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ARTEMISpoetry is the bi-annual journal (May and November) of the Second Light Network, published under their Second Light Publications imprint. Members receive a copy as part of their membership benefits. Issues are available to non-members by subscription at £9 p.a. or as a one-off purchase at £5 a copy (plusp&p).
Prices with p&p:
Subscription: UK £12, Eur £17, ROW £20
Single Issue: UK £6, Eur £9, ROW £10
Cheque payable to "Second Light" and send to Administrator, Anne Stewart at 20 Clovelly Way, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0WD. Please use the Subscription order form and include your telephone number with your order in case of query. Or you can subscribe online here. Enquire for back copies and/or Sold Out issues as pdf for £4 (e-mail Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org).
See Dilys Wood’s Guest Blog on Ambitious Women Poets at Brittle Star
ARTEMISpoetry at the Poetry Library’s digital archive
ARTEMISpoery (& Myra Schneider/John Killick’s Writing Your Self at the Bluebell Books blogspot
ARTEMISpoetry at Abegail Morley blogspot
Submission is open to women only, including non-members. We aim to publish new work, so submissions should be unpublished (by ‘published’ we mean: in print, on the internet or by way of media broadcast or on CD), and not ‘out in submission’ elsewhere, whether to magazines or competitions.
Editors for Issue 22 are: General & Artwork – Dilys Wood and Kathy Miles; Poetry – Lyn Moir.
Readers’ Letters are invited. Comments on the journal’s content or anything you would like to see discussed in relation to women’s writing. (max 100 words).
All submissions: submit paper copy initially to Dilys Wood, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. Please write "ARTEMISpoetry" on your envelope. (Enquiries only: e-mail Administrator email@example.com)
Poems by women of any age. Poems should be typed, or if written, then very neatly. Each poem should commence on a new page, headed "Submission for ARTEMISpoetry". Please SEND TWO COPIES. Do include your name with each poem and include your name and full contact details in your submission. Long poems are considered. Submit up to 4 poems to a maximum of 200 lines in all.
Contributors whose poetry is accepted will be notified by 30th April 2019.
Poetry Editor: Lyn Moir,a linguist, translator, teacher, poet and, in recent years, enthusiastic painter. Born in Glasgow of Scots and part-American parents, she studied at Vasser College and St Andrews University. Early in her career she set up the School of Spanish at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has published pamphlets and two full collections: Breaker’s Yard (2003, Arrowhead Press), which was shortlisted for the Jerwood/Aldeburgh First Collection prize; and Velasquez’s Riddle (2011, Calder Press). She lives in St Andrews.
Black/white photographs or line-art, maximum of 4 pieces. Please give a title for each work. We are looking to include a wide range of subject-matter and style. Images which work best have good definition and contrast. … Paper copy to Dilys Wood (as above)
Contributors whose artwork is accepted will be notified by 30th April 2019.
For Issue 22 to arrive by 14th March 2019, Members only. Please let us know about your successes, publications, forthcoming events or workshops that you will be running. Max 60 words including contact details. 1 item per category per issue. The 5 categories are: ‘Comps & Calls’, ‘Events, Courses & Workshops’, ‘Publications’, ‘Other News & Successes’, ‘Resources’. Submit Online or paper copy to Anne Stewart, 20 Clovelly Way, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0WD.
ISSUE 23: guidelines as above. Dates: Poetry by 31st August 2019, know by 31st October 2019; Artwork by 14th September 2019, know by 31st October 2019; Members’ News & Readers’ Letters by 14th September 2019.
We take b/w advertising relevant to poetry/creative writing in ARTEMISpoetry. Our current rates are:
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Issue 21 … Extracts will be posted here once Issue 22 has been sent out.
