I was born and raised on the Wirral, and have been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I started experimenting with poetry while at university in Edinburgh in the mid 1990s. Since then, I have belonged to writers' groups in Durham, Milton Keynes and York (where I'm now based) and have won prizes in several poetry competitions. My debut collection, "A Long Way to Fall", was published in May 2013 by Lapwing Publications (http://www.freewebs.com/lapwingpoetry; email email@example.com for more details). My second collection, "Satires", was published in 2015 by Stairwell Books (http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk) as part of York's Arts Against Homelessness initiative. Profits from sale of the book will go to support the work of local charities working with people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. I am MC and co-organiser of the Speakers' Corner spoken word night in York (http://yorkspeakerscorner.webs.com). I MCed at York's first Poetry Slam in 2011 and since then have performed at spoken word nights, literary meetings and arts festivals around the north of England, including the Ilkley and Harrogate Fringes, York Festival of Rivers, the Beverley Folk Festival and the Galtres Festival. My combined poetry and storytelling show, "Telling the Fairytale" - a collaboration with the brilliant York-based storyteller Helen M Sant (http://www.yorkstoryteller.co.uk) - premiered in York in September 2011 and was a sell-out feature at the 2013 York Literature Festival. I run regular writing and critique workshops for the York Writers group (http://yorkwriters.webs.com) and have judged several poetry competitions, including the Speakeasy Open Creative Writing Competitions (4 times) and the Ryedale Book Festival Poetry Competition (now in its fourth year). In 2011 I originated the unique "Whisky and Words" events, combining the sensory experience of a tutored tasting of malt whisky with the creative input of a writers' workshop. I'm also responsible for The Poet's Soapbox (http://poets-soapbox.blogspot.com), an opinion blog based on my semi-regular column for the National Association of Writers' Groups' LINK magazine. I write to try and make sense of a crazy world around me, and the strange people that inhabit it. I love poetry that tells a story and I love to be around other people performing poetry. My favourite things include twilight, fairy stories, folk music and single malt whisky (not necessarily in that order), and my favourite colour is Indigo. My ambition is to prove that dragons really did exist and, in fact, quite possibly still do.
FIVE EROTIC DREAMS (i) Only a few people come here. In soft footfalls by the bookshelves they skirt the edge of us, fingers searching out verse half-remembered from childhood, a glimpse of romance. In leafy scents of poetry we kiss, and we kiss, your lips a love-letter in blood. (ii) You submerge me, plunge with me; twine me like we’re seahorses, a weight of indigo closing overhead. This insane prickling is coral on my fingertips, electric eels brushing my neck. Oceans of us. (iii) We surface into baking depths of dunes. Sand cakes my nostrils, salt on my lips. The attack of your tongue pricks like scorpion’s barbs. Each stab sharper, shards of you that cut me open, open me up to your touch, the whiplash of your eyes. Your sandstorm scent. (iv) Then the roof opens above us: and there’s sky and the vastness of a turning world. We hurtle, tumble together on wintry wisps of ice-cloud. Blood rushes with wind in my ears, through wing-tips of fingers. I hear it in all the places where hearing shouldn’t be. (v) Our earthing is gentle. Fellow travellers, silent: like monks, immersed in curls of poems. You, the hot tangle of your hair and the must of pages strewn open around us: the fragrance of a hundred romances, a hundred and one sultry nights. Andy Humphrey RED WINE IS DANGEROUS Red wine is dangerous. Red wine is too many parties, late night poetry, a celebration on the children's playground at midnight. Red wine is an aftertaste that leaves me wanting more. White wine is safe. White wine is comfort and companionship, the laugh and the sparkle of glasses. White wine is cooking pasta in a kitchen that's too small, lighting the gas oven with a match it took too long to find. White wine is staying up too late watching "Xena", and falling half asleep in the small hours, talking and laughing at nothing very much. Telling silly stories. Red wine is dangerous. Red wine is too many kisses, and