MB portraitAbout

Matt Barnard is a poet and writer. His debut poetry pamphlet The Bends was published by Eyewear and his first full collection, Anatomy of a Whale, was published by The Onslaught Press. Matt also edits British Life in Poetry, which aims to promote poetry in Britain by posting a weekly poem by a contemporary author writing in English, and he edited the anthology Poems for the NHS. He has won and been placed in competitions including The Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize, the Bridport Prize, the Ink Tears short story competition and the Bristol Short Story Prize, and his work has appeared a number of anthologies and magazines.

Matt was born in 1972 in London, where he still lives with his wife and their two sons and two dogs. An interview with Matt on cultural blog Wombwell Rainbow can be found here.


Anatomy of a Whale

A wide range of subject material and a knack for ‘telling it slant’ distinguishes this lively and perceptive collection.’ Penelope Shuttle (poet and novelist)

Like the most welcome guests, these restrained and powerful poems announce themselves forcefully, don’t outstay their welcome, and leave our rooms changed.’ Jonathan Edwards (winner of the Costa Book Award for Poetry)

‘The poems are imaginative and well-crafted, alert to the vagaries of the human predicament, as well as offering often surprising perspectives on the natural world.’ Carole Satyamurti (poet and sociologist)


The Bends

‘Matt Barnard’s poems in The Bends look through unlikely eyes, and with a keen awareness. Be it an eel three days forgotten in a bucket, or the ‘Fat-bellied gibbous moon’, the perspective is never frozen, never stagnant…’ Poet and critic Joe Carrick-Varty in PN Review 242

Matt Barnard is haunted, I somehow suspect, by the sea and its fathomless mysteries, for the wide-ranging, beautifully crafted poems in his pamphlet The Bends have a lingering smell of seaweed and brine about them…’ Poet and critic Malcolm Bradley in Acumen 90

‘Matt Barnard’s debut pamphlet is an excellent collection of eclectic poems that combine musicality with precise language…’ Writer and blogger Ali Thurm


Short Stories

Rooted in the realist tradition but frequently crossing boundaries of time and space, Matt’s stories have won the Ink Tears Short Story Competition and been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize.

The Last Damn Peach

(Winner of the Ink Tears Short Story Competition)

Ninety-three-year-old Faye Zuckerman, who was a good time girl in the 1940s and 1950s when – hell – it took balls to swing, put on her blue, rhinestone bikini and started to make her way to the garden where the last peach was waiting in the branches of the only tree in the grounds. She opened the door to her room and stepped into the hallway, and heard the door click behind her. That same click she knew from the many hotels she had stayed in, partied in, got high in. Her key! Shit, she’d forgotten it, but it didn’t really matter. She’d ask one of the damn care assistants to open it. Most of the old people in there couldn’t remember when to take a piss, never mind remember their keys… Continue reading

British Life in Poetry


British Life in Poetry aims to promote poetry in Britain by posting a weekly poem by a contemporary author writing in English.

British Life in Poetry: Column 39

Lobster are mysterious creatures, and this is a great modern take on them, a lobster with a coke habit, or rather a Pepsi habit…Continue reading.

Poems for the NHS

This anthology celebrates the fact that access to medical care doesn’t depend on the lottery of good or bad fortune, and we hope it is a fitting way to mark 70 years of an extraordinary institution. The anthology can be bought from The Onslaught Press. Profits from the book will be donated to NHS Charities Together.












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