My unborn on a building in Krakow



Poetry Unbound – Norwich Millennium Library, 1 June 2015 at 6pm – FREE ENTRY

Tom Warner and Sean Wai Keung (+ open mic)

The Patron Saint of Cowards

Saint Michael the ArchangelAlthough there is no Patron Saint of Cowards,
in the end we get the saint that we deserve.
So here’s your one-time cage-fighter, drug-up
from the south side of that stinking river.
Not the saint you might have prayed for,
with womanly hips and stained-glass eyes,
who’d draw you in and soothe your brow.
No. Better bring a witness; send the cops.
Have them drop by on my fixed abode
(but we’re not giving any names)
and say you’d never shoot someone in the back.
Rats can tell when they’re in with weasels,
so forget the child and the father and the mother:
yours is the saint who cups your bald head
in one hand and beats you with the other.


The Patron Saint of Talipes Foot

Odds were,
your one would always be
the one in a thousand
born with the feet turned,
tipped like horse’s hooves.
Two to one said,
this one, laid for months
with plastered legs,
would be a son.
But here is my girl;
correction and provenance.
And my girl will be a salt
never trodden
beneath the feet
of men.


Yoga shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards

Yoga - Tom WarnerYoga by Tom Warner has been shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards 2014. Read more about the awards and the shortlisted books here.

Winners will be announced at the East Anglian Book Awards ceremony on Thursday 20 November.

Copies of Yoga can be ordered through Amazon, Waterstones and Egg Box.

from ‘Souvenir’ (The Voice Project, Holkham Hall 2014)

Souveir photo by JMA PhotographySome memories are honed and barbed
and finished to a crystal point to catch
a smell of grass, a synonym of love.
Others come like mice to kitchens,
unlatching bones to slip inside.
Of course you cannot let them stay,
tiptoeing on those pink and padded feet,
or sitting back on naked tails
to palm the fur around their ears,
but you’ll never stop them coming back
to this warmth and these crumby scraps.

The Voice Project ‘Souvenir’ at Holkham Hall

The Voice Project ‘Souvenir’ was performed at Holkham Hall on 17 May 2014, as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Music by Jonathan Baker, Helen Chadwick, Orlando Gough and Karen Wimhurst.

Words by Esther Morgan and Tom Warner.

The Voice Project Choir 11_5_14

The Patron Saint of Florence

St John the Baptist

Your name comes up between the words;
thinking time in the fluent writing
of narrow streets and stand-up cafes.
It goes like a bat above a garden,
not quite quick enough to be unnoticed.
You are the rumour no one wants to hear,
a conspiracy between the receptionist
and whoever else is on the other end.
They shake you out on a table cloth,
smooth you from a son’s smart clothes
and stitch you into fraying pockets.
Your name is mentioned at least once
every half an hour on commercial radio.
It seems you’ve made headline news
and play some part in the coming weather.


Commended in the National Poetry Competition 2014

Click here to read ‘CCTV Central Control’ by Tom Warner or Click here to see the FilmPoem of ‘CCTV’

CCTV Central Control

Yoga (Tom Warner) and Standard Twin Fantasy (Sam Riviere) – Norwich launch

To celebrate these publications, Tom & Sam will be reading from their work and having a few drinks.


Yoga by Tom Warner (F.U.N.E.X.)

Yoga - Tom WarnerYoga by Tom Warner will be available from 2 April 2014. Copies can be ordered through Amazon, Waterstones and Egg Box.

Music Mix Orchestra Live! concert at Yarmouth Hippodrome – 13 March 2014

Music MixClick here for news and photos of the Orchestra Live! Music Mix concert at Yarmouth Hippodrome. The concert included a performance of ‘Sixty Yards Over No Man’s Land’, with music written by Guy Barker, and words written by students of Wymondham College and Langley School and arranged by Tom Warner.

Goodbye, Tobacco

DSCF4810The half an ounce I bought today will be my last;
a classic blend of bright Virginia and rich Kentucky.
I can’t imagine the tonnes I’ve smoked (minus papers),
but, ladies of Lotto and tobacco counters, this is farewell.
I give too much to you, Tobacco and ladies of Camelot,
but most to you, Tobacco. You break my concentration,
call time on poems after just a title or seventh line;
I’d like to stretch them out, perhaps beyond a page
or at least to write until I need to pause and think,
a biro loosely pinched between my first two fingers.
I’ll miss the way you punctuate long waits in public places
and how you sneak me out of awkward conversations,
but it’s time I understood the weight of what you take
and what I blow away in streams through puckered lips.