LETTING THE LIGHT IN SUSAN JANE SIMS interviews ROSIE JACKSON
HOW POETRY WORKS: SUE BOYLE, DAWN GORMAN, HYLDA SIMS, ANNE STEWART
THE DOOR STANDS AJAR: DILYS WOOD on four European poets in translation
THE POETRY OF HELEN DUNMORE: KATHERINE GALLAGHER reflects
A ROOM OF MY OWN: SUSAN JANE SIMS on her Hawthornden residency
LIVES OF THE POETS: remembering JUNE ENGLISH and JOAN WADDLETON (by R V Bailey, Ann Drysdale, Maggie Norton)
ANNA AVEBURY, KAYE LEE, MYRA SCHNEIDER, PENELOPE SHUTTLE, SUSAN JANE SIMS, ANNE STEWART, SARAH WESTCOTT and DILYS WOOD on books by Gillian Allnutt, Moniza Alvi, Imtiaz Dharker, Sasha Dugdale, Martina Evans, Daphne Gloag, Bryony Littlefair, Esther Morgan, Leanne O’Sullivan, Carole Satyamurti
and short reviews: Isabel Bermudez, Rebecca Bilkau, Hera Lindsay Bird, Alison Brackenbury, Kay Cotton, Kate Foley, Frieda Hughes, Pauline Kirk, Melinda Lovell, Moya Pacey, Elizabeth Parker, Jenna Plewes, Phoebe Power, Myra Schneider, Jane Spiro, Judi Sutherland, Claudine Toutoungi, Clare Williamson, Judith Willson, Rosy Wilson
FEATURED POETS: CAROLINE CARVER and MYRA SCHNEIDER
POETRY COMPETITION, JUDGE ESTHER MORGAN, winning poems by: Nicolette Golding, Linda Saunders, Pippa Little, M R Peacocke
and commended poems by: Dorothy Ann Coventon, Wendy French, Janet Lees, Pat Marum, Carol Rowntree Jones, Anne Ryland and Judith Taylor
POETRY SELECTED BY MARY ROBINSON: Penny Ayers, Jemma Borg, Alison Brackenbury, Jill Eulalie Dawson, Jill Gardiner, Jennie Hamlett, Gail Harland, Jenny Hockey, Alice Kavounas, Denise McSheehey, Carolyn Oulton, Patsy Rath, Rachel Rees, Penelope Shuttle, Marion Tracy, Jenny Vuglar, Margaret Wilmot, and Cathy Whittaker
ARTWORK: by Amanda-Jane Burrell, Andria J Cooke, Janet Lees, Alison Mace and Caro Reeves
Issue 20 … Read extracts
EMILY DICKINSON: THIS AND MY HEART BESIDE: by KAY SYRAD
INTERPRETATIONS OF SPIRITUALITY IN POETRY: KATE FOLEY, KATHY MILES, M R PEACOCKE, CAROLINE PRICE, ELIZABETH RAPP, RUTH SHARMAN
DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE SPIRITUAL: DILYS WOOD (reviews)
GILLIAN ALLNUTT: A NEW POEM WITH HER NOTES:
A KIND OF FULLNESS: FIONA SAMPSON IN LIMESTONE COUNTRY
KATE FOLEY, GILL LEARNER, MYRA SCHNEIDER, SARAH WESTCOTT and DILYS WOOD on books by Fleur Adcock, Ana Blandiana, Robyn Bolam, Nadine Brummer, Menna Elfyn, Mandy Khan, S J Litherland, Pascale Petit, Caroline Price, Robin Winckel-Mellish, Pam Zinnemann-Hope
and short reviews by Kaye Lee and Dilys Wood: Melanie Branton, Jenna Clake, Rose Cook, Clare Crossman, Kathryn Daszkiewicz, Margaret Eddershaw, Sally Festing, Jean Harrison, Pauline Hawkesworth, Susan Jordan, Christine McNeill, Denise McSheehy, Geraldine Paine, Rennie Parker, Sue Proffitt, Shelley Roche Jacques, Tara Skurtu, Judith Taylor, Christine Whittemore, Shirley Wright, Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf
FEATURED POETS: KATHERINE GALLAGHER and ANNE STEWART
POETRY SELECTED BY CAROLINE CARVER: Carole Coates, Kay Cotton, Sue Davies, Katherine Gallagher, Janet Hatherley, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Maria Jastrzębska, Alice Kavounas, Kaye Lee, S J Litherland, Jane McLaughlin, Julie Mellor, Brigid Sivill, Kathryn Southworth, Anne Stewart, Isobel Thrilling, Christine Vial, Margaret Wilmot, Patricia Helen Wooldridge, Ros Woolner and Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Jenny Herbert, Caro Reeves and Sherin Shefik
EMILY DICKINSON – THIS AND MY HEART BESIDE
Words are gestures that originate in the body’s sensate experience of the world. The body speaks. Emily Dickinson’s poems speak. They are sounds, sound-shapes, notes, chords, a singing. They are the life-force of Emily Dickinson, singing, with, it has been said, an ‘unorthodoxy of melodic pattern controlled by key words’. And we can re-breathe the poet’s breath-spirit not only in her mainly hymnal or ballad forms, but specifically within the long or short vowels, in the touch of the consonants, in the rhythmic relationship of vowel to consonant…
Read the article
Issue 19 … Read extracts.
