W R I T I N G C V
NB. I also have Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure clearance, having taught in secure units and schools.
General: I am a poet, fiction-writer, songwriter, actor and dramatist. I have published widely and I run writing workshops for a range of different participants, from primary school pupils to members of the general public. I also offer writing sessions for writers’ groups in the Birmingham and Worcestershire areas.
Published work: the following is a selection from my publications--
~‘Burned’ [poem], Grain Magazine [Canada], vol IX, no. 4, November 1981.
~ ‘Widow’ [poem], Iron, no. 42, June 1984.
‘Fellow Traveller’ [poem], Borderlines, June 1987.
~ ‘Time for Tea’ [poem], Cobweb, no. 6, May 1990.
~ ‘You Say Potato’ [poem], Spokes, no 21, Summer 1992.
~ ‘Totem’ [poem], in One for Jimmy [anthology], ed. Matthew Sweeney, Autumn 1992.
~ ‘The Baby-Frame’ [short story], Foolscap, no. 15, October 1993.
~ ‘The Wistfulness of Claes Chezwe’ [poem], Staple, no. 31, Winter 1994.
~ ‘Wreaking Justice’ [short story], The Swansea Review, no. 12, 1994.
~ ‘God’s Machynlleth’ [poem], The Rialto, no. 34, Spring 1996.
~ ‘South of Jarrow,’ ‘Boy Racer,’ ‘Dragonblue,’ and ‘Plas Meini’ [poems], Fire, no. 3, December 1996.
~ ‘Joe’s’ [poem], Stand Magazine, vol 39, no. 1, Winter 1997.
~ ‘Port Winston Mulberry’ [poem], in In England Now [anthology], ed. Roger Garfitt, 1998.
~ ‘Taking Pete Wiznuk Out’ [story], finalist entry, Stand Magazine International Short Story Competition, Autumn 1997.
~ ‘Sir Patrick Spens,’ first prize, Housman Poetry Competition, April 1998.
~ ‘Now the Wife’s Gone’ [poem] and ‘Taverner’s Business’ [short story], Stand Magazine, vol. 40, no. 2, Spring 1999.
'Tell Me About Eileen' [short story], Cadenza, no. 4, 2001.
'My Mother's Major' [short story], The Interpreter's House, no. 17, June 2001.
'Dodging Jaxi' [poem], Poet's Anonymous competition, London, June 2001. Judge: Carol Rumens.
'A Day' [poem], Other Poetry, II, no. 19, 2001.
‘Delfigo Street’ [short story], Antioch Review (US), Spring 2002.
‘True Likeness’ [poem], Poets Anonymous competition, London, June 2002. Judge: Janice Fixter.
‘The Last Skateboarder,’ ‘The Captain’s Fever,’ ‘Boy Racer’ [poems]. Published as part of a general feature on my writing in Magazine Six: The Key West Issue, ed by Kirby Congdon (Florida, Spring, 2006).
Selection of published work continued:
‘Cows in a Corofin Field’ [poem], commended, Poetry London Competition, August 2006. Judge: Michael Symmons Roberts.
God's Machynlleth and Other Poems. Flarestack, 1996.
Port Winston Mulberry. Forthcoming from Peterloo, 2007.
Courses and workshops: I run courses in Creative Writing for members of the general public, primary school pupils and college undergraduates.
I have run writing courses for students at Newman HE College, Bartley Green, Birmingham, leading to three successful anthologies of verse--Cardinal Numbers, May 1996; N.E.W.M.A.N., May 1997; and Skating Vicar in Bedroom Surprise, May 1998.
I have run numerous workshops with school children; a selection of these follows:
1 I organised and ran The Writing on the Wall, a series of workshops held at Worcester Art Gallery in July 1999, based on Here To Stay, an exhibition of contemporary British art (including Tracy Emin) on show at the Gallery.
2 In August 2000, I ran another series of workshops, Roman Ways--Your Words, at the Commandery Civil War Centre in Worcester.
3 In June 2001, I ran a day of poetry workshops at St. Barnabas’ School, Drakes Broughton, Worcestershire, as part of the school’s ‘Book Week’ events.
4 In March 2002, I ran a series of workshops on ‘Animals and Adventures’ for schoolchildren in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear.
5 In July 2003, I ran poetry and music workshops for pupils at Conway Primary School, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, as part of their ‘Summer Reading Week.’ Topics included ‘Being the Weather,’ ‘Growing’ and ‘How I Was and How I’ll Be’; activities included setting the pupils’ poems to music. The workshops involved the entire school.
