Photograph by Derek Ridgers

Mark’s poems have been published in the past two years by Poetry Review, The London Magazine, The Irish Times, MAGMA, IOTA, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Templar Publishing, the Southword Journal, Aesthetica Magazine, The New European, Amsterdam Quarterly, The Bangalore Review, Live Canon and the University of London.

His pamphlet “The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre” was published by Templar Poetry in March, 2015 when it was selected by Lovereading UK as featured poetry book of the month. It was shortlisted as Best Pamphlet in the 2015 Saboteur Awards. Order today here.

His award-winning collection “The Rainbow Factory” was launched in September, 2016 at Keats House in London. You can order it here. Leading Irish poet Thomas McCarthy had this to say:

“Mark Fiddes’ THE RAINBOW FACTORY is a wonder, a real work of art, from a poet who seems incapable of writing a bad poem. His sharpness, both linguistic and intellectual, makes his work unique, I think, and uniquely satisfying. His prize-winning ‘Ex.’ and ‘The Lost Gardens of West Norwood’ are a joy to read, both for the thought within and the technical competence, more than competence, panache, I would say, yes, technical panache. I am certain that ‘Ex.’ will become one of those poems that are continuously anthologised, rather like Betjemen’s Slough poem…This is all work in poetry of the highest calibre, and written in a voice that is rarely seen in poetry, the urbane humorist who sustains serious thought.”

In March 2018, he was awarded third place in the UK’s National Poetry Prize from over 15,000 entries for his poem ‘Polite Safety Notice’ about toxic masculinity. Over the past two years, he has won first prize in The Ruskin Poetry competition and at Ireland’s Dromineer Literature Festival and was runner-up in the Bridport Prize, the Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition, the Wells Festival Prize and the Ware Poet’s Prize. He has also been shortlisted or highly commended in an number of other national and international awards – The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize (twice), The Charles Causley Prize (twice), The Philip Larkin Prize, The York Festival Prize, The Frogmore Prize, The Wasafiri Prize, The Live Canon International Prize, the St Cross College Prize, the Back Room Poets Prize, the Ver Poets Prize and the Bristol Poets Prize.

He studied Philosophy at Merton College, Oxford University before leaving for Washington, D.C. to work as a journalist. He now travels between London, Dubai and Barcelona as a creative director.

Some quotes:

“A punk energy and impish sense of fun suffuse this fine new collection…compressed with wit and wonder. Purchase a copy of this intelligent, immaculately tended collection and you will find yourself in the company of a tour guide at once wickedly cynical, bleakly funny and always colourful.”   Christopher James, Winner of the National Poetry Prize.

“One of my favourite titles for a poetry collection, Mark Fiddes’ The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre is expectedly full of wit and wry observation on the strata of British society. But this book reaches deeper, into moments that catch you off guard with profound, plainspoken insight into the human condition. More than a hilarious romp (though it is that as well), this slim booklet packs a wallop, leaves you teetering through the poet’s off-kilter worldview.” Robert Peake in The Huffington Post.

“..its stately movement, its resolution of all the technical problems of a period and a persona piece, and the lovely lift into something transcendent with which it ends.” Professor Fiona Sampson, poet and judge of the Ruskin Poetry Prize.

“This is intelligent, multi-layered modern poetry and should be read…clever, deep and engaging.” Rachel Stirling, writer and poetry blogger.

“Very thought-provoking. I doubt if I shall ever view Chelsea in the same light.”Alan Titchmarsh, gardener, writer, DJ.


  1. Hi Mark – I’ve forwarded your excellent ‘Chelsea Flower Show Massacre’ poem to my RHS Gold Medal award winning chum – and do hope you’ll be embarking on some guerilla poetry sessions at the Chelsea Fringe!

    1. Hi Michaela, this sounds great but I’ve just started working out in Dubai on a longish contract. I’m going to be here at least through the UK summer. May I get back in touch when I’m back in Europe. I’ve heard good things about Pighog. My email is fiddes01@gmail.com. Best wishes, Mark

  2. Hey Mark, I randomly came across “polite safety notice” on YouTube and it really intrigues me, what inspired you to write this? I love the style and openness of interpretation btw

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for asking. I wrote it responding the rage around Brexit and Populism largely exhibited by men – inflamed by social media. I wanted to examine this in the context of its longer term effects on young people and the environment. This was picked up by the print maker and director Aindri C in the film who made the whole animation out of recycled materials. Does that answer your question? Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s