- Aberystwyth, Wales
Paul Henry is the author of six poetry collections and his work has been widely anthologised.
A popular creative writing tutor, he came to poetry through songwriting. He recently presented the 'Inspired' series of art programmes for BBC Radio Wales.
His books are: Time Pieces (1991); Captive Audience (1996); The Milk Thief (1998); The Slipped Leash (2002); The Breath of Sleeping Boys and other poems (2004); Ingrid's Husband (2007); The Brittle Sea: New and Selected Poems (2010); and Boy Running (2015).
Paul Henry was born in 1959 in Aberystwyth, and received an Eric Gregory Award in 1989. A Fellow of the Welsh Academy, he now lives in Gwent, Wales.
I grew up in a house of musicians and there’s a poem in my fourth book, The Slipped Leash, called 'Twelve' which records the murderous act of shooting a thrush in mid-song. The poem opens, ‘I was twelve when I murdered for silence’ and, in spite of coming to poetry through songwriting, it was the relative silence of poetry, its inner music, which excited me. The killing of the bird becomes a metaphor for this need for a quieter genre: ‘Silence played a deeper tune / than my father’s violin, / its bullets swifter and cleaner / than any note his dusty bow could fire.’
I think I am trying to hear my way back to those silences when I write poetry, although once the poem is formed, let the spoken word or the sung word give it wings, and forgive my boyhood cruelties.