EMERGENCY POET: DEBORAH ALMA interviewed by MYRA SCHNEIDER
MAKING POETRY MORE ACCESSIBLE: PATRICIA McCARTHY
PROTEST AND POETRY: FINDING SPACE: DILYS WOOD on BRENDA WILLIAMS
REFLECTION ON REFLECTIONS: DILYS WOOD on ANNE STEVENSON’s poetry lectures
‘STEVIE SMITH INVITES CONTRADICTIONS’: by KATHERINE GALLAGHER
THE SMALL FURRY ANIMAL EXPLODES: A C CLARKE on cultural context in translation
WITNESS POETS AND WAR: by JOAN MICHELSON
R V BAILEY, ALISON BRACKENBURY, A C CLARKE, KATHERINE GALLAGHER, JUSTINA HART, KAYE Lee, MYRA SCHNEIDER, DILYS WOOD and DOROTHY YAMAMOTO on books by Shanta Acharya, Ruth Bidgood, Helen Dunmore, Magi Gibson, Jane Griffiths, Selima Hill, Joanne Limburg, Joan McGavin, Jennifer A McGowan, Joan Michelson, Grace Nichols, Fiona Sampson, Ruth Sharman, Belinda Singleton, Penelope Shuttle, Pauline Stainer,
and short reviews by Dilys Wood: Denise Bennett, Emily Blewitt, Pat Borthwick, Anne Caldwell, A C Clarke, Katherine Gallagher, Cora Greenhill, June Hall, Jenny Hamlett, Joy Howard, Alice Kavounas, Alwyn Marriage, Rosemary Norman, Anne Stewart and Susan Utting
FEATURED POETS: KATE FOLEY and KAY SYRAD
POETRY COMPETITION, JUDGE MYRA SCHNEIDER, winning poems by: Jill Eulalie Dawson, Mary Robinson, Liz Diamond, Shirley Wright
and commended poems by: Jill Boucher, Hilaire, Daphne Gloag, Nicolette Golding, Mary Robinson and Martha Street
POETRY SELECTED BY ANNE STEWART: Carol Beadle, Chris Considine, Lucy Cotterill, Kay Cotton, Wendy Everitt, Viv Fogel, Wendy French, Cynthia Fuller, Jenny Hamlett, Janet Hatherley, Penny Hope, Paula Jennings, Kaye Lee, Caroline Maldonado, Moya Pacey, Jo Peters, Jenna Plewes, Penelope Shuttle, Judith Taylor, Rosy Wilson, Glynda Winterson and Lynne Wycherley
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Viv Fogel, Kathryn Healey, Jenny Herbert and Alison Mace
Reflections on Reflections – Dilys Wood on Anne Stevenson’s lectures at Ledbury Festival in 2016
“Forgetting identity is clearly as important to Stevenson, as for some poets and critics is ‘finding identity’ – this is one of the thoughts in these lectures that stops us in our tracks, makes us think again.”
Read the article
“Stevie Smith Invites Contradictions” – Katherine Gallagher, quoting Will May
In September 2002, when Joanna Cameron and I were co-organising the ten-day Poetry Festival for the Centenary of the Palmers Green poet Stevie Smith, we were amazed to find that the Collected Poems of this ‘national treasure’ were out of print. Now with this magnificently-presented 848-page anthology of Smith’s poems and drawings from her thirty-five-year career, Faber & Faber and editor Will May have redressed the situation.
