John Gohorry reading, Tuesday 18 December 2012

On Tuesday 18 December I’m reading from my two Dark Age Press collections, ‘Forty-Eight Gates’ (2009) and ‘On the Blue Cliff ‘ (2012) alongside Iain Johnson, the publisher.

The reading takes place at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1 (nearest tubes Russell Square, King’s Cross.) Doors open 6.30 pm for a 7 pm start. Poets from the floor are very welcome.

Entry is £5 (£4 concessions) in aid of Cold Weather Shelter.

Introducing – the five digit stanza

Trying to get away from stereotypical ideas of what might make a stanza ahead of a poetry workshop I’m leading later this month, I have come up with a structure that I think may be original and which a few experiments of my own so far have shown to be fruitful.

I call it the five digit stanza, not because it consists of five numbers, but because the line lengths follow the finger lengths of the left hand, starting from a ‘wrist margin’. The structure is very effective, and with enjambements proves very flexible. Here’s my poem ‘Starlings’ to illustrate the form.


As dusk fell, the last cars
were boarding the ferry, and passengers,
no longer cramped, spread themselves in the lounge.
Headlines in English newspapers depicted
the bright, urgent landscapes of home.

I stood on the afterdeck as the sky
darkened with starlings. They rose, sank,
circled in great swarms, the shapeshifting abstract of love,
perfectly formed, that as the bow doors
clanged to, embraced the whole town.

The form is a delight to work in, and I hope others will find it of interest.

Somerset Art Week Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop

Come and write a poem or two in the inspirational setting of Jone Delahaye’s Noonsburrow Studio.

Where? Hill Farm, Ruggin, Wellington, Somerset TA21 9LL
Venue 132 in SAW Open Studios Guide

When?   2.30 pm Monday 17 September 2012

What?    Bring pencil, paper, clear mind

Why?     Everything is a door;
All you need is the light pressure of a thought
Octavio Paz

The poetry workshop is part of the Somerset Art Weeks celebrations. It’s led by John Gohorry, ( who has published a number of collections of poetry, some with images by Jone Delahaye.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all

I’m on the touchline, watching my grandson, who’s nine, keeping goal.

In Touch

For Ben and Timmy

I’m on the touchline, watching my grandson
who’s nine, keeping goal. It’s a wet Saturday
morning in mid-March, the pitch greasy.

He makes a good save, punts the ball over
the halfway with a left foot drive. Fathers
shout exhortations; the boys cluster, swarm

for the bounce, lose their feet, recover.
I take my eye off the ball and think back
to my years running the line and before them

the long halves in mud and in sunshine.
I think back to goalmouth jostles, the high ball
floated in from the corner, the fingertip touch

round the post, over the bar, the desperate
flailing dive, the fumble that let them back
into the game, and the perfectly placed

left-footed shot in the five-a-side penalty
shoot-out that won us the shield; to my sons,
the hawk-eyed wardens of uprights, in gloves

stitched with the legend It shall not pass
who still play for the love of the game
still in progress, as Timmy places the ball

on the six yard line, steps back a few paces,
rubs his boot on the back of his sock, runs up,
and with his left foot larrups it up the field.

John Gohorry
17 March 2012


John Gohorry reading from new collection 7.30 Thursday 3 May

I’m delighted that poetry i.d. have asked me to read from and talk about my latest collection of poems at The Settlement, Nevell’s Road, Letchworth Garden City on 3 May. The collection is called ‘On the Blue Cliff’ and it consists of 100 poems based on the 100 koans of the Japanese ‘Hekiganroku’ or Blue Cliff Record. The evening is open to friends of poetry id and to interested members of the public.

‘Hours’ videoverse from John Gohorry

I’ve just uploaded a videoverse called ‘Hours’ to YouTube – it has arisen out of the workshop which I led a fortnight ago. The synthesis is sparing as regards both sound and imagery in the hope of suggesting the remorseless and impersonal march of time, inside the frame of which various activities (of mine) are captured.  I originally posted a link, but for ease of access I’ve now embedded it below.

A new John Gohorry Videoverse on YouTube

My latest upload is a short celebration set in Swarthbeck Gill, on Ullswater, which I’ve been visiting for the past few years. The foot of Swarthbeck Gill features briefly, but vividly, in the film ‘Withnail and I’. You can access my poem at or follow the link on my website.

Sappho returns to Letchworth Garden City

A new statue of the Greek poet Sappho of Lesbos is being unveiled in Howard Gardens, Letchworth Garden City at 11.00 am on Saturday 5 November. It replaces an older one that was stolen in May 1998.

We’ve been asked to read some of our poems in celebration of the event, so come along for an hour of lyric beauty and sapphic reflection.

A further John Gohorry Videoverse on YouTube

This videopoem has been waiting several months for me to get the right didj background for the text. Back in 1984 I wrote a poem called ‘A Phrenologist’s Head’ (it’s in ‘A Voyage Round the Moon’), playing with the way in which, on the standard 19th century phrenologist’s head, very precise locations are given for various mental activities (affection, curiosity, language skill, etc). This poem is an attempt to recreate the associative flux of imaginative activity, with the didj suggesting (maybe) the buzz of electrical currents (brain waves), and the non linear appearance, absorption, and disappearance of the phrases that create and dismantle the poem almost obliterating the imagining head at the point where the poem is complete. You can find it at