When I won the 2008 Daily Telegraph Arvon International Poetry Competition, Book Brunch referred to me as a "hitherto unknown poet". The poem “Shoreditch Orchid” goes back to 1994, but I wasn’t intending to play such a long game. I was joint winner of the 1991 Poetry Business pamphlet competition with Moniza Alvi, our entries published together as Peacock Luggage in 1992. Smith/Doorstop also published my pamphlet Be Prepared in 1994.
In the mid-1980s I was part of gay poetry group the Oscars, which became the Oscars Press, publishing Take Any Train: a book of gay men’s poetry (1990) and other books including Jugular Defences: an AIDS anthology which I edited with Steve Anthony. I spent some time in 1992 as an intern on The James White Review, based in Minneapolis; I also visited San Francisco, Chicago and New York.
In 1994 I became Listings Editor of Poetry London Newsletter (now Poetry London) and eventually also Production Editor, until 2001 when I began the MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. Meanwhile I’d started using the name Luczinski, which was my great-grandfather’s name before he changed it to Daniels. Vennel Press published Blue Mice (1999) in their Brief Pleasures series, and I was a winner again in the Poetry Business pamphlet competition, judged that year by the marvellous Dorothy Nimmo, and Through the Bushes came out in 2000.
At Hallam I hoped to write myself out of the corner I was in, but despite winning the Ledbury competition in 2002 I really only found a new corner, and didn’t get any further with a published collection. Maybe I was really an editor. For my subsidiary in Literary Editing I’d devised a poetry pamphlet marketing plan, something between the Poetry Book Society, and HappenStance's Sphinx magazine. I didn’t get this set up in the real world because I started a busy full-time job as Publications Manager for the Quakers at Friends House. For about four years I kept out of poetry altogether, and missed the new poetry wave of publishers like Salt and Tall Lighthouse. But something was still wriggling inside me, so I went to Graham Fawcett’s poetry translation classes at the Poetry School. Translation is good discipline, like editing, but also liberating – you don’t have to start a poem from nowhere.
Having left the job to set up as a freelance editor I thought I’d better do something with all these poems of mine and started sending them off again. Arvon got confused and missed Luczinski out of the announcement, which saved me from dropping it myself – I couldn’t really carry it off, not being Jewish enough (though I have edited and published the sermons of Rabbi Sheila Shulman for BKY) and I’m certainly not Polish enough. So Mr Luczinski has become a persona rather than a person. Michael Glover took some poems for his web magazine the Bow-Wow Shop. So I re-entered the poetry universe, and this is the website.
The translation workshops led to a four-week fellowship at Hawthornden at the end of 2009, where I started translating Vladislav Khodasevich. The book of my translations eventually appeared from Angel Classics in 2013 and was the Poetry Book Society’s recommended translation. It is on the longlist for the Rossica Prize 2014.
In 2010 I won first prize in two competitions, the Times Literary Supplement and the Ver Poets.
Also in 2010 Mulfran Press of Cardiff published Work and Food, a little pamphlet of my poems illustrated by Moira Coupe, and in 2011 HappenStance published Mr Luczinski Makes a Move. My book Counting Eggs appeared from Mulfran Press at the end of April 2012. It’s my first collection, but in a way it’s really what they call a “new and selected”, as it contains 55 poems from the last twenty years or more. Only 6 of them also appear in the HappenStance pamphlet.
I’ve lived in Stoke Newington since 1985, and I use public transport a lot, which is why buses and trains keep appearing in my poems. I’m a member of Stoke Newington Quaker Meeting, and I live with James Grant, who is also a Quaker.