Inspiration

My First Poetry Collection!

My First Poetry Collection!

I’m so pleased to be working with Fly On The Wall Press on my first book of eco-poetry called We Saw It All Happen which will be published in January 2023. I’ve spent the last five years writing responses to the climate crisis and am looking forward to working with editor Isabelle Kenyon and her fabulous team at Fly On The Wall in selecting poems. Pre-orders will be available towards the end of next year, watch this space!

Poem in MAGMA magazine

Poem in MAGMA magazine

Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail was chosen by editors Cheryl Moskowitz, Maya Chowdhry and Yvonne Reddick to be one of the poems in the Anthropocene issue of Magma. The magazine also includes work by the likes of Joy Harjo, Dom Bury and Isabel Galleymore so I feel very honoured. You can buy a copy it from the Magma website:
https://magmapoetry.com/archive/magma-81-anthropocene/

Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail

A name twenty times its length, curled
on a page indexing threatened species –
smaller even than a waterboatman’s oar
pushed out to the fringes of extinction.

These water specks, scaled-down ammonites,
translucent on the edge of a Sussex ditch,
crawl among the marginals, dodging carp
to clamp onto reeds they still call home.

Despite the incursion, the plucky Ramshorns
cling on, skim ditches for scraps of algae,
flattened whorls spiralling ever further down
through the ferny fringes of a marshy nook.

Small coils that spin in a run-down clock,
man’s hands have been moving against them,
conchologists wading in to their rescue,
trying to wind the miniature cogs back.

The Mechanics Of Slaying A Man – highly commended in Poetry Society Competition

The Mechanics Of Slaying A Man – highly commended in Poetry Society Competition

The Mechanics of Killing a Man

Julian Bishop

(after Caravaggio’s Beheading of St John)

Choose your saint or sinner, a Holofernes or John, it doesn’t have to be
a cephalophore stuttering like Patroclus or Paul. Maybe one you’ve soaked
in oils before, loins draped in folds of crimson, nudged by an ecstatic ram.

Lower the power on a prison yard lantern, desolate as a hospital ward
on the eleventh floor, assemble a dispassionate cast practised in the art
of severance – what is life anyway but a slow detachment of beating parts
before the rapid descent of the scabbard?

Clear the stage then arrange the players – a couple of prisoners, Salome
calm with salver, a token widow wailing, ears covered.

Throw your saint onto a blanket of sacrificial lamb, ensure a guard struggles
to complete the job, as if butchering an obstinate hock.

Capture him grabbing hold of a fistful of hair, coltello della misericordia
poised to dissever the head stoppered in the carcass.

Raise your brush, anoint it with cochineal from a soft-bellied bug,
sign your name in it, paint.

https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/the-mechanics-of-killing-a-man

Changeling

Changeling

“I always feel uneasy placing the self at the centre of a piece – the planet doesn’t and shouldn’t care a jot about my own views.”

My poem published by Green Ink Poetry asks how would the climate feel being messed around in this way – drawing on myths of an evil fairy child substituted for a human baby.

Poem: https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk
Blog: https://climatecultures.net/portfolio/changeling/

Sitting For Caravaggio wins First Prize in 2021 Poets and Players Competition

Sitting For Caravaggio wins First Prize in 2021 Poets and Players Competition

My poem Sitting For Caravaggio won First Prize in the 2021 Poets And Players Poetry Competition judged by Seán Hewitt, author of the brilliant Tongue Of Fire, my favourite poetry book of last year! I’ve written nearly 40 Caravaggio-themed poems and this was the first one I sent out which makes it even more gratifying. I’ll be reading some of them at a reading with Seán in May.

Read and listen to the poem here:
https://poetsandplayers.co/competition/competition-2021/

Longlisted for the 2021 National Poetry Competition

Longlisted for the 2021 National Poetry Competition

I made the final 150 or so poems longlisted for the 2021 National Poetry Competition with an eco-poem – but I’m not going to say which one because I’ll re-work it and try again… Congratulations to Marvin Thompson who won the top prize with his brilliant villanelle-ish The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22)

Read it here:
https://poetrysociety.org.uk/news/marvin-thompson-wins-the-national-poetry-competition/

Poetic Voices

Poetic Voices

Hear me read some more poems on the excellent Poetic Voices website:

https://poeticvoices.live/bishop-julian/

runner-up in the annual Aryamati Poetry Prize

runner-up in the annual Aryamati Poetry Prize

Thanks to the editor of Fly On The Wall Press, Isabelle Kenyon, for the beautiful YouTube video she produced of my poem Starbucks In The Gutter. It was runner-up in the annual Aryamati Poetry Prize:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLg283fB8Tc

My favourite sonnet

My favourite sonnet

During the first lockdown in 2020, I wrote a series of sonnets to track my ups and downs. My favourite sonnet from the series was published by Dust Poetry, edited by poet Tara Wheeler. You can read “I Found A Bluebell Wood” here –

https://www.dustpoetry.co.uk/post/i-found-a-bluebell-wood-by-julian-bishop