Hi, this is me, Keith Chandler, self-styled “poet”, and this is my new web-site, begun in July 2013. My last website disappeared two years ago – a disconcerting experience, like the time I found my digital watch had blanked out after missing the final train home from Birmingham New Street Station. Had I disappeared for ever from time and space? So, in an attempt to restore some sense of identity, the following is a mixture of old and new biographical information.
Boring Old Information
Born in Nigeria, educated at Christ’s Hospital and New College, Oxford, Keith Chandler has worked as a schoolteacher in Liverpool, London and Norfolk. Since being selected for Ten English Poets (Carcanet) in 1978, his poetry has been published in four collections: Kett’s Rebellion (Carcanet,1982), Passing Trade (O.H.P.,1991) A Different Kind of Smoke (Redbeck, 2001), and The English Civil War Part 2 (Peterloo, 2008)
Keith Chandler has won major prizes in the Petra Kenney Memorial, Huddersfield International, Dulwich Festival Open, Envoi International, Open University Poets, Orbis International, New Forest Open, Leicester Open, Academi Cardiff, Crabbe Memorial, Bedford, Ver Poets, Kent and Sussex Open, and Yorkshire poetry competitions. He won “runner up” prizes in the Peterloo Open Competition for three years running.
Poems by Keith Chandler have been featured in a Poetry Now programme on Radio 3. A play with poems for Valentine’s Day, Card Trick, was commissioned and transmitted by Anglia TV.
Since retiring from school teaching in 2009 (Hooray! I thought I would miss it, but really haven’t) we have moved to Bridgnorth in Shropshire, a Severnside town someone described as a “mixture of the seedy and the picturesque” . I have found this change from Norfolk to the West Midlands challenging but stimulating. There are things called “hills” here – we have particularly enjoyed walking in the Welsh borders – and remnants of the Industrial Revolution (almost entirely absent from East Anglia?) are everywhere. There seems to be a strong regional tradition of creativity, or at least of making things; also, perhaps due to the proximity of Wales, there is a tradition of choral singing and music-making of all kinds. I feel that I have been lucky to find two friendly writing groups – Bridgnorth Writers and The Border Poets – to encourage and refine my continued attempts to write poems.
Since 2010, I have enjoyed minor successes in competitions – winning 2nd prize in the Torbay, Much Wenlock, and Ver Open Competitions. (But why always Second Prize? Why never First? Ah, that may be a question for the psychologist as much as for the literary critic.) It sometimes feels pathetic to be still entering these competitions at my age but, at best, they can buy some temporary sense of validation. Perhaps my best effort was to come 4th in the National Poetry competition in 2012 – you can click here to view me reading “The Goldsmith’s Apprentice” at The Poetry Society – sounds good, looks horrible…who is that ugly old man? I’ve also given readings in Much Wenlock, Ludlow and Wolverhampton and many other venues, large and small, in the West Midlands. My latest full collection, also entitled “The Goldsmith’s Apprentice”, was the winner of The Rubery International Poetry Award in July 2018.