From my late-teens on I wanted to write, and was encouraged to do so by my mother (who typed up my poems for me until I was able to afford a typewriter of my own), and an English teacher, David Herbert, who was a published poet. They were the first people to offer me feedback. David Herbert gave me the names of some little magazines of the time and I sent off a few poems. I must have been rejected at least a dozen times before I had a poem accepted by a magazine called Gong, run out of the English Department at Nottingham University. A self-published pamphlet, Into Rolling Red (1975), was featured on BBC Radio Leicester when I was 19 (I still have the recording).
I went to Nottingham University to study Philosophy. From there, I continued to send off poems, eventually having work published in such journals of the day as Global Tapestry (Dave Cunliffe), Kudos (Graham Sykes), Iron (Pete Mortimer), Outposts (Howard Sergeant), Sepia (Colin Webb), Smoke (Dave Ward), and Zenos (Danielle Hope). Two tiny, duplicated pamphlets, Excerpt (1979) and Flung into Dust (1980), were published by Kawabata, a press run by Colin Webb from Cornwall.
From mid-1981, for the best part of two decades, working in a variety of jobs in different countries in Europe, I more or less gave up writing, although in 1987 I self-published a pamphlet of prose poems, A Man of Some Influence, which people responded warmly too. I wish now I'd taken my cue from this response to persist. However, at least I was in the privileged position of being able to learn languages through lived experience, and I took full advantage of that. I still remember very clearly the thrill of reading a book for the first time in Italian (1983), in French (1985) and in Polish (2000).
I only returned to writing with any real sense of commitment in my early forties, when I began sending out poetry to magazines again, self-published a collection called The Stranger (2000) (but this was mainly writing taken from my earlier pamphlets), and took an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University 2003-4.
Since 2009 I have published eight full-length collections of poetry (six with Shearsman Books, beginning with Anonymous Intruder, and two with Knives, Forks & Spoons Press), four books of translation, and several chapbooks of poetry, fiction and translation. My poetry has also appeared in a number of anthologies and been featured on BBC Radio 3's The Verb. New York Hotel (Shearsman, 2018) was selected by Mark Ford as a TLS Book of the Year. (See elsewhere on this website for details.) Night Window is forthcoming from Shearsman Books in early 2024: for more information, click on https://www.shearsman.com/store/Ian-Seed-Night-Window-p584010639
Over the last decade or so, my poems, stories and translations have appeared in journals such as The Cafe Irreal, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Granta Magazine, Hinterland magazine, Long Poem Magazine, The North, PN Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Wales, Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, Shearsman magazine, and Tears in the Fence. I publish quite frequently online; for some samples, please click here: https://ianseed.co.uk/online. I am grateful to every single editor who has read my work.
Since 2003, as well as writing, translating and editing, I have worked as a Creative Writing tutor in a wide range of community and academic settings. From 2013 to 2022, I was Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Programme Leader at the University of Chester, and I continue to maintain my connection with the university as a Visiting Lecturer. I have also taught Italian literature and language at the University of Lancaster, which awarded me my PhD in Italian Literature in 2012.
In September 2023, I joined the University of Liverpool as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.