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Lecturer writes poetic love song in ode to the Black Country


A University of Wolverhampton academic has used research gained from his doctorate to write a book of poetry about the post-industrial Black Country landscape.

R.M.Francis, a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing in the University’s School of Humanities, will see his poetry collection, Subsidence, published on 1st December 2020 with Smokestack Books.

Rob is the author of five poetry pamphlet collections and his novel, Bella, was published by Wild Pressed Books. In 2019 he was the David Bradshaw Writer in Residence at the University of Oxford and is currently Poet in Residence for the Black Country Geological Society.

Subsidence takes its name from the Black Country's history of homes and buildings sinking into old mines standing as a metaphor for the often overlooked and neglected environs of Dudley. Written one year prior to and one year after the 2016 Brexit referendum, these poems use the landscape, dialect and culture of the Black Country to examine post-industrial, working-class communities.

Rob said: “My new collection of poetry has been described as a love song to the post-industrial Black Country landscape, where houses sink into old mines and the present collapses into the past beneath our feet. In a way, these poems are odes to working-class communities, and laments for the unwanted, the strange and the off-kilter.

“The collection has been informed by my research conducted during my PhD here at the University as well as research projects I’ve been involved in like Snidge Scrumpin' and Black Country Unscene undertaken on behalf of the Being Human Festival.”

Roy McFarlane, the Tipton based and nationally celebrated poet, said: “Subsidence is a love letter spoken in Rob’s mother tongue, refusing to be a second language, a vernacular ripe with the heart and soul of everyday people. From the past to the present there’s a constant shift in the foundation of space and geography but still the poet evokes a passion and a spirit of place. This is an observation of both strangers an’ kin, sometimes smashed glass of people’s lives reflecting a beautiful constellation under a Black Country sky.”

Rob will be involved in a number of online readings in the coming months, including the forthcoming Wolverhampton Literature Festival (12th to 14th February 2021) and Gloucester Poetry Festival (12th December 2020) and his collection will be available via Smokestack Books -

You can connect with Rob on Twitter @RMFrancis and contact him for a signed copy of the book.

Anyone interested in studying in the School of Humanities should register for the next Virtual Open Day on Saturday 14th November 2020.



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