June 2nd 2022: Zoom Guest Evening – JAMES SALE and ANTHONY WATTS

We are delighted to invite James and Anthony to this FRP Zoom event.

James Sale lives in Bournemouth and is a management consultant, educator and poet who has had over 50 books published, most recently, “Mapping Motivation for Top Performing Teams” (Routledge, 2021). He has been nominated by The Hong Kong Review for the 2022 Pushcart Prize for poetry, has won first prize in New York’s The Society of Classical Poets 2017 annual competition, and performed in New York in 2019. He is a regular contributor on poetry and culture for New York’s The Epoch Times. His most recent poetry collection is “HellWard”, which has led one reviewer to describe him as “England’s epic poet” and another to describe the poem as like “thriller fiction, especially Lee Child, that has me desperately keen to turn to the next page to see what happens next.” Finally, Anthony Watts remarked that “HellWard is like no other book you have ever read – unless, that is, you’ve read the first book of Dante’s Divine Comedy, on which it is modelled.”
For more information about the author, and about his Dante project, visit https://englishcantos.home.blog

A Londoner by birth, Anthony Watts has lived in rural Somerset for most of his life, its varying terrains – the Quantock Hills, the Levels – informing much of his work.  Upon his retirement from local government in 2003 he held the distinction of being Somerset County Library’s longest-serving member.  Anthony is a founder member of the Fire River Poets, at whose monthly open mics he is a regular participant.  He has won 26 First Prizes in poetry competitions and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014.  His poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies.  His first collection, Strange Gold, was published by the mysteriously named KQBX Press, edited by fellow poet James Sale, with whom he will be sharing the guest spot on 2nd June. 

James’ Pushcart Prize nominated poem in the Hong Kong Review is:

CS Lewis Applies to Oxford, 1916

“There, he shared a sitting room with another hopeful candidate” – Alister McGrath

There, beside him, that other candidate:
He, too, had appointments, and a calling;
He, too, was waiting – the War the while wailing –
And Oxford only offering one its fate.

What else, what other future could there be?
The text is written, books done, now dusted –
Yet ideas live – ideas Lewis wrestled, trusted;
But that other one, where is he?

Did war prove his learning’s antidote?
Some sniper snipe days before armistice?
Or he become a teacher somewhere ‘nice’
Who once with Lewis strove and pitched his note?

Or did he find love, honest and durable –
A brace of kids, not books and all their dust –
A life of deeper sweat, more urgent must –
A life of being finally, really curable?

Where is he now that candidate, that one
With whom the great Lewis struggled, prevailed?
There is a history very real, never nailed
Each one of us has to do, does, till we’re done.

Here are two poems from Anthony‘s collection Strange Gold:

All in a Row

Three years old – a breeze of summer
Flutters her greenleaf dress, winnows her hair
And, shivering the raspberry canes, makes off
Across the neighbouring plots and out to sea.

Kodak’d in the kitchen window-frame,
She sprinkles gravely where my rigged sticks rise
Above the tombs of mouldering beans that failed
To honour this late spring. She waves her can,

Flinging a few last drops, then, running in,
Looks up at me with eyes stretched oh so wide
In wonder at the goodness of her deed:
Daddy, they’ll grow and grow and grow, she says.

Buckled into her small shoes,
Let her not yet be blown away –
But stand some while amongst the rows of seeds,
Clutching her small red plastic watering can.


               ‘s his perpetual blind
date; seldom turns up; they never
kiss and, should he ask her name,
she’ll answer with a curious half-smile.

Frail vessels he brings, cat’s­-
cradles of words to collect her essence in –
like water in a sieve, she laughs
and slips away, leaving a sparkling froth.

She flirts with scientists, philosophers
(letting the biggest fools believe they’ve won her)
but he, the poet, is her true
and only Fool, happy to fail and fail . . .

not happy, no – but then he has no choice
in the matter, she being his, and he her, voice.

NOTE:  Strange Gold is now out of print, but Anthony’s fifth and latest collection, Stiles (2019|), is available from Paekakariki Press Paekakariki Press, Letterpress Workshop, Walthamstow, London .