Michael W. Thomas: biographical note.
Michael Wyndham Thomas is originally from Staffordshire, England, and lived in Canada for a number of years. He is now based in Worcestershire. He is an internationally-known poet, fiction-writer, dramatist and musician. His poetry, prose and scripts have appeared in Aereings, Fire, The Interpreter's House, Iron, Other Poetry, Stand, Staple and The Swansea Review (UK), as well as Alive!, From the Horse's Mouth, Grain and Reflections (Canada), The Black Mountain Review and Irish University Review (Ireland) and The Antioch Review and Magazine Six (USA). He also reviews for Other Poetry (Durham), Raw Edge (Birmingham) and Poetry Nottingham.
Michael's first poetry collection, God's Machynlleth and Other Poems, is available from Flarestack. His latest collection, Port Winston Mulberry, is forthcoming from Peterloo Poets in 2008; while his CD, Seventeen Poems (and a Bit of a Song) is now on release from MayB Studios. Publication of his novel, The Song of the Sun, is also forthcoming in 2008, as are productions of his play, Mr. Culverson’s Apostle.
He was awarded first prize in the 1998 'Housman Society' competition and has also gained recognition in the Stand Magazine International Short Fiction competition, the Yorkshire Open competition, two Poets Anonymous competitions, the 2006 Poetry London competition and numerous others.
Since April, 2004, Michael has been poet-in-residence at the annual Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida. In consequence, he is now Poet-at-Large in the Navy of the Conch Republic of Key West. He undertakes these 'bardic' duties with due solemnity and happy bafflement.
Closer to home, Michael gives frequent radio interviews about the writing life, including ideas for anyone who would like to venture into it. He runs creative writing workshops, in all genres, for the University of Birmingham; and he is also writer-in-residence at various primary schools in the West Midlands as part of Birmingham Book Festival’s Write On! Project. Between 2003 and 2005, he led a highly successful series of poetry sessions at the Ledbury Poetry Festival.
My writing website:
Worcester Museums website: ‘Spatula: a Tribune's Story’ by Michael W. Thomas
My profile, reading and creative writing workshop, the Liverpool Irish Festival, October 2003
Readings of my poetry and prose, collaborations in poetry and music events, Warwick Words Literary Festival, October 2007.
Poet-in-residence, The Robert Frost Festival, Key West, Florida, April. Annual event. Workshops, readings and prize-giving.
Poetry, Fiction, Drama
PUBLICATIONS | PERFORMANCE HISTORY
Published work: the following is a selection from my publications--
Ÿ ‘Burned’ [poem], Grain Magazine [Canada], vol IX, no. 4, November 1981.
Ÿ ‘Widow’ [poem], Iron, no. 42, June 1984.
Ÿ ‘Fellow Traveller’ [poem], Borderlines, June 1987.
Ÿ ‘Time for Tea’ [poem], Cobweb, no. 6, May 1990.
Ÿ ‘You Say Potato’ [poem], Spokes, no 21, Summer 1992.
Ÿ ‘Totem’ [poem], in One for Jimmy [anthology], ed. Matthew Sweeney, Autumn 1992.
Ÿ ‘The Baby-Frame’ [short story], Foolscap, no. 15, October 1993.
Ÿ ‘The Wistfulness of Claes Chezwe’ [poem], Staple, no. 31, Winter 1994.
Ÿ ‘Wreaking Justice’ [short story], The Swansea Review, no. 12, 1994.
Ÿ ‘God’s Machynlleth’ [poem], The Rialto, no. 34, Spring 1996.
Ÿ ‘South of Jarrow,’ ‘Boy Racer,’ ‘Dragonblue,’ and ‘Plas Meini’ [poems], Fire, no. 3, December 1996.
Ÿ ‘Joe’s’ [poem], Stand Magazine, vol 39, no. 1, Winter 1997.
Ÿ ‘Port Winston Mulberry’ [poem], in In England Now [anthology], ed. Roger Garfitt, 1998.
Ÿ ‘Taking Pete Wiznuk Out’ [story], finalist entry, Stand Magazine International Short Story Competition, Autumn 1997.
Ÿ ‘Sir Patrick Spens,’ first prize, Housman Poetry Competition, April 1998.
Ÿ ‘Now the Wife’s Gone’ [poem] and ‘Taverner’s Business’ [short story], Stand Magazine, vol. 40, no. 2, Spring 1999.
'Tell Me About Eileen' [short story], Cadenza, no. 4, 2001.
'My Mother's Major' [short story], The Interpreter's House, no. 17, June 2001.
'Dodging Jaxi' [poem], Poet's Anonymous competition, London, June 2001. Judge: Carol Rumens.
'A Day' [poem], Other Poetry, II, no. 19, 2001.