There are people I stand and talk with outside the pub
with whom the only thing I have in common is you,
drawing in my cheeks, and this half-love, half-hate.
A part of me thinks I should just let you stay
when I imagine myself, some months from now,
keeping up acquaintance with our mutual friends
on the off-chance I’ll catch a whiff of you, like a man,
recently divorced, outside his ex-wife’s place of work.

Orchestras Live – MusicMix project


Tom has been working with students from Langley School and Wymondham College for the BBC and Orchestras Live, in collaboration with musician and composer Guy Barker.

The MusicMix project will culminate in two live concerts and a feature on BBC Radio 3 in Spring 2014 to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Yoga by Tom Warner (to be published in early 2014)



PalFest 2013

Tom Warner would like to thank Najwan Darwish, Ahdaf Soueif, Omar Hamilton and everyone involved in the Palestine Festival of Literature 2013.

Tom read and conducted workshops in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Birzeit as part of PalFest 2013.


The Rialto (Issue 77)

Tom Warner has two poems in the current issue of The Rialto. Also featured is work by Lorraine Mariner, George Szirtes, Rebecca Perry, Jane Draycott, Ruth Padel, Hannah Lowe and celebrations and poems for the excellent Peter Scupham (below) in his eightieth year.

Peter Scupham, by Jemimah Kuhfeld, August 2009 - NPG  - © Jemimah Kuhfeld


Tom Warner and Dart at Cheltenham Poetry Festival – 27 April 2013

In this unique event Cheltenham Poetry Festival present a reading by Tom Warner and a showing of a film inspired by the poem by Alice Oswald, made by Marc Tiley. Click here for more details.

Inspired by Hungarian Poetry

In January 2013 the Hungarian Cultural Centre London launched its new project ‘Inspired by Hungarian poetry: British poets in conversation with Attila József’ inviting British poets to respond to a selection of Attila József’s poems, translated into English by George Szirtes, Edwin Morgan, John Bátki and Peter Zollman.

The poets include Derek Adams, Polly Clark, Antony Dunn, Jacqueline Gabbitas, George Gömöri, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Ágnes Lehóczky, Tim Liardet, John McAuliffe, John Mole, Clare Pollard, Sam Riviere, Carol Rumens, Fiona Sampson, George Szirtes and Tom Warner.

British Council – Dhaka Diary

Click here to read Tom Warner’s British Council blog article about his recent trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dear World and Everyone In It (Cambridge Wordfest – 14 April 2013, 8:30pm)

Cambridge Wordfest reading featuring Tom Warner, Tom Chivers, Agnes Lehoczky, Stephen Emmerson, Sarah Kelly and Andrew Spragg.

Come and hear from a range of talented young poets taking UK poetry in new and exciting directions. Find out more about today’s poetry landscape as they read from Dear World and Everyone In It – a groundbreaking new anthology of younger poets which has sparked debate and captured a generational mood; playful, collaborative, ambitious, inclusive and cooperative – be part of it. (Cambridge Wordfest)

Dear World and Everyone In It (Bloodaxe, 2013)

dear-world-everyone-in-it-new-poetry-in-the-ukDear World & Everyone In It is a ground-breaking new poetry anthology presenting the work of over 60 of the most talented and interesting young poets currently writing in the UK. Chosen by one of the country’s leading young poetry editors, inspired by American precedents, and growing out of The Rialto‘s recent series of young poets features curated by Nathan Hamilton, it is the first British anthology to attempt to define a generation through a properly representative cross-section of work and a fully collaborative editorial process.

Dear World & Everyone In It is an indispensable summary or starting map for anyone wanting to explore and enjoy more of the current UK poetry landscape or seeking to better understand what’s going on out there.

Featuring: Tom Warner, Rachael Allen, Andrew Bailey, Emily Berry, Ben Borek, Siddhartha Bose, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, James Byrne, Stuart Calton, Tom Chivers, Tim Cockburn, Becky Cremin, Emily Critchley, Joe Crot, Patrick Coyle, Amy De’Ath, Laura Elliott, Stephen Emmerson, Amy Evans, Ollie Evans, S.J. Fowler, Miriam Gamble, Jim Goar, Matthew Gregory, Elizabeth Guthrie, Emily Hasler, Oli Hazzard, Colin Herd, Holly Hopkins, Sarah Howe, Tom Ironmonger, Meiron Jordan, Katharine Kilalea, Sarah Kelly, Luke Kennard, Laura Kilbride, Michael Kindellan, Agnes Lehoczky, Frances Leviston, Eireann Lorsung, Chris McCabe, Michael McKimm, Fabian Macpherson, Toby Martinez de las Rivas, mendoza, James Midgley, Marianne Morris, Camilla Nelson, Kei Miller, Tamarin Norwood, Richard Parker, Sandeep Parmar, Holly Pester, Heather Phillipson, Kate Potts, Nat Raha, Sam Riviere, Sophie Robinson, Hannah Silva, Angus Sinclair, Marcus Slease, Andy Spragg, Ben Stainton, Keston Sutherland, Jonty Tiplady, Emily Toder, Simon Turner, Jack Underwood, Ahren Warner, Rachel Warriner, James Wilkes and Steve Willey.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Tom is looking forward to visiting Bangladesh in March 2013 to read at Dhaka University, organised by Brine Pickles. Further details to follow.

