadsat.

27 days without cigarettes. May have smoked yesterday, but it’s a blip.

1 rejection email – From Primers. There’s a magnificent looking shortlist of poets though, so I can’t wait to see who gets chosen.

1 flurry of submissions – Now I have a load of poems back I can send a load out again. That’s how it works

1 introduction to Stanley Unwin I’m pleased to have introduced someone to the work of Sir Stanley…

1 review published – Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
Island of Towers, Clarissa Aykroyd


Not a lot, couple of Dublin Murders and a Rugby World Cup final..

Listened to:
Vetiver, Up on High, Thing of the Past
REM, Monster
Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
Anna Meredith, Fibs
808 State, Transmission Suite
and of course, The Archers…

Well, who else was it going to be? I reckon I’ve got at least 12 Rogue Strands nights before I need to find another band to use for these things