tall-lighthouse redux

On Thursday 20th a collaboration between in-words and tall-lighthouse brought together four very different poets, whose innovative, unusual and interesting voices contrasting in the most stimulating way.

This was a great celebration of tall-lighthouse’s return to publishing ‘bloody good poetry’. It is owned and run by Les Robinson, who often acts also as mentor and editor, and you could tell that, despite the marked differences between the poets, the common theme was the depth of their empathy, skill and enthusiasm. And that is probably also thanks to Les and his empathy, skill and enthusiasm.

For this event, Les also prepared and managed the powerpoint slides of the texts. For once, I felt I was part of the audience, I could sit back and simply enjoy the readings.

Christopher Horton read from Perfect Timing, the perfect title for his precise, yet playful and sensitive poems. “Christopher Horton’s many voices are equally at home in the city and in the wilds. Perfect Timing surprises with what often goes unnoticed.” Katrina Naomi.

Joshua Calladine-Jones read from Constructions [konstrtukce]. Based in Prague, his poems are experimental sequences assembled from snippets of online conversations, notes and fragments in incorrect English as used by Czech people during lockdown – somehow managing to create narratives out of them.

Sarah Shapiro, born in Chcago and living in Boston, read from her first pamphlet, The Bullshit Cosmos (ignitionpress), and from Being Called Normal. Her poetry grows from a dialogue between her and the impersonal language of diagnostic assessments, and urges us to challenge the easy labelling of children and adults.

With Mark Wynne, we were treated to words and images. Frank Auerbach’s strong, sensuous paintings and drawings work as more than mere inspiration for Mark’s pared-down verse in Frank & Stella. Like Auerbach, Mark scrapes away at what he finds to be not essential “[…] to produce something distinctive and disorienting.” John Clegg.

The pamphlets can be ordered by emailing tall.lighthouse@yahoo.com

A big thank you to Les, Christopher, Joshua, Sarah, Mark and the audience.


I love the new animation at the top of my homepage. Thanks to Paul Kley for creating it. The words on the flying page are not a quotation but a whole poem, a favourite of mine, by the Italian hermetic poet Giuseppe Ungaretti. It is impossible to translate, though countless attempts have been made. I am sure you can guess its meaning and I leave you to create your own ‘translation’ of it. Ungaretti fought in the trenches and those two lines represent a moment one morning – pared down to a sense of the absolute, maybe also of possibilities?

As we emerge from a not-yet-over pandemic and wake up every morning feeling the dread of conflict but also aware of the beauty of spring and the blessing of nature and community, Ugaretti’s words are more than ever appropriate.

I am taking a break from organising things over the summer. Whether I will be as dynamic as the train above, or I’ll take time on a siding, I’m not yet sure.

Either way, I am always happy to hear from you with thoughts and ideas, and wish to thank you for your support so far.

Be well!