After leaving AFTRS at the end of 2007, where I’d worked as a teacher of screenwriting for seven years, I found myself once again writing the occasional poem. Most were never submitted for publication. They languished on my desk or lost themselves in drawers ‘mongst pieces of stone and discarded oddments of deceit. After a while they sought me out and I realised that they were turning into quite a pile, and that within that pile there were quite a few I actually liked. When I shared some of these with my friend and co-conspirator, Maya Newell (and she liked them, too),  I started to think maybe – just maybe – it might be worthwhile publishing them in one, big volume.  Hence, MAYA & THE REAL STUFF – a title that goes to the heart of the book’s subject – that apparent schism between fantasy and reality, which encourages, torments, provokes and surprises us constantly in our relationships with one another and with the world.


The book consists mostly of new poems, written since 2007, as well as a selection of previously uncollected items, including some of the most memorable and dramatic performance poems that some of you will remember hearing me read and perform in the 1980s and 1990s.  Those who enjoy my posts on Facebook and other social media sites will find this book to be great company, and something that you can keep coming back to again and again. It also includes a selection of illustrations by my 10-year-old grandson, Ishmael Stoneking, which are ‘poems’ in their own right.

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It was all very well –

seeing herself as an artist,

as a filmmaker. She was

never one to lie about

her talents:

“I’m so educated,”

she would say

& generous to a fault.

She adored younger men

especially the ones that had

published & won prizes –

the way they admired her

& treated her like the

intellectual she told

everybody she was.

She didn’t bother with fools.

Her students loved her

to death.

The one she was in love with

was her next movie.

She was in her element,

occupying the high ground,

never suspecting

what really mattered was

the way she treated her mother.

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The long-awaited collection of Billy Marshall Stoneking’s 2nd book of poetry is nearly here. Featuring over 160 pages of mostly new poems, with a selection of some of his best known and most popular ‘performance poems’, MAYA & THE REAL STUFF, with illustrations by U.K. artist, Benjamin Phillips, is a real ride.

Look for the start of the crowd-funding campaign that will get this project published in 2015.  Here’s a sample of what you can expect:


covermaya4x KNOPOEM

I’m no longer sure what can be said,

other than a blue whale’s heart

weighs six hundred kilograms

& houseflies have taste buds

on the bottom of their feet.

It doesn’t always come down

to what you know, you know.

It’s a proven fact:

only three kinds of animals

fight battles in formations:

ants, humans & crows.

You can never think enough

to stop the Death.

The longest any human being

has gone without sleep & lived

is 11 days,

& since we spend at least

a third of our lives asleep,

I wish you

the occasional thunderstorm

at three in the morning,

& that you’ll never fall for someone

who eats sushi with a fork.



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