A POET who takes his inspiration from the dramatically changing face of Blackburn is launching a new collection of his work.

Mark Ward, who grew up in the Revidge area of the town, is already close to poetic inspiration in his job, as he works at Dove Cottage in the Lakeland village of Grasmere.

The cottage is the former home of the most famous of English poets, William Wordsworth.

Now he has released his second collection of verse entitled The Visitor’s Book.

He describes it as ‘a semi-autobiographical account of the diversity and divisions in my home town’.

Mark, 52, who maintains Dove Cottage and its grounds as well as showing visitors around, also has an MA Distinction in creative writing from Lancaster University.

He previously completed an apprenticeship in agriculture and has travelled extensively.

However, the beautiful and peaceful evocations of rural England imagined by Wordsworth are far from Mark’s style, which tends to be gritty and urban in tone.

He said: “I was born and grew up in a terraced house on Revidge Road in the early 1960s so I’ve seen much change in Blackburn.

“Talking and writing about the town always brings on nostalgia since the changes that have taken place over the last 30 years both demographically and physically.

“The rows of terraces that mirrored each other on opposite sides of the town: the processions of people; raucous, exuberant walking between pubs.

“We didn’t have mobiles, we didn’t need them as we always knew where our friends would be.

“It’s all gone now, the changes have been dramatic and irreversible.

“It has come at a cost and the price has been the loss of our communities.”

The book is available to buy directly from the publishers for £5.99 at www.pennilesspress.co.uk.

Mark is also hosting a book launch with free entry at The Alexandra Hotel, Dukes Brow, on Wednesday, September 10 at 7.30pm.

He will read his poetry and there will be music from The West Side Dukes and Tanya Ward, Mark’s daughter, who is a talented ukulele player.