Write Out Loud's first Poem of the Week: 'The lovers' by Mike Watts

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Write Out Loud’s first Poem of the Week is ‘The lovers’ by Mike Watts, which was chosen by a member of our editorial team from all the poems posted on our blogs last week. As you can see, one enthusiastic commenter was ahead of the game, predicting two days ago: "Poem of the week!" Mike, a long-time contributor to Write Out Loud, said he was “proud and honoured”, adding: “WOL is such a fabulous vehicle for many of us writers, and I for one am indebted to it.” In a quickfire Q&A he gave some key answers.   


What got you into writing poetry?

I stumbled quite literally into poetry whilst larking about at a friend’s house many, many moons ago. His dad, a trawlerman, had a huge old typewriter and there amongst it all was a piece he’d written called ‘Sunset over Norway’. Strange how after 40 years I still remember the title. Anyway, I was intrigued with the rhythm of it all and decided there and then that I was going to give it a go and write one myself.


How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first poem aged nine (I’m 49 now) entitled ‘The beginning of the earth’. Wish I could remember it.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

There is a fabulous night in Hull, Away with Words, which is run by the tireless Jim Higo, and attracts some wonderful performers from around the country. It’s also a great platform for anyone who wants to have a go themselves.


What’s your favourite poet/poem?

One of my favourite poems - and one I never tire of reading - is ‘An Arundel Tomb’ by Philip Larkin.


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?

If I was dumped anywhere, be it a desert island, the moon, Alcatraz, wherever, as long as I had a photograph of my granddaughter Ericka and a case of good quality red, I’d be a contented soul.



The Lovers

by Mike Watts



I fight the stairs clutching jeans and water

Whilst she sobs

Behind me


It is Sunday

Just after



We go out

Drink ourselves stupid

Eat what’s left at whatever’s still open


Then we go home

To make war


Her tongue

Is vicious



Is worse


And it will rage until sleep smothers us


But when the grunting of one

Awakens the other

We will be entwined

Glued together like a cheap souvenir


Then I or she will peel away

Tread carefully back with

Two hot mugs


I believe love and fury to be our strength

And passion


What I’m saying

Is life will get dirty

It will inflame the soul

It will steer you toward chaos 


And when it accelerates

Foot down

Into a ferocious



It’s how you survive the crash



As well as doing a three-week stretch at the Edinburgh festival, Mike Watts has also appeared at Latitude and numerous other events and festivals around the country. He has enjoyed working with John Cooper Clarke, Kate Tempest, Ian McMillan, to name but a few, and bands including The Christians and The Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton. He is also the author of three published collections of poetry, Coming to a Street near You (Night Publishing), Day & Night In The Damaged Goods Factory (Burning Eye), and his latest collection Jawbreaker (Paul Gibson). He is currently working on his next collection which he hopes to release next year as part of the 2017 Hull, City of Culture celebrations.


◄ Put something in the bonnet? Steve Pottinger and other friendly faces in Chester

Linton Kwesi Johnson and Hollie McNish at Liverpool's WOW festival ►


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Tue 15th May 2018 10:16

Woo-hoo! Congratulations Mike, Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week - so well deserved. Congratulations.
I am just sorry I have only today discovered your writing. I shall be reading every word you share on here...
This poem is particularly scenic and filmic, as Francine said. Beautifully expressed and perfectly paced.
Love it.

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Sun 1st May 2016 21:11

Like a scene out of a movie... I can see a lot of people who live and communicate like that, which makes it both humorous and relatable.

Great pick for poem of the week. Congratulations, Mike.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 13th Apr 2016 13:02

This is a great first pick and I personally had no idea how accomplished a poet Mike is. I seem to remember commenting on a couple of his previous poems with some encouraging words thinking him to be a relatively new starter, so how stupid do you think I'm feeling right now!

Am I also the only one that thinks there's a little bit of the late David Bowie going on in Mike's photo?

I'll get my coat!

A point for all other WOL poets to make note of for future reference would be to get your "acceptance speeches/answers ready because it could quite literally be you next time!

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Laura Taylor

Wed 13th Apr 2016 09:17

Aye, nice one chap :)

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Paul F Blackburn

Tue 12th Apr 2016 23:31

Congrats Mike!

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Helen Elliott

Tue 12th Apr 2016 21:51

Brilliant and very well deserved :)

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Greg Freeman

Sun 10th Apr 2016 13:23

Hull, home of Philip Larkin - and Mike Watts! Congratulations, Mike, and thanks for being part of Write Out Loud over the years. Looking forward to visiting the city in culture year, and maybe hearing you read somewhere, too

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