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Other Publications


Blaze a Vanishing and

The Tall Skies (De Höga Himlarna) (2013)



A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (2011)




Giving Light - Waterloo Sampler No. 2 (2003)



Alan Morrison Captive Dragons / The Shadow Thorns (2011) Poems from the Mill View Residency 2008-11

Alan Morrison has written the ultimate spearheading long poem to defend poetic reality, often clinically diagnosed as madness, but in fact pushing dimensions out
into the retrieval of a reclaimed poetics. In a brilliantly impacted, rich diction fused to a profoundly humanitarian sensibility, he has succeeded in writing the most
sustained poem about crossing frontiers of altered consciousness that I personally have encountered. He deserves our thanks.
Jeremy Reed

‘Here be dragons of the head’s uncharted territories’ writes Alan Morrison in Captive Dragons, an extraordinary study of the ‘penned dragons, captive dragons ...neither frightening nor fire-breathing’ who inhabit the wild edges of our societies. Morrison writes in a rich, rhetorical Miltonic voice, heavy with anger and prophecy. Exploring the world of mental health, he ends up writing about the mental health of our world, and the real dragons of our time — bankers, politicians, speculators — who lay waste to everything they touch. Magnificent stuff.
Andy Croft


ISBN 978-1-906742-04-1


Alan Morrison is one of the very few poets to have tackled mental health in poetry.
His poem shows both his erudition and his talent, blended in a Heraclitean flux, and
this publication puts him in the very front rank of poets writing today.
Barry Tebb

From 2008 to 2011, Morrison was poet-in-residence and voluntary poetry workshop facilitator at Mill View psychiatric hospital in Hove. His workshops provided a neutral creative space for inpatients to explore poetry and proved remarkably popular, many citing them as an essential weekly ‘lifeline’ contributory to their recoveries. In 2009, Morrison and Lead Activities Facilitator Nick McMaster secured a Sussex Partnership NHS Trust Arts Award to fund a publication of the distinctive writing produced through the workshops: the reversible double-anthology The Hats We Wear/ Blank Versing the Past (Waterloo, 2009/2010) resulted.

Morrison was then commissioned to write his own poetic response to his residency, the key work of which is the epic title poem Captive Dragons, a Laingian testament to the vastly nuanced, historically obfuscated subject of ‘mental illness’; its personal and social aetiologies, private and public implications, and the stigmas still tacitly attached to it today. Morrison’s core dialectical motif is the ancient phrase Here Be Dragons, once used on old maps to warn of possible dangers in unexplored regions: Morrison juxtaposes this with the relatively unmapped right hemisphere of the human brain, thought to be the source of not only psychiatric pathologies, but also the primal creative impulses which hold promise for their future illuminations.


Alan Morrison’s poetry first appeared in the First Edition Asham Award anthology Don’t Think of Tigers (The Do Not Press, 2001).

He is author of the highly regarded verse play Picaresque
and three critically acclaimed poetry volumes: The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006), A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo, 2009; shortlisted for the Purple Patch Best Volume 2010), and Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack, 2010; nominated for the Tillie Olsen Award; recorded to CD by acclaimed actor Michael Jayston).

Morrison is editor of polemical literary webzine the Recusant
(www.therecusant.org.uk). His poetry and literary essays have most recently appeared in The London Magazine and Stand.

A fifth volume, Blaze a Vanishing, is forthcoming in early 2012.


The Shadow Thorns are wonder-fully sinuous and startling.  
 Steven O’Brien, 
The London Magazine

…an ambitious poem with a profoundly complex vision …it brilliantly moves through a labyrinth of history, paradox and metaphor… you’re constantly haunted by the Joycean music in the way the words occupy space with the intensity and speed of a giant machine...
Prakash Kona

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