A brilliant first collection from the man John Hegley calls 'the cream of Devon poets' In 2002, as an alternative means of therapy to excessive drinking and jay-walking in South London traffic, George Chopping started writing. At first he kept a journal, noting daily observations and recording a satirical account of his views of society and of his place within it. A year and two very short stories later, he had discovered his passion for words, and particularly poetry. Poems, after all, are even shorter short stories - and he's self-confessedly 'quite lazy'. Lightheartedly describing his experiences of living with Crohn's disease, drifting in and out of minimum wage jobs, spying on waterfowl from his narrowboat home, and peoplewatching in pubs, shops, trains and cafes, George Chopping's poems appealed to everyone who heard him read them - even those who did not consider themselves poetically inclined. Soon, he found himself on stage so frequently that he was able to give up his glittering career as a shelf filler for a major supermarket and become a full-time poet, performing his work around the country - which people seemed to like.
'Flailing around in the pits of illiteracy,' he says, 'I make up my own words and often misspell or poorly punctuate those that are already in existence. But with the cliched excuse of "poetic license" I continue to scrawl. My inspiration continues to be drawn from observing the oxymoronic beauty of British society on land in contrast to the more functional and humane fowl on the waterways.'
George Chopping is a poet from Torquay. He wasn't born in the early 1900s, nor was he educated at Queens University in Belfast, or at Magdalen College, Oxford or at Trinity, Cambridge. He hasn't been awarded the Pulitzer for poetry and although he likes to read a bit of T S Eliot, he hasn't been nominated for that prize, yet. No Nobel medal either, although he is quite humble about all of his swimming certificates. One is for swimming 1500 metres (one metric mile) aged seven. Although rarely a swimmer nowadays, and especially not in the Thames, George lives on a narrowboat somewhere between Oxford and Reading. He has a full driving license with lots of endorsements, a Welcome Host Certificate, seven GCSEs at grade C, Crohn's disease and, at times, very low self esteem.