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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Aryamati Prize Runner Up: Julian Bishop

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

Meet the Poet...

Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who is a member of the collective group Poets For The Planet. He’s had a lifelong interest in ecology and worked for a time as Environment Reporter for BBC Wales. He’s also a member of Climate Cultures and recently wrote a blog about how lockdown has helped many of us “rediscover” nature.

A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and is one of four poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. He’s recently had poems in The Morning Star, XR’s Rebel Talk, online journal Irisi, Finished Creatures magazine and the first issue of The Alchemy Spoon.

Contact: twitter @julianbpoet

Poems For The Planet available at:

We were delighted with Julian Bishop's poetry this year - despite reading blind, myself and the judges identified two poems that we felt were the work of one writer, for their distinctive style and humour. One was excellent and made our shortlist and the other, 'Starbucks in the Gutter' was a definite win from us! This poem can be read below - enjoy!

Starbucks In The Gutter

Down with the dandelions,

legs sprawled across dirt, he’s down

on his uppers with sod all

but a hold-all, a drizzle of old coppers,

a used coffee cup.

Ground down, down at heel, he’s worn

down to the bare leather

stitches of his sole. Horizons glimpsed

through sticky plastic lids, the envy

of a warm sip of latte,

coughs of muttered pleases,

ravenous for any small change.

For this is what he is -

flat, tight, a Costa cup on his knees,

a sloshed dosser in need

of a top-up, for a shot of sympathy.

Chucked in the gutter,

his stars are buckled, fucked up,

while we cradle the stain

of a disposable cup in our hands.

Learn more about the Aryamati Poetry Prize here

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