About Fred Sedgwick

Fred likes to bring a clear sense of place and the passing of time to his poems. Although he grew up in a city he loves to write about animals and nature.

His works covers all the big things in life: birth, sadness, fear, loss and love of family, friends and animals. His poem ‘Requiem for a Cat’ shows how much we love animals and helps to explain how sad we feel when they are gone while remembering how happy the days we spent with them were. This poem also shows how Fred creates new words and phrases to express just the right mood, such as ‘downold’ or ‘boy slowly’.

Fred’s poems are accessible for younger readers but often deal with complex ideas. Some of his poems are to do with other poets and his great excitement about language always sings out.

Fred reads his poems with zip and energy, helping to make the rhymes and assonance in his work come to life. He’s also an expert at finding the perfect pace when he reads so we feel a full-on rush at one moment and are pulled up to think at the next.

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Fred’s poetry holds things we recognise from childhood and becomes a door into the adult world.  In ‘Fall in Love’, there is a strong warning not to “fall in love with Jenny ‘cos Jenny’s in love with herself.”

Fred uses rhyme and free verse. We find religion in some of his work too, for example in ‘Lord of all Gardens’, brilliantly rhymed poem and a kind of prayer. There’s a sense of awe in others, such as ‘Meeting’, to do with a chance encounter with a fox.

The importance of poetry in the world is clear in Fred’s work – in ‘The Poetry Man’ a school comes to life while the Poetry Man is present but when he leaves the school, and the world, become a poorer place.

There are strong and sometimes difficult words and imagery in Fred’s work but listening to him read we get a sense of the emotion of each, even if we have to look them up later,  like ‘the murdering sea’, ‘insistent fire’, ‘marooned in my mortality’. Alliteration helps us feel the emotion.

Fred’s word arrangements in some free verse poems mimic the actions of creatures. In ‘Requiem for a Cat’ you can hear and see the way a cat moves.

Fred was born in 1945 in Ireland and went to school in London, where he grew up.

He has been a teacher and lecturer working with local councils and written several books for teachers.

Fred’s poems have appeared in all sorts of poetry collections and he has written books of poetry for adults too.  His very well-known book ‘Here comes the Poetry Man’ was shortlisted for an award.

Fred thinks that reading and writing poetry should go hand in hand.

Fred's recording was made for the Poetry Archive in 2012.

Featured in the Archive

Selected Bibliography

Here Comes The Poetry Man, Salt Publishing, 2011

Stone and other poems, Happy Dragons, 2004

Lies, Headland, 1991

Living Daylights, Headland, 1986

Blind Date, Mary Glasgow, 1990

Pizza Curry Fish and Chips, Longman Books, 1994

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