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john short

Updated: Sat, 13 Apr 2024 12:13 am


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John Short was born in Liverpool and went to Leeds University. Later he spent some years in the south of Europe working in fields and factories and as an English teacher in Spain before settling for a long period in Athens where he began to learn Greek and the six string bouzouki. In 2003 he contributed nine poems to the Pterodactyl's Wing Anthology of Welsh Poetry, compiled by Richard Gwyn for Parthian Books. At the end of 2007 he emerged from an obscure neighbourhood of Piraeus to return to England, get a laptop and start submitting to magazines. From 2012 to 2015 he worked night shift in a factory in Liverpool. From this experience a couple of poems emerged: Biscuit Factory and Wrong Moves. These days he divides his time between Liverpool and Barcelona and is a member of the Liver Bards, Dead Good Poets and Pop-Up Writers groups, appearing at open mic venues around Liverpool and reading occasionally on Vintage Radio, Birkenhead. He has self-published a volume of poetry entitled Composting For All (2017) and also a collection of stories: The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle (2018) through Dave Lewis of Publish and Print (Pontypridd). His pamphlet collection: Unknown Territory - Poems about Greece was published in July 2020 by Black Light Engine Room Press and his full collection Those Ghosts from Beaten Track Publishing appeared in January 2021. A second full collection In Search of a Subject was published by Cerasus Poetry in November 2023. RECENT & FORTHCOMING APPEARANCES POETRY SALZBURG (AUS) 2020 PEEKING CAT POETRY (ENG) 2020 MARBLE POETRY (WALES) 2020 THE EUNOIA REVIEW (SING) 2020 HOBO CAMP REVIEW (USA) 2020 THE BEACH HUT (ENG) 2020 THE CANNON'S MOUTH (ENG) 2020 THE BLUE NIB (IRL) 2020 ZINGARA POETRY (USA) 2020 SARASVATI (ENG) 2020 AMETHYST REVIEW (ENG) 2020 KISSING DYNAMITE (USA) 2020 THE LAKE (IRL) 2020 ONE HAND CLAPPING (ENG) 2020 PRAXIS (NIGERIA) 2020 SMOKE MAGAZINE (ENG) 2021 TROUVAILLE REVIEW 2021 UP MAGAZINE (UK) 2021 HEROIN LOVE SONGS (USA) 2021 DREAM CATCHER (UK) 2021 RAT'S ASS REVIEW (USA) 2021 RUNCIBLE SPOON (ENG) 2021 DREICH (SCO) 2021 THE HIGH WINDOW (UK) 2021 DEAR READER (ENG) 2021 ABERGAVENNY SMALL PRESS (WALES) 2021 STEPAWAY MAGAZINE (ENG) 2021 SNAKESKIN JOURNAL (ENG) 2022 LIGHTEN UP ONLINE (ENG) 2022 PENNINE PLATFORM (ENG) 2022 FLIGHTS E-JOURNAL (ENG) 2022 THE BOSPHOROUS REVIEW (TURKEY) 2022 CULTURE MATTERS (ENG) 2022 FOXGLOVE JOURNAL (ENG) 2022 LONDON GRIP (ENG) 2023 BLACK NORE REVIEW 2023 LITTORAL MAG (ENG) 2023 FRAGMENTED VOICES (ENG) 2024 COLLECTIONS: COMPOSTING FOR ALL (As Hubert Tsarko) (Publish & Print Pontypridd 2017) THE PRIVATE UNMENTIONABLE GARGOYLE (As Hubert Tsarko) (Publish & Print 2018) UNKNOWN TERRITORY (Black Light Engine Room 2020) THOSE GHOSTS (Beaten Track Publishing 2021) IN SEARCH OF A SUBJECT (Cerasus Poetry 2023)


HISTORY LESSON We were collecting olives above the mountain road. Tangled in branches springing from rock to boulder, judging absences under nets with sea a thousand edges of light below and just to help time pass I counted ways that we might injure ourselves in the pursuit of oil. Then they filled me with feta, tomatoes, coarse bread strong dark wine and walnuts; sent me full-stomached back up the painful tree, pointed to a hole in the ground and said: that's where they used to throw them. And so began a history lesson more interesting than counting misfortune. The Frogmore Papers 2014.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Blog entries by john short

LIMINAL (13/04/2024)

CANAL SONG (11/08/2023)

ME AND THE DEMONS (17/06/2023)

ENGINEER (01/05/2023)

TINDERBOX (16/03/2023)

THE TYRANT (08/11/2022)

DISTANT WORLD (14/09/2022)

DOVES (07/09/2022)

IMMIGRANT GIRL (31/05/2022)

MARINE (23/02/2022)

Read more entries by john short…

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 15th Sep 2022 17:14

Dear John

Thanks for your kind comment on 'Time' and for the tip about Pulsar Poetry.

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john short

Sun 5th Jul 2020 01:33

Hi Abdul,

I read your poem and we seem to be in complete agreement. Take care! Best wishes.

