Jonathan Who?

Before retiring in December 2020, I was a deputy head teacher in Cumbria and had taught in primary schools for thirty-six years. Before that, I worked in the power industry as a student engineer, a lettuce picker for East Coast Salads and a painter in a corrugated card factory. About ten years ago, I started writing poetry again after a long break; focusing mainly on light iambic stuff to entertain myself.

Eventually, some of this work ended up in magazines and anthologies and in 2015 TMB Books offered to publish a collection of light poems (My Camel’s Name Is Brian). My poems and stories for children pop up occasionally in various places (Bill the Bad was commended in the Caterpillar Poetry Competition; Karmasaurus was shortlisted and Pie Tester was highly commended for the York Children’s Poetry Prize) and other stuff has appeared from time to time on BBC Radio 4 and on Radio Cumbria. I read at spoken word events such as Verbalise in the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre, Speak!Easy at The Kittchen in Hawkshead, Big Charlie’s Working Title and Spotlight at The Storey in Lancaster. In early 2020,  before the Covid 19 pandemic, I began delivering poetry workshops in schools for The Wordsworth Trust and in late 2020, I performed as the ‘Poet in a Fridge’ writing and reading quickfire ‘Poetry Takeaway’ during the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival at Tullie House in Carlisle.

In 2017 I began to send out a wider range of writing to publications. This blog is an outlet for some of this work in progress. In July 2020, the result of this change in focus was published by Maytree Press. Fledge is a small collection of poems looking at how a wild urban childhood and encounters with nature in adolescence have resonated in adult life. Reviews of Fledge can be found here >>> CLICK 

In October 2020, I was asked to write articles for the online newspaper group The Yorkshire Times, especially on subjects related to Cumbria.

In July 2021, with technical support from The Yorkshire Times, I set up The Dirigible Balloon online site for children’s poetry, with the inaugural flight taking off on August 1st 2021. By December 2022 the site had 800 poems from 200 poets and we’d published through Yorkshire Times Publishing an anthology called Chasing Clouds … Adventures in a Poetry Balloon featuring 60 poets (including Michael Rosen, Carole Bromley, Brian Moses, Chrissie Gittins, Colin West and Emma Purshouse as well as other poets who are at the beginning of their poetry careers) and 80 poems (all profits from the project to be donated to the National Literacy Trust).

In December 2022 I was chosen from a shortlist of 7 poets (10 poems) in the inaugural Milk House Best Poem Award for Masterclass (Judge Nicki Griffin).

Publications, Websites and Magazines

Big Issue In The North (2011) … Postcard From Beyond The Looking Glass, Butterfly’s Wing, Traveller’s Tale

Poems For Freedom (2013) … There Was A Merchant Banker

Lighten Up Online (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020) … Glad To Be A Dalek, Toast, Doris Loves Sidney, Confiteor Quia Peccavi, Question From A Supernumerary, Clog, Postprandial Ponder, A Watershed Moment in Leamington For Henry Rupert Milestone, Jim The Stick

Dragon Poet Review (2014) … Beware Of Spoons

Paragram (2014) … At The End, In Retrospect

The Looking Glass Magazine (2014) … The Gurgle

The Caterpillar Magazine (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022) … The Gurgle, The Enchanted Sandwich, Silly Folk, Bill The Bad, A Trick for Grimsby, Missing Colours

TMB Books (2015)  My Camel’s Name Is Brian … Collection of 100 poems

The Stew Magazine (2015, 2016) … Join In, Fred The Toad, Hattie’s Hobby, The Sad Tale Of Fred The Fringe, Don’t Pick It, Fruit Appeal, Fruit Fool, Glum Plum

Amazing Magazine (2016) … The Sad Tale Of Fred The Fringe

Ink Sweat & Tears (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) … A Happy Ending For Petrologists, Glad To Be A Dalek, Blanket, On The Road To Samaria

Write Out Loud (2016, 2017, 2019) … Poem of the Week Spoon With A View   Incoming Book End

Kim Moore Poetry Blog (2016) … A Happy Ending For Petrologists

The Teacher (2016) … Meeting Expectations

Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis (2016, 2017) … Fruit Fool, Cosy, Clog!

