In my view, poetry is always the discovery of possibilities in language to express my encounter, through the senses, with
the living environment; this encounter also includes a socio-political interaction; or in moments of quiet reflection, the act
of remembering; (language in this context includes that of visual creative expression, poetry being also an accepted aesthetic in the visual arts.)

To express such sensual experiences in poetry is to subject my writing to the rigorous process of editing to produce
a distillation of sorts. It is often during this process of crafting that intuition makes an entrance, and from which I get a great deal of pleasure.

I do facilitate workshops in creative writing and the visual arts.  It is a way of sharing one's artistic skills.  My approach is based on the following principles:  understanding the fundamentals in the practical use of materials;  a playful, creative exploration of subject matter in relation to one's chosen expressive material (including verbal and written languages.) And last, but not least, to encourage a workshop atmosphere that is fun and mutually inspirational.

To book a workshop please email

johnpainterlyons at

  • The Scared Crow

    A sparrow and a crow

    were perched in a willow

    at the edge of a cornfield.



    they don't scare me,”

    cawed the crow.


    “That may be so.”

    said the sparrow;

    “but, look again.

    This one wears

    a ginger cat

    disguised as a hat.”

  • African Drought

    The sun came down,

    furnaced the air,

    severed clean

    the cycle of seasons

    with its blade of flame,

    coloured everything

    a scorched brown,

    imposed silence

    as a burden.

    Extract from Lure of the Cascadura.

    Published by Bogle L'-Ouverture.

  • Behind the Carnival

    In the beginning was carnival:

    the pulse that animated the germ in the soup,

    made sperm a triumphant amphibian,

    stirred seed to shoot, burned green

    in every tree and herb.

    Extract from Behind the Carnival.

    Published by Smith/Doorstop Books.

  • The Sun Inn, Rhewl Village

    Bodies are fuelled with ale

    in this fourteenth century interior;

    a hug of warmth, and daylight

    discreet through small windows,

    the Welsh comfortable here at home.

    Here, long ago, drovers quenched

    their thirst for folk tales and beer.

    It is now a respite for the shoot:

    lusty men washing the kill from their

    minds with good Denbigh brew.

    Extract from 'A Carib Being in Cymru'

    Published by Cane Arrow Press.

  • Nanny's Reincarnation

    After the beating by plantation sun,

    the silencing of the drums, night was a comfort.

    Your ancestral ways simmered in a pepperpot

    in the dark, spiced with wild thyme, casareep.


    Obeah was your faith.

    You soothed monthly pains with zebapique,

    drove evil spirits away

    burning cacajab in coalpot fire.

    Extract from 'A Carib Being in Cymru'

    Published by Cane Arrow Press.

  • Weather Vane

    Not easy to understand

    the hard fettle of Hughes' poetry

    distilled from the Calder Valley,

    where the sun keeps its distance

    and the sky is a puckered tissue

    greying everything.


    Sometimes there is a blessing

    in perceiving language in landscape:

    Autumn in mid-Winter

    with gamboge yellow, Indian red;

    blue wood smoke lifting

    amid scraggy sycamores,

    their dark bloom of rooks' nests.

    Extract from 'Voices From a Silk-Cotton Tree

    Published by Smith/Doorstop Books

Full poetry collections

Children’s anthologies

Adult anthologies


Full poetry collections


Dancing in the Rain,

Peepal Tree Press 2015

ISBN 9781845233013


A Carib Being in Cymru

Cane Arrow Press 2015

ISBN  978-0-9929388-2-6


No Apples in Eden

Smith/Doorstop Books 2009

ISBN  978-1-902382-99-9


Cook-up in a Trini Kitchen

Peepal Tree Press Ltd. 2009

ISBN  978 1 84523 082 1


Voices From A Silk-Cotton Tree
Smith/Doorstop Books 2002
ISBN 1-902382-41-2


Behind the Carnival

Smith/Doorstop Books 1994

ISBN  1 869961 54 4


The Sun Rises In the North
Smith/Doorstop Books 1991
ISBN 1 869961 32 3


Lure of the Cascadura

Bogle L'Ouverture Publications Ltd. 1989

ISBN  0 904521 48 6

If you wish to purchase any of these books

please email johnpainterlyons at

Children's Anthologies


A Caribbean Dozen
Edited by John Agard & Grace Nichols
Walker Books Ltd 1994
ISBN 0-7445-2172-6


Hello New
Edited by John Agard & Grace Nichols
Orchard Books 2000
ISBN 1 84121 621 6


Under The Moon and Over the Sea
Edited by John Agard & Grace Nichols
Walker Books Ltd 2002
ISBN 0-7445-3736-3


Rainbow World (Poems from many Cultures)
Edited by Bashabi Fraser and Debjani Chatterjee
Hodder Children’s Books 2003
ISBN 0 7502 4280 9


On A Camel to the Moon
Compiled by Valerie Bloom
Belitha Press Ltd 2001
ISBN 1 84138 247 7


One River Many Creeks
Chosen by Valerie Bloom
Macmillan Children’s Books 2003
ISBN 0 333 96114 5

101 Favourite Poems
Compiled by John Foster
Collins 2002
ISBN 0 00 713975 6


Can You Hear (Poems for Oxfam)
Edited by John Foster
Pan Macmillan Children’s Books 1992
ISBN 0 330 32503 5


Then and Now
Compiled by Fiona Waters
Evans Brothers Ltd 2001
ISBN 023752127 X


Did I Tell You?

