Charlie Gillen was born in 1951 on a small farm in north Antrim in the town-land of Islandahoe and lives in Dervock, near Coleraine in County Antrim. He reads meters for the Water Service. He has been with them in various departments for fifteen years.
As well as reading meters Gillen has always had a great love for poetry, not perhaps the serious stuff but more the rhythmic variety. Rhymers were men who loved the countryside and its people, people who saw the lighter side of everyday hard work.
Gillen is a poet of Ulster Scots. He says that he "prefers to leave the intricacies of its linguistic properties to academics. All I know for certain is that one can not converse with a Yorkshireman or a Yankee using the language I grew up with, so then it is different and by being so is of cultural value." Many of the words Charlie grew up with are gone, mainly because the trades to which they belonged are gone. He has written a few rhymes and tries to do justice to rhymes written by others alive and dead.