John Fennelly

John Fennelly

John Fennelly was born in London but currently lives in Manchester, where he completed an MA in Creative Writing at MMU's Writing School. He is a poet, teacher and workshop facilitator. His work has been published in Avis Magazine, The Long White Thread of Words – Poems for John Berger, (Smokestack, 2016) and commended in the Bridport and Bare Fiction Prizes.  In 2015 he began the popular ‘Verse Box’ open mic series in Manchester and in 2016 helped to co-found ‘Black Cat Poets’. He has regularly performed at events in London, Manchester and elsewhere. He currently works as 'House Poet' at MMU's Writing School.

John Fennelly's poems are full of longing, regret and hope, lingering like the aftertaste and fizz of sherbet in 'Eucharist'. Often wry and funny, often achingly poignant, they take us on late night bus journeys, walks through haunted childhood streets. - Helen Mort


by John Fennelly

from Another Hunger (smith|doorstop, 2018)


Mum sent me to fetch at least

a score before you frittered

all that week's wages in pub or bookie,

and I found you in The Fellowship,

Sweet Afton smoke, navvy's boots,

neatly sculpting ruffs

round emptied pints of porter.

Holes, roads, tube lines

you dug and drank, I swore

you'd never see me travel.

Listening to the bodhrán

of rain over London, now I

crawl the craic through East End pubs,

Grave Maurice, Blind Beggar,

Hung, Drawn and Quart'ed,

still searching, with my map

of London's Lost Rivers,

draught and redrafts on my lips

an overdraft in my pocket.

But in yours would have been

betting slips. Crafty dead cert smiles.

And while I haunt these places

still alive, I find I am

more of a gambling man

Dad, than I bet you'd ever have guessed.

Titles by this author

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