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Tim Ellis

Updated: Wed, 17 May 2023 12:43 pm


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Performance poet based in Harrogate, N.Yorkshire. I have published five collections and won a spattering of prizes over 20 years or so. Details are on my website if you are impressed by that sort of thing. My latest publication is a not-for-profit pamphlet around a theme of climate change called "Speak The Unspeakable - Cool Words for an Overheating World". It's available for not much money at all, on Amazon or from my website as are all my other books. My previous books are: "God The Banana" - an epic verse-novel in 427 sonnets. "On The Verge" - another verse-novel, sold in aid of rhino conservation. "Gringo on the Chickenbus" - published by Stairwell Books. A hilarious and heart-rending poetic account of my travels around Latin America, it is beautifully illustrated by my partner Robbie. "Birds of the World in Colour" - published by Flarestack. 40 sonnets around a bird theme. I'm always available for guest readings, rantings at demonstrations, and other performances - get in touch!


This a sample poem from my e-book "On The Verge": “Drop me here at the lay-by mate,” I say. The artic’ throbs while I faff on a scrap of grass manhandling all my clobber out the cab, and wave the bloke away. Tarmac glitters with crystals of shattered glass. A tideline of fag butts and plastic fringes the kerb. I felt-tip my town, separate my mess from other roadside trash and pick a place upstream where fast-lane cars can see me in good time to pull across. I make the earnest face but drivers rush oblivious past my card. Further up, the road bisects a clump of ancient looking trees, and getting bored my eye wanders to something on the verge, a curious white lump. A pair of crows is prodding at it, lured no doubt by meat. It’s not a deer…too large. Mawkish instinct tempts me from my post to take a closer look. Drawing near, there’s road-kill everywhere: woodland birds and mammals looking gross, pummelled into pancakes by the trucks. A stinking fills the air, thicker than the usual roadside stew, stirring up my gorge. I get to the corpse and freeze, astonished, confronted by the proof that storybooks are true. It’s huge as a bull with the build of a heavy horse, goat’s beard, lion’s tail and cloven hoofs. I’m shocked enough to learn that a glancing blow from a car could slay this oddity, but more so by the stump of a sawn-off tusk - I don’t know why - I know the world - I know that everything’s a tradable commodity when it’s rare enough. ...and as an example of my performance-style work, here is a poem which very kindly won me the Open Mic prize at the Ilkley Literature Festival in 2008, and is published in "Speak The Unspeakable". My Carbon Footprint. I woke up one morning to a knock on the door and a uniformed man with a clipboard. "Mr.Ellis? Your carbon footprint." "My what?" "Your carbon footprint! You evidently haven't been reading the news: there's a new directive from the EU. All your emissions of CO2 are being delivered back to you to dispose of by any legal means you choose." And towering above him was this column of soot moulded in the shape of a Wellington boot. He'd dragged it up the drive and leant it on my porch denting my Ferrari and my Cayenne Turbo Porsche. If it was half an inch it was 27 foot. I said, "Is that MY carbon footprint?" trying to sound innocent. "Must be a misprint!" He checked his papers. "'s right: 15 tonnes are all your flights to the south of Spain, and then the lights you never switch off account for five... there's food-miles when you buy African battery-cage eggs... and that twice-daily school-run you always drive..." I said, "C'mon! I got kids! They haven't got legs! Where'm I gonna put it? The front's full of motors; the back's got the hot-tub and the patio heater. The loft's choc-a-bloc with the kids' computers and my flatscreen's in the spare room: it's two and a half meters! I'll take it to the dump." He said, "You can't do that: the landfill's full!" And then I got the hump: "Are you saying I should put it in my heated swimming pool?" I looked at it again: a prehistoric stone, inky, eerily glistening. "I'll have to burn it then." The man got vitriolic: "I DON'T...THINK...YOU'VE REALLY...BEEN LISTENING!!!" So I signed his bloody form, pondering where to park it when the problem solved itself. There was a freak storm and a sudden catastrophic melt of glaciers in the Arctic. A tidal bore funnelled into the Nidd Gorge, inundating Harrogate, myself, my 4x4 and... my carbon footprint! "Shit!" I thought, "I'm dead." But I woke up in bed and the wetness was a sweat deposit. It was all a bad dream on a neo-Luddite, lentil-eating green theme ...or was it?

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

Audio entries by Tim Ellis

The Spirit of the Road (30/05/2013)


Note: Showing events from 2 years ago.

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Harrogate » (7:30pm)


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Tue 22nd Sep 2020 02:23

If you need replacement parts
go online
Livers are on sale this week!


