Born in County Down in 1986, and educated there, at Down High School, until the age of eighteen, I then went onto study English at Queen Mary, University of London before completing an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews in 2009, the same year that I was awarded a General Arts Award from the Northern Ireland Arts Council. Since 2009, my poetry has found itself published in international poetry magazines like Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto and The Yellow Nib.
It is said that one should write poetry that one would like to read, however, I also believe that first one has to read a poem one might want to write and so in the following poems the influences on my poetry might be apparent: Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Louis MacNeice. Influences on poetry, however, are not always others poets or other poetry and one major influence on my poetry is place and the place I have been brought up in which is Northern Ireland. Not only do places like Belfast feature in my poetry (see: ‘The Bus to Belfast’ and ‘Listening to Ash’) but some of the poems are inspired by turns of phrase and the vernacular that has surrounded me all my life and this might be seen in my poem ‘Thinking about the Point of Things on a Spring Evening on the Killyleagh Road.’ This is a poem which is also influenced by, or perhaps, under the influence of, something of a fascination I have for light and the seasons in our urbanised and urbanising world. ‘Death’s Door’ is a translation of a poem by the Spanish poet Jorge Guillen, highlighting my interest in European.
National Biennale: Derby 2010