Neil Leadbeater was born and brought up in Wolverhampton but for many years he has lived and worked in Edinburgh and made Scotland his home.


Author, poet, essayist and critic, his work has been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad.


His first full-length collection of poems, Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey was published by Littoral Press in 2010. His other books include Librettos for the Black Madonna (White Adder Press, 2011); The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus, 2013); The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives (Poetry Space, 2014); The Fragility of Moths (Bibliotheca Universalis, Bucharest, 2014); Grease-banding The Apple Trees (Raffaelli Editore, Rimini, 2015) and Sleeve Notes: Essays, Conversations and Reviews (Bibliotheca Universalis, Bucharest, 2016).

He is a regular reviewer for the on-line journal, Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement) (USA) and an external contributor for the UK to the Romanian journal Orizont Literar Contemporan (Contemporary Literary Horizon) based in Bucharest.


His work has been translated into Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.

‘Neil Leadbeater always offers the reader accomplished and very interesting poems. His love of the natural world dominates his main themes, and his accurate observations have a delicate and lasting power.’ Peter Thabit Jones, Editor: The Seventh Quarry.


‘Neil Leadbeater focuses with sharp observation on the natural world. Delight and amazement, even in its smallest and most obscure arrangements, inspires him.’ Eve Kimber.


‘Neil Leadbeater is one of the most interesting poets writing in Britain today.’ Luis Benítez.



Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey

Not often

you find such a landslide

of conkers

but my father saw them



glossy brown

among the hedgehog casing.


So we foraged

with the rove beetle, earthworm, mite,

lifting box-loads of mahogany jewels

into the back of the Riley.


Going home

I was ready to stage my strung shells

for the big fight

in the playground.


Time was short

and I was in a hurry

to catch all the fun I could hold.


Next term

it could be origami

or the sprung reel

of the yo-yo


and then the winter snows.


from: Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey (Littoral Press, 2010).




Nights We Tricked The Corncrake


Nights we tricked the corncrake into thinking he had

a mate

we’d hold our sisters’ hands

and dance through the bottom field with the only Latin

we ever knew -

Crex crex; crex crex…

his onomatopoeic, double-barrelled name:


-the dull sound of a ratchet engaging its teeth on a pawl


-the noise made by a typewriter when the carriage shifts

to the left


-the song of a fingernail scraping its edge on the rungs

of a metal comb.


Those were the late evenings of our young lives; times


you could thrust your hand into the ripened stalks and

still feel

the heat of the day sinking through the ground.



from: Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey (Littoral Press, 2010).




The Blue Note


After the babble and


the commonplace chatter


the quickfire display


of bad-tempered brass


comes the blue note -


a sympodial inflorescence


of bell-shaped flowers


nodding along


the verges.


from: Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey (Littoral Press, 2010).




Great Malvern


Great trains came here.


We used to wave them on as if we could help them on their way;

enjoyed the rush of windows picking up speed a mile out

or, if it was a goods train,

the power of freight slamming its load

like thunder down the line.


That was when we felt your absence

hit us the most -

it made us stop in our tracks.


We were the children who waved their handkerchiefs

from the high embankment

and you were the father who made it back

walking towards your beloved daughter

out of the head of steam.


from: The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus, 2013).




Sheds in the Perry Acre


All they held was junk. At that age I was too mishtiful to know any better.


Years on, I put a name to all that lay within -

the hedge-hackers, clat-beetles, dog-hooks and drag-harrows

which I’d once carelessly brushed against

miraculous without hurt.


Some things I found a use for:

rag-stones for sharpening the blade on a scythe; riddles for sieving soil.


But now the sheds are just a shelter from a shower of April rain.

The tools have lost their currency -


they have travelled the distance known to man

and will not come again.


from: The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus, 2013).




The Poet Among The Hop Bines


Whatever fires the imagination, ferments here. You can almost hear

the growth; the internal tumult of hop, skip and jump

pulsing through the bines.

Each lane is a powerhouse; the strict, regimental rows

hopped-up and raring to go.


Already they have woven their lives into my lines.

They have given me a glimpse of what everyone longs for

and no-one has -

the chance to stay where we can never be -

dancing in the light.


from: The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus, 2013).



All poems on this page are the copyright © of Neil Leadbeater.