About the Author


Paul Francis is a retired teacher who writes in a variety of genres.

He has won two national poetry competitions and some local competitions, and was in the best three submissions for the Guernsey Poetry on the Buses competition, in 2010, 2014 and 2015. Eight of these nine prize-winning poems were sonnets. His poems have also featured in a range of magazines, and he has self-published a variety of pamphlets.

Recently these have been topical and political – on austerity, the war on terror, and migration, In February 2018 he is launching the latest of these – Trump, Brexit and Beyond.

Paul has always had an interest in traditional forms, and also enjoys writing ballads, sonnets, sestinas and villanelles. Various Forms, his first full length collection, was launched at the Wenlock Poetry festival in 2010. In 2016 he was poet in residence at the Wenlock poetry Festival, where he launched his second major collection, Five-String Banjo. This includes sonnets and political poems, as well as performance poems. He has been Slam champion at the Wenlock and Bewdley festivals.

He has also written numerous plays for school students, and has won two national playwriting competitions for adults. He has had two plays commissioned, and was joint winner of a national radio play-writing competition. He has spent a long time trying to get a radio play broadcast, so far without success. 

Paul has written an autobiography, Comprehensive View, describing his upbringing and thirty-year career as a teacher and unrepentant believer in the comprehensive school. In March 2015 he published Writing for Blockheads, an amateur’s guide (Liberty Books, Much Wenlock, TF13 6JQ. £5.00). He is secretary for both the Bridgnorth Writers' Group and the Border Poets.




Examples of Work

This sonnet was in a shortlist of three, selected from 457 entries submitted for the Guernsey Arts commission competition (for poems of 14 lines or less). There was a longlist of 33, each of which was posted inside one of Guernsey's buses. In May 2011 Paul and his wife Linda are visiting/visited Guernsey, to sample their literature festival - and to find the bus with his poem!





Don't turn around. The woman in the seat

behind is known to keep eccentric pets

 - watch out for iguanas . Don't repeat

this, but her husband's run up massive debts

 through gambling. No, I told you not to stare.

Natural to feel curiosity

about your fellow passengers, but there

is where it ends. Top level secrecy

must be maintained. The girl who's just got on

might be a terrorist, but we can't say. 

Pretend you're reading till the threat has gone.

You wonder how we know all this is true.

Don't worry. That bus going the other way

has got a poem on it. About you.