Alan Morrison was born in 1974. He grew up in Sussex and then Cornwall, where he started writing stories, plays, and in particular, poetry, partly as a creative response to the harsh policies of the Thatcher period - which had indirectly kept his parents in the poverty trap for the entire late Eighties.
His eclectic influences have included William Blake, John Keats, Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy, John Davidson, Wilfred Owen, Harold Monro, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Alun Lewis. Morrison's work might be described in various axioms: 'social poetry', 'confessional poetry', 'new Emotionalism' - but probably not as 'fashionable'.
A selection of his poetry first appeared in Don't Think of Tigers (The Do Not Press, 2001), as a prize in the Asham Trust's First Edition 1998. In 2000, he first performed his play for voices, Picaresque, which has gone on to endure as a periodically revived (and re-drafted) piece performed at such venues as the Poetry Cafe and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, RADA. Morrison's publishing history began with a selection from Waterloo Press, followed by two long poem chapbooks from Sixties Press, and a pamphlet publication of Picaresque.
Morrison worked at Survivors' Poetry as mentoring co-ordinator, and editor and designer of Poetry Express and the Survivors' Press imprint from 2004-6. During this time he edited and designed four issues of PE, highly praised by Terrible Work and New Hope International and advertised in the London Review of Books. He also designed and edited a series of pamphlets and three volumes of poetry, including David Kessel's O the Windows of the Bookshop Must Be Broken, which Morrison also prefaced. Morrison has been Poet-in-Residence at Mill View Psychiatric Hospital, Hove, since 2007.
Morrison's poetry has appeared in over fifty journals including Aesthetica, Aireings, Cadenza, Candelabrum, The Cannon's Mouth, Carrillon, Decanto, Eclipse, Exile, Great Works, Illuminations (US), The Journal, The London Magazine, Monkey Kettle, The Penniless Press, Pennine Platform, Poetic Hours, Poet-in-Residence, Poetry Monthly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Pulsar, The Seeker, Snakeskin, Softblow, South, The Strix Varia, Voice & Verse, Whistling Shade and The Yellow Crane, and forthcoming in Stand. His poetry has recently been translated into Portuguese and Hungarian. He is founding editor of highly esteemed radical literary webzine the Recusant. He has also contributed critical essays and polemic to the Scottish Poetry Review, the Glasgow Review and The London Magazine.
His first full volume, The Mansion Gardens, was published in 2006 by Paula Brown, who nominated it for the T.S. Eliot Prize. It was widely praised in journals such as The London Magazine and Other Poetry. His second volume, A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo Press) was also critically acclaimed in magazines such as The Journal, the Morning Star, Tears in the Fence and Stride and was shortlisted for the Purple Patch Best Collection 2009.
An occasional public reader of his work, Morrison launched his new volume, Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack 2010) at Housmans Radical Bookshop, London, on Saturday 24th July at 5pm, with support readings from Nial McDevitt, John O'Donoghue, Julie Whitby and three of his poetry mentees, Leon Brown, Jan Bradley and Tom Jayston. More recently, Morrison completed a CD recording of Keir Hardie Street (shortly available) read by stalwart actor Michael Jayston.
Morrison also recently edited, selected and designed the verse campaign e-book of 112 Poets in Defence of the Welfare State (PDWS), Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State, which is currently going to print and will be launched at The Poetry Library, Southbank Centre on Wednesday 5th January 2011 - readers to include Jeremy Reed, Michael Horovitz, Judith Kazantzis and Alan Morrison himself. The e-book of EV - which sold over 60 copies following wide media coverage-was also selected as Book of the Month by The Poetry Kit. Morrison's most recent journal appearances have been in Stand magazine, and a monograph on T.S. Eliot's Anglo-Scot precursors, James 'BV' Thomson, John Davidson and Harold Monro - 'Makars of the Smoke', in The London Magazine (Aug/Sep 2010).
Morrison's fourth volume, an epic poem relating to his experiences as poet-in-residence and poetry tutor volunteer at Mill View psychiatric hospital, Captive Dragons, is currently going to press and is available now for orders via Waterloo Press at www.waterloopress.co.uk. The book also includes a sequence of poem vignettes based on composites of various inpatients, The Shadow Thorns, two poems from which will be appearing in the next edition of The London Magazine (Oct/Nov 2011). An official launch in conjunction with Sussex Partnership NHS Trust will be advertised on this site in due course.
His fifth collection, and third with Waterloo Press, Blaze a Vanishing, is due out in early 2012.