David Wilson

David Wilson


David Wilson lives in North Yorkshire and has been an active climber for many years. As well as poetry, he has written a novel, praised by The Times as a 'tour de force' and by the Daily Telegraph as 'wonderfully ironic...a kind of intellectual and emotional history of the times'. 



These poems bring back great memories. And I empathise with the questions some of the poems raise.

Chris Bonington


A brilliantly imagistic rendering of a place. The finding of likeness between Elvis and Everest ...is truly spectacular.

Paul Muldoon on ‘Everest’, which he awarded the 2015 Poets and Players prize

David Wilson turned to writing poetry a few years ago after being inspired by Derek Walcott's poem 'Midsummer, Tobago' on the wall of a hospital waiting room in Leeds. He then discovered the Writing Days run by the Poetry Business in Sheffield, leading to his first attempts at poems since the age of eight.

David was born and brought up in North London and studied at the London School of Economics, followed by a masters degree at Leeds University, which at the time had the only indoor climbing wall in the country and was close to excellent outcrop climbing. He has climbed extensively in the UK, Alps and further afield, at a standard best described as erratic.  In mid-life he got hooked on windsurfing, but writing about climbing led him back into it.

After living in Leeds, David settled with his family in Harrogate. He has worked freelance for many years as a training and development consultant, with most of his work now 1:1 coaching with Heads of Departments in universities, most regularly Birmingham and Cambridge.

Favourite poets include Jane Kenyon, Les Murray and Seamus Heaney. 

David’s poems have appeared in The North, Poetry News, Rialto, Scottish Mountaineer and the Cinnamon anthology Journey Planner. He has also been a prize-winner in competitions: Poets and Players (twice), the Buxton International Festival and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.

In seeking to write about the experience of climbing, he became interested in exploring the social and historical context of climbing, and how the way we see mountains changes over time. Robert McFarlane’s Mountains of the Mind  was one influential book, another was Wade Davis’ Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest; and a third  M John Harrison’s novel Climbers. The poets Les Murray and Norman McCaig were helpful in gaining insight into writing about climbing and landscape.

Prior to writing poetry, David occasionally wrote fiction, both short stories and a well-received novel. 

Feeding the Crow

im Dave Knowles


Hughes’ Crow explained the world,
your father’s early stroke,

America in Iraq.

You translated words into rock,

gritstone cracks which hung in space,

hand-jams that bit our flesh.


You wanted steep, hard, cold,

a printer’s landscape of black and white,

and so to Nevis in February,


an unclimbed buttress in a storm.

Crow is loving this, you said.

Your dark eyes shone.


High in a vertical ice-choked groove

your crampons slipped and scraped.

I had no belay worth the name,


prayed to a kinder, weaker god

that we might get out of this alive.

Crow grinned and flew his black flag.  

Titles by this author


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