Dhaka University[1]

The Caravan

Tom has two poems in the current issue of the Indian magazine, The Caravan.
Day Thirty-Two illustration

The country’s first and only publication devoted to narrative journalism, The Caravan occupies a singular position among Indian magazines. Our stories present a unique mix of detailed reporting, lively and vivid writing, and a commitment to the art of storytelling whether the subject is politics, culture, travel or art.

In Their Own Words – edited by George Szirtes and Helen Ivory

A backstage peep behind the poetry of some of the best contemporary British and Irish writers. In Their Own Words is an examination, by the writers themselves, of what most matters to them in both the social or individual realm, including the politics of belonging.

Featuring Tom Warner, Andrew Greig, W.N. Herbert, Mark Granier, Philip Gross, Vicki Feaver, Mimi Khalvati, David Morley, Ira Lightman, Agnes Lehoczky, Andy Brown, Ian Duhig, Anna Reckin, Jen Hadfield, Sarah Law, Kona Macphee, Maitreyabandhu, Julia Copus, Polly Clark, Deryn Rees-Jones, Tim Turnbull, Samantha Wynne Rhydderch, Helen Mort, Nigel McLoughlin, Jay Bernard, Katrina Porteous, Ross Sutherland, Luke Wright, Tim Wells, Antony Dunn, Luke Kennard, Matthew Sweeney, Pascale Petit, Moniza Alvi, Gregory Woods, Sam Riviere, Michael Symmons Roberts, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Martin Figura, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Mir Mahfuz Ali, Vahni Capildeo, Roger Robinson, Clare Shaw, Clare Pollard, Meirion Jordan, Tiffany Atkinson, Patience Agbabi, John McCullough, John Mole, Peter Scupham, Alison Brackenbury, Carol Rumens, Carrie Etter, Penelope Shuttle and Esther Morgan.

George Szirtes – On a poem by Tom Warner

Click here to read George Szirtes’ blog on ‘Under Natural History‘.

I Gaze From My Kitchen Like An Astronaut

Jaybird’s new poetry show introduces ten poets to a theatre director and designer and creates new worlds of poetic pleasure and provocation. Words and moods are enhanced with props and subtle choreography: how the poets move, sit and stand on stage helps your eye support what your ear attends. The poets perform their individual shows in various combinations throughout the country during Autumn 2012.

Tom Warner will be one of the astronaut poets, along with Liz Berry, Kayo Chingonyi, Sarah Howe, Amy Key, William Letford, Karen McCarthy Woolf, John McCullough, Richard O’Brien and Liane Strauss. Tom will be performing in Hastings on 22 September, London on 29 September and Norwich on 24 November 2012. Details of all the shows can be found on Jaybird’s Astronaut website.

Tom Warner and Esther Morgan – Norwich, 20 August 2012

Tom Warner and Esther Morgan will be reading for Poetry Unbound 2 at The Forum, Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library on 20 August 2012, 6pm – 8pm. entry is free and refreshments will be available.

Poetry Review

Tom’s poem ‘Wallets’ is published in the current issue of Poetry Review. Read the poem at the Poetry Society here.

Maintenant Croatia Reading

Thursday 26th April 2012 – 7pm at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P

Damir Sodan – Tomica Bajsic – Dorta Jagic – Ivan Herceg – Sonja Manojlović

Jeff Hilson – Tom Warner -– Tim Atkins – Mark Waldron – Marcus Slease – Andy Spragg – Claire Potter – Saradha Soobrayen – Joe Kennedy

Day Thirty-Two

‘Day Thirty-Two’ (winner of the Plough Prize 2011) has been added to the Poems page.

Review of the Escalator reading at CB1 in Cambridge

Click here to visit the Sabotage website and read Sean Hewitt’s review of the Escalator winners reading at CB1 in Cambridge on 28 February 2012.


For Nick

The jolt in your speech
made us believe,

The Saint of Forest Town,
you jammered in your room,
and soon enough the word

worked itself free
and ordinary folk like us
came to your door,

a queue of wheelchairs
and metal beds
and those led by the sleeve.

Plough Prize 2011

Tom’s poem ‘Day Thirty-Two’ has won The Plough Prize 2011. You can read the winning poem and others at The Plough Prize website here.

