What They've Said
I enjoyed the deft fluency, the economy, the pure tone, the pang.
Ted Hughes (1930-98), poet laureate, commenting on The Occasions of Love, Pennine Pens, 1994
God knows how many poets rush for pen and paper when tackling issues. They’d be far better off pausing to study this remarkable piece of work. It should haunt us all.
Carole Baldock, editor of Orbis magazine, writing about ‘Dancing at Cowhill’ in Simon’s Some Fine Old Ways to Save Your Life, Pennine Pens, 2006
Here are some responses to Simon’s reading from Close to Home, published by Headland, at the Alan Garner Centre, Wolverhampton, 2015:
This was an inspirational afternoon. I think it is Simon’s best collection so far and he reads very well.
Beautiful, poignant, joyful poetry. A lovely event, thank you.
A breath of summer on an autumn afternoon.
Lovely goldfinches poem! More thoughts from Japanese bard, please.
Evocative, sad and wonderful poetry, thank you.
I think you have produced a well-crafted book -- very interested in how you have arranged your poems. Your poetry-craft is impressive -- you've included a range of styles and voices.
These are quiet poems, beautifully executed, from a poet who consistently delivers material of a high standard, enjoys his craft and knows the comfort of books. Highly recommended.
Neil Leadbeater in The Cannon’s Mouth
He’s been instrumental in nurturing talent, interest and passion in poetry in Wolverhampton and the wider area for decades.
Rob Francis ‘Snidgescrumpin’ online anthology 2018
I really liked 'Ironing for Boys', by the way, a great sonnet with an authentic homely setting and lovely subtle rhymes.
Jeff Phelps about ‘Ironing for Boys’ published in The Cannon’s Mouth #78, December 2020
One of the benefits of Zooms is the opportunity to see and hear poets and poetry from beyond the area of activity people like me .... and probably many of you .... normally consider. Simon Fletcher with Offa's Press has organised some super Zooms this last year and more. If you don't know of these poets or just one or two try to catch 'Virtual Voices'.
Ian M Parr on Facebook
Some comments from my online reading at 'Getting a Word in Edgeways', October 2021
Thank you so much Simon - so important to hear your words - powerful and relevant - also so good to hear the background to each poem.
I lay on the sofa and was lost in your scenes and ideas. Thank you.
Powerful, perceptive and profound.
Thank you, Simon, for your brilliant poetry.
Emma Purshouse on Simon's editing work
Thank you to Offa's Press for taking a punt on [It's Honorary, Bab, 2022]. In particular to Simon Fletcher who is nowhere to be seen on social media, but quietly gets on being hugely supportive to a great many poets. Simon was a brilliant editor with the patience of a saint.
Michael Marks Environmental Award 2022
'A Greener Song' squarely addresses the broad subject of climate change and the human role in it, but does so through narrowly focused topics and with accurate details about the environment. Poetic form plays an important role in this work, with many of the poems rhyming. There is a central theme that we have the choice to determine the values by which we live: that our actions towards the environment are constantly setting the stakes for our own existence. A combination of honesty and uncertainty at times emerges: ‘I’m not sure what’s on the cards / it’s raining, dull, I need to think’. The final, title poem ‘A Greener Song’ offers hope, expressing the power of familial love and the will to persevere. There are nuances of light and darkness, good and evil, a motive of greyness contrasted with a ‘brighter greener page’.
About Wild Orchids
Anyone who reads these will find their love of the natural world increased, I think because you provide a true window in. What more can be done? I like the subjects, the choices of presentation and the way you inform me at the same time as celebrating, as in the butterfly poem – stroke of genius, says I.
You really have captured the essence of the countryside in your poems. The seasons, the colours, the flowers and the wildlife all come alive and are instantly recognisable by anyone. You have captured that heart-stopping joy one feels.
PJ, Sutton Coldfield
You’ve developed your style considerably over the years; there’s a real poignancy there. I loved the ‘vavavoom’ in your ‘Daisy Riot’, your fun and sensitivity with words, colours and nature throughout.
Simon Fletcher’s tone in this collection is of celebration, warning, and protest. There is much well-observed detail to appreciate and delight in here, and much to be alarmed about as well.
Greg Freeman on www.writeoutloud.net
All too aware of the ravages of climate change and species decline, this collection makes us appreciate all the more what we still have left to admire and care for in an endangered landscape that is rapidly vanishing from our eyes.
Fletcher’s acute eye for detail which finds its expression in the use of inventive vocabulary is just one of the many strengths of this collection which should be viewed as a rallying cry to action rather than a lament for what we have already lost. In ‘A Greener Song’ Fletcher tells us that ‘It doesn’t have to be like this, / we know the steps we have to take, / the things we can do, with a will, / for nature and our children’s sake.’
Neil Leadbeater in Littoral magazine, Spring, 2023
The incantatory 'For the Little Birds' reminded me of some of the Old English charms and made me think about the fruitful connections that can be made between nature poetry, magic, and ritual. Perhaps a key method of communicating the climate crisis is by re-enchanting the wild and bringing magic and mystery back into its presentation.
'Hare' must have been an excellent exercise in naming - the kennings appealed to the Anglo-Saxonist in me! I was also very glad of the footnote about St Melangell.
Michael Hart, Librarian