6 In April 2004, I ran poetry workshops on the theme of ‘Fantastic Adventures’ at Eckington First School, Pershore, Worcestershire, as part of the school’s ‘English’ week. Activities included: reading my adventure poems and stories to the whole school, to set the scene for the day; singing and playing ‘adventure’ songs to pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5; running poetry and illustration workshops for these years; leading a whole-school session in which the pupils read their poems and shared their illustrations.
7 In Spring and Summer 2007, I was writer-in-residence at three primary schools in Birmingham, as part of the Write On! Project to guide and encourage pupils in all aspects of their creative writing, including stories, poetry and plays for performance.
Currently, I run adult education courses in Creative Writing at the Coachhouse Arts Centre, Oldswinford, West Midlands, and at Westhill College, Selly Oak, Birmingham. These courses are offered through the University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies. Their themes include ‘Personalising the Self: Exploring First-Person Narratives,’ ‘Poetic Responses to the Twentieth Century’ and ‘Adventures in Biography and Autobiography.’ The courses cover all genres of creative writing. I also run the poetry elements in two further Birmingham courses, Year 1 ‘Introduction to Creative Writing,’ and Year 2 ‘Experimental Writing.’
From October to December, 2004, I ran Creative Writing workshops in all genres at HMP Long Lartin, South Littleton, Worcestershire.
From March 2005 to March 2006, I ran monthly workshops for Sandwell Writers’ Group, at the main Sandwell Library, West Bromwich. Funded by Sandwell Arts and Poetry Central, the sessions led to the production of Many, Many Mondays, an anthology of the group’s work, which I edited. The anthology was launched in December 2006 at the Library, an event which attracted much positive response from public and media alike, leading to great interest in the group’s writing.
1. I have been working with the Heritage Information Officer, Charles Mundy, at the Commandery Centre in Worcester. The commissioned work includes a narrative of Roman life in Worcestershire, AD 1, combining fact and fiction. This is a ‘virtual novel’, with chapters being posted on the Worcester Museum and Art Gallery Website, January 2002 onwards. The project is part of Worcester’s Millennial History exhibitions, with connections to the BBC History Zone. The audience for the ‘novel’ ranges from school-children to members of the public, and there are plans to develop a printed version and ‘resource packs’ for use in schools. There will be twenty-six chapters on the museum’s website, and the narrative has also been featured on www.24hourmuseum.org.uk
2. I have also worked with the Tenants’ Federation in Dudley, West Midlands, under the auspices of the borough’s Urban Regeneration Scheme. This involves running writing workshops for residents which focus on important aspects of their lives and experiences, and also writing narratives based on local issues for websites, newsletters and related media.
3. I am the author of Assumption Eve, a drama based on one of the ‘Miracles of St Wulfstan,’ Worcester’s patron saint. This is scheduled to be performed in 2008.
4. The Ledbury Poetry Festival, July 2003. At the Festival, I ran a course on Twentieth Century Poets for writers and members of the public. The course was very well subscribed, and it focussed upon such poets as Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Jennings, Stevie Smith and Ted Hughes.
5. BBC Radio: I have appeared on BBC radio programmes as part of such projects as RAW (Reading and Writing), 2006-07. My participation has included discussions of children’s literature, the appeal of poetry for children, influential books from my own childhood and ways to make bedtime reading engaging and memorable. I have also read my own work, including poetry for both children and adults.
5. The Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida, April 16th-18th, 2004. I was guest poet at this annual event. My contributions included:
welcoming participants to the Festival and reading from my work;
running poetry workshops;
giving radio interviews to promote the Festival’s Open Day, Sunday 18th, to the public;
giving talks on Robert Frost, Edward Thomas and the Dymock Poets;
participating in the award ceremony for the Festival’s poetry competition: three categories--Junior High School, High School and Adult.
I am now Poet-in-Residence annually at the Robert Frost Festival. In addition--unexpectedly--I have been made ‘Poet-at-Large’ in the Navy of the Conch Republic of Key West.
I have a valid driving licence and car, and can travel to venues as required.
Websites: The following are websites relating to my writing and workshops activities:
My writing website:
Worcester Museums website: ‘The Spatula Story,’ by Michael W. Thomas
My profile, reading and creative writing workshop, the Liverpool Irish Festival, October 2003
Guest poet, The Robert Frost Festival, Key West, Florida, Thursday, 20th April--Sunday, 23rd April, 2006. Workshops, readings and prize-giving.
Jeremy Hilton, Editor, Fire, Field Cottage, Old Whitehill,
Tackley, nr Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 3AB
Dr. Elsa Braekkan-Payne, Centre for Lifelong Learning,
University of Birmingham, Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak,
Birmingham B29 6LL