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Westwords began in 1986, and published 15 issues of an Arts & Poetry magazine, seven poetry collections and anthologies, including Hepworth – A Celebration, and collections by Anne Born, Phil Bowen, Alexis Lykiard and others, until 1994.

Now back in his native region, Plymouth-born poet and founding director of Westwords, David Woolley, was persuaded to re-launch the imprint by his old friend John K Lawson, whose poetry and artwork were featured in early issues of the magazine, and Westwords now returns by launching John's first full collection of poetry:

j k lawson

westwords poetry

J K Lawson Now

Full colour cover, over 140 pages
of stunning poems

John K Lawson was born in Birmingham in 1962. He emigrated to the USA in 1987 and became well known as a visual artist with work in many private and public collections. In the summer of 2005, whilst living in New Orleans he lost his home and studio to Hurricane Katrina, along with 25 years of artwork and writing. This is reflected in his 2007 novel Hurricane Hotel, and in some of the poems in now, his first full poetry collection. John is currently living on the Rame Peninsula, Cornwall, with the wind and the rain.

forgiving the odds

hurricane katrina hit
from new orleans we drove north east
this is easy you thought
this is the fat piece of the sticky cake
i paid 900 dollars a month to park my van
then waited in line at the red cross
with one gallon of white paint
your cousins apartment
became our make shift home
once you finally fell asleep
i paced without direction
images of a destroyed city
scorched on my mind
you wouldnt believe the mess
shoveled in our face
i wrote on the back of old photographs
where we are born
abandonment becomes part of the scenery
often disguised in the way we dress
years passed and now im reading about detroit
the bastards turned the water off
one city has too much
another not enough
perhaps theres a connection.
perhaps thats what lifes struggle is all about
perhaps given the odds
trust and caring are really four letter words
used every four years
and hate and anger and greed
run this crap show
from the bottom feeders
on down

©J K Lawson

Purchase NOW for just £12.00 including postage & packing.

Alternatively, if you are in the UK please send a cheque made payable to Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival to:
David Woolley, Coombe House, Lamellion, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 4JU

A selection of poetry from now by j k lawson


every time
he stares at the mirror
he sees her bathe dress
and exit the room
containing a beauty
beyond his control

today is no exception

the flesh of fresh paint
weeps onto his boots

he brushes his hair
takes a hit from a pipe
then runs down the stairs
into the busy misplaced streets

his mind is stuffed with tulips
dreaming of daffodils

with a razor in one hand
a bloody ear in the other
he has to see her again


you have departed
now i know the reason why
on every footprint path
the snowman has to melt

some guy upstairs

there he is again
some guy upstairs
before leaving his room
every morning
i can hear him
spitting on his shoes
muttering about
how he mistrusts
being human

the other day
he brought a frog
into the barroom
and dared anyone
to swallow it whole

he didnt offer anything
in return for the dare

the frog sat
underneath a pint glass
in the middle of the bar

people came and drank
the frog was ignored

stan took out his buck knife
picked up the pint glass
and pinned the frog to the bar top

the frog didnt blink
as its back legs twitched
for a minute or two
then it died

as you would expect
someone suggested
the dead frog
might taste good fried

living miracle

everyone knows honesty
is the best form of medicine

two days later
when he finally came around
strapped to a gurney
in the emergency ward of charity hospital

the examining doctor
in front of fifteen
medical students
pronounced him
a living miracle

i dont feel like one he said

the blood tests
the doctor continued
identify half a dozen
known narcotic substances
moving through
your over worked
blood stream

tell you the truth he replied
i can only remember two of them

this is not a love song

this is not a love song
crossing another time zone
only to realize
all clocks look the same

watching the sun
sprinkle diamonds
on the puddles of today

images of you
burn my eyes
never awake
long enough to sleep

remembering you once said
i dont care if you forget
to cross yr i s
and dot yr t s
just send me something
with a stamp on it

Purchase NOW for just £12.00 including postage & packing.

Alternatively, if you are in the UK please send a cheque made payable to Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival to:
David Woolley, Coombe House, Lamellion, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 4JU