Fri 24th Jul 2020 12:56

Thanks for your comment on "E for Effort".
You look so happy in your photo.
What were you celebrating?
A major poetic victory?

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jennifer Malden

Mon 5th Nov 2018 17:58

Hi Tim! Am very flattered by your kind comment on The Legacy. It's an Aberdeenshire garden, so nearly Highland. Glad you liked it.

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Becky Who

Sat 18th Aug 2018 21:53

Thanks for commenting "Geneva Airport". Great to see a performance poet sharing here too - I love "Carbon Footprint". I sometimes find slam hard to make work on the page but you succeed perfectly.

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Ian Whiteley

Thu 2nd Jun 2016 12:48

thanks for the comments on 'between a rock and a hard place Tim' I'm liking the new profile pic - very angry :-)

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Ian Whiteley

Wed 2nd Dec 2015 18:40

thanks for your comments on 'Perhaps...' Tim - I fear you may be right about the vote - doesn't mean we shouldn't resist where possible eh? cheers

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 24th Nov 2015 14:23

Your Saudi-Arabian poet link in the "News" section drew my
attention - and my signature. Let's hope the total rises

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 21st Oct 2015 14:36

Hello Tim - many thanks for the reference to the Wikipedia/IPCC entry relating to climate change.
Prevention is always better than cure and I hope that
cross border efforts to reduce any deleterious effects
on the climate will contribute to the future health of
the precious environment - who wouldn't?
The IPCC is a "scientific intergovernmental body" (under
the auspices of the UN) and has worked towards being
less likely to be interfered with politically (as was noted
with the Bush Administration in the USA a while back).
That has to be a good thing.
I noted the uniformity of the usage - from its members
and contributors - of words "like "deforestation" for
example. My mention of the report that MORE trees
than ever were now to be found on Earth goes towards
negating the effects of an oft-stated cause of global
warming - hurrah! There is also the recommendation
(from 2010) that the IPCC modify itself with the caveat
that it did not do its own research but relied upon
reports from lists of researchers prepared by governments and participating organisations.
Ultimately tho', it makes total sense for the world to
understand the harmful downside of human activity
on our planet and limit it at every opportunity, but
there also has to be an acknowledgement of the part
solar activity plays in this scenario. That is no minor
"supporting" part but a leading role in producing a
healthy profitable run of "Life on Earth".

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Ian Whiteley

Wed 29th May 2013 17:06

Thanks for your comments on 'I wish I had a harley' Tim - yes, there comes a time in a young mans life when his thoughts turn to motorbikes :-)

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Simon Marks

Fri 24th May 2013 17:57

Loving Carbon Footprint! Middle-class guilt personified.

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John Coopey

Thu 23rd May 2013 22:47

If ever I'm on duty, Tim, I'd be happy to take you on a tour.

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John Coopey

Sun 19th May 2013 22:52

Hello Tim,
Glad you liked "Your First Hut is the Cheapest". When I next get to PPP maybe I'll give it a go.

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John Coopey

Thu 27th Dec 2012 18:29

Hello Tim
Seasons greetings to you.
Thanks for your thoughts on "The Red Wheelbarrow". You may have guessed that it was my tongue-in-cheek contribution to the dabate on the original in the Discussions section.

<Deleted User> (6895)

Sat 27th Aug 2011 22:08

illustrations indeed are very pro!



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Ann Foxglove

Thu 8th Apr 2010 14:44

Hi, thanks for comments on Missing Person. I wrote this on the bus yesterday, where there was a small poster about a missing woman. She looked so carefree in the photo. Bits of her car have been found washed up on the coast near where she worked. So who knows? The character in the poem is made up by me (or maybe is me!) As to the fate of the missing woman, her family still wait and hope!

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chris yates

Wed 19th Aug 2009 16:37

Thanks for your comment and would love to come to festival but would need directions

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chris yates

Tue 28th Jul 2009 16:24

loved the carbon footprint hilarious lol

Deborah Jordan Bailey

Thu 26th Mar 2009 00:10

Hello Tim, thank you for your comments on my words,Trust. I am happy you liked it,Deb x

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Tim Ellis

Tue 13th Jan 2009 17:16

Hello David.

Yes, I'm off work at the moment with an injured arm, so I've got far too much time to sit watching the birds in the garden. I've got a regular flock of long-tailed tits that visits my feeder, and there's a red kite hanging around Harrogate at the moment that keeps flying over my house. It'll get a poem written about it if it's not careful! See you at WW sometime soon?

<Deleted User> (4496)

Sat 10th Jan 2009 17:24


Good evening. Welcome to WOL - bet birds of the world have their heads all tucked under their wings, just now

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