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Neil West

Email: neil.west@ymail.com
Web: www.neilwest.me
Updated: Wed, 5 Mar 2014 02:10 pm

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Biography

The poet’s art must be learned. The techniques of versewriting comprise a real craft, and a major preoccupation of any poet must be the development of his skill in handling them. Francis Stillman’s advice may not be terribly fashionable today but for me the language, structure and musicality of poetry are the elements which make this such a powerful and emotive art form. There are many different poetic forms but for my own efforts I wanted to ensure that I had an understanding of the great traditions of versewriting that have so inspired me over the years and try to be true to that tradition. Through writing poetry I seek to reflect the techniques and skills of poets who have had the greatest influence on my own writing from the dramatic verse of the earliest classical writers, the magnificent poetry of the seventeenth century, the Romantics of the nineteenth century and modern poets like Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, while remaining relevant and interesting to contemporary readers. You may like to visit my website www.neilwest.me and my collected works 'Nation in a State' can be downloaded there for free. If you would like my children to wear shoes you can buy a copy from www.lulu.com :)

Samples

Dignum Laude Virum Musa Vetat Mori* The first rays of light crept hopefully about Casting their prying fingers in and out Of long night time shadows, forcing them To slink like nocturnal beasts revealed Into remote corners and crevices unseen As day followed night the light fell full length Upon a dusty window pane shut tight Made grimy by neglect and marching time It struggled and yet finally did pass through To cut the dusty gloom inside a house No better than its neighbours and no worse The cheerful light laid bare with no remorse The shabby living room of this small house A patterned woollen carpet, faded in the sun The patchy threads had been much walked upon And battered furniture antique in style Old newspapers left yellowing in a pile Upon the mantelpiece a clock had ceased To count the passing hours long ago An ashtray was the only souvenir To indicate this house was still a home It lay full gorged upon the butts and ash Explaining why the peeling walls were stained And in that sealed room the air was stale A fine layer of dust had settled gently upon The back of an old armchair, its back to the door Still looming in the fast receding shadows A gnarled hand grips each arm tightly Wrinkled brown skin, chipped black nails Paler than the palest ivory The whites of eyes that can no longer see Staring from his face quite peacefully A face much lined with wrinkled age and care Though crowned with white his head is mostly bare In life he had been poor and lived alone In the dignity of death this was undone And so we must retire from this poignant scene Back out onto the streets from whence we came And up above those rooftops all the same To watch the bloated sunset's fading rays. * The man worthy of praise the Muse forbids to die. Horace The Mask of Unity The Mask of Anarchy rides out once more And leads his troops to clear the killing floor His crocodile tears are shed from glassy screens And fall like neon gemstones, subtly guided To dash out the brains of fleeing refugees 'We are the agents of peace!' twisted words are cried 'This action will not cease!' bombs fall from the sky In this slaughter of the innocents who must die In order that a greater evil be destroyed? A lapdog's face twists grins into concern His earnest words and waving hands express Distaste at the way this war has turned Yet gnaws upon the bones that have been burned By Anarchy's stealth forces and then tossed Down from that higher table to his pet As payment earned for loyalty unquestioned But this war cannot offer glory, blood or gold Just mass graves, empty cities, barren landscapes Silent Cold

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

Audio entries by Neil West

Mid Life Crisis (15/10/2009)

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Comments

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Shirley Smothers

Thu 20th Mar 2014 17:29

Hello Neil,
Thanks for the funny comment you left for my "Two Line Horror(ible)Story", LOL!
I got this idea when my 20 year old son told me the game "Bloody Mary" one he never had the nerve to play.
Thanks
Shirley

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Rose Casserley

Tue 18th Mar 2014 20:59

Hi Neil.Glad you like 'de-friend'Please feel free to use it.Cheers.x

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Shirley Smothers

Fri 23rd Dec 2011 20:25

Hi Neil. Thank you for your kind comments on my poem "He Didn't Care". At the suggestion of John Coopey I have posted a second poem "He Didn't Care Too".
Yes the illustrations are mine. I love this site because I can add my own drawings and audio(If I take the time to record it).
Your poem "Tough Love" is very accurate. I too care but let the everyday matters get me down.

Thanks Again,

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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Andy N

Fri 23rd Dec 2011 13:07

thanks for the praise over my work, Neil.. I try to use imagery as much as I can in my work so am always grateful when people spot that... thanks - Andy N

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John Coopey

Thu 14th Jul 2011 00:10

Neil
I revisited Ex Tenebis Lux after your comments. and enjoyed it all the more the second time round.
I particularly enjoyed the faithful rhythm and I am always impressed by poets who can manage abab rhyming structures especially in such short syllabic constraints.
I suspect you know what you're doing at this poetry lark!

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Ron Scowcroft

Tue 10th Nov 2009 18:46

Hi Neil - Thanks for the comments on 'Age Concern'. I have the suit in my wardrobe but I'll keep the location of the charity shop a secret!

steve mellor

Thu 5th Nov 2009 18:05

Hi Neil
Thanks for the comment on The Sun Shone. I was just about to email you about your latest offering, when your comment popped up.
When was your mother ever wrong? A real nice read.

