I am as a poet, apparently

Front cover of a poetry pamphlet called 'Royal' by Steve Bowbrick, published in June 2023

UPDATE: it’s finished. Here’s the PDF (it should be accessible to screen-readers and so on – let me know if you see any problems with the format).

Or is it a chapbook? Anyway, it’s a tabloid-sized, 12-page, newsprint (thank you Newspaper Club) sequence of poems (19 in all). The poems are in the not-entirely-forgotten rhyme royal form which is a kind of turbo-sonnet, probably brought to English poetry by Chaucer – everything’s packed into seven lines. Boom. And, although the poems in Royal are not thematically linked – they are chained together by rhyme (the last line of each poem rhymes with the first line of the next) to make a sequence. I’ve been obsessed with rhyme royal since I met one in a Zoom poetry class a couple of years ago – although I can’t remember who wrote it. Lots of famous poets have had a go, usually in a longer poem (Auden and Yeats, for instance). This poem by Wordsworth has 20 rhyme royal stanzas. They don’t usually stand alone. Anyway, I’m hoping I’ve now got rhyme royal out of my system and there will soon be a pile of these things in my house (I’ve even got an ISBN for it). And for help with this project I must thank my poetry pals and especially Christina Hill, who runs a brilliant Zoom poetry class/workshop that I’ve been attending since the pandemic.

I don’t really know what to do with these things but do leave a comment if you’d like one and I’ll put one in the post.


  1. Hi Steve, this looks like a thing of great beauty, as well as of poetic industry and hard graft. I’d love to read a physical copy. Can I buy one?

  2. Steve this is fabulous, virtuosic. I was inspired and moved by Troilus when I read it aged twenty, and love this scheme. The forward drive of the metre, the ordered rhyme scheme (I love ‘nervously/KFC’), the wit and tension, the eye for squalid detail and the breadth of reference, all making the experience of reading them rich and enthralling. I’d love to come and hear you perform this stuff!

  3. Oh Jonathan, it’s so nice to hear that. Thank you so much. I have not performed it but I would love to try!

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