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Ralph Hawkins

Ralph Hawkins


Ralph Hawkins has been writing poetry since the late 1970s when he was one of a number of radical poets gathered at the University of Essex. He now lives on the Essex coast at Brightlingsea. Of many publications the more substantial are Tell Me No More and Tell Me (Grosseteste 1981), At Last Away (Galloping Dog Press 1988), The Coiling Dragon... (Equipage), and his 2004 Shearsman collection The Moon, the Chief Hairdresser.


Stamford Hill, North London, 2006

This recording was made on 17 March 2006, at a house in Stamford Hill, north London.


  • English Literature, The Many Press 1979
  • Well, You Could Do, Curiously Strong 1979
  • The Word From The One, Galloping Dog 1980
  • Soft in the Brains, Spanner 1981
  • Tell Me No More And Tell Me, Grosseteste 1981
  • At Last Away, Galloping Dog 1988
  • Within & Without, Silver Hounds 1993
  • Writ, Active in Airtime 1993
  • Routes & Abrasions, Poetical Histories 1993
  • Flecks, Oasis Books & Permanent Press 1995
  • Pelt, Active in Airtime 1998
  • The Coiling Dragon / The Scarlet Bird / The White Tiger / A Blue & Misted Shroud, Equipage 2000
  • Pool, Writers Forum 2000
  • The Primeval Atom, Writers Forum 2000
  • The MOON, The Chief Hairdresser (highlights), Shearsman 2004
  • Exact Rubber Bridges, Slack Buddha Press 2004


with Bob Cobbing:

  • G Curled Ribbon, Writers Forum 2000
  • a split, Writers Forum 2000
  • A Quonk, Writers Forum 2001
  • Signatures or the Wasp Under Custard, Writers Forum 2001
  • Gloria, Writers Forum 2001
  • The Next Morning, Writers Forum 2002
  • Everyday Pursuits, 2002
  • with Alan Halsey and Kelvin Cocoran: Quaoar, West House Books 2006


  • A Various Art, Carcanet 1987 & Paladin 1990
  • the new british poetry, Paladin 1988
  • Assemblage, Essex University 1990
  • Seeing In The Dark, Serpent's Tail 1990
  • Poets On Writing, Macmillan 1992
  • Brought To Book, Penguin 1994
  • April Eye: Poems For Peter Riley, Infernal Methods 2000
  • Onsets, The Gig 2004


  • Ted Berrigan interviewed by Ralph Hawkins in Talking in Tranquility: Interviews with Ted Berrigan, Avenue B / O Books 1991
  • Ralph Hawkins interviewed by Ian Davidson in Six Poets: Views & Interviews, The Gig 2001


Magazines (Co-Edited)

  • The Human Handkerchief (with Douglas Oliver, Simon Pettet, Charles Ingham et al) Essex University
  • Ochre Magazine (with Charles Ingham) Essex University
  • Active in Airtime (with Ben Raworth & John Muckle) Colchester / Brightlingsea

Sample Text

The Sylph in Stockings

Airy or Shadowy Ones
are baffled by phylacteries of dog's droppings
and a snake's head
is sovereign against baleful manifestations

Never wander off humming
with a notion to bathe in lonely mountain pools
WARNING water-girls hang out there

Carry dog-lites in your pocket
to shame their nakedness
their rich sticky-bud honey-stuck nipples

Don't get half arsed strolling at night

Don't stop for a piss behind a tree
gazing up at Orion's Belt
because old goat-man will stop by

Carry some sliced tortoise meat as a counter-spell
keep a prophylactic in your back pocket
or you may swell up and die

The Shadowy Ones will make friends with dogs
knowing the wolf-whistle by heart
they will learn your name and call it on the wind

They have no shame naked as daylight

They will sit around welcoming fires at night
playing their enticing flutes of random and chaos


'The poems are loose-jointed, limber, the poem as orbit of words around a body that is always dropping away. Sometimes the poems threaten dissolution or brilliance then disappoint either expectation. They go slack. I suspect this is partly the point. The poems are cannier than that. There is one that declares itself "First Anti Poem" and another which is "The Next Poem" and begins:

 defeated by (I don't know what and everything)
 I stem a flow
 I've stopped now but the words wobble out in some form

Ralph Hawkins is the writer of non-collapsible ironies. Or, of canny wobbles.' --Edmund Hardy, Terrible Work.

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