Featured poet

Howard Richards

Howard David Richards is a physics graduate who started in research on magnetic materials and memories, and progressed to development of silicon integrated circuits - both with the Plessey Company. During the time associated with integrated circuits he established new manufacturing practices, and in the 1980s was instrumental in coordinating and directing manufacturing science within the UK and Europe.

After leaving the Plessey Company Howard was a consultant for the European Commission, and led and monitored some major projects across Europe on Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing Software. During his time in science and engineering he published a number of papers and a book, as well as seeing through a considerable number of engineers to their PhDs.

When he fully retired at the age of seventy, Howard concentrated more on his love of nature and history of the landscape - and in particular has interests in ancient places, walking, sketching, botany and butterflies. He has extensive diaries on travel, but only started writing poetry seriously when he was 72.

He lives in the village of Yardley Hastings, where he has been since 1985. His travels have taken him across Europe and into the eastern extremities of Turkey, to South Africa, the USA and the West Indies.

He has been a member of the poetry group in the FPAA for three years and has belonged to creative writing groups in Market Harborough and Northampton's U3A. In September 2014 he self-published his first poetry book, Snapshots in Time (ISBN 9781501052231).

Howard talks about his poetry...

I find poetry a good way of expressing feelings - whether it is through frivolity, descriptive text, or political or philosophical points. It is all to do with time and place and inner feelings. Some of my recent poetry has elements of dreams and nostalgia reflecting aspects of the past and future expectations. Other poems are about love, old friends, flora and fauna, travel, the weather, art and observations. No subject is forbidden; the expression is a snapshot in time. And as time flows in only one direction from the past to the future the dimensions of the mind play an important role through imagination and memory.

My style is my voice, and I have no concern whether I am correct in poetic form or pulse; it's whether I like it or not. If others like some of my work then that's a bonus.

Hot Summer Days

It was a hot July in 2014 and my mind drifted aimlessly at first but came together in a sequence of images to result in this poem.

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Soldiers of the Streets

It was early December 2013 when we review which charities we should support. I had been thinking about the charity 'Soldiers Off the Streets', one that seemed to me very deserving that we had supported in the past. Such charities as 'Help the Heroes' do not help with the problem I illustrated in this poem, and there are a great many soldiers male and female living rough.

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Black Flags

By August 2014 ISIS had shown its true colours by their atrocities in Iraq particularly to the Yazidis, so I wrote this poem to release anger and highlight what was being done in the name of God.

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Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

Some art magazines had been given to me to look through in March 2014. As I sat glancing at them on a rainy day I came across a painting by Lucian Freud that fuelled me to write this poem.

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Strumpshaw Fen

In June of 2011 Cicely and I were on a holiday in Norfolk and one of our special interests there were swallowtail butterflies. We had been told that we would see them possibly in Tinkers Lane near to Strumpshaw Fen. This poem was about the experiences.

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In June of 2012 we took a holiday in Venice when I wrote a number of poems of my experience there - but this poem is about a trip we took into the Vento, in the vicinity of the Euganean Hills and to the Villa Emo where the Countess Capodilista entertained us.

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It was the last Sunday in March 2014, and while out walking I began to daydream. 'Visions' is the resulting poem.

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