John Wedgwood Clarke was born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1969.
He trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and
Drama, before going on to study literature and completing a
D.Phil. in Modernist poetry at the University of York. He set
up the Beverley Literature and Bridlington Poetry Festivals,
and ran them for ten years before leaving to undertake a
Leverhulme Artists Residency at the University of Hull.
He is a freelance writer, UK and Ireland poetry editor for Arc
Publications, a part-time lecturer in creative writing at the
University of Hull, and often works with curators and artists
on public art projects. He lives in Scarborough.
His debut pamphlet Sea Swim was published by Valley Press
in April 2012, the result of an invigorating artistic initiative in
described by Carol Ann Duffy as 'a simple and simply beautiful
idea.' September 2013 sees the publication of John's first full-
length collection, Ghost Pot, to be launched at Scarborough Art
Gallery on Saturday 28th, 6pm.
are small wooden stanzas
in which words undress
and step from the damp
boards and sixty-watt bulbs
into colossal light,
blinking, rubbing arms,
lifting a little on their toes
as if trying to see over the cold,
ready as they will never be
for the body to speak itself again
for the first time
in the mouth of the North Sea,
the body like a bell note
struck by an iron key,
wordless in a furl of murk,
weed, someone’s foot,
and up, shouting, turnstones
overhead, the Hispaniola
rocking by, treading water
back into now, rooted
in all the strange words –
children, parents –
in hands that have held
and let go, swimmers in song.