Diarist, poet, ranter - Steve Urwin's first published work was a short piece of free verse called The Milk Bottle which appeared in "Exile" magazine in 1991.
That year he concentrated on material which was collected in his first solo privately-produced book "There are Easier Ways of Living Than Bleeding to Death" in 1992.
The next few years saw him submitting poems to small press outlets with varying degrees of success. Gradually he gained acceptance with some reputable poetry magazines as well as slipstream/speculative, sci-fi/horror genre publications that took an interest in his earlier more visceral work.
Poems and prose appeared in Charlotte’s Mag, Off The Wall, Inkshed, The Page (Northern Echo newspaper supplement), The Others Amongst Us, The Banshee, Premonitions, Works, A Riot Of Emotions, Foolscap, Renegade, The Third Alternative, The Wide Skirt, “Reflecting Hurt” (Talking Pen pamphlet 1994), Mindbaum (USA), Tears In The Fence, Ramraid Extraordinaire, Psychopoetica, Scar Tissue, Terrible Work, Blade, Fatchance, Contortions (USA), Rustic Rub, Mutiny and The Whistle House.
After the publication of Steve’s official debut poetry collection "Tightrope Walker" from Redbeck Press in 2001, there was a steady flow of magazine appearances in “And The Beat Goes On”, Bard, Braquemard, The Brobdingnagian Times (Ireland), The Coffee House, “Dancing Through The Pain – Poems on the Theme of Mental Health”, “Earls House Anthology”, Fire, The Journal, Liar Republic, Midnight Street, The Northern Echo, Oasis, Other Poetry, Open Wide, Outlaw, Pennine Ink, Poetry Monthly, Rain Dog, Red Herring, Sand, Smiths Knoll and Tears In The Fence.
"Hypomaniac", Steve’s second poetry collection, contains material spanning an eight-year period, including a sequence of pieces under the title 'Fragments from the Inside of my Smile'. Much of the work was written during recovery from a period of mental illness. The book was originally scheduled for publication in 2006 by 'dogeater press' but actually appeared in 2009 from Red Squirrel Press.
Around this time, Steve was attracting attention through live readings and, with a couple of poetry slam titles under his belt, devoted more time to performance than small press magazines.
In 2011, a collection of prose poems, diary entries and dark vignettes was published by Red Squirrel Press as "Shades of Grey" – Dreams, Diaries, Debris. Steve continued to work the local spoken word circuit while logging his movements on a daily basis.
More prose poems, along with flash fiction, rants and observations were self-published by Talking Pen in 2013, when Steve took the bold step of reproducing the work in his own handwriting, painstakingly rewriting each page afresh when corrections were called for. The 56-page labour of love "So Much for the Sunshine" took nine months to complete in a very striking limited edition of fifty copies, with much of the material road-tested at open mics the previous year.
Steve often works in a similar manner to that of the sculptor who insists the statue is buried within the chunk of marble, and only requires the excess to be chipped away until eventually the finished piece will be revealed. His books are compilations and are born of a process of daily journaling, morning pages and other ritualistic approaches to composition.
In 2014, one day per month, Steve embarked on a self-imposed masochistic challenge of leaving the house early in the morning armed with a one-hundred page notebook and not allowing himself to return home until the book was full of writing. Aptly named HOME TOWN SLOG, this exercise in endurance, while taking in sights, sounds and textures of cafes, shops, streets, the library and other local settings, frequently bordered on metajournaling. Except for a few examples published in a magazine and on social media the bulk of this twelve-month experiment is yet to emerge.
Steve marked National Poetry Day’s 2014 theme of ‘remembering’ by producing a lavish monograph poem in thirteen short sections entitled "Milking A Joe Brainard Riff".
In September 2015 a small selection of Steve’s prose poems and flash fiction was published alongside the poetry of Catherine Ayres in the "Dark Matter" chapbook series by The Black Light Engine Room Press.
He is currently assembling a twenty-six year retrospective of poems and prose pieces. Although some of the work has appeared in magazines, it has never been previously collected in book form. "ANOMALIES 1989-2014" will be a 240 page handmade hardback, featuring reproductions of magazine pages alongside essays, poems and recent journal entries. This volume won’t be 'published' in the conventional sense, as no two books will be exactly the same. Contents will vary slightly depending on the intended recipient. This lavish deluxe project will keep Steve preoccupied well into springtime.
In the last year or so, he has taken a strong interest in grass roots personal magazines, or 'perzines' as they are known – collaged autobiographical chapbooks and monographs produced independently by their authors using cut and paste layout, black and white graphics and photocopier reproduction. It is quite possible that a few small Steve Urwin booklets will appear sporadically over the next twelve months.
His 2016 morning pages will be trawled and edited with a view to publication as a full-length paperback volume ambitiously scheduled for release in early 2017.
Steve's next official poetry collection “Laughter to Split Glass” is undergoing final tweaks and due for publication by Red Squirrel Press soon. Read extracts from it here.