Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

Poetry Magazine

My latest publication – Vine Leaves Literary Journal #VLLJ4EVA

This was a very nice surprise. The Vine Leaves Literary Journal is a weighty Australian hardback packed with vignettes of fiction and poetry, one of which is mine.
Sadly this is the last volume in the series. It’s available on Amazon though.

Click here


My Latest Publication – Strange Poetry

I am very happy to have had two of my poems published in the wonderful online mag ‘Strange Poetry’. Please give the mag your support. It’s publishing exciting stuff and I’m honoured to be included.
You can check out my poems and lots of far better and outstanding pieces here.

My Latest Publication – Obsessed With Pipework 77

I’m very chuffed to have had two of my poems ‘Made in Japan’ and ‘your love’ published in Issue 77 of the delightful ‘Obsessed With Pipework’, edited by Charles Johnson.


It’s always a joy to read, since it delivers a hefty dose of high quality accessible poetry. My favourites so far are the poems by Jonathan Edwards, particularly ‘Bournemouth’ (the inspiration for the cover I assume) and ‘Ann Summers’, as well as Kate Dempsey’s ‘Mothers’ Day’.

Subscriptions and submissions (up to six of your most extraordinary poems with a C5 or larger SAE. Failure to include will result in no response) should be sent to

Charles Johnson, editor

Flarestack Publishing

8 Abbots Way





The next issue, due in May 17, will be a spoon/spoon theory poems special. See the ‘Obsessed With Pipework’ or ‘Spoon on The Tracks’ Facebook pages.

Please subscribe. £12 for 4 issues. Make the cheque or postal order payable to Flarestack Publishing, sent to the address above.

Some back issues can be found online at The Poetry Library

My Latest Publication – South


I seem to be on a roll lately. South 54 arrived today, with one of my poems in it.
This is always a pleasure as the poetry is selected anonymously, i.e. without the selectors knowing who the author is. I can therefore be sure that I have been selected because the work was deemed good enough, or conversely, not rejected because I am a fat grumpy bloke with dubious political views.

Details of South can be found here

My Latest Acceptance – Obsessed With Pipework

I came home today to find one of my Stamped Addressed Envelopes, addressed in my own block printed writing since my lower case joined up writing tends to confuse the uninitiated.

When these things arrive – rarer and rarer now since many magazines’ switch to email or Submittable submissions – my usual habit is to put it aside until I’ve prepared a coffee and some form of narcotic to help with the distress.

Rejection is something I suspect that none of us enjoy. Occasionally however, one gets rejections that are positive and make the experience almost a pleasant one. Yesterday in fact I received an e-mail which ran:-

Many thanks for your message and poems, which I read with interest and pleasure.

They were engaging and worked well. I particularly enjoyed ‘all these books’, ‘June 2016’ and ‘the dream of the sea’, especially the first three stanzas. They are polished enough.

I would liked to have read something more disruptive in them to work against the clear surface. I am sorry to disappoint this time. However, I would be pleased to read more of your work in due course.’

I was delighted by this, if a little embarrassed that I am not completely sure what ‘something more disruptive’ may be. I will dwell on it.

It’s great that some editors can take the time to encourage and give feedback, and it’s very much appreciated.  It helps to keep one going.

So, coffee at elbow, I opened it up and was again delighted to find a hand-written note from Charles Johnson, editor of ‘Obsessed With Pipework’ who writes:-

Dear Roddy

Thanks for the poems. I’m plumping for MADE IN JAPAN and YOUR LOVE for OWP number 77, due in February.

Best Wishes


I like a man who plumps.

Please check the magazine out. It offers a great selection of good poetry, some of which is a little off the wall, which is maybe why I have had the good fortune to have been published in at least 3 issues I think.

Their website (or at least the Flarestack Press website) doesn’t appear to have been updated for some time, but basic details of the mag can be found here.


My Latest Publication


This was a very nice surprise. I received two copies of ‘The Cannon’s Mouth’ Issue 61 today, with one of my poems (‘checking in’) in it. I had no idea it had even been accepted.
I am in good company as it has some great poetry in it, my favourite being ‘Cello Sonata’ by Jenna Plewes.

As always, I urge you to subscribe and keep printed poetry alive. It’s a precious thing and needs nurturing.

Check them out here

And today I am celebrating my 100th publication!

I picked up an e-mail at about midnight last night to inform me that two of my poems had been published in the online magazine ‘Snakeskin’. I was a little bleary-eyed as Friday evenings I am often rendered brain dead by the effects of the working week and some palliative vodka.

