robin vaughan-williams

The Manager

The Manager, a sequence of poems, is out now as a pamphlet from Happenstance Press (March 2010).

Charting the backwaters of managerial reality, with its penchant for injustice and absurdity, The Manager hovers somewhere between the fantastic and the everyday.

In the valley tower blocks have broken free of their foundations
and are ringing roses in the sky
rippling their pastel bodywork.

They have heard
the manager is coming.

(Manager #14)

But just who is the manager? Is he one or many? Does he even know himself? Omniscient mythical being possessed with superhuman powers of leadership and surveillance, or a flawed and ridiculous character desperate to compensate for the emptiness in his life with managerial mantras? Maybe it's just one big mid-life crisis.

The competition is closing in.
This terrain is beyond his control.

(Manager #12)

'From satire on an organisation to pure surrealism, the sequence mutates as madly as the manager, and provides a joyful object-lesson in how to mine genuine poetry from the most banal depths of modern life.' (George Simmers, Sphinx, 13)

The Manager is available from the Happenstance online shop. For a taster, download the flier.


Michael Bartholomew-Biggs reviews The Manager in the winter 2011 edition of

Vaughan-Williams has an ear for language and a deftness with (fairly free) form which gives his poems an energy that keeps our attention as we accompany the manager on a kind of voyage of self-discovery and watch “precise” business jargon end up creating confusion.

Reviews of The Manager in Sphinx, 13:
- 'a deeply anti-authoritarian look at the underlying inhumanity and Otherness of the Manager' (Richie McCaffery);
- a collection that 'has done much to reconfirm the validity of Surrealism as a means of understanding who and what we are' (Ross Kightly).

Ben Wilkinson's review of The Manager on Deconstructive Wasteland: 'a novel and original take on the 9-5 world that most of us inhabit', The Manager 'moves from the serious to the irreverant and from the depressing to the uplifting with surprising ease'.

The Manager, front cover, click through to shop

Listen to the Manager on SoundCloud:
'Fired!' (1:06 mins)
'He Runs' (2:22 mins)