Poetry Centre

Alan Buckley

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    Originally from Merseyside, I moved to Oxford in the 1980s to study English Literature and have lived here ever since. My debut pamphlet, Shiver (published by tall-lighthouse: http://www.tall-lighthouse.co.uk/publications.html#shiver), was the Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice for summer 2009. I was awarded an Arts Council writer’s grant in the same year. In 2010 I won first prize in the Wigtown Poetry Competition, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize. I have previously co-run a live literature programme in HMP Grendon, and am currently working for the charity First Story in a local secondary school’s inclusion unit.

    I have performed regularly at the Catweazle Club over the last eight years. In 2009 and 2010 I worked with several other Oxford poets, and a variety of classical and improvising musicians, to create the two-hour shows The Quarterly Report, Broadside and The Second Quarterly Report. I also regularly organise and compère evenings of music and poetry at a range of venues in Oxford.

    I write mainly short lyric poems. Of the three broadly-defined ‘poetry tribes’ in Britain (mainstream, avant-garde and spoken word) I fit most clearly into the first; however, I believe very firmly that a poem only fully exists when it is given a voice, whether that is an individual reciting a poem from a book (out loud or in their head), or the poet themselves performing their work in public. I’ve always put a lot of energy into developing my skills as a performer, and creating events capable of attracting audiences that aren’t poetry-specific.

    Reviews of Alan Buckley’s work

    ‘Alan Buckley’s writing is alive with the need to understand. These poems are like x-rays which see through the surfaces of things and “guess their way around the unthinkable dark”.’ – Jean Sprackland

    ‘Buckley reveals himself to be a gutsy poet, taking on shifts in culture, time and human sexuality in one fell swoop.’ – Kathryn Gray,Magma

    ‘For me, Buckley just gets what poetry is about, and puts it into practice again and again over the course of a short pamphlet with undeniable invention and prowess… a whip-smart, hard-thinking writer.’ – Ben Wilkinson, Deconstructive Wasteland