William Thirsk-Gaskill

2012Aug29 004William Thirsk-Gaskill was born in Leeds in 1967.  He studied chemistry at the University of Liverpool, where he was an active supporter of various left-wing causes, and contributed to a fanzine called, ‘Dregs’.  His first job was as a process worker in a chemical factory in Poole, Dorset.  He then began a PhD, awarded by the University of Leeds, but with the experimental work carried out at the National Engineering Laboratory, near Glasgow.  Part of his work was concerned with basic research into how to replace ozone-depleting chemicals used in the packaging industry. 

He returned to Leeds to do post-doctoral research, and helped to discover a new physical phenomenon to do with the separation between molecules, called ‘potential tuning’. 

Since 1997, William has worked in the IT industry, first on systems for pubs and breweries, to make people ill, and then on systems for the NHS, to make people better.

William’s greatest athletic achievement is having cycled the entire length of the Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath, though not in a single day.  He has also walked almost the entire length of the Stanza Stones route (47 miles) in West Yorkshire. He has yet to meet Simon Armitage, but has helped to carry one of his socks.  William has some experience of riding camels, but would not recommend it to anybody.  IlkleyLitFest

William is an expert in cooking Indian food, and is also a connoisseur of beer.  Since they stopped brewing Tetley’s in Leeds, his favourite is Caledonian 80 shilling, which he has drunk while standing next to the man who brewed it. 

William recently joined Commoners Choir, set up by Boff Whalley (ex-Chumbawamba), and sings bass.  He is always listening out for new music to play on his radio programme on Phoenix FM.  His Twitter handle is @wthirskgaskill.

Firm of PoetsRead what A Firm of poets has to say about Throwing Mother in the Skip.

Click here for the original Review

As you know, The Firm is all about bringing accessible but vital poetry to the masses. And on top of that, a variety of voices from around the country that make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up, and who we believe deserve a wider audience. One of those voices is William Thirsk-Gaskill; born in North Leeds and residing in Horbury (next to Ossett).

He recently published his debut collection 'Throwing Mother in the Skip', and we've written a little review. We thoroughly recommend that you purchase it, and continue to spread the word! It's available via Stairwell Books here.

This is a fine and accessible book by William Thirsk-Gaskill that deserves a wide audience. The poetry on offer within tells stories of the remarkable everyday. The wit exposed is sharp and funny as it is sad and blunt. If there are comparisons (and there always has to be) then John Hegley’s poems (his collection ‘The Family Pack’) come to mind, as do the Liverpool Beats (before they became famous and self indulgent). Many of the poems take the point of view of an outsider looking inwards as if the subject matter were a play for today for yesteryear. The nostalgia here is brittle and sepia, in and out of focus. One poem especially, ‘Chords’ aches with such cinematic technique and musical knowing as to leave the reader tearful. The title poem sings of domesticity that only death brings and informs us of what is left to keep, and what is left to give away. A lot like memory.

TMITS CoverWith deadpan humour, and at times, with great sympathy, William Thirsk-Gaskill shows us what it's like to be the young son of a much older dad; reflects on life, love, marriage; and on who we are, what we discard, and who we become as time passes. His debut collection will bring a smile as well as a tear.

"Many of the poems in Throwing Mother In The Skip deal with what’s left when things have gone, been taken or thrown away. There’s little abstraction here and the relics that pepper the texts are relics of the everyday, icons of domestic life – hand-held dictating machines, odd shoes and socks, colanders, chipped Habitat plates, board games, bent cutlery, mulched towels, an unused laminator. The poems are sturdy, concise and focussed, often delivered in an unwavering matter-of-fact tone, but between the precisely placed words you get this little anarchic mess, this subtle fizz of tension, like a plug with faulty wiring crackling dangerously in the power socket and it’s this subtle fizz that fuels Thirsk-Gaskill’s debut collection." - Gaia Holmes, Poet and lecturer.