Ian Harrow


Contact Ian: ianharrow1@gmail.com

Ian Harrow was born in Bamburgh, Northumberland, in 1945, of Scots-Irish extraction. He was head of the School of Art at Lancashire Polytechnic before taking early retirement in 2002. Since the mid-70s his work has appeared in a wide range of periodicals and magazines including the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, Oxford Magazine, Stand, Poetry Wales, Other Poetry, Literary Review, London Magazine, Archipelago, Poetry Ireland Review, Shop Magazine and New Walk.


He has published four collections; his latest publication Words Take Me (Lapwing Press) appeared in February 2013.


He was shortlisted for the Beverley Prize 2017. Ian lives in York.


'Ian Harrow's poems of obsessive love and lost love are strange, stark, profound parables in brief classic forms. They are not consolatory, but neither are they pessimistic because they have what one of the poems calls 'the taste of truth'. When they are painful, it is because reality is painful. Words Take Me is an utterly absorbing book that stays hauntingly in the memory. It is a major achievement.'

Bernard O'Donoghue

Finishing Lines, a collection from Rack Press was published in February 2018


From Finishing Lines




I recognise but no longer comprehend

the interest strangers take in the bodies

of strangers who are like themselves.


Mine was the life of the body and because

the body was strong, I was bored by doubt;

ignorant as only the robust can be.


For years I thought I saw people as they were

when all I was doing was reading

in a face the impression I made.


What did I know of a world

where you learn something new

from dizziness or a pillow dark with sweat


or just feeling not quite right

at 3 a.m. in the kitchen, gripping

a glass of water with both hands?


Rack Press orders from: rackpress@nicholasmurray.co.uk