Skip navigation

poet ● novelist ● arts collaborator ● teacher


A hope, an offering, for 2019…

Blurring the Lines… between poetry, prose and visual art

Imagistic: Blurring the Lines

9 February 2019, 2:30-3:30

Cornerstone, Charles Street, Cardiff CF10 2SF

Writers respond to images by artists, with both artist and writer exploring the borders of prose and poetry, abstraction and the figurative.

Philip Gross responds to artwork by Tig Sutton,

Elizabeth Parker to work by Barbara Verhoeven,

Carole Burns to drawings and paintings by Paul Edwards.

Readings, projected images, accompanying exhibition. Prices: £5 in advance, £7.50 on the door.

and earlybird tickets are available now here:

A Part of the Main – Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders – poetry to give perspective in troublesome times

NEW:   A Part of the Main  is now available, a truly beautiful thing, published by Mulfran Press. It comes with a handsome and thoughtful design by Valerie Coffin Price to frame and support the text.

All the quandaries and challenges that sparked the exchange of poems between the two poets are still with us, even more so now, as it appears in print.

Poetry responding to a crisis…

Extracts from emails, during the political upheavals of 2016–17, with the referendum, the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the polarisation of discussion all around the world:

..... ‘The events of recent months have left me stunned, shocked and bewildered; underneath the rage and disappointment I think I’m heartbroken. I feel the need to remake, reconceive, re-vision, the idea of who ‘we’ are. And to do that with a sense of some kind of community, needing imagination and a commitment to thinking-feeling more generously than presently seems possible, perhaps.’ (Lesley to Philip, 2016)
..... ‘I’ve watched my friends, and myself, going through all the classic stages of mourning – anger, denial, bargaining, depression, relative acceptance – in overlapping waves. The thing is to notice what we feel is being taken from us and set about rebuilding it. My instinct is for a conversation where the utterances are quick and open-ended, with quiet spaces for reflection in between. Nothing must aim to be the final word.’ (Philip to Lesley, 2016)

Poetry in conversation
A Part of the Main grew from that exchange. Over three or four months in vivid, exploratory verses shuttled back and forth. Trusting to the improvisatory flow, the sequence moves in swerves and echoes, far beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language. In a time of soundbites and binary rhetoric, it gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more heart- and head-room. In the words of a reviewer, ‘this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.’

A three-way collaboration
The book is designed by artist Valerie Coffin Price, whose own work explores all kinds of connection between people, landscape and ideas. In addition to the standard book, a few copies remain of the pre-publication limited edition of 50 containing additional material by the artist and the poets in loose-leaf form.

For more details about the book, the special edition, or to request a review copy, please contact Leona Medlin of Mulfran Press

For interviews and possible performances, contact
Lesley Saunders and/or Philip Gross

Dark Sky Park – real poetry and real science, hand in hand

NEW:  A brand new collection of poems for children and adults alike, with one foot in real science, one in wild imagination – my words doing a dance with Jesse Hodgson's deft and vivid illustrations

- published by Otter-Barry Books, 2018:

And here's Jill Bennett's wholehearted adventurous plunge into all its heights and depths

... and Alison Kelly's generous thoughtful review from the Schoolzone section of

... and Kate Wakeling, in the Winter 2018 issue of Carousel. "The poems in this dazzling new collection from Philip Gross are rare, distinct and mesmerising as the the creatures and landscapes he explores here. By turns witty and elegiac, his poems gaze in fierce wonder at the worlds of snow leopards, tardigrades and glacial worms, while also starkly challenging humankind’s cruelty and greed. … This is an imaginative, urgent and beautifully crafted collection." 



Shadowplay – Philip Gross and Jenny Pollak


Introducing Shadowplay, a collaboration with Australian poet and artist Jenny Pollak, published in the handsome (and subtly varied) livery of Flarestack Poets.

Mark Tredinnick writes: 'Philip Gross is one of our poetic elders, and so he writes here - his stanzas taut and gentle, inventive and provocative koans, Jenny Pollak, a brilliant sculptor, is a lyric and plainspoken contemplative...'

And Jeremy Hooker: 'The exploratory work they create... makes a hospitable 'place' into which the reader enters, not as an eavesdropper, but almost as a third collaborator, sharing the surprise and delight of the conversation.'

£6 from Flarestack - contact

For more about collaboration, go to and


Beyond Yes or No (Brexit, poetry and the quest for better questions)

A year or more on, this still feels worth saying – written for mainly American readers, via the rather good Superstition [Review]


Translating Silence


In ‘silencesilencesilencesilencesilence' – a digital pamphlet on Estonian poetry, produced with support from @LitBritish.  

Read online for free, including a short essay on the different languages of silence, with poems by great Estonian writers Juhan Viiding, Jaan Kaplinski and Doris Kareva and one of my own - ... with a very warm memory of conversations with Doris, Kätlin Kaldmaa and many others at EstLitFest, the Estonian Literature Festival, in London this Spring.


The Power of Reading

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's Power of Reading training programme has supported thousands of schools in raising engagement and attainment in reading and writing for all pupils. This website has teaching sequences for over 200 children's books for all year groups in the primary phase as well as more than 1000 practice examples.

I'm delighted that Dark Sky Park will be one of the scheme's recommended texts for 2018-19, launched by a reading at the introductory session at CLPE on Wednesday 10th October.

Part of the Main – Cardiff launch – SUNDAY 2nd DECEMBER

Thanks to everyone who came to share the first outing of this new and timely thinking-in-poetry collaboration by Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders.

The event was held in aid of Space4U, a volunteer led charity in Cardiff, supporting people who are seeking asylum or are refugees, providing clothing, recreational activities, English classes, a simple hot meal, food for the destitute, help and information.

Click on the image for a clearer view

Aldeburgh: National Poetry Competition winners across 40 years

No, prizes aren't the be-all-and-end-all of poetry life – for some they might even be a distraction. But there's no denying that this one has been a significant skyline in the landscape all my writing life, so there's a pleasure in standing on that distant skyline, waving to three fine much more recent winners, Dom Bury, Yvonne Reddick, and Liz Berry as we share a stage at Aldeburgh.

Saturday 3 November 2018, 1:00 pm2:00 pm