Harrison quote

‘My upbringing among so-called “inarticulate” people has given me a passion for language that communicates directly and immediately. I prefer the idea of men speaking to men to a man speaking to god, or even worse to Oxford’s anointed.’

– Tony Harrison


Imagine the art of doodling dies out
with the corded phone and the message pad
on which we explore the storm of a signature
or idly draw our own prisons.

Fully digital, there’ll be no escape,
from double history or the monthly team meeting,
aboard sailboats bound for those desert islands
we discover in the margins of a page.

How will we visit our corners without the pyramids
and chessboards of these unfocused sketches?
Lost in the spaghetti junction of ourselves,
afloat in our think bubbles.


Tom’s poem ‘Magician’ is published in The Manchester Review.

WARNING: This poem contains strong language. There is no flash photography.

Body of Work: 40 Years of Creative Writing at UEA

Tom’s poem ‘Toe’ will appear in the anothology Body of Work: 40 Years of creative Writing at UEA (Full Circle Editions) to be launched in London on 1 December 2012. Full Circle Editions

Full Circle Editions

Well Versed

Here’s a video documenting a project I worked on last year. Well Versed was a pilot project bringing poets and teachers together to improve the presentation of poetry in primary and secondary schools. Well Versed was managed by Writers Centre Norwich in partnership with Creativity, Culture and Education.

St. Augustine’s and Toes

I spent National Poetry Day (yesterday) at St. Augustine’s Priory School in Ealing, West London. I was at the school for a reading and Q&A with sixth form students, followed by a workshop with Year 9s. The students asked some interesting questions about constraint and the creative process.

In July I was asked to write a poem for an anthology celebrating forty years of creative writing at the University of East Anglia. I’d bumped into the Creative Writing Professor in Norwich and he’d asked if I’d have a go at writing in response to a Derek Mahon poem called ‘Head’. Mahon’s ‘Head’ would appear last in the anthology and my poem, should I choose to take up the challenge, should be titled ‘Toe’ and would appear first; a kind of top and tail, or tail and top. So, ‘Toe’… and it needed to be about inspiration/creation, either stubbing a toe or building a golem beginning with the toe. So, ‘Toe’… and I had little over two weeks to write it. Two weeks in which I was working in schools and away at Latitude. Not long. So, ‘Toe’…

A few days from the deadline I considered requesting an extension, but, as I said yesterday, deadlines are good, as are constraints on subject; they squeeze and steer the writing. I still don’t know how I feel about my ‘Toe’. It’s kind of mine and not mine, but it is there.

Thank you to the students and teachers at St. Augustine’s for an excellent National Poetry Day. Here’s ‘Toe’.



It makes sense to start with the toe and work up.
I pull off my sock to check my own dumb digit,
get a sense of proportion, follow tendons and joints
to the nub that’s furthest from my head and mouth.
It’s best not to think too much, just get something down:
a big toe from which to build the foot, the shin, the head.
I warm a pound or so of clay between my clammy hands
and roll out the capital letter of his body’s first line.

When he’s complete, I’ll prop a ladder against his chest
to scratch a title into the bluish slab of forehead,
then wait for him to move a toe or suck up breath.
Tonight I’ll lead him, broad-backed, into your city,
leave him to sleep in oily lock-ups and walk the streets
with nothing but this poem rolled beneath his tongue.

Wymondham Words

I’m reading at the Wymondham Words Festival on Friday 16 September at 8pm at the Ex-Services Club in Wymondham. I’ll be reading with Kate Kilalea, Andy McDonnell and Tim Cockburn. The festival is on all weekend and has an excellent line-up, including Mark Cocker, Richard Mabey, Helen Ivory and Elspeth Barker. Further details here.

Stalham High School’s honorary poet

After an excellent week working with students and teachers for Stalham High School’s literature festival last month, I’m honoured to be adopted as the school’s honorary poet. I look forward to working with Stalham again in the new academic year.

Anthology celebrating creative writing at UEA

I have a poem in a forthcoming collection of essays and poems celebrating forty years of creative writing at the University of East Anglia. I was asked to write a poem about writing/inspiration and using the title ‘Toe’ in response to a poem by Derek Mahon called ‘Head’.

What is the point of making teenagers write poetry?

Click here to read Molly Naylor’s article on the Well Versed project at The Rialto blog.

Well Versed was a pilot project of poets working with teachers to improve the presentation of poetry in primary and secondary schools. Tom and Molly Naylor and students and teachers at West Earlham Primary, Wicklewood Primary and North Walsham High.

Warner’s Arc

Joey Connolly reviews Tom Warner: Faber New Poets 8 here.

North Chicago Review

Tom has two new poems appearing in the inaugural issue of the North Chicago Review due out in Summer 2011.