WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Paul McGrane is the co-founder of the Forest Poets poetry collective in Walthamstow and he’s also been The Poetry Society’s Membership Manager since 2006.


He runs the [email protected] open mic at the Poetry Café, London, on the first Thursday of the month.


In 2016 he was Highly Commended in the YorkMix Poetry Competition and Longlisted in the South Bank Poetry Competition.


This is his first poetry collection.








138 x 216mm


52 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-84-8


PUB: 27 JULY 2018










Paul McGrane


Elastic Man



Death is always asking me for poems


Death is always asking me for poems,

jealous of the time I spend on politics

and love. It’s not what she needs from

this relationship, she says. The juicy

death she dangles I find so hard to resist.

Like the girl who lost her mother’s hand,

the man who threw his baby from the tower.

The more she demands the more I decline,

even when we reach an anniversary. She’s

tried to simplify the deal, sends me handy

rhyming words for murder, a long list

of lives she’ll claim are accidents of birth

or accidents. She knows that when the living

have read how she must feel she will be happy.  




Rock n Roll Years


When she went with him last week,

in a service truck on Beale Street,

she thought he’d be the kind of boy

she’d never want to keep


with his street corner skin, his head

out of the window bellowing the blues

with the old men on the sidewalk,

his fingernails as filthy as their feet.


But up on stage tonight

he’s rose oil and Vaseline.

He’s been given the key

to the heppest floor at Lanskey’s


with his red pants and green jacket,

his pink socks and shirt,

his shoes as white

as the dress she wears on Sundays.


As soon as he hits the first string

she can hear herself calling his name.

She’s shaking when his lip

curls to a smile.


When he sings

she’s gone, man, real gone.

And when he grinds,

so slow,


like he’s got a thing for his guitar,

she swears she’ll pray

so hard

in Church tomorrow.






Tied to the Thames on board the Queen Mary,

some of us were standing on the edge,

shirt-sleeves and blouses, everyone merry

and way past that really awkward stage

when all you have to talk about is work.

I still take the mick even now – Look! Look!

– you, wide-eyed at the river –

the water! the water’s on fire!

We all laughed. It was night –

the fire was caused by the lights

from the buildings on the bank at Westminster.

You look like you’re witnessing a miracle, I said later,

taking a last glug of wine

and kissing you for the first time. 





Welcome to my Country


Dear prospective citizen

thank you for your application


a State response will soon be sent

but here’s mine:


I hope this soil will not for long

be foreign to your feet


that my weather

will be your weather


that my cities will offer their freedom

my countryside the right to roam


I’ll be standing in Arrivals

with your name




poem in which I meet denis norden


I once met

denis norden

in a bank


I say met

he was in a queue

I was at the back


planning my excuses


norden nose

norden glasses

almost certainly norden


what he did and when

I can’t recall

the bank

is no longer

the bank


where I live now

no-one knows of norden

they might say and they do

who was denis norden



for weeks months years

strangers would exclaim


denis norden

you met denis norden

in a bank




Otherwise no more than a name


Gertrude Bulmer Bishop, wrapped in black,

as she had been since the death of William,


circles the lagoon on a paddle boat crowned

by an off-white, giant, copper-crafted swan.


A live one sidled over and bit my mother’s

finger, wrote Elizabeth. I remember the rip


in the tip of her long black glove; the blood

that bubbled briefly, brightly, and was gone.




Nos Da Cariad

for mam


Nos is the Welsh word for Night.

Its sound is in sorrow and ghost.

Da, meaning Good in translation,

resounds in departure, apart.

There’s a sadness in Cariad

that echoes through leaving and grief.

It is our strongest word for Love.

“Paul McGrane’s voice is sexy, witty, humane. His poems are carefully crafted, often very moving, frequently laugh-aloud funny. Here is a confident, intelligent writer with a strong sense of social justice. A varied and accessible collection which deserves to do really well. I loved it.”

Carole Bromley


“Paul McGrane’s talent as a poet has developed strongly over the last few years through constantly daring to try different types of poetry. Starting with love poems and humorous poems, he has added poems of place, the seasons and weather, urban poems, prose poems, the quirky and the mildly erotic, and celebrations of his love of Walthamstow and Wales. It has been a great pleasure to have published many of these as he’s embarked on his poetry journey. This first collection is rich and richly deserved.”  

Peter Ebsworth  

South Bank Poetry

‘Elastic Man’ is a mix-tape of poems spanning political and  romantic themes with Elvis, Tommy Cooper and Denis Norden thrown in as a bonus..

9781910834848 Pic for Indigo chosen amend




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