About me

DavidSuttonPhotoOxfordHello. My name is David Sutton. I am seventy-eight years old; I was born in Hertfordshire and now live in a village in Oxfordshire; I am a retired computer programmer; I have been writing poetry for fifty-nine years and this is my poetry site.

Let’s start with a bit of disambiguation. I am not the David Sutton who writes horror fiction and edits the Fortean Times. I am not the David Sutton who writes books on wild flowers. I am not the David Sutton who is the former leader of Reading Borough Council. I am not David Sutton the archivist. I am not David Sutton the singer, David Sutton the photographer nor David Sutton the footballer. In fact I am not any of the other David Suttons out there except me. From the Google point of view it is clearly a bad career move for a poet not to have a distinctive name, and I have toyed with the idea of changing mine; I quite fancied ‘William Shakespeare’ but apparently that one’s already been taken.

Here is a list of my publications to date:

‘Out on A Limb’ (Rapp & Whiting, 1969)
‘Absences and Celebrations’ (Chatto & Windus, 1982)
‘Flints’ (Peterloo Poets, 1986)
‘Settlements’ (Peterloo Poets, 1991)
‘The Planet Happiness’ (Gruffyground Press, 1996)
‘A Holding Action’ (Peterloo Poets, 2000)
‘New and Selected Poems 1965-2005’ (Peterloo Poets, 2005)
‘No Through Road’ (The Greenwich Exchange, 2013)
‘Collected Poems 1965-2018’, (The Greenwich Exchange, 2019)

It seems customary at this point to list one’s tokens of recognition – laureateships held, Nobel prizes won, that sort of thing. The best I can currently offer in this department is to say that most people, whether other poets or general readers, who come across my poems seem to like them, sometimes, apparently, quite a lot. I could put together a screed of complimentary quotes from reviews, but I’d rather you just read a few yourself and see what you think. To this end I provide some samples from my work over the years, beginning with one or two from my first collection and ending with a couple from my recently published collection, ‘No Through Road’. These poems are copyright © David Sutton.

For those who just want a quick one poem taster of my work, I also provide a ‘Quick Sample’ page, featuring one poem which I’ll ring the changes on fairly often.

I also include a ‘Poem of the Week’ page in which I feature some of my favourite poems by other people; I update it weekly, normally on a Friday, or if not at least by Sunday. I have no wish to impose my taste on anyone, but I am myself always interested to know what poems other people carry in their hearts and heads, so thought I would share a few that I carry in mine.

Finally there is an FAQ. If anyone has specific questions about my poems I will gladly do my best to answer them, but I don’t go in for general philosophising of the ‘why do you write poetry’ or ‘what do you think is the role of the poet in today’s society’ kind. And I’m afraid I can’t undertake to comment on your poems or help you to get published. With those caveats, my contact details can be found on the Contact Me page.

News flash

31/3/2019. My ‘Collected Poems’ has just been published and is available from Greenwich Exchange. For further details see the ‘News’ page.

27 thoughts on “About me

  1. Like, as in ‘tick’, as in symbol of endorsement. Heard ‘The Good Old Days’ on Sunday’s ‘Poetry Please’. Liked. Looked here. Liked more. My coddled daughters’, centrally heated, can only like; imagine.
    Thank you Mr. Sutton.
    Incidentally, I knew a David Sutton Film Sound Recordist.

  2. me too, heard it on poetry please, thought my Dad would like it.I liked the others too.good poems, not too contorted, very refreshing.

  3. David
    I’ve just found your website, (Ian’s glued to England’s game at the moment), and I must instantly congratulate you on your poetry achievements, you very dark horse!

    We know you have written poetry, indeed Ian bought me one of your books, in which you kindly personalised it for me. To now know you have been featured in Poetry Please (and I missed it) I am truly in awe of your writing achievements. Indeed, I look up to you!

    I don’t know exactly what your forthcoming Tuesday’s award is for, or the occasion itself. If you would like to share this information with us, that would be wonderful. In any event, congratulations and well done.

  4. I learn poems by heart from a small black Moleskin book where such luminaries as Yeats, Larkin, Millay, Keats, Hughes, Sitwell, Lewis, Auden, Riddell,Carver, Lowell and Sutton live noisily together. The list has excluded WS and many others too. I have learned The House, Say, Embassy, Consider and Immigrants by heart and let me tell you the others do not consider you a Pretender. I enter the Lincoln Drama Festival each year and will feature one of your poems, probably Say, or possibly Immigrants in Spring 2015′ all being well. A count up reveals five by Sutton, four by Larkin, three by Auden and just two by WS, among over 100 others. Your poem Consider is the favourite of my friend Nicholas Mee, a scientist and author, and not one to love poetry.

