The Book


People often ask me who The Book is, or what it is, or which book or project of mine it represents.

With respect, that is not exactly the right question.

The Book is an approximation of the various neuroses, obsessions, ideas, rantings and hobby horses that I find myself entertaining when gazing out of the window, sitting in meetings, answering emails or generally wasting time worrying about the creative work I know I should be getting round to quite soon.

Sometimes The Book is me speaking. Sometimes it is someone I have met, a poet, perhaps, or other creative person or object or experience whose ideas or work has inspired or provoked me in some way.

Sometimes The Book is none of these things. Sometimes it is a fiction, made up, on a whim, out of the unconscious music that is above and below the earth and which locks us all in its tender embrace. Or not.

One thing I do know: just when I think I am done with The Book, it sneaks up on me and begins yattering in my ear again.

Here is a list of the entire series of blog posts detailing my conversations with The Book, starting with the most recent:

A beautiful thing



An American

The Irish poet


Are you afraid?

No one is watching

Coming home

Craving silence

Blue: What 2018 taught me



Everyone who matters

Truly, Madly, Deeply


Sleep, mostly

Escape to the Chateau

The world expert on John Ashbery

Kind of ashamed

The New York Times bestseller list

Cooking in a Bedsitter

The empty house

I can’t work with you any more

Reading Wallace Stevens

Ten new poems

Your worst book

Waving the white flag

Losing touch

Are you lonely?

Waiting to be found out

All the poets on Twitter


It’s gone

OK to talk about cancer

The echo chamber

What people say they have been up to on Twitter

The way I felt when I first heard Public Enemy

Moral ethics

No one you know

The point is the silence

Gazing out of someone else’s window

I hope your new book is a disaster

Starting a new book

The back of an envelope thing

Not to forget

Only the imperfections

More than a metaphor

The wedding speech

I want to disappear


Looking for Ted Hughes

Hanging out the washing

The Little Prince

The preciousness of things

Running a bath

Guarding the threshold

What drives you?

Needing to be liked

Interview with the book

The vision thing

The risk of failure

The safety net of approval

But I’m a poet

What a waste

Addicted to the news

The next book

The ambition thing


Tearing up the book

Buggering about on the internet

‘I’m your new book!’


The return of the book

The parable of the book (free eBook)

Nothing to say

The new book


Poets in the audience

We’re done

What the internet thinks

You will never be ready

Letting go

Terrible work

Being Very Funny on Twitter

Something’s come up

Under the fingernails

Adventures with the book

Talking about cutting

Wake up!

There isn’t a plan


Did you miss me?

The other book


The T-shirt idea

The damage of haste

In the bookshop

Signs of life

You could quit

The lullaby

Identical pizza crusts

The Milkmaid

Peace offering

Lost for words

Ordering drinks in Spanish

Packing to leave

In the waiting room

Leaving the house

Going for coffee

Visiting hours

Murdering my darling

Hated by the book