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Poem of the Month:
Jun 14

Listen to Gill McEvoy’s poem Glass Bird in a Shop Window (read by Anne Stewart)

Competition 2014 CLOSED

poetry Issue 12 ERRATUM

Dilys Wood at Brittle Star

see Dilys’s Guest Blog on Ambitious Women Poets

Holland House FULLY BOOKED

poetry Issue 11 is out!

Issue 13 guidelines

Competition 2013 RESULTS



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          Arts Council England


Need help with travel to Second Light events? See Second Light Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Fund


Forthcoming anthology from Second Light, due October 2014. Deadline for submissions has passed. Selection is in progress – more about the anthology here
info on our 2006 major anthology of womens’s poetry: Images of Women

** Poetry Society ‘Summer Reads 2014’: Elizabeth Soule recommends Inside the Brightness of Red **


Poem of the Month

Round 7, Month 10… Hyda Sims is our judge this month and she has selected Maggie Butt’s poem Lipstick as her winner. Her four commended poets are: Philippa Lawrence, Lynda O’Neill, Sue Rose and Veronica Zundel.


In war time women turn to red
swivel-up scarlet and carmine
not in solidarity with spilt blood
but as a badge of beating hearts.
This crimson is the shade of poets
silenced for speaking against torture,
this vermillion is art
surviving solitary confinement,
this cerise defies the falling bombs
the snipers taking aim at bread-queues,
this ruby’s the resilience of girls
who tango in the pale-lipped face of death.

Maggie Butt

published in collection Lipstick, Greenwich Exchange, 2007

Judge’s comment:
I love this poem for its ebullience; its cunning reds and the superb pallor of the last line; its admiration of those war-time, high-gloss, never-seen-without-your-face-on feisty women; for its pacifism; for its feminism. I suspect judging poems is as much a matter of personal taste as a recognition of quality. All the poems in the selection I was given are well-made and interesting. Maggie’s looks beyond the family, the personal… It’s political – my kind of poem.

Hylda Sims

Screen Test, by Philippa Lawrence
Double English, by Lynda O’Neill
S31082011, by Sue Rose
‘Dear God, all the children can run except me’, by Veronica Zundel