As a poet, Stevie Smith is tricky and adventurous…
Read the article
Issue 18 … Read extracts
A CRUEL AND TENDER BEAUTY NANCY CAMPBELL interviewed by KAY SYRAD
TAKING RISKS IN POETRY: GILLIAN ALLNUTT, JEMMA BORG, CAROLINE CARVER, KATHERINE GALLAGHER, HANNAH LOWE, CAROLINE PRICE, PENELOPE SHUTTLE
FORM AND FUNCTION IN WEBBER STREET by ANNA ROBINSON
ALISON BRACKENBURY, JUDITH CAIR, WENDY Klein, MYRA SCHNEIDER, KAY SYRAD, DILYS WOOD and DOROTHY YAMAMOTO on books by R V Bailey, Judy Brown, Elizabeth Burns, Caroline Carver, Katie Donovan, Helen Farish, Wendy French, Jacqueline Gabbitas, Katherine Gallagher, Selima Hill, Paula Jennings, Hannah Lowe, Lisa Matthews, Katrina Naomi, Alice Oswald, Deryn Rees-Jones, Carol Rumens and Susan Wicks;
and short reviews: Isabel Bermudez, Chris Considine, Cora Greenhill, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Rosie Jackson, Gill Learner, Jane McLaughlin, Elizabeth Parker, Kathleen M Quinlan, Penelope Shuttle, Caroline Smith, Marion Tracy and Louise Warren
FEATURED POETS: WENDY FRENCH and JUNE HALL
POETRY SELECTED BY KATE FOLEY: Yvonne Baker, Denise Bennett, Alison Brackenbury, Caroline Carver, Andria J Cooke, Kerry Darbishire, Lorna Dexter, Margaret Eddershaw, Wendy French, Hilaire, Ruth Hill, Sue Johnson, Angela Kirby, Gill Learner, Lyn Moir, Carolyn Oulton, Mary Robinson, Myra Schneider, Kathryn Southworth, Anne Stewart, Judith Taylor, Isobel Thrilling and Margaret Wilmot
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Monica Farthing and Caro Reeves
(taken from Gillian Allnutt’s response to ‘Risk in Poetry’)
Often, introducing a poem at a reading, I’ll say: ‘Well, I don’t really understand this one myself’: and someone will look askance, as if I were being irresponsible. But if the poem’s reach doesn’t exceed my own, if it doesn’t apprehend more than I do, what was the point in writing it? …
Read the article
Nancy Campbell’s Disko Bay (Enitharmon, 2015) was shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize. The collection is mainly based on Campbell’s 2010 artist’s residency at Upernavik Museum in Greenland – the most northern museum in the world – and another residency in Jutland, Denmark …
… during her residency, the poet lived amongst the islanders and began to learn the language, finding that for her, ‘Greenlandic had become the key to representing the Arctic’. For the reader, being able to see and try to hear the long sensuous Greenlandic words is integral to the whole experience of the collection …
Read full interview
Not all poetry books require hours to be set aside in order to follow a poet’s work over months and years. There are books – pamphlet length, often involving a sequence of poems – which can be read in an hour, though perhaps reflected on much longer. The unity of such books is a plus, though they often embrace diversity and development. The poet has walked through a certain landscape of the mind and this surrounds the reader with a welcome enclosing ambience: we are glancing here and there – as you do – but it’s good to be in one place for a while. …
Read the article
Issue 17 … Read extracts
INTERVIEW WITH Wioletta Grzegorzewska (Wioletta Greg) by MARIA JASTRZĘBSKA
NOT A LARF A MINUTE by R V BAILEY
FINDING POETRY IN THE ARCHIVES by ANGELA FRANCE
SIX BRITISH POETS ANNE STEWART on poetry p f visit to Bucharest
FIDELITY & FLIRTATION MAGGIE BUTT flits between publishers
THE POEM JUST WANTS TO STAY AT POINT A the prose poem, by CARRIE ETTER
R V BAILEY, MAGGIE BUTT, JUSTINA HART, MYRA SCHNEIDER, EMILY WILLS, DILYS WOOD and DOROTHY YAMAMOTO on books by Alison Brackenbury, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, Vuyelwa Carlin, Maura Dooley, Kate Foley, Tracey Herd, Rita Ann Higgins, Frieda Hughes, Wendy Klein, Angela Leighton, Kathy Miles, Myra Schneider and Sarah Westcott;
and short reviews: Ann Alexander, Rebecca Bilkau, Jacci Bulman, Jane Clarke, Carol Coates, Patricia Debney, Mo Gallaccio, Helen Kay, Janet Loverseed, Jennifer A ,;McGowan, Rosie Miles, Lynda Plater, Anna Robinson, Jill Sharp, Angela Stoner, Isobel Thrilling, Susan Wicks, Anna Wigley and Merryn Williams;
FEATURED POETS: GILL LEARNER and MAGGIE SAWKINS
WINNING & COMMENDED POEMS, SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION 2016 (Judge ALISON BRACKENBURY):
(winners) Caroline Price, Alