Monday, 30 November 2009

New Book - Out Now!

Good evening,

Let me begin by saying a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came along to a very succesful book launch on Saturday night, and helped to make it such a special evening! Ironically, for a writer, I find it difficult to put into words just how much your support and encouragement mean to me.

For anyone who wasn't able to make it, more photos are coming very soon! Also in the pipeline is a set of special online artwork to accompany the book, but more about that in the next few weeks...

I hope those of you who have bought the book so far are enjoying it. For those who haven't, 'In Memory of Real Trees' is now officially on sale, and can be purchased from a whole host of retailers:

Amazon (UK) :

Amazon (US) :

The collection can also be bought as an ebook for just £2.99! :

Discounted, Signed Copies : People interested in buying a signed copy of the book - at a discounted price - are invited to get in touch with me on
to arrange a meeting, seance or paypal transaction.


There is also a new interview up on the Central Lancashire Writing Network website, which gives a little more about the background behind the new book :

On top of all that, Monday 7th December sees me guesting with presenter Terry Quinn on Preston FM ( at 7.30pm, so be sure to tune in.

As always, I welcome comments and feedback, so don't hesitate to get in touch!

All the best,


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Book Launch / Further Away from Home

Rainy Sunday evening greetings all,

A little update on all things book-related, which are certainly gathering steam, as the launch date rapidly approaches. With the launch-party night, on November 28th, nearing, things are getting both nerve-wracking and exciting. I'm looking forward to meeting some old and new friends that day, from 7.30pm at The Continental in Preston (

Some of you will have seen me reading at a couple of events this week. I'd like to say thanks for coming along, and giving the new work such a warm response! Unlike with 'Sunrise and Shorelines', where I would read a similar selection of favourite pieces at each event, I'm trying to give everything from this book a fair hearing, so those of you who've seen me performing at several events should have a pretty good idea of what to expect from 'In Memory of Real Trees' by now.

'Postcards from the North', included with the last mailout, seems to have received a particularly good response. Among others, 'Further Away from Home' also got its first airing at Preston's 'Word Soup' this week, and seemed to go down well. Therefore, in the tradition of previewing new material with these emails, I've tagged a copy of that poem onto this message.

Should any of you want to reply, with comments, feedback, or for any more information about the book launch, I'll look forward to hearing from you here or on

All the best,

Mark Charlesworth


Further Away from Home

Abandoning the comfort of a subterranean nest;

the enveloping sheets of a warm, familiar bed;

the shelter of a domestic haunt

that, all through childhood, had been in sight,

even in the dusk and rain,

visible by a single ember burning in the grate,

and trading it all for three years in the wilderness,

was never an easy decision to make.

But standing on the brink

of a world that threatened

all the potential hope and nightmare of a fairytale,

you knew you were doing right

by treading in the wrong direction.

Taking leave from the beaten track,

ill prepared, clutching at a compass and crumpled map,

you quickly discovered that true travelling

doesn’t need a plan or guide

to diminish the crooked beauty

of an indigo night sky,

aching with myth and inscriptions of classical legends,

tales of old friends and ghosts

concealed in every constellation.

Plummeting several-thousand-feet-or-so,

rugged coastlines fight erosion

and reclamation by a violent sea,

emaciated trees cling on to every precipice you pass,

among plants with pockmarked petals and poisonous stems,

and, as you speed through,

both intimately connected and completely detached

from the landscape of sheer, sublime hostility,

you wonder if you’ll suffer the same fate of falling

as the limbless branches,

lying like littering debris

in the isolation of an unchartered ravine,

unwilling to spare or shed its secrets.

But, if you look very closely,

you can see

the length of a highway

mirroring a path through the stars,

the wilderness oblivion of possibility,

like a desert plain

snaking to the epicentre of a canopied trail,

and watched by the passengers on a restless sleeper train.

I feel I might have passed that way too,

awake until daylight

then too tired to move,

and I struggle to remember if I made that trip alone:

third year on the road – still looking for home.

Instead, there was the brief delusion of substitution

in a gloomy gallery

dedicated to achievement and progression,

an artefact of all things artificial:

warehouses hosting cubist figures and manmade machines,

scaled-down towns constructed of mirrors,

telegraph poles fashioned to look like trees,

an air-conditioner simulating authentic summer breeze,

circulating in a surgically cleansed atmosphere

but eventually joining vapour trails

scattering on the western wind,

the otherworldly labyrinth of steel and glass dissipating,

transforming into rural England.

I look round again to find

a second familiar shadow once more walks in stride,

side by side

every ticking second.

The uncharacteristic desire for abandon

is suddenly overwhelming.

I want to run out into the road,

fearing no threat of imminent collision,

throw up my arms to meet the downpour,

savouring the stain that spreads across the heavens,

bringing with it thunder

and an atmosphere charged with the eastern promise

of Indian summer,

reaching some destination at last

in a city decorated by dizzying colour

and strange sounds from twisted strings.

I feel the intensity and heat,

the healing effect of each falling droplet

as the moment rises to crescendo

and the clouds give out a final moan,

before diminishing into the distance.

When it’s over,

we stand by the roadside,

you and I together

and somehow alone

with each other.

We stroll towards the sun

as it dips from the horizon,

watching our reflections growing longer,

then disappearing entirely with disconcerting urgency.

And on a bridge, in spectral shade,

a train performs its practiced part,

slowing towards the station,

spilling a new set of stories onto a crowded platform,

and then – as though indifferent – moving on.

Always moving on.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Postcards from the North

I'd like to thank you for your continued feedback and support, both with comments about 'Damaged Goods in Transit' (attached in the last mailout) and responses to my call for promotional suggestions. People have got back to me with some very interesting ideas, and will be duly credited in the next collection's acknowledgments. As ever, it's never too late to get in touch, and I aim to reply to all responses personally. So, if anyone can think of any more marketing ideas (especially ones that involve the internet), please don't hesitate to drop me a line here. All positive contributors I use will be credited in book 3.

Now, as November is upon us, and the launch date looms ever-closer, I'd like to let you know about some events which will be going on over the next few weeks.

- On November 17th, I'll be reading as a featured artist at The Continental's regular literature night, Word Soup, in Preston. With a couple of other highly-recommended, excellent writers booked, it's shaping up to be a good night. Head over to for more details.

- November 20th brings Lancaster's monthly Spotlight club (, at which I'll be performing open mic.

- And November 28th is, of course, the book launch itself, also taking place at The Continental (see above for web address). Obviously, I hope to see as many of you as possible there, but understand - particularly as Christmas draws near - that people have many commitments, so, if you want to come along, but can't make it, why not come down to one of the other events listed above? More listings to follow shortly.

I'd also like to highlight a couple of links featuring reviews of both the first and second book.

- Andrew Hurley at the Preston Writing Network recently contributed an in-depth piece about my first collection, 'Sunrise and Shorelines'. It's an excellently written review that even had me looking at my own work in a different light, and can be read at:

- Fellow writer Norman Hadley ( also shares his thoughts about 'In Memory of Real Trees' on the Lunecy review:

And, speaking of 'In Memory of Real Trees', I'm pleased to attach another sample (see below), highlighting a slightly different side of the book to that shown in 'Damaged Goods in Transit'. 'Postcards from the North' is a paean to my much-loved homeland. It came to me on a train, travelling through Yorkshire, and attempts to rewrite the negative cliches, often associated with northern England, as things to actually be proud of.

As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Postcards from the North

We’ve got forty-two different types of rain,

clouds gone murky from streaming soot,

cobbled streets and old steam-trains,

smokers coughing up their guts.

We’ve got godawful cities full of godawful people,

where treacle-black rivers hide forms, drowned and foetal,

crumbling mills in the shadows of steeples,

industrial corpses and disappointing sequels.

We’ve got tea so bitter that it burns in your mouth,

and stories you’d hardly believe down south,

of twisted beasties that lurk below the bed,

the gallows of Golgotha to lop off your head.

But we’ve got hills that climb for miles,

witch stories whispered by midnight fires,

spindly webs shimmering through January gloom,

frost glittering like fairy-lights beneath a bright moon.

We’ve got The Smiths singing ‘Sheila Take a Bow’,

where Orwell’s ghost stalks a drizzle-soaked town,

Yorkshire cobbles stained with blood, myth and mystery,

Lancashire spook tales and bridges to history.

We’ve got a sleepy village on the edge of the world,

where long grass in the twilit fields

sways in the wake of a warm sea wind,

and at the passing echo of the six-fifteen train,

they say a pair of old friends can be seen most days,

contentedly lost as a melody plays;

the haunting strains of some violin tune

that someday will all but fade.