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LONGLISTED for The Saboteur Awards BEST ANTHOLOGY 2018

This anthology, of new poetry and art about Britain's urban birds, grew out of the close encounters I have had with birds when visiting central London from my home on the Shropshire-Wales border. I noticed how much closer I could get to blackbirds and other shy birds there. I noticed the number of people with headphones to their ears, and phones in front of their eyes. I thought about the joy I get from watching birds and how at my lowest times their constancy, their flight and their song have enlivened me.

You will see from the contents page that only a sample of birds seen in Britain's towns and cities are included, and that there are a particularly large number of responses to both pigeons and gulls. I like this. These are the birds the poets and artists who took part in this project responded to. I have chosen work I hope you will enjoy - whether you are an expert or novice in poetry, art, or ornithology.

At you can read the blogs I wrote on urban birds to encourage people to pick up a pen or paintbrush. There you can also download or stream six free podcasts: conversations and readings featuring my favourite UK nature poets: Alison Brackenbury, Gillian Clarke, Chris Kinsey, David Morley, Katrina Porteous and Richard Osmond. You can also join naturalist Brett
Westwood and myself on an urban bird walk podcast in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

I would particularly like to thank the poets I commissioned to write a bird poem who are not known for, or used to, writing about nature: Brian Bilston, Carrie Etter, Andrew McMillan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Kaite O'Reilly, Emma Purshouse, Amaal Said, James Sheard and Dorothea Smartt. And my sincere thanks go to Arts Council England.
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LONGLISTED for The Saboteur Awards BEST ANTHOLOGY 2018

This anthology, of new poetry and art about Britain's urban birds, grew out of the close encounters I have had with birds when visiting central London from my home on the Shropshire-Wales border. I noticed how much closer I could get to blackbirds and other shy birds there. I noticed the number of people with headphones to their ears, and phones in front of their eyes. I thought about the joy I get from watching birds and how at my lowest times their constancy, their flight and their song have enlivened me.

You will see from the contents page that only a sample of birds seen in Britain's towns and cities are included, and that there are a particularly large number of responses to both pigeons and gulls. I like this. These are the birds the poets and artists who took part in this project responded to. I have chosen work I hope you will enjoy - whether you are an expert or novice in poetry, art, or ornithology.

At you can read the blogs I wrote on urban birds to encourage people to pick up a pen or paintbrush. There you can also download or stream six free podcasts: conversations and readings featuring my favourite UK nature poets: Alison Brackenbury, Gillian Clarke, Chris Kinsey, David Morley, Katrina Porteous and Richard Osmond. You can also join naturalist Brett
Westwood and myself on an urban bird walk podcast in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

I would particularly like to thank the poets I commissioned to write a bird poem who are not known for, or used to, writing about nature: Brian Bilston, Carrie Etter, Andrew McMillan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Kaite O'Reilly, Emma Purshouse, Amaal Said, James Sheard and Dorothea Smartt. And my sincere thanks go to Arts Council England.
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