John S

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Abdul Ahmad

Sat 4th Jul 2020 16:38


Enjoyed reading your profile and your extensive list of past and future appearances.

You have lead an interesting life; and, are well read and well travelled.

Your recent comments inspired me to write "The Monkeys filled the vacuum". I hope you don't mind me including some lines from your comments in the poem.


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john short

Mon 20th Apr 2020 22:13

Hi Greg,

Glad you like the poems. No, I didn't know about this newspaper. Thanks for the info, I'll check it out. Cheers!

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Greg Freeman

Mon 20th Apr 2020 13:27

I've been enjoying your Europe poems, John. Have you had anything published by the New European newspaper? They have a weekly poetry column.


Sun 26th Jan 2020 21:31

Impressive resume.
even more mpressive hat.

(you don't look that short!)

wink. ?

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john short

Sat 6th Jul 2019 01:44

Wow! Thanks for that. In reality olive picking is not a nice experience but at least the scenery's okay.

<Deleted User> (22247)

Fri 5th Jul 2019 16:25

"Sea a thousand edges of light below," pure poetry! (: ))

I am sitting here hungry to share your lunch, the sunshine, and the scratching branches.

Terrific poem.

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Martin Elder

Tue 21st May 2019 08:52

Hi John
Glad I found your sample poem. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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john short

Thu 4th Apr 2019 00:23

Hi Stu

I'll read the review and buy the book. My story collection is available on Amazon for £8.99 or probably from the Publish & Print website. Or email me at with your address and I can post you a copy. On Amazon look for: The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle by Hubert Tsarko (pen name) and there's a review by Paul Waring as well. PS Yeah let me know when you'll be reading next in Liverpool with venue etc.

Cheers, John

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Stu Buck

Mon 1st Apr 2019 20:31

hi john
thanks for your facebook message
i'm not on there at the moment so i'm replying here
thanks for your interest in my first book.
it is still in print i believe but seems expensive on amazon
could i suggest maybe my newer collection, which is a) better and b) cheaper

you can get it direct from the publisher here

and if you havent seen it yet there is a great review on this very site here;

let me know where i can get some of your work (i only got the first half of your message - you may have already done so)

cheers mate, i see your in liverpool. i perform around there a bit so if you're ever up for a beer let me know!

edit - i love barcelona, going again in august

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Stu Buck

Wed 21st Nov 2018 02:31

thanks john! sorry for the late reply, i havent been posting on here as much lately as my new book is out in the new year. im glad my work resonates with you on some level. i'd be over the moon if you decide to pick up my first collection. alternatively, my new collection, a chapbook, will be available early next year. if you have twitter, i can be found @stuartmbuck and am very active on the site. again, thanks ever so much. i just popped on to post a piece i wrote a while back actually and noticed you had commented, so again sorry for the delay in responding. i look forward to reading some of your work and getting back involved with the site now i have stopped tinkering with my chapbook!

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Taylor Crowshaw

Tue 6th Nov 2018 19:57

Hi John,
Yes the last apple was indeed inspired by the thoughts of not having found that special someone.
Although, it was only when I saw the last apple on my tree (pictured), that the idea came to me..

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john short

Fri 2nd Nov 2018 22:50

Hi Taylor,
It was a real pleasure to be included in Poesis because it's a quirky little mag that's obviously a bit different and the poetry is very sincere. The editors seem to have a unique perspective and publish stuff which most conformist UK mags would run a mile from, probably for not being clever enough. I've only read your poems so far but look forward to the rest of it.

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Taylor Crowshaw

Fri 2nd Nov 2018 21:46

Hello John,

I really appreciate you commenting on Midnight. I am looking forward to reading your work. I note your long list of published poems and congratulate you on said poems. From some of the poem titles and comments it looks like I am in for a treat.

Regards Taylor

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john short

Sun 11th Feb 2018 13:21

Hi Ray

Reading poetry, some word or phrase triggers a memory or idea and then I scribble down a splurge of words, not thinking much in the early stage, just let the thoughts flow with minimal interference from the conscious mind. The rational shaping of the initial inspiration comes later, if that makes sense.

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Wed 31st Jan 2018 11:48

HI John. Following your reply to my comment of yesterday I agree about rewriting older poems - there can be a fresh approach; I find it always hard to know which angle to come from to get an idea across. I feel it helps if "philosophizing" about life to take an object and use that to hang ideas on, as it's easier to grasp a metaphor . Does that make sense? Great list of published poems I see !

All the best. Ray

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 12th Apr 2017 12:44

John, I shall make every effort to keep up with your posts. They are powerful. 'History Lesson' is really superb.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 14th Sep 2016 09:51

Ta for y'note on me funeral poem John ? I am deffo having some Ivor Cutler at mine, and the coconut shells will be compulsory!

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 26th May 2016 13:58

Having just sent you a message John, I see you haven't posted on the blog yet.
The best way is to write your work on a word document and the cut and paste it into the blog via "add blog entry" from the top of the home page. You will have to sign in first.



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