131 poems for children in need

Edited by Nicky Gould and Vicky Wilson

Categorical Books 2010 for World Aid,

ISBN 978-1-904662-11-2


Not Only the Dark

Categorical Books 2011

Edited by Vicky Wilson

ISBN 978-1-904662-15-0


Adult Anthologies


OxfordBook of Caribbean Verse
Stewart Brown & Mark McWatt
Oxford University Press 2005
ISBN 0-19-280332-8


Dance the Guns to Silence
Edited by Nii Ayikwei Parkes & Kadija Sesay
Flipped Eye Publishing 2005
ISBN 1-905233-01-9


Peace Poems
Crocus Books, Commonword Ltd 2003
ISBN 0-946745-43-9


Moving Voices (Black Performance Poetry)
Asher & Martin Hoyles
Hansib Publications Ltd 2002
ISBN 1 870518 64 0


IC3 The Penguin Of New Black Writing in Britain
Edited by Courttia Newland and Kadija Sesay
Hamish Hamilton 2000
ISBN 0-241-14047-1


Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Anthology
1989 – 1998

Aldeburgh Poetry Trust 1999
ISBN 0 953 5422 1 1


Nailing Colours (Poems of Rebellion)
Crocus Books, Commonword Ltd 1997
ISBN 0-946745-61-7


Albert Poets 1997
ISBN 0 9523966 37


Making Connections
Edited by Angela Topping
Stride Publications 1996
ISBN 1 900 152 06 1


Poems From The Readaround
Manchester Poets 1995
Tarantula Publications 1995
ISBN 0 9514481 7 X



Draft No.2
Albert Poets 1995
ISBN 09523966 10


Kiss (Asian, African, Caribbean, Chinese Love Poems)
Crocus Books, Commonword Ltd. 1994
ISBN 0-946745-21-8


Excite The Mind
(Manchester Poetry Festival 1994 Official Anthology)
A K Press 1994
ISBN 1873 176 538


First Draft
Albert Poets 1994
ISBN 0 9523966 0 2


Chapman No. 61-2 Autumn 1990
International Festival of Writing
ISBN 0-906772-25-7


Black and Priceless
Crocus Books, Commonword Ltd 1988
ISBN 0 946745 45 5


The New British Poetry 1968 – 88
Paladin Grafton Books
ISBN 0-586-08765-6



Commonword 2006

ISBN 1-905778-01-5



Peepal Tree Press Ltd 2010

ISBN 9781845231293


Sixty Poems for Haiti

Cane Arrow Press 2010

ISBN 978-0-9562901-3-7


Writing Yourself

Continuum International 2010

ISBN 1-905778-01-5


Out of Bounds, Bloodaxe Books 2012

Bloodaxe Books 2012

ISBN 978-85224-929-8

Mentioned in the following



Contemporary British Poetry (Essays In Theory and Criticism)
James Acheson and Romana Huk
University of New York Press 1996
ISBN 0-7914-2767-6 (pbk) 0-7914-2768-4


Dictionary of Artists in Britain Since 1945
David Buckman
Art Dictionaries Ltd. 1998
ISBN 0 953 2609 09


Who is Who in Art & Antiques
Who Is Who Publications Ltd 2002
ISBN 1-84378-001-3


Hayward Annual 1982 British Drawing
Arts Council Publication 1982
ISBN 0 7287 0324 6


Arts Council Collection Acquisitions 1989 – 2002
Published by Hayward Gallery Publishing 2003
ISBN 1 85332 230 X


Moving Worlds
Masquerade Caribbean Issue Vol.3 No.2 2003
School of English University of Leeds
ISBN 0 9540751 4 5


Responses: Intercultural Drawing Practice
Liverpool School of Art and Design (CAIR 2001)
ISBN 0952316137


Unterrichts - Materialien English
Stark Veriagesellschaft mbH & Co. KG
D-85318 Freising. Postfach 1852, Nachdruck verborten


Intermediate GNVQ Art & Design
Alan Smith
Macmillan Press Ltd. 1997
ISBN 0-333-66090-0


The Magic Exercise (Twelve Arts Education Projects)
Victoria Neumark
National Association of Art centres 1998
ISBN 0-948861-03-7


Northern Poetry Vol.1
Edited by Catherine Byron and John Lyons
Littlewood Press 1989
ISBN 0 946407 50 9

For further information on commissions, my availability for exhibitions (solo, touring, or mixed), or for information about contributing poetry
to anthologies, public readings and workshops, please contact me in the first instance by email:

© All images by John Lyons 2015