A Christmas conundrum

I have a confession to make – I’m not sure how I feel about Christmas any more. It’s a great excuse to have a break from work, spend time with loved ones and indulge in festive treats but the older I get, the more I’m starting to question whether I’m just going through the motions of celebrating this cultural holiday. 

In praise of “Rang-tan”, a poem about palm oil

It’s that time of year again when retailers debut their Christmas adverts, and we tune in in our thousands to watch them. From sweetly sentimental to comically cheery, there’s something for everyone – but this year, one retailer’s Christmas advert campaigned for change and was subsequently “banned” from TV for being too political.

My favourite poetry books

It’s often been said that in order to write, you first have to read – to consume the work of others, discover the type of writing you enjoy and develop your own distinctive style. For this reason, I collect poetry books; from petite pamphlets to heavy hardbacks, by poets past and present, I love them all and return to them again and again.

Poetry in advertising: 7 companies that do it well (and one that doesn’t)

I’ve noticed that an increasing number of companies are using poetry to cut through the noise of TV advertising and capture viewers’ attention. It’s a smart move because one of the purposes of advertising is to make the target audience remember the product or service, and what could be more memorable than using a powerful spoken word piece instead of predictable promotional speak?

Why start a blog?

People think that bloggers simply sit in coffee shops, tap away on their laptops and wait for the opportunities to come rolling in, but the reality is that blogging is much harder work than most people realise. It takes strategy, planning and a lot of time to create and maintain a successful blog, and relatively few bloggers make a living from it – so why start a blog? 

Manchester: a poetic tribute

Last week was the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the poetry which was shared in the aftermath of the attack and came to embody Manchester’s resilience and community spirit. What these poems all have in common is Mancunian pride – something which I feel deeply even though I’ve only lived in Manchester for a few years.

Finding poetry in unexpected places

In 2018, poetry seems to be ubiquitous; it’s shared daily on social media, featured in prime-time TV adverts, plastered on tube posters and spoken on stages large and small. But when I was growing up (just before the proliferation of the internet), poetry was mainly found in books and the occasional film or TV programme – and, of course, in my own imagination…