How I Learned to Sing
Published by Smokestack Books
A senior job at the Arts Council meant that Mark Robinson did not send his poems out for over a decade, in case of potential conflicts of interest. Now he returns with a series of ambitious new poems, alongside the best of his work from the last 25 years.
How I Learned to Sing is a book about the industrial and cultural transformation of the North of England, from the Miners Strike to the Big Society – a series of bewildered elegies for people, times and places. Variously tender, angry, surreal and grave, Robinson is an allusive and richly entertaining writer, exploring how here and now make ‘two halves of nowhere’, and wondering why ‘of many parallel worlds / I choose this one.’
Mark Robinson was born in Preston in 1964. A founder editor of Scratch magazine and Mudfog Press, he has worked as a chef, a literature development worker and a writer-in-residence in prisons. He spent ten years in senior management at Northern Arts and Arts Council England, including five years as Executive Director, North East. His previous books include Half A Mind (Flambard, 1998), and A Balkan Exchange: Near East North East (Arc, 2008). He lives in Stockton, where he runs the arts consultancy Thinking Practice.