Here’s John helping Phoebe arrange candles on the floor – he’s a poet that comes with his own built in limelight. Just before we started rehearsing his poem ‘Known Light’ we asked him about his scientific mind. ‘Known Light’ features a shed full of home made chemistry experiments … John, do you feel a particular affinity with the scientific realm?

‘I particularly like drawing on scientific subject matter for the range of imagery it can lend a poem, and also because I find that the vocabulary associated with science contrasts with traditional poetic diction in productive ways. It’s easy to create effects of texture and contrast when you have an unexpected technical word colliding with a beautiful poetic word.’

We then pause so Phoebe can help John illuminate lines such as ‘a sacred Bunsen flame’ and ‘inspire electrons if you want to unveil calcium’s brick red’.

John continues, ‘I originally chose almost exclusively science A levels because I intended to study environmental science at university, but in the end I enjoyed English A level so much I decided to pursue that instead.’

Keats claimed that science unwove the poetry of the rainbow. John’s busy plaiting it back together.



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