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Nichola Burrows

Mon 2nd Nov 2009 15:57

Hi Neil, glad you like that one. Having a re-vamp on profile.x

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Jeff Dawson

Sat 31st Oct 2009 11:25

Hi Neil, thanks for your comments on Cemetery Gates, the reference to the dead lying in line is more a reflection of her not being able to move in in that even they aren't bothered that she goes back mourning day after day, all a bit morbid I know! cheers Jeff

steve mellor

Thu 29th Oct 2009 14:29

Hi Neil
I'm keeping my powder dry this month (so to speak).
I got all giddy last month, and where did it get me?
I'd paid for at least 4 votes.
I've still got my speech ready though.

steve mellor

Thu 15th Oct 2009 20:35

Neil
Perhaps a bodice-ripper next.
I just had the feeling this a.m. that there can only be so many ways that we can describe a love lost. So!
Poets must suffer!!
Thanks for the ;-)

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Nichola Burrows

Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:48

Thank you for sharing 'Lies' with me Neil. A very true and thoughtprovoking poem. Funny how we try automatically to protect our young ones with lies in one form or another, when what we should be doing is preparing them for their solo entrance into the world. The difficulty is finding the balance.

Nicky x

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Nichola Burrows

Thu 15th Oct 2009 18:41

Haha. Take it your house is the same as mine then!!! Chaotic, except between the hours of 9pm and early hours of the morning?! Nice to hear from you Neil.

Nicky x

ps. what do you think of my arty-farty pic?lol:-)

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Isobel

Mon 12th Oct 2009 13:08

Tee hee. Yes - that's one way of suffering big time...

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Nichola Burrows

Mon 28th Sep 2009 23:07

Hi neil, thanks for hanging around to comment on that piece.

I am trying to catch up on everything, but there is so much that I keep getting sidetracked.

Hope you are well.

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Cate Greenlees

Sun 27th Sep 2009 16:27

Greetings Neil, thanks for the comment on Eer Olives Pumps, I love humerous poetry, its much underated! Yes I suppose technology has moved on somewhat, but in my area "parent power" seems to have come full circle, and we had to have locks put on the classroom outside doors to stop parents coming in and berating us!!
Cate xx

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winston plowes

Sat 26th Sep 2009 11:37

Hi Neil. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on "On meeting a Poet". Win

Janet

Sat 26th Sep 2009 10:13

Ah but my pic was taken at the Manchester green room theatre slam event earlier this year. What's your excuse for the shades?

I see you live between Bolton and Wigan. Westhoughton maybe? I know someone by the name of West in that area. (Jimmy).

Janet.x

Janet

Fri 25th Sep 2009 10:59

Ha! now you got five pics of me.

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Francine

Fri 25th Sep 2009 04:10

Thank you Neil for your lovely comments on my poetry...
I have never performed any of my poems before...
Hope to at some point... soon... perhaps ; )

Janet

Thu 24th Sep 2009 21:11

Your pic, your choice. You're as bad as me. I don't have many of myself either. Been teaching myself to upload images from my phone but i will offer one which someone on here took of me at a gig. The one i would have liked to put on there is too big and i don't know how to make it smaller. Ah well. Nice little exchange though.

Please feel free to remove these comments. It's not as if they are about your poetry so i won't be offended.
Janet.x

Janet

Thu 24th Sep 2009 20:46

There's no difference. :-)

Anyway, how do you manage to change it, every time i try to put a pic in it doesn't work. I always end up mithering poor Paul to do it for me.

Janet

Thu 24th Sep 2009 20:33

Where's the happy smiley face gone?
Sorry but this looks depressing. Hope you're not going through a strange metamorphosis. :-)

Janet.x

Janet

Thu 24th Sep 2009 11:49

Hi Neil, you're welcome to my comments and thankyou for accepting my thoughts so graciously. Something i need to learn to do sometimes but i'm getting there. :-)

Thankyou also for your thoughts on 'A gentile river.' To be honest it was one of those poems which land in your lap and even i had no idea what it was about. The comments were interesting to read so i'm happy now that i posted it. Sometimes imagery is all that's needed and looking to find something else defeats the object of the exercise so to speak.

Janet.x

ps. as for mysterious, i don't think so but i'll take it as a compliment. Thankyou.

maipenrai

Wed 23rd Sep 2009 20:49

Hi Neil, I was in the Brit Army for 22yrs and then worked in International Aid for ten years, so I worked in a lot of conflict/post conflict and disaster striken area's, so that is where quite a lot of the stuff I write comes from.
Cheers Mate.
Bernie

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Nichola Burrows

Wed 23rd Sep 2009 10:25

Hi Neil.

I too was inpired by the Romantics, my all time favourite poet is Coleridge. His works also inspired my love of philosophy, metaphysics and of anything that is classed as supernatural - especially vampires - have a whole bookcase of Vampire novels - which is in stark contrast to my theological interests (or is it? angels and demons?), which I also find fascinating (may I add I am not religious, but dragged up a catholic, and I am not a goth or satanist haha, but think I would have made a bloody good Pagan and would probably have been drowned or burned at the stake).

Really enjoy your poetry. We can't write to please everyone, but we can write to please ourselves, and there'll always be someone at somepoint that will read a piece and find a connection with it.

Really enjoyed Crimson King, it weaves a spell around the reader. More please.

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Cate Greenlees

Tue 22nd Sep 2009 15:16

Hi Neil, thanks for the comment on Our Gramps, and yes it was written from my memories , all perfectly true ,of my grandfather. Sos if The Wheel frightened you...... its done its job then, it was meant to !!!! lol
Cate xx

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Isobel

Sun 20th Sep 2009 15:43

Hi Neil - I kind of thought the story had to be a real one. No-one could have imagined the ham sandwich which really tugs at you cos it brings us back to basics - the humanity of it all. You are right that sharing such experiences brings us together. I am happy to hear that the child survived it all and prospered - the seeds must have been sown well.

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Ash Dickinson

Fri 10th Jul 2009 17:19

Hi Neil, thanks very much for the praise, hope you're well.
No dates for Manchester at present, intend contacting a few places when I get a moment. Is there anywhere you'd recommend?
Keep channeling that inner goth!
All the best, Ash

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