too many afterthoughts about one kiss too many. Red wine is candlelight and incense, Thomas Lang on the stereo, songs and crazy dreams. Red wine is lovers' lipstick and it always leaves my lips purple. Andy Humphrey HLJÓMALIND (Reykjavik, August 2008) Come, all you stragglers in this great northern city alive with harbour breath and shop-doorway jazz, the shriek of bombastic seagulls and the keen of the arctic tern. Come, misfits from every corner, bring your rainbow-gabble of language and your street-chafed, worn-out feet, to the quiet end of Laugevegur where flower power meets the internet age and tangle-haired young men share a wobbly welcome table with girls bright with flowing bohemia. Come, the garish, the gothic, the gangly to our dangled-string pendulum-lamp grotto, a picture window on a world of tapestry lute-players, bug-eyed cats and curly-script flyers for poets whose names are all Ks and consonants. Come, soothe yourself with bread so fresh it burnishes with oven-warmth; with aromatic soup from an endless tureen, heavy with chick-peas and spice; with sun-dried tomato and honey-kissed salad, the sweet fat luxury of pine nuts and oil. Ease journey-tired backsides into creaking, lichen-tone armchairs under bright strings of handkerchief poems. Come, and lift with us a frothing glass of home-made, golden ginger ale. Let it kiss your tongue with the spice of its fire as you drink to the memory of midnight suns, crisp skies and the gentle bustle of a city where evening lasts all summer long. Andy Humphrey THE GREATEST GIG OF ALL (for John Peel, RIP) John was never much of one for angels. I suspect he favoured sinners over saints. So when they came to meet him on a bright October day, I wonder if he met them with complaints? I wonder if they caught him reminiscing Over Bowie, Joy Division or The Fall, And if the choir eternal brought their Stratocasters down When they fetched him for the greatest gig of all? Was St. Peter rather puzzled when the pearly gates swung wide And the sound of Teenage Kicks began to play? I bet he put aside his harp and started moshing with the rest When the Lord called back his number one DJ. Now I think we’re in for one almighty party, Now that Peel is rocking in the sky. The music just got better in the heavens up above, And music isn’t ever going to die. I don’t think John thought overmuch of heaven, But he counted all his blessings while on earth, Though adrift for forty years in a desert Of plastic pop and DJ poodle perms. They may not honour prophets in their hometown, But Heswall never had a finer son, And many poets’ voices owe their honour and acclaim To a timely session tape on Radio 1. He must have served his Purgatory a few too many times, A lone voice in the wilderness of bland, But there’ll be a few home truths for sure when Peely meets the saints, When they face the music and strike up the band. Yes I think we’re in for one almighty party, Now that Peel is rocking in the sky. The music just got better in the heavens up above, And music isn’t ever going to die. So I wonder how he’s going to cope with heaven, When he didn’t even know if it was there? I can see him swapping records with Bob Marley and Ray Charles, Giving Sid and Strummer time on heavenly air. He’ll be working on the decks with Biggie and Jam Master Jay, Keeping Tupac off at arm’s length just in case, Teaching Jimi how to fly and chasing John across the sky, Reuniting the Ramones for old times’ sake. There’ll be one enormous session in the firmament tonight, With Caedmon and Charles Wesley in the mix, With the angels backing Elvis, and two Beatles on guitar, And the stars will all ring out with Teenage Kicks. Yes I know we’re in for one almight party, And Peel will go on rocking high above. The music just got better in the heavens, and they say That if music never dies, then nor does love. Andy Humphrey A TRIBUTE TO RICHARD HARRIS The groundskeeper at Macarthur Park sighed a weary, heartfelt sigh as he shovelled up the rain-sodden remnants of the third Black Forest gateau this week. Bloody hippies. Andy Humphrey More samples of my work can be found on my website, at http://andyhumphrey1971.webs.com
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
Dealing with the Dead (11/11/2018)
The Birkenhead April Fools (01/04/2017)
Why I Will Not Keep Calm and Carry On (09/11/2016)
Why Do Poets Like Autumn? (20/10/2016)
I Will Not Drink in Wetherspoon's (10/09/2016)
Pre-Erection Promises (10/09/2016)
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