About the Author

 

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

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

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. The blurb on the back says:

"In Paul Francis' collection, poetry takes various forms - funny and serious, personal and political. There are poems dedicated to family members, to friends and to famous writers. Subject matter ranges from ancient myths to the credit crunch, climate change to earrings, Shropshire landscape to the war on terror."

Over the past five years, he has taken a much more disciplined approach to the writing of unrhymed poems. In helping him to do this, he is grateful to fellow members of Bridgnorth Writers' Group and Border Poets, and to tutors and students on an excellent Arvon course.

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...watch this space.

Paul continues to write materials for school students, and has written an autobiography, Comprehensive View, describing his upbringing and thirty-year career as a teacher and unrepentant believer in the comprehensive school. He is secretary for both the Bridgnorth Writers' Group and the Border Poets. 

Paul Francis is a versatile poet who performs at many venues across the West Midlands. His collection Various Forms was published in 2010, since when he has produced booklets of poems relating to film and TV, the coalition government, and sonnets with accompanying photographs. In 2014 he came second in the following competitions:  Poems on the Move (Guernsey), the Great Wolverhampton Love Slam, and the Lichfield Poets competition. In March 2015 he published Writing for Blockheads, an amateur’s guide. (Liberty books, Much Wenlock, TF13 6JQ. £5.00)


 

 

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!

 

 

Surveillance

 

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.