Pam Thompson

Pam Thompson is a poet and university lecturer based in Leicester.

Pam was a winner of The Poetry Business competition in 2005 with her pamphlet, Show Date and Time, (Smith-Doorstop, 2006).

Her latest other publications are Spin (Waldean Press1998), Parting theGhosts of Salt (Redbeck Press, 2000), Hologram (Sunk-Island Publishing, 2009) and The Japan Quiz’ (Redbeck Press, 2009). ). Her work has been published in many literary magazines and anthologies and has won prizes in several competitions.

Pam is one of the organisers of Word!, a spoken-word, open-mic night at The Y Theatre in Leicester.

Show Date and Time was a winner in the 2005 Book and Pamphlet Competition.

Pam was recently winner of the Judge’s Prize in the Magma Poetry Competition, (March, 2015).




Reviews


Show Date and Time

“There are twenty poems in this fine collection (Show Date and Time). Pam Thompson has a voice that should echo through our minds and should, through her skill, remind us ‘who we were’. It is a voice I look forward to hearing again and again.”
 
 John Cartmel Crossley
 
  


 

 
“Well-judged demotic language, particular imagery and an uncompromising focus on the emotional currents behind everyday events and thoughts give the poems in Show Date and Time a memorable immediacy and power. Pam Thompson’s voice can be both compassionate and tough, the world it describes vividly real, haunted by difficulties and pleasures.”
 
 Mike Barlow
 
 

 

“Pam Thompson’s world is a compelling, understated, often sad, slightly surreal modern Britain, full of people celebrating Divali on the Belgrade Road, sitting in pubs “Way past Auld Lang Syne”, wearing hoodies, and George Best “booting the ball through the screen/ after scoring for the first time in colour”.
 
In ‘Night Interiors’, Santok (the man at the petrol station) displays Easter eggs and sorts out the flowers on display:
 
under blue strip lighting. Going and coming,
redoubled in the chestnut flank
of a customised Subaru,
he steps towards himself; breaks away …”
 
 Sue Butler
 

 

The Japan Quiz

 

“…It didn’t surprise me to find that a number of the poems had won major prizes. Thompson’s is a strong confident voice and she is able to handle both deeply personal material and subjects which handle empathy and the dramatic monologue with equal skill. I also enjoyed the variety of form, and, in particular, this poet’s flair for using whitespace and her often bold line-endings…" Carole Bromley The North

 


 
”Pam Thompson’s collection (The Japan Quiz) is bold and quirky consisting of five main sections that work to form intense, fascinating narratives. Many of the poems are arranged as longer sequences, a technique at which Thompson excels. The reader becomes deeply invested in the unfolding stories and desires of the characters contained within these. I enjoyed the collection immensely … There’s a great range to this work, and a sense of the celebration of language … Thompson’s characters impress. They are believable, seeming to lead real lives of work and desire beyond the pages of the book … The darkness appeals … and evoking darkness, both emotional and physical, is where Thompson’s strength really lies … that very notion of a ‘thin skin’ between two worlds. Thompson’s words are at their most powerful where she considers the intersections, the tensions, the matches and mismatches between differing worlds: cultural, emotional and psychological. In doing so she reveals their lightness but their compelling sense of darkness too. This book is a trick and a treat, I recommend it.”
   Abi Curtis

 

I was brought up in Exhall, near Coventry, a former mining area but I have lived in Leicester for most of my life so I consider myself an East Midlander.

I hated poetry at first. In my first year at secondary school we were made to chant ‘Sea-Fever’ by John Masefield by an uninspiring teacher. I could have been scarred for life but luckily, another teacher, a few years on, introduced me to Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. I was smitten and began to read avidly and to write a lot.

My first poems were pastiches of others or pure self-expression. At university, it all stopped. I’m horrified about this now; so many wasted years. But I started sending out poems into the world in my late twenties, still too late, but the world began to take some notice: poems were taken by magazines and I was a runner-up in my first ever poetry competition run by the World Wildlife Fund and judged by Ted Hughes. The poem was published in the anthology, The Orange Dove of Fiji.

I have been lucky. I was awarded a Writers Bursary by East Midlands Arts, was selected to write a commission and take part in a regional Writers Tour, and gained Arts Council funding-all of these meant I worked and toured with other writers and that was a real creative spur. I have won and been runner-up in several competitions, and led writing workshops, collaborated with artists and film-makers, performed at local music festivals, The Big Session, Summer Sundae and Strawberry Fields and at Sheffield Poetry festival.

There have been periods when I haven’t written but I have always read poetry. I am discovering ‘new’ people all the time and am open to everything and am very eclectic in my tastes. Favourites include Roy Fisher, Barbara Guest, John Ashbery, Frank O’ Hara, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, Paul Violi, Edwin Morgan, Elizabeth Bishop, Tomas Transtromer, George Mackay-Brown, Denise Riley, I could go on… .

I find it difficult to comment on my own style and preoccupations. I’m sure others see things I don’t. It’s fair to say though that my poems are mainly urban, filmic, with slightly skewed perspectives, visual and psychological. I enjoy experimenting with form. I have started sending work out again in the past year or so after a never-to-be repeated couple of years when I let other things take over and, as a consequence, I did next to no writing at all. Poetry is a good habit.

Show date and time

  

Since then

 

          they have cut down the trees behind the house,

          cumulus clouds are more prevalent in the neighbourhood sky

          and unknown animals pace the outlying fields.

 

          There is new legislation against rambling; there

           is new legislation about not scrawling your name

          in indelible marker pen on the nearest street sign

 

                                                                          but you do.

 

Since that time

 

          the hallway has become overgrown with flyers,

          letters, newspapers and a ball of unravelling garden twine

          which you unwind still further, tie it to the valve of a radiator

                                                     

                                               walking into the rest of your life,

         holding onto the end which is blackening from the sweat

         on your fingers, from the grime of news and unsolicited mail,

 

                                               holding on so that  if, when, soon

         you can  rewind, trace your way back to the street sign where

         your hectic scrawl  reminds you who you were.    

Titles by this author

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