Boxing the Compass Templar 2013

You can never escape yourself. Taking in childhood, teaching, Eastern Europe, relationships, illness and death, the narrator of Boxing the Compass ends up where he began, but with an altered perspective.

As the nautical term of the title – which refers to a wind blowing from all 36 points of the compass in quick succession – implies figuratively, travel can lead you to change your mind and change it back.

“For the reader who revisits poems and is able to join in their making, there are many pleasures here.”  

Jane Routh, Magma

“Bryden displays a confidence which ensures that his first collection hits the target.”

Louise Crossley, The Interpreter’s House

     The Night Sky

     Who brings these star- and crescent-

     shaped pastries, each filled with vanilla

     or jam, to my bed each morning?

     Such nursery shapes are clearly beneficent,

     like knowing which berries are sour

     and which are ripe by sight.

     I stare past my desk to the window

     and wipe my dreams like a slate.

Night Porter Templar 2010

A winner of the 2010 Templar Pamphlet and Collection Awards.

This pamphlet explores the experiences of a night porter working in a hotel in York, and introduces readers to a range of characters and scenarios - both modern and Dickensian.

“A fine, poised, self-contained piece that I enjoyed very much” 

Nick Asbury, Sphinx

“Restrained, attentive and wise, Matt Bryden’s poems flash light into a world of work and hurried

lives which remain a closed book to many poets.”  

Alison Brackenbury, Under the Radar



     A new face at half six.

     I was manning Reception

     when he came through the doors.

     On a couch he told me about the kitchens

     in Scotland. His uncleaned teeth

     smelt earthy as sweat.


     ‘I came to England to get a break. That’s a joke.’


     He showed me bank statements

     of when he was £10,000 in the black.

Publications     Translation     Audio / Visual     Teaching    

Matt Bryden’s pamphlet Night Porter, which documents life in a Yorkshire hotel, was a winner of the Templar Pamphlet and Collection prize 2010. His first collection Boxing the Compass, also with Templar, was launched at Keats House in 2013 and is divided into four compass points concerning teaching, Eastern Europe, childhood and mortality. His Poetry Map, a free online teaching resource, has been used in places as far afield as Oregon State University and a primary school in Taunton.

Matt’s poems have appeared in Paris Lit Up, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Orange Coast Review, Poetry Wales, The Reader, Stand and Modern Poetry in Translation, and have been compiled in Other Countries (Inpress), The Captain’s Tower (Seren), Teaching as a Human Experience (Cambridge Scholars), Asterism (Silkworms Ink) and A Furious Hope.

Matt has read at venues including the Troubadour, the Lamb and The Dylan Thomas Centre as well as at the John Hewitt Festival, the Derwent Poetry festival, Exeter Poetry Festival, Essex Poetry Festival and the Latitude Festival.

He is a 2015 Hawthornden fellow.

Matt Bryden 2019 ©