promiseland poetry


John Powls

John Powls is a long-established writer with a broad ambit encompassing journalism, drama and contributions to other artists’ books.

But above all he is a landscape poet with a considerable body of published and exhibited work who has long and frequent experience of performing this, including on television and radio.

His poetry is influenced by the Romantic tradition and has been inspired by Dartmoor, seascapes and his native North East of England with interesting diversions to London, Japanese gardens in England, the worlds of visual art and music – and Route 66!

In developing his particular heritage of language, John aims to innovate in realising his themes on the page – including with design – and in performance. He is fascinated by the interplay of anticipation, memory and experience.

In performance, John often collaborates with artists, musicians and other poets in multimedia projects.

He has worked regularly with photographer and musician, Carol Ballenger, over more than twenty years and with other colleagues in the Arts Live group for almost as long.

Recent work and current projects

Route 66 – open road for promiseland

Inspired by a drive of ‘Main Street USA’, that symbol of Americana, with its hinterland of iconography and imagination.

North Sea To The East

NEW – John’s latest collection, a personal landscape of Teesside and North Yorkshire in poems and art – published in early 2021.


53 five line poems inspired by the seascape and coastline and the work of composer, Terry Riley


This new work explores John’s response to individual trees, sublime woodland and the Treescapes that nature imagines


Getting inspiration is like finding the jigsaw box lids, each picturing a particular scene from a particular viewpoint” – John Powls read more.

© Carol Ballenger


© Carol Ballenger

Japanese gardens in England and the English haiku form

© Carol Ballenger

The London cityscape

The moon

    The persistence of walking

        The Sea

The muse

‘Only that which bears the imprint of our choice, our taste and our desire can be beautiful; our idee maitresse’

– Marcel Proust