Clare Phillips

Originally from England, Clare Phillips has lived and worked in southwest Scotland for almost thirty years. As a former trainer she has read her poems and attended writers’ workshops since 1985 but now wishes most of all to develop her writing skills. Poetry has mysterious sources and Clare is learning late in life to be braver about this strange, exciting process. In 2019 she was mentored by a successful poet and theatre director and she has had a number of poems published. Clare had a rural, exploratory childhood followed by a more politicised, urban adulthood. Her past still inspires her and long ago events often bear fruit unexpectedly like fungi or desert plants. Nature, Clare's heroes, injustice, quirky people, climate change and travel to new places all spark poems.

Head and shoulder shot of Clare Philips, wearing a plum-coloured blouse and half-smiling


Wigtown Poetry Prize Showcase »

Listen to winners and runners up from the biggest poetry competition in Scotland

Fri 6 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | Parliament Hall, South Street


AMBITION for a Left Life
(For Carol Ann Duffy as she completes her term as Poet Laureate)

I read you on the edge
of writing. Always. On the tip
of it, tripping over a perfect line to get one down
that’s mine.
It’ll be a breech birth this baby.

Stop! I. Will. Let. You. Hold. On
To. Me. For. Longer. Chuck me up in the air, my ambition
to gossip up there with the goddess nowt
but a piece of toast if I don’t. Toast. I’ll be
toast if I don’t.

Eye me. Aye. Me. Here

for a big slice
of the pie before we go. To not bottle it.

Am I too late? Too-close-coming? I will scratch you, you
alley cat genius, you vennel ventriloquist

break your skin
to see if you bleed poetry.

Understand, and I think you do
this is my ‘last chance saloon’. If
I stand you a whisky, will you slip
me something under the bar? Look
the other way as I steal the DNA
from your glass?

Clare Phillips