‘Delfigo Street’ [short story], Antioch Review (US), Spring 2002.
‘True Likeness’ [poem], Poets Anonymous competition, London, June 2002. Judge: Janice Fixter.
‘The Last Skateboarder,’ ‘The Captain’s Fever,’ ‘Boy Racer’ [poems]. Published as part of a general feature on my writing in Magazine Six: The Key West Issue, ed by Kirby Congdon (Florida, Spring, 2006).
Selection of published work continued:
‘Cows in a Corofin Field’ [poem], commended, Poetry London Competition, August 2006. Judge: Michael Symmons Roberts.
Collections: God's Machynlleth and Other Poems. Flarestack, 1996.
Seventeen Poems (and a Bit of a Song), CD, released through MayB Studios, 2007.
Port Winston Mulberry. Forthcoming from Peterloo, 2008.
WORKSHOP | READINGS EXPERIENCE","REFERENCE/S
Readings: I give readings in this country and abroad, including: Warwick Words Literature Festival, 2005 and 2007; the Ledbury Poetry Festival, 2003 to 2005; the Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida, from 2004 (I am poet-in-residence at this annual event). I have also organised readings for various Literature groups, in Worcestershire, Sandwell and Birmingham.
Courses and workshops: I run courses in Creative Writing for members of the general public, primary school pupils and college undergraduates.
I have run writing courses for students at Newman HE College, Bartley Green, Birmingham, leading to three successful anthologies of verse--Cardinal Numbers, May 1996; N.E.W.M.A.N., May 1997; and Skating Vicar in Bedroom Surprise, May 1998.
I have run numerous workshops with school children; a selection of these follows:
1 I organised and ran The Writing on the Wall, a series of workshops held at Worcester Art Gallery in July 1999, based on Here To Stay, an exhibition of contemporary British art (including Tracy Emin) on show at the Gallery.
2 In August 2000, I ran another series of workshops, Roman Ways--Your Words, at the Commandery Civil War Centre in Worcester.
3 In June 2001, I ran a day of poetry workshops at St. Barnabas’ School, Drakes Broughton, Worcestershire, as part of the school’s ‘Book Week’ events.
4 In March 2002, I ran a series of workshops on ‘Animals and Adventures’ for schoolchildren in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear.
5 In July 2003, I ran poetry and music workshops for pupils at Conway Primary School, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, as part of their ‘Summer Reading Week.’ Topics included ‘Being the Weather,’ ‘Growing’ and ‘How I Was and How I’ll Be’; activities included setting the pupils’ poems to music. The workshops involved the entire school.
6 In April 2004, I ran poetry workshops on the theme of ‘Fantastic Adventures’ at Eckington First School, Pershore, Worcestershire, as part of the school’s ‘English’ week. Activities included: reading my adventure poems and stories to the whole school, to set the scene for the day; singing and playing ‘adventure’ songs to pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5; running poetry and illustration workshops for these years; leading a whole-school session in which the pupils read their poems and shared their illustrations.
7 In Spring and Summer 2007, I was writer-in-residence at three primary schools in Birmingham, as part of the Write On! Project to guide and encourage pupils in all aspects of their creative writing, including stories, poetry and plays for performance.
Currently, I run adult education courses in Creative Writing at the Coachhouse Arts Centre, Oldswinford, West Midlands, and at Westhill College, Selly Oak, Birmingham. These courses are offered through the University of Birmingham School of Continuing Studies. Their themes include ‘Personalising the Self: Exploring First-Person Narratives,’ ‘Poetic Responses to the Twentieth Century’ and ‘Adventures in Biography and Autobiography.’ The courses cover all genres of creative writing. I also run the poetry elements in two further Birmingham courses, Year 1 ‘Introduction to Creative Writing,’ and Year 2 ‘Experimental Writing.’
From October to December, 2004, I ran Creative Writing workshops in all genres at HMP Long Lartin, South Littleton, Worcestershire.
From March 2005 to March 2006, I ran monthly workshops for Sandwell Writers’ Group, at the main Sandwell Library, West Bromwich. Funded by Sandwell Arts and Poetry Central, the sessions led to the production of Many, Many Mondays, an anthology of the group’s work, which I edited. The anthology was launched in December 2006 at the Library, an event which attracted much positive response from public and media alike, leading to great interest in the group’s writing.
Jeremy Hilton, Editor, Fire, Field Cottage, Old Whitehill, Tackley, nr Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 3AB. Tel: 01869-331300.
Dr. Elsa Braekkan-Payne, Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Birmingham, Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LL. Tel: 0121-414-3677.
GROUP SIZE PREFERENCE
up to 20
GROUP AGE PREFERENCE
AREA/S PREPARED TO TRAVEL
Flexible--happy to travel to different locations
I have an Enhanced CRB Certificate