Mark Goodwin

Mark Goodwin




Mark Goodwin is a poet based in Leicestershire. His poetry collections include Else (2008), Distance a Sudden (2009), Back of A Vast (2010) and Shod (2010). His poems have been widely published in literary magazines and ezines. More full-length collections are due form Longbarrow Press and Shearsman Books.

As a community poet, Mark encourages others to speak and write creatively. He is a contributing editor to a number of Leicestershire County Council publications produced between 2004 and 2008; all to do with using museum objects to unlock creative speaking and writing. He received an East Midlands Writer's Bursary in 1996; an Eric Gregory Award in 1998; and his third book, Shod, won the first East Midlands Book Award in 2011. In the same year, he was published in Shearsman’s acclaimed anthology The Ground Aslant, Radical Landscape Poetry; and was also Leicestershire's landscape poet in residence, funded by Writing East Midlands' Write Here Programme. He is a climber, walker, balancer and stroller – and much of his work reflects his need to engage physically with ‘place’. Mark began making digitally produced audio poems in 2010, and was made SoundClouder of the Day in 2011. He writes & speaks in various ways, and his work can be innovative and experimental, bizarre and mischievous, or serious and gentle.


Creative Work

I Turned

from Else, Shearsman Books, 2008

The lit city's rim is

interrupted: rural pushes
prongs of night through
Leicester's north-western
membrane. I walk

a corridor;
a hawthorn hedgeline here
on the city rim. I'm on


in the shadows; city lights
are to my right, to my left.

In front earth's dark.

Some blackbird's startled;
sirens reply. The rim

is still in the world

of hard objects; yet rotates
like a circular saw
or some space-station.

I was walking
in the city rim, I turned,
I was walking
along the city rim, I turned.
I follow a prong of rural out

- a space between

I've one boot in grass,
speckled with cow-shit;
one eye alert for bird

or a hare's trace. I've

one shoe on tarmac. A whir
of headlights sparkles
around the roundabout

of one eye's
iris. I'm here

on the city rim.

It's perfectly still
as it spins; I hurtle


into damp-grass tracts
gestating menhirs as I'm pulled


by the city's
glistening dense

interior. I'm here I'm here



I’m fascinated by movement, by differing ways people move through ‘the world’; or rather, worlds they make through engaging with distance, direction, time & substance. We can walk, crawl, run, limp, climb, jump, swim, dance ... and we can do all these actions in our imaginations, traversing all kinds of land & cityscapes using our physical bodies or our imagined souls. For me, ‘soul’ is the shimmering, living point where world, mind & body meet.

Since childhood I’ve been, like many others, amazed by being in one place knowing there are other countless unseen places existing at the same time. And where, and how exactly does one place end and another begin? Poets are drawn to such borders.

I am at home on edges or ‘at the edges’. I love balancing along fence rails or tree branches – poised between drops to my left & my right. The rim of a city holds an equal fascination. The city-rim is the cultural tightrope of our very late, flailing capitalist civilisation. To walk & imagine in these liminal lands is to occupy a wound of transition; still raw, and ugly & beautiful in equal measure because of that rawness. Walking this corridor, one can imagine deep & recent histories co-happening: a city-density on one side of a rurban membrane is where peoples of all kinds have mixed to escape ‘the wilderness’; the rural other is where most people used to dwell (in the true sense of that word) before The Great Theft of The Enclosures. One side is of the Fathers, the other of the Mothers. One side is mostly dark at night whilst one remains lit. Walking in these zones of ‘between’ I’m reminded that no living cell lives without a membrane that is porous.

Often when I walk a city-rim, and especially that of ‘my own’ city, I imagine I’m given the honour of ghostliness. At any threshold, on any arguable ground, if thought about for too long, all things & divisions begin to dissolve, and that includes the traveller doing the imagining. (The trick is not to dissolve too much, not imagine too excessively, and so be able to step back again into one’s own substantial life.) In (or is it on?) the imagined rurban membrane I can be double, indeed stretched multiple, not just one kind of a person – I can have one boot in the vital & ancient shit and one shoe in the frail city so many humans before me, from all kinds of worlds, have worked so desperately hard to make.




Else, Shearsman Books, 2008
Distance a Sudden, Longbarrow Press, 2009 (chapbook)
Back of A Vast, Shearsman Books, 2010
Shod, Nine Arches Press, 2010

Inclusion in Anthologies

Things Not Seen, An Anthology of Contemporary Scottish Mountain Poetry, Aberdeenshire Council Education and Recreation, 1999
Full of Star’s Dreaming, Peter Redgrove 1932-2003, Stride Publications, 2003
Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh, manifestos and unmanifestos, Salt, 2009
The Ground Aslant. Radical Landscape Poetry, Shearsman Books, 2011
The Thing About Objects, Routledge, 2011
The Footing, Longbarrow Press, 2012


Author page, Shearsman Books
Author page, Nine Arches Press
Longbarrow Press
Mark Goodwin on SoundCloud
Digitally produced audio recording of I Turned (designed to be listened to through headphones):

Writer Index