FREE ebook: The Death of the Bird King

For a short time, my ebook The Death of the Bird King is FREE!

It’s crammed with nightmarish poems and artwork, and the terrifying yet risible Bird King takes centre stage.


You can get the book here.


Competition to win a copy of Head Traumas!

To celebrate the release of my new book, Head Traumas, I’m offering a free copy to whoever wins my creative writing competition.

The competition
Have a look at the five pictures further down this page. I made them all using image-editing software. All you have to do is write a brief creative response to each of them, posting your work either as a comment on this page or as a series of tweets addressed to my Twitter self, @badbadpoet.

The rules
A necessary evil, I’m afraid!
1. Each brief piece of writing must begin with the number of the picture to which you’re responding.
2. Your response to each of the five pictures must be no more than 140 characters in total, including the number of the picture.
3. You must deal with the pictures in their given order.
4. You must give your sequence of responses a title.
5. If you’re tweeting your responses, you must alert me to them immediately before they’re tweeted: @badbadpoet
6. Just one entry per person.
7. The competition closes at midnight BST on Sunday 4th August.

The prizes
The series of responses I judge best will entitle the winner to a free physical copy of Head Traumas, with my signature scrawled inside, no less!

The winner will also receive a free electronic version of the book, as will two runners-up.

Furthermore, I’ll post the winner’s entry on this blog, to great fanfare.

Some pointers
I suggest you avoid simply describing the pictures: react to them, interpret them, use them as stimuli to take your writing somewhere interesting.

I put the five pictures in a sequence. They’re not to be taken as self-contained images. The best responses to them will contain the suggestion of some sort of development or unity, even if it’s very subtle.

The pictures

Here they are. Look, think, imagine. Good luck!













then singing again
I’m sure it was that
but not the same song as before
this time sadder

I couldn’t open the door

every time she laughed her teeth showed

trying to
trying to explain

that song
that different song

fuller, more colourful
than before
as I said

trying to explain
that song

and the door
and her teeth

not explain
not the right word
nothing to explain, after all
in the way of meaning
if that’s what you’re after

just a song
a door
her teeth when she laughed

as far as I remember

just a few things


All texts and images on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

The crossing

Put pictures into a sequence and a narrative is automatically suggested. Enjoy making your own story from these images.







All of these images were created on an iPad, using public domain photos and pictures taken with my phone. All rights reserved.

The Independent & Twitter poetry

Yesterday’s edition of The Independent included an article about poetry on Twitter, inaccurately treating it as a nascent phenomenon and citing as the principle exponents of micropoetry established writers who (with the notable exception of George Szirtes) dabble in online writing but write primarily for print. You can read the article here.

And if you’d like to read my response to the article, it can be found on their letters page, here.

Study #1

O little town of Bethlehem. Max is five. He sits on the floor, near the Christmas tree. Grampy is enthroned in his floral armchair and Max can hear the old man’s wheezing above the music. Grampy has thin nostrils with hairs sprouting from them and breathes through his mouth in slow gasps. He looks like a horrible old bird. While mortals sleep, the angels keep. Go on, Max. Aren’t you going to open it? Max looks at the unopened present in his lap. His mother has wrapped it beautifully in shiny silver paper and written on the gift tag. To my special grandson. Merry Xmas. Lots of love, Grampy xx. He looks for a way to open it and catches sight of the boy in the sheen of the silver paper. He looks thin and unhappy. Maybe when he’s finished admiring his reflection he’ll open the present! Flustered, Max tears at a small tab of paper. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given. The present is a wooden train set. Now come and say thank you to Grampy. Max looks up and says, Thank you. Thank him properly, Max. O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Max gets to his feet and walks across the room to the rasping bird. A hand rises suddenly from its habitual place on the armrest and grabs at Max’s arm and the dead dead eyes widen. Mummy’s waiting, smiling, anxious. Thank you very much for my present. The hand jerks Max nearer and the dreaded moment comes when he has to kiss the proffered cheek. O come to us, abide with us. Cold skin on young lips. Grampy smells of vinegar. Max feels as if he’s kissing a corpse.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.