Poet Puzzlers – Bob Horne

Sticking with our opening salvo of Puzzle Hall Poet royalty, we have Bob Horne. Alongside John Foggin, Bob was at the helm of the Puzzle Hall Poets for six (yes count them six) years, before handing over the reigns to Laura, Charlotte and Steve. A true gentleman, and the brains, braun, and everything else behind Calder Valley Poetry, read on to find out how severely we should be troubled by his addiction to cricket.

  • What would you like to be reincarnated as?

Terence Stamp, when he was dating Julie Christie in the sixties.

  • What did you want to be when you were at school?

Insofar as I had any ambition, I suppose journalism interested me more than anything. I have actually done a fair amount of freelance journalism on and off in the past 40 years, and still do some, though it has never been a career. Most of my working life was spent teaching, although I had a milk round for a time 30 years ago, and in my early twenties I was a stonedresser. Reshaping the local sandstone, most of which was Elland Flags, was so satisfying.

  • What was/were the last good poetry book/s you read?

I’ve just re-read Clive James’s Sentenced to Life, and am on with his injury Time. I’m also frequently dipping into Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things. I love his perspective, his gentleness. I also re-read Gaia Holmes’s and Winston Plowes’s Tales from the Tachograph last week. It’s wonderful. Published by Calder Valley Poetry. A privilege to have played a small part in that and twenty-odd other pamphlets.

  • Do you have a favourite word? And could you tell us what it is? (and maybe why?)

If a favourite word is the one you use most, mine would be an expletive.

  • Do you have a hidden skill or talent?

I hope so.

  • Cricket or poetry?

Sod of a question! I’ve tried to combine the two. There’s cricket in my poetry, as has been observed by the perceptive Puzzle Poets regulars; whether there was poetry in my cricket is not for me to say. I have a poem in the the MCC anthology of cricket verse, A Breathless Hush.  The Index of Poets includes the following sequence:            

Horne, Bob

Housman, A.E.

Hughes, Ted

I rest my case.

Of all games, cricket is the most skilful, varied and beautiful. I refer to proper cricket: four-day county games or five-day Tests. Seeing Fred Trueman bowl at the old Bradford Park Avenue, when I was ten, remains one of the thrills of my life. Equal to the first time I saw Malham Cove, at the same age.

  • What would be your preferred way to dispose of a body?

Burning pyre on a wooden raft, launched into the Atlantic Ocean from Sandwood Bay in NW Sutherland.

  • Do you have a favourite building? (and what/where is it and why?)

Chalet 16 at Viking Bay, Broadstairs. Childhood holidays. Paradise.

  • Do you have a book, event, project, invention, cat, anything you’d like to tell us about?

I currently have the manuscripts of the next three Calder Valley Poetry collections. These are the poems of Alison Lock, Jack Faricy and Natalie Rees. I shall also be working on a Collected Mark Hinchliffe, although that is a long-term project. Come to think of it, they’re all long-term at the moment because my printer is on lockdown. I’m also writing a book about the morning paper round I had as a teenager in the early 1960s.

  • Could you give us a question to ask another poet?

Do you have a favourite Ordnance Survey map?  (Mine’s Landranger No.6 – Cape Wrath.)

Bob Horne passes the lockdown days pursuing his hobbies of poetry, local history and cycling, not necessarily in that order. And come to think of it, he does have other pastimes, like devouring crime fiction and tending the allotment.

His isn’t musical, but has two guitars, a mandolin, fiddle, bodhran, several harmonicas and whistles, a melodeon and a keyboard, two cornets and a concertina. He can’t sing either.

He is the founder and sole operative of Calder Valley Poetry, and is honoured to have been given the opportunity to publish the verses of many fine poets. See www.caldervalleypoetry.com. And in 2016 a collection of his own poems, Knowing My Place, was published by Caterpillar Poetry.

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