    Regards, Nigel Turner

    • Thank you, Nigel, that is most gratifying. Everyone should have a small black moleskin book, or equivalent (mine before I went computerised was a set of Collins Ideal notebooks that I still treasure), and to my mind being thought worthy of inclusion in another’s private anthology and learnt by heart is as good an accolade as a poet can receive. Good luck in the competition!

  5. Greatly enjoyed discovering your poems instead of going to sleep. My daughter who died two years ago set Chesterton’s the two maidens to song and I wanted to read the words again and found them and lots more on your website. Thanks

  6. I love David Sutton’s poetry and have learned several by heart. I’m always amazed how many of the poetry websites ignore his stuff. I have him up there with Larkin, who is also one of my favorites.

    • Thanks Nigel, that’s good to know. What can I say but spread the word, which I agree doesn’t seem to have got very far!

  7. Hello 🙂

    I encountered ‘Another Small Incident’ for the first time this morning, shortly before teaching it to a Year 11 GCSE Literature class. Profoundly moving, deeply beautiful, wonderfully constructed, and it had me in floods of tears right in the front of the classroom! Poor Year 11 didn’t quite know where to look, but I think they got the meaning ;). Thank you for a wonderful piece of work (but I think my street cred might well be ruined with that class now!!).
    All best wishes

    • Thank you so much, Fay – always gratifying to know one has struck a chord, though I’m sorry if I’ve ruined your street cred. Still, there might be one who understands, even if there are thirty that don’t – I guess that’s as much as you poor teachers can hope for!

      • Funny you should say that, David – one of them empathised a lot! I’ve written a blog post about the experience in the link below if you’re interested in reading it. I’ve also screencapped the poem for those who wanted to see the work that made me react that way, but I’m more than happy to remove the image if you’d rather I didn’t have it on there for copyright reasons :).

      • No, having the image on there is fine, Fay. I thought yours a very good piece (I’m trying not to be too biassed!). And if ever we meet I’ll try to remember to bring a box of tissues…

  8. David Sutton
    I TOTALLY ADMIRE YOU AND ALL YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN YOUR LIFE,YES I totally appreciate all you have written and all the credit you have given to do many authors, if it weren’t for you there are many I would have never known just want to say you are so appreciative.

  9. Dear David
    I knew Matt years ago in Scotland and Norfolk, he lent me your books and my interest in poetry began to grow. You very kindly sent me a photocopied version of Out on a Limb as I couldn’t find a copy and I have a feeling that I never thanked you for it; I hope you will accept my much belated apologies. The envelope with your hand-written note sits on the top self of my bookcase at the top of the stairs and I still enjoy reading your poems, especially “The Ripples”. I have written some poetry and still enjoy writing Haiku for myself.

    The last I heard was that Matt was in Wales, I met someone out in the countryside somewhere and it happened that we both knew him and I learnt that he was in Wales. Please pass on my best regards to him

    Brad Robson

    • Dear Brad

      Thanks, good to hear from you and know that ‘Out on A Limb’ is still remembered. You will have the chance to replace your photocopy soon as my ‘Collected’ is due to appear in the not too distant future and will include most of the poems from ‘Out on A Limb’, including ‘The Ripples’. Yes, Matt now has his own land near Redberth in Wales, which he keeps mainly for conservation with a bit of farming, and also works as an ecological consultant. You might like to look him up on http://wyndrushwild.co.uk/ I’ll certainly pass on your regards.


  10. The Lincoln Festival never got to hear your stuff…protracted illness prvented me from entering. However, all being well, I’m entering again in 2019 with one of your poems. Nigel Turner

  11. Just read your poem My green physician in the National Trust magazine; very moving and thank you. Looking forward to exploring your website.
    Kathleen Freeman

  12. I first came to grips with David Sutton’s astonishing poetry in 2000 when I bought A Holding Action. The beautiful and profoundly touching ability he has to capture not just the detail of any subject but its actual feel as well, it seems to me, is a skill few will ever acquire. It is an astonishing gift, and his prodigious works should be talked about the way they used to talk about Larkin’s. I later bought his Collected Poems, only to discover what seemed to me after thirty-five years of reading poetry the greatest living poet in Britain, quite easily. The skill and beauty would confirm this to anyone who knows anything about the subject, and I defy anyone to read a brilliant poem like Water Music, for example, and not concur – if not in a genuflecting position. I need to read at least one of his poems every week, and I would ask you all to do the same if you can.

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