Monday, 8 February 2010


The title of my short story collection, currently shortlisted for Salt's ‘Scott Prize’, is a bit of a mouthful. They May Not Mean To But They Do comes from the oft quoted Larkin poem:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Let’s just say many of the stories have a seam of dubious parenting running through them.

I’ve never turned my hand to poetry, for fear it will be like this.


Anna-Marie said...

Hey Tom, I think David Brent has unappreciated talent! That poem would not look out of place amongst the pages of a Carol Ann Duffy anthology. It just sounds wrong when he reads it :D The Larkin poem touches a's brilliant. Is your short story collection published? Congrats on the shortlisting BTW

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thanks, Anna-Marie. Imagine an entire Brent collection!

The Scott prize is publication (and contract) - Salt are one of the few producing short story collections. A tense wait till the end of the month.

claires inner world said...

Do you have any children, Tom? Just wondered if these stories germinated from your experience, or were they imagined entirely?

TOM J VOWLER said...

No chidren, Claire. Just a cat. I imagine much of my own childhood seeped into the stories, though.