Watershed (Anthology) (2016) … Leaky Welly Blues

Obsessed With Pipework (2017, 2019, 2021) … (Issue#77) You And I, If I Wanted To, (Issue#79) Look, Multiple Choice, (Issue#87) Still Life, Slow Move To Fall, (Issue#88) Elegy For A Peevish Bee, (Issue#95) My Aunty’s Coat

Clear Poetry (2017) … Man Without A Pullover, Then It Rains, How Bad It Is

Curlew Calling (Anthology published by Numenious Press) edited by Karen Lloyd (2017) … Incoming

Atrium Poetry (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) … Old Dog, Return To Mardale, On Good Days, Red Pencil, Leveret

Liz Brownlee’s Poetry Roundabout (2017, 2018) … Freedom Poem for Kids (National Poetry Day 2017), My Aunties Come From Yorkshire (International Women’s Day 2018), Karmasaurus (Funny Poem A Day 2020)

Riggwelter Press (issue 2 October 1st 2017) … Fireweed; (issue 3 November 1st 2017) … One Called Paul; (issue 14 October 1st 2018) … Yew

Three Drops Press Three Drops from a Cauldron (Samhain 2017 special edition October 13th 2017) … Pontefract Postponed … Three Drops Web Journal (May 2018) … Toast

Milestone Anthology (October 17th 2017) … Raven’s Last Journey

Zoomorphic (issue 9 October 20th 2017) … Death On A Pavement

Amaryllis  (January 29th 2018) … Schrödinger’s Mouse 

Diversifly (Anthology of Urban Bird Poetry) Fair Acre Press (February 2018) … One Called Paul

Isabelle Kenyon’s MIND poetry project  (‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’ February 2018) … Somewhere Else

Black Country Arts Foundry (February 20th 2018) … Rainbow Friday

Burning House Press (March 2018) … Invitation To Move On

Eye Flash Poetry Journal (Issue #2 April 2018) … Then It Rains

Curlew Moon by Mary Colwell published by HarperCollins (April 2018) … extracts from Incoming

Picaroon Poetry (Issue #12 May 10th 2018) … Aberration, (Issue #18 September 15th 2019) … Ode To A Lovely Thing

Bonnie’s Crew Man Without A Pullover (April 2018), And Yet (February 2019), Little Rowan (October 2019), Dandelion Sun (December 2019)

Blue Nib (Issue #29 May 13th 2018) … Copenhagen Interpretation; (Issue #37 March 15th 2019) … Fireweed; (May 28th 2020) … Caught In Concrete, Masterclass, One Step Beyond

Morality Park (June 8th 2018) … On The Road To Samaria; (October 17th 2018) … This Work Is Done

Handstand Press (October 2018) This Place I Know (Anthology of Cumbrian Poetry) … Coming Home

Barren Magazine (Issue #2 October 2018) … Forty Years On

Helen Cox’s Homeless poetry project (‘Light Through The Mist’ December 2018) … Book End

Hypnopomp Literary Magazine (Issue #7 January 31st 2019) … Hawkbit … Jigsaw

Yorkshire Times  (May 27th 2019) Poem of the Week … Incoming; (December 28th 2020) Poem of the Week … And Yet

Ayaskala (Issue #1 July 2nd 2019) … Elsewhere

The Poetry Village (November 11th 2019) … Schrödinger’s Mouse; (March 26th 2020) … Back To The Garden

Maytree Press (‘Green Fields’ Anthology March 2020) … Back To The Garden (after Joni Mitchell); Fledge (July 31st 2020) … a collection of 23 poems reflecting on how a wild urban childhood and encounters with nature in adolescence have resonated in adult life.

Pendemic (March 30th 2020) … Sitting in a Semi (after David Bowie)

Another North (June 15th 2020) … A Goole Thing

Through The Locking Glass Inspired By Lakeland (August 2020) … In Boots Like These

Cumbria Magazine (August Issue 2020) … In Boots Like These

Beyond The Storm Anthology (August 23rd 2020) … Sitting In A Semi (after David Bowie)

Gutter Voices (Issue #4 September 15th 2020) … Descartes’ Stick … Another Moment Of Self Obsession

The Milk House Rural Writing Collective (April 22nd 2021) … Dandelion Sun … Schrodinger’s Mouse … Fireweed (April 21st 2022) … Masterclass … One Called Paul