Army veteran and Never Such Innocence (NSI) Poet in Residence Clive Sanders writes poems on a daily basis and when he posts them on his Facebook page, tens of thousands of people view them. Here, he shares how his career in the military has helped to inspire young people to write meaningful verse…

Clive was born and raised in Coventry with a father who had served as a soldier in the Second World War and grandfather who served in the First World War, so it was no great surprise that he joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1965.

Reflections through poetry

Clive started writing military poems after tours in Bosnia, to process some of the memories of that conflict.

He soon found that people liked his poems and could relate to the experiences he had or emotions he felt. The poetry was cathartic not only for Clive, but for others as well.

Rise up and find your voice

Most recently, the wordly wordsmith has become the official poet to the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Poet in Residence to NSI, where he delivers poetry workshops to young people – teaching the next generation to rise up and find their voices. He says: “Poetry is the most accessible art form available to everyone and encourages young people to write from their hearts. I teach them to use beautiful or powerful words about things that they love or hate and to use their words to have a profound effect on those who hear or read them.”

A young participant from one of Clive’s workshops says:

“Clive made learning how to write poetry really fun. I’ve never written a poem before and he made it really easy.”

Get involved

NSI is inviting service children to share their thoughts through poetry, art, speech and song as part of its Voices of Armed Forces Children project. Find out more at

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