John was born in the South-East of England of Scottish parents and spent his childhood and adolescence living on a farm. He decided early that he was not cut out for farm life but it remains one of his recurrent themes. He read Russian and German at university and also speaks French (languages were the only school subjects he was good at, he claims).
He spent most of his working life commuting from Hertfordshire into London but moved to Somerset in 1995 to open a regional office for his employers and feels it is the best move he ever made. A self-confessed slow starter, he retired early in 2005 specifically to devote himself to writing his own poetry and developing the audience for poetry in Somerset.
He hadn’t made much effort to get published or win prizes but had a few poems in print and won one prize before his first collection Word of Mouth, was published in 2009. An ‘impressive debut’ said Staple magazine editor Wayne Burrows. He is currently chairman of Fire River Poets, has organised the Poetry at The Brewhouse events in Taunton (the venue was switched to the Creative Innovation Centre in Taunton in 2013) and is an active advocate for South-West poets and poetry.
There is an interview with John, by Paul Tobin on this blog.