About Phil Bowen

All sorts of strange things happen in Phil’s poetry including a cat who can bark!  He creates a world where anything is possible, where you might come across unusual landscapes and spooky places and where familiar things seem unfamiliar after all.

Some of Phil’s poems are funny, some darker – ‘Demonica’ is ‘Queen of the Demons’ and she pops up in more than one poem creating all manner of mischief.

You can never guess what will happen next in Phil’s poetry.  In ‘Fern and Sting’ the names of stinging nettles are described in a joyful way which also shows off their painful qualities.

Phil is fond of making up words and characters too, ‘Splatfish’ and a ‘Yaffling Tree’ to name just two.

His work is magical and takes us into worlds he’s invented but it always brings along our world too, making us unsure where the line between imagination and reality sits.

Phil reads in different ways to suit the rhythm and mood, from sing-song rhymes with playful pacing to scarier tones which help bring out the dark side of these magical poems.

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The serious becomes funny and the funny serious in the changed worlds which Phil brings to life.  Rhyme gives a memorable lilt to the work in some poems which almost beg the reader to join in or clap along.  Others are written in playful free verse.

Phil’s work is distinctive and approachable but also takes place in the world of the imagination. It’s bound to inspire you to make up your own fantasy worlds through rhyme and storytelling.

The poems have a confidence about them, and even their darker moments have an energy and fun which draws the reader – or listener - in.

Phil plays on conventional ideas, In ‘Pass the Spelling Test’, where you might imagine a regular test in school, ‘to pass’ means to cast spells and create distant worlds.

Phil was born in Liverpool in 1949 and his work is influenced by other poets, musicians and artists who became famous while he was growing up.

Phil has written two musicals for children using his poems.  He has been a teacher and also teaches teachers how to teach!  He has run workshops at the Royal School for the Blind.  Before he became a poet he worked in a pub.

He has edited two poetry anthologies of work by other poets.

Phil has attended lots of festivals across the UK and performed his work.  He has also been on radio and television.

His first collection of poetry for children, ‘Cuckoo Rock’, was shortlisted for an award.

Phil's recording was made for The Poetry Archive in 2012.

Featured in the Archive

Selected Bibliography

Cuckoo Rock, Salt Publishing, 2010


1997 The Ralph Lewis Poetry Award

1998 Bridport Poetry Prize, runner up

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