I (A V Barber) was born in the Fenland market town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and brought up in the outlying villages of Sutton St James and Outwell. My senior education included time studying at Glebe House preparatory, Wisbech Grammar and Downham High. Following a short and undistinguished career as a fish farmer I spent some time floating from place to place taking whatever work I could find. This was a time of self discovery, explored mainly as an angry young man, filling his time screaming at anyone close enough to listen.
When I finally calmed down and realised the world wasn’t out to get me, I attended Peterborough Regional College and retrained in Information Technology. I initially worked as a systems manager for a large international glue manufacturer before venturing into business on my own.
My day job now consists of working as a CEO for a web systems company while heading up a technology group. It sounds fancy, but in reality it is a posh way of saying that while I used to have time to write programs and analyse data, now I just sit and solve other people’s problems.
Me, My Pets and I
Please allow me to introduce you to the family… Aliaska (pronounced Alaska) – A Husky in name and nature, she is big on love and small on brains. Loves – Hugs and pulling a sledge Hates – Dog food and house training!
Sally (originally Solomon) – Rescued from the streets, he loves to show his gratitude with cuddles and “presents”. Loves – Noisy parties at 4am Hates – Not having noisy parties at 4am.
Mice (pronounced Mitza) – The family’s matriarch, Mice was purchased from an old tin bucket on Vilnius market. She features in my debut book (Me, My World and I) as the subject of the Nursery Rhyme “Tiger”. Loves – Solitude Hates – People
Born under our roof and still a baby, Panda loves everything he sees, especially if he can eat it. Loves – Food and people Hates – Being hungry
Panda’s brother, Furla (also known as hooligan) was originally re-homed but returned after going on a hunger strike in protest of having to leave The Family. Loves – Being naughty Hates – Being caught
My Poetic World
I wrote my first poem in 2011 and lost my heart to writing soon after. My debut book, Me, My World and I, was launched in the autumn of 2012.
I have to admit to being a little old fashioned. I can see that electronic books are highly accessible, cheaper than print and take up way less space – but for me a book should be made of paper. I have stayed true to this philosophy, with my debut book available in both paperback and hardback from “all good book stores”! (The usual electronic formats are also available).
I seldom publish outside of a collection, unless it is for a commission. When publishing a poem, it is usually accompanied by an illustration and an essay, so to form a part of a bigger picture. I like to tell a story, provoke a reaction or give a little of myself to the lines and find it hard to force words to a subject on demand.
I love nothing more than sitting before a log fire on a cold, dark winter’s day with a glass of brandy and a keyboard. I am not the biggest fan of writing free verse although it happens. My trademark style is work comprising quatrain stanzas (verses of 4 lines) with a changeable meter (rhythm) and a rhyming scheme in which the second and fourth lines rhyme.
I do like to experiment and have tried my hand at most formats but prefer to keep my poetry to a maximum of 32 lines. I try, where possible, to create meaningful verse in small, easily swallowed packages and am moved to words by powerful imagery and music.
I love food and enjoy time in the kitchen, especially when hosting a dinner party. I would love to appear in Come Dine with Me although I am not sure what I would cook. I love most junk food, especially when in America and would also list Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian and traditional English cuisine as being amongst my favourites.
I love watching and participating in most sports, especially football, cricket, rugby union, athletics and fishing.
My ideal evening would be a comfortable chair, a log fire, a small glass and a big TV. I love most genres of Television entertainment but am especially fond of comedy and anything that touches on science fiction or the paranormal. I am not a big fan of soap operas although I do occasionally give time to Coronation Street.
I love to travel, to the extent that it sometimes feels as if I no longer really have any true roots. As well as my Fenland origins, I have lived in the New Forest and have business roots in Derbyshire, where I spend a lot of my time. I have family roots in both Sunderland and Oldham and hold Blackpool close to my heart.
I very much like the relaxed pace of the Canary islands (most specifically playa Blanca in Lanzarote) although I have visited most and liked them all. I also love the islands of Mallorca and Rhodes. I have travelled all over America and feel Chicago deserves a special mention.
I spend more time in Lithuania than anywhere else, but also travel extensively in Germany and have explored most of continental Europe close up with a small, handheld magnifying glass.
I have a big family, some I see often, some less so – but I love them all and miss them when I am away!