Working in Wales


Well done, young Welsh poets!

Dragons burst into life in classrooms around south Wales last term, through the stunning poetry produced by youngsters in my workshops. Well done to all primary poets involved, from Haverfordwest to Monmouthshire, Cardiff to Porthcawl and Swansea to the Rhondda! In the verses produced, we met mad dragons, creepy ones, violent and gentle ones; comic ones acting like clowns and courageous ones racing to the rescue. Some were lit up through alliteration, others metamorphosed into metaphors, while one or two squeezed into 17-syllable haiku. We sang about dragons too, and clapped them into rhythmic rhymes, and made up menus for their dragon-exclusive restaurants – hilarious!

In some schools, we had a peek at Tim Peake’s ventures instead, firing off from his landing station into the deep unknown; at Henreforgan Primary, we celebrated spring – and I did a week’s exercise in one day as leaping lambs and cantering foals through the classes!

At St Cuthbert’s Primary, Cardiff, we dreamed our way down through deep oceans to weave hidden wonders into wavy, whirling verses. 

Thanks to all schools and staff involved!

My summer topics include the sea – with the odd sea monster and a storm or two, buzzing rain forests, busy insects, lush pastures and rolling summer skies. For more details, please see below + Workshops page, or get in touch to discuss ( / 01446 760124).

Poems for Wales – samples

Feeling Fantastic

I’m feeling fantastic, elastic, gymnastic,
record-break-astic – yes, that’s how I feel!

I’m a bottle of pop, a fountain of fizz,
a rocket at blast-off, ready to whiz!

I could run up Plynlimon three times on the hop,
leapfrog up Snowdon and fly off the top!

Oh, I’m bubbling right over,
while Mum just tut-tuts.

She prefers me when I’m a misery-guts.

One of two poems published in Second Thoughts, Pont Books, Gomer Press.


The Lurking Lady of Llanover

Have you ever seen a ghost
at Cardiff’s Llanover Hall?
On your way to ‘Drama’, perhaps, or ‘Pottery’?
No? Not at all?
Or have you, maybe, felt her most,
blowing a gale while the air stands still,
cold as  the windswept West Wales coast?
Some have.

Have you never felt her chill,
like a shudder across your face?
Or seen her standing, tall and still,
clothed in silk and snow-white lace?
Some have done.

Some have felt her in the passageway,
freezing the paintings on display,
or seen her in an empty room,
looming in the  twilight gloom,
here at Llanover Hall.

But though she lurks so cool and tall,
she never spoils our fun.

Published in Fire to a Cold World, Book 2, WJEC.


List of poems published in Wales:

‘Feeling Fantastic’, Second Thoughts, Pont Books
‘Dragon Blood’,         ”            ”           ”      ”         ”       
‘A Pembrokeshire Castle’, A Glimpse of the Sea 
‘The Wicked Welsh Dragon’, Fire to a Cold World, Book 1, WJEC
‘The Lurking Lady of Llanover’, Fire to a Cold World, Book 2, WJEC

For poems published outside Wales, see list at bottom of ‘Published‘.

Workshops in Wales

Having lived in the Vale of Glamorgan for many years, I’ve visited hundreds of primary schools across the south and middle of the country, and a few up north in Conwy and Colwyn Bay too. Venues have also included nursery schools, libraries, pupil referral units, special schools, arts centres, a museum, a park, and a castle. Anyone want to suggest another exciting venue???

Workshop projects (in addition to my usual workshops) have included:

anti-bullying poetry days;
an inner-city inter-school workshop;
drop-in sessions and school group workshops at libraries;
a breakfast-club poetry event;
a nursery open day;
a year-long project around Caerphilly Castle with pupils from a secondary school (see pic. caption);
St David’s Day celebrations.

Picture: Caerphilly Castle – focus of my all-year poetry project with Yr 7/8 pupils at Rhymney Comprehensive School, in conjunction with the Awen Project and Caerphilly Arts Development.

Note re. Literature Wales’s representation: my entry on their ‘Writers of Wales Database’ is out of date, so does not quite tally with information on these pages, but will be updated when  their new website is ready.

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