Anyhoo, after a seemingly interminable stream of rejections, this came as good news.  Being a bit of an OCD geek I updated my records (see my previous posts on Poetry Apps for Geeks) only to discover that I have now published exactly one hundred poems. This excludes some very early work in Sixth Form College magazines where, it has to be said, the competition wasn’t so fierce.

It also has to be said that the vast bulk of these started in around 2006 so I spent many years in the poetry wilderness. It does pay to persevere.

Hard to say which of these two is actually the hundredth poem as they were published simultaneously. However, I would like to think it is ‘men’s names’ which has been submitted to a large number of publishers and uniformly rejected until now.

So, if you’d like to read them, you can find them here. Snakeskin 232 – September 2016

My Latest Acceptance

I was very happy to discover this morning that one of my poems has been accepted for publication in the next issue of South Poetry magazine.

It’s a great mag which has been running for 53 issues, and it’s particularly special to be selected for this magazine as they run an anonymous selection process, which ensures that the selectors are judging each poem on merit alone.

If you don’t subscribe please consider doing so. Details can be found in the link above. You’ll be supporting the Arts and you can read my poem. Simples.


My Latest Publication #poetry


My contributor’s copy of South Bank Poetry arrived today. It’s got my name on the back and everything, listed among my fellow contributors, which always gives me a feeling of achievement.
This issue contains one of my sonnets. Writing or saying that phrase elicits quite a different feeling. There’s something about the public perception of a sonnet that makes me feel uneasy. I am sure it gives many people a vision of me sitting in the window in a velvet blouson (one with a ruff) gazing out across the city, quill in hand and parchment on knee, awaiting inspiration.
Sadly, it’s not like that at all. My velvet blouson has no ruff for one thing…
Sonnets tend to suggest pretentiousness, long words and worthy pronouncements, in the same way that the mention of Leonard Cohen dredges up the impression of suicidal misery, generally in people who have never listened to him. Leonard and sonnets are sorely misjudged.
At the end of the day it is nothing more than a poem of fourteen lines. Some rhyme and follow a formal structure. Some do not.
Mine tend to vary since I have been writing them regulary for at least ten years. Recently I’ve been experimenting with the format to a such a degree that my loved ones are fearful for my own safety.
This isn’t one of those, so fear not.
If you wish to explore the variety of modern sonnets you could do worse than look through some back issues of the much lost and lamented magazine ’14’ edited by Michael Loveday. I was fortunate enough to feature in a couple of issues before the 14th and appropriately final issue.
Anyhoo, South Bank Poetry is a cool glossy covered number, edited by Katherine Lockton and Peter Ebsworth, featuring many poems about London, but not exclusively.
Check it out


My Latest Acceptance #poetry

Two rejections yesterday and one acceptance of a poem for the wonderful Ink, Sweat and Tears, undoubtedly one of the best online poetry magazines. That will be online around November hopefully.

Rejection – in life as in poetry – is something with which we all have to learn to deal in our own ways. Inevitably one will take it personally for the short moment after one has digested the rejection slip or e-mail.

‘This is clearly absurd,’ you must tell yourself. ‘These editors do not know you and have no grand scheme to destroy your rise to poetry stardom. Besides, many magazines operate an anonymous policy whereby the selector or selectors have no idea who the authors may be.’
That usually works. Sometimes the inner voice whines back.
‘But this one doesn’t. They must hate me for sending something completely inappropriate for their magazine.’
I have to think this through. Are there editors so consumed with irrational hate for their potential contributors that they will refuse to publish the good stuff when they send it in?
‘I guess it is possible,’ I reply, ‘but I find it hard to imagine that your work could have been worse than the greetings card love twaddle that all editors must have to deal with.’
Apologies if you are a writer of greetings card love twaddle. It’s a worthy profession and a noble craft but not the sort of thing you tend to submit to contemporary poetry magazines.
I suspect someone will now send me a link to the popular quarterly journal Tennessee Greetings Card Love Twaddle (submissions open). But I digress.
‘One also has to consider the high volume of submissions some magazines receive against the number of pieces they can actually publish. Rejection doesn’t necessarily mean your work is bad, just that there was some very stiff competition.’
The digital age has been a double-edged sword in this respect. Yes, we have a fresh continent of online magazines and print magazines who accept e-mail and Submittable submissions, but this has opened the way for anyone to submit anything they want at any time of the day or night to about 80% of the market without leaving the house.
People who don’t leave the house without a good excuse shouldn’t be submitting poetry. I feel this is a bad idea. But I digress.
Rejection is painful, but it is momentary. Move on. Persevere.