Wednesday, 31 December 2008

There's Always Hope...

The death and resurrection of the New Labour scam

Rumours of New Labour’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, writes Mark Cantrell, so woe betide anyone looking to the ‘party that will’ for a bit of genuine social justice in the coming year. In fact, New Labour isn’t dead – it is being reborn with a vengeance

Rewards Of Hard Work

Work Ethics
By Mark Cantrell

Pity a man
Who is compelled
To work hard.
He will never be Master,
Let alone Man,
Only ever
A slave.

Mark Cantrell,
1 December 2008

Copyright © December 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Sunday, 28 December 2008

This Way, Please!

Road Signs
By Mark Cantrell

The Road to Hell,
They say,
Is paved with good intentions.
Well, the path underfoot
Certainly comes this way.
This is where the politicians gather,
To take our good intent,
Pimp it out,
And leave it,
Abused, bruised and weeping
In the gutter
On the Road to Hell.

Mark Cantrell,
4 December 2008

Copyright © December 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

For My Eyes Only

A little something for the shelves

IN a sense, I suppose it makes for an Xmas present to myself; in another sense it may acknowledge a certain subconscious sense of defeat. The answer is far from clear, emerging painfully slowly from its birth vat of circumstance and the future, but I took delivery this morning of a paperback copy of my second novel Citizen Zero.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Picture This

Sign Of The Times Calling
By Mark Cantrell

BEFORE the days of carefully manipulated corporate branding, there was feudal heraldry, and out of this era and ethos evolved an art-form all of its own.

This was a more down-to-earth visual aesthetic fit to slake a good thirst – they were the signs that said ‘here be ale’. Welcome to the pub, in other words.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Out Of The Void Of Amnesia

Coming in 2009, a harvest of sweet and short fiction
Anthology of science fantasy and horror destined to burst into print

Isolation Space
'A Melange Of Short Fiction'

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

At This Juncture

No poet is an island

New Zealand zine 'Junctures: The Journal for Thematic Dialogue' is calling for poems, fiction, and creative non-fiction for its next issue on the theme of “island.”

Sunday, 9 November 2008

So We Wait And We Hope

Zero motion for novel citizen

SADLY, it has to be announced that the forthcoming publication of my second novel, Citizen Zero, has gone from 'coming soon' to 'don't hold your breath'.

Out With Editorial

Bluechrome books a mentor

Independent publisher Bluechrome has out-sourced its editorial and mentoring functions to new-born “literary consultancy” Bubble Cow as part of a deeper re-structuring of the company’s operations.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Paperback Exclusive!

The spirit of a book reaps paper flesh

Mark Cantrell publishes a paperback 'fairly limited' edition of his novel Uranium Fist... 

First it was published as a 'digital ghost' in the form of a PDF ebook, but now author Mark Cantrell has dared the physical and transposed his first novel into the hard tangibility of paper, with a paperback edition exclusively available through Lulu.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The Muse Has Spoken

Satirical entry is the latest addition

The current edition of Writers' Muse magazine continues the ongoing publication of my work, with the inclusion of the satirical short story 'Coming Home To Roost'.

Writers' Muse is a quarterly A5 publication, based in Stockport, Cheshire, that features a wide-range of fiction, poetry and prose. The October edition (#45) is available now, price £2.99. For more information about the magazine, visit

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Writer’s Cramp
By Mark Cantrell

Someone once said,
That if you ever write a sentence
You really like, then
Strike it out!
Well, it seemed like sound advice,
So I set about putting word into deed
And sacrificed all the choicest phrases.
Painful, though it was, I sensed the wisdom
In the maxim,
After all, an author must learn, I know,
To butcher the babies born of their pen,
If their words are to thrive
In this callous, cruel Darwinian world.
Survival of the fittest
Demanded the cull,
So I wielded the red-tip scalpel-edged nib
And set to bloody work.
The pain was great, the sacrifice so noble
As the clauses and repetition, the purpled blobs
Of typo-sucked words sloughed free of the bloated manuscript
I so birthed.
The nimble-fingered slicing, slimmed down its girth,
Until the results spoke true of themselves.
I hacked, and I tucked, until the final creation was rendered
Purest perfection.
By the end of this cosmetic anticipation,
With all surplus trimmed,
I beheld the moment of perfection,
And witnessed...

“The End”

Mark Cantrell,
22 August 2008

Copyright © August 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Monday, 15 September 2008

Dive Into The Talent Pool

Harper Collins baits its net

By Mark Cantrell

THIS is a publisher’s slush pile with one significant difference, according to its creators Harper Collins – at an author’s manuscript will actually be read. Or so it is said

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Telling Tales In York

Fairy tales in old York

The world is coming to York at the end of the month, or rather some of the most renowned of international storytellers will bring the many oral storytelling traditions from cultures across the globe.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

As Then, So It Remains

"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime."

Aristotle (384BC -- 322BC) 

Category: QUOTES

Double up for stagecraft

Get fit for the comedy of sex

THERE’S nothing funny about the battle of the sexes or in battling to keep fit for the fight, or so you might think. Well, a comedy double bill coming to the Carriageworks in Leeds dares to suggest otherwise.

Body Double presents a pairing of short plays written by two Yorkshire playwrights. Fit Piece, written by Helen Shay and directed by Jo McCarey-Egan, while Life Sentence follows it up, written by Michael Yates, and directed by Colin Lewisohn.

Yorkshire Speaking

The Yorkshire Motto
(said tongue in cheek)

‘Ear all, see all, say nowt;
‘Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt;
An if ivver tha does owt fer nowt --
Do it fer thissen!

Presently Speaking

Birthday Present
By Mark Cantrell

On my birthday,
I was given,
Brand-spanking new
And shiny,
A life of my very own.
I never used it.
It stayed on the shelf
And there it remains today,
Not shiny now, but dusty.
You see,
I’ve never understood
To switch it on,
Let alone
How to make it

Mark Cantrell,
11 January 2008

Copyright © January 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Monday, 25 August 2008

For My Mum


By Mark Cantrell

Time is cruel that way.
The way it takes you ever
Further from where we stand.
You’ve gone into yesterday now,
Forever, and we must move forward
Into tomorrow, and the day after, until
Our own yesterdays arrive to receive us.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Extract Of An 'Accidental' Novel

"In Workers' Paradise"

A Novel By Mark Cantrell

The following is an extract of my latest novel, extracted as an introductory taster. I regard it as an 'accidental novel' since it was originally intended to be a short story. Clearly, it had something to say and wasn't prepared to let up until it had hammered its point into my head...

Thursday, 19 June 2008

In Memoriam

Edith Emma Cantrell

My Mother, Much Missed

28th May 1930 to 19th June 2008

To the woman who not only brought me into this world, but bequeathed to me the joy of books and words. She was a poet herself, but since she wrote only for the pleasure of it, my two sisters and I didn't learn of this creative pursuit until well into our own adulthood.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Head This Off


By Mark Cantrell

If you can keep your head
When all around you
Are losing theirs,
Then, you must be
The axe man,
For it is easy
To remain sanguine,
When yours is not the neck
On the block...

Mark Cantrell,
1 March 2008

Copyright © March 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Sunday, 25 May 2008

School Girl's Amnesty Prize

You can’t jail minds

A poem inscribed on a piece of wrapping paper for embroidery thread has won its author a prize in Amnesty International’s 'You Can’t Jail Minds' competition.

The competition is aimed at school children and sets a sobering challenge. They are required to imagine they are imprisoned and denied the right to a fair trial, then express their feelings in the form of a poem – but without the use of pen and paper. Instead, they have to find alternative methods of recording their poetic outbursts.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Talk About A Trek

No, it’s not for that kind of Trekkie

The art of oral story telling is to feature in a series of downloads from website Author Trek. Spoken word artists are invited to submit their works for possible inclusion on the site.


Fifty quid for some wilde text

A monthly writing competition is not for the verbose, or the clumsy of the thumb, for the challenge is to tap out a story in 300 characters or less – and that includes the spaces.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Will To Act

A Labour Of Love

Actor's Community Theatre will present William Shakespeare's Loves Labours Lost at Bradford Cathedral in the first week of June. Watch the promo video for more information. The production takes place on 3, 4, & 5th June 2008.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Take hope, this is England

Coming Home To Roost

AT last, a public-private initiative has come forward to provide the elusive answer to the country’s housing crisis. The Archipelago Project is intended to accommodate the low paid and deprived members of our society, but it all depends on the success of the pilot scheme. Mark Cantrell visited the prototype site and asked – can Containment Facility 1.01 deliver the Promised Land?

THE sun is still low in the sky, but the future residents of Containment Facility 1.01 have already been hard at work for hours. It’s a show of their dedication to the scheme, but also the enthusiasm it has inspired in these former housing association tenants, that they are prepared to undertake such labours.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Own A Slice Of The Poet

Deus Ex Insomnia

Poetry & Prose By Mark Cantrell

A sleep-deprived mind opens itself up to many things as it slowly unravels and the caffeine starts to dissolve sense and sensibility: poetry for instance. So, when the time came to confront the world with his poems, Mark Cantrell took the plunge and did the deed -- the result is Deus Ex Insomnia.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Freedom Rider

Pensioner's poetic journey to freedom

THERE’S always one and it just has to be the one and only Karl Dallas. The veteran campaigner is about to make the most of his new pensioners’ bus pass with a whistle-stop tour of the country.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Pack It In!

American mag calls for writing
The Packington Review is a new magazine published by the University of Illinois at Chicago in the USA. Submissions are requested for its inaugural issue to be released in November 2008. Poetry, scholarly articles, drama, creative non-fiction, fiction, and literary translation, as well as genre-bending pieces are all welcome. 

For more information visit


Category: NEWS

Going Underground

Contributions wanted

Notes from the Underground, a new creative writing freesheet launched last December in London,publishes short fiction, cartoons, original illustrations as well as arts based non-fiction. 

Friday, 29 February 2008

Pick Up A Bard

The Latest Pearl

Pick up a copy of Bard (Issue 63) from Atlantean Publishing; the latest issue features a poem by Mark Cantrell. In addition to the simple leaflet-form periodical, the small press publisher provides a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. For information, or to pick up a copy, visit Atlantean Publishing at its website:


Category: NEWS

Welcome To The Odeon

BORG Presents

The Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) has uploaded onto YouTube a pictorial tour film that shows the inside of the Odeon building.

Closed in 2000, the building was eventually bought by regeneration quango Yorkshire Forward as a regeneration opportunity. Urban regeneration agency Bradford Regeneration Company (BRC) has been pushing to have this structure demolished to free up a prime -- and profitable -- city centre location.

Saturday, 16 February 2008


Genesis of a created writer

In the beginning there was a warbling screech and a cry of ‘it’s crashed again!’ So the humble ZX Spectrum created literary life. Mark Cantrell confesses all – almost

Saturday, 2 February 2008

This Is My Body

Out Of Body Experience

By Mark Cantrell

Down at the doctor's surgery
My GP looks as though I am clearly invisible.
She talks, presumably to me, though possibly,
She's conversing with herself, or maybe just her PC.
The experience is. Discomfiting. But I observe.
I get the impression, I'm not quite all there,
That this is an out of body experience,
Where I watch two strangers from afar.
Then my mind convulses, I get an idea,
That says: my health is not really my concern,
But I'd damn well better look after it,
Since it belongs to someone else, and is merely left in my care.
This is not my body, it is not my flesh,
Why, even my thoughts are not supposed to be mine,
But as yet, fortunately, they cannot quite adjust the mindset.
For now.
Meanwhile, this shell, this form, this machine of meat and bone,
Is on loan to me; I might be granted license
To drive it, operate it, steer it through the program of somebody else's purpose,
But I must remember:
This object where I dwell is owned by the State,
Hired out, though it is,
To corporate greed, be that in office, mall or factory,
It's only on loan to me.
I am the useful squatter, residing in that bone shelled blob
Of temporary brain matter,
But they lie and call me free – to care for their property that is me.
Those of a religious frame, might say my flesh is
My Soul too: mine to serve His needs,
Not to do with as I will,
Spirit merely loaned, to drive this frame his Way.
The theologian, is at least, more honest,
For he will acknowledge
My blood and bone and flesh
Is not my own,
That I am not the master of my Self,
But slave to whim of some external force;
They call it Free Will,
They call it Divine Right,
They call it God's Love, whatever.
For all its 'truth', its honesty,
The line is a shell wrapped around a shell,
Designed to mask the meat of Truth,
That men of power and wealth and avarice
Claim dominion over all that I am.
We are made to become squatters,
Neurological programs running in a cortex processor,
Ghosts in the machine.
They cannot – yet – evict us from our shell,
No, not yet, not now,
So we become the tolerated occupants of our own biology,
We poor creatures that evolved upon this Earth,
That give haven to Mind and Awareness,
That became life fit to stare in wonder at the stars.
We exist, free in mind and soul,
If not Body and Heart,
For now.
So I write these words,
Bare my Soul,
Against those who claim ownership of my body.
To those who would be Proprietor of my flesh and spirit, I defy:
I claim ownership of this thought.
It is mine.
Not God's. Not Yours.
This is my body.
My blood,
My brain and my Mind.

Mark Cantrell,
21 January 2008

Copyright © January 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Category: POETRY

Knowing Courtesy

All together now

By Mark Cantrell

“ps/ Courtesy Orchis will have her revenge on..... ‘The first rule of any game, even before how do I play this game? is ‘know your opponent’’ – poet Courtesy Orchis.”

A postscript to a poem buried deep within a poetry collection is no doubt a strange way to begin a review of said poet’s work, but it proves to be apt advice not just for would-be games players, but for reviewers too. For surely, it’s equally apt to note that ‘ye who would delve into a poet’s work might do well to ponder – “who is the poet?”


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