About Phil Bowen

Phil Bowen is a poet, performer, biographer and playwright who has worked in over 600 schools in England and Wales as a poet-in-education since 1994.

Born in Liverpool, he has published four full collections, including The Professor’s Boots (Westwords), Variety’s Hammer and Starfly (Stride) and Nowhere’s Far: New & Selected Poems 1990 –2008 (Salt Publications). His biography of the Mersey Poets, A Gallery to Play To was republished by Liverpool University Press in 2008.

‘All the Stuff’ is Bowen’s contemporary take on ‘The Waste Land’ in its centenary year, commenced in 2004. As Bowen explains, “The phrase cropped up one night after a long chat and stayed with me and I put a few verses around it – about eight quatrains – and never really thought more of it until the Spring of 2005. I thought that if I could juxtapose various contrasting fragments of cultural references, a much-improved oral piece could arise, and it kept arising for over 300 lines when I first thought it was finished. But there always seemed more until – having left if for five years – when it reached 564 lines in 2014. I picked it up again during the Covid lock down and added some further stanzas – in the middle section – the last 120 lines have always remained the same – until I finished it at the beginning of 2022.

Various people over the years have given encouragement, with special thanks to John Cooper Clarke, David Woolley, Anna Saunders and to Peter Williams for the “amazing rhythmical sound tableau around the words.”

Our thanks to Phil Bowen and Peter Williams for their kind permission to share this link to All the Stuff.

You can also visit Bowen’s collection on the Children’s Poetry Archive, recorded in 2012: Phil Bowen – Children’s Poetry Archive


Books by Phil Bowen



Cuckoo Rock shortlisted for Centre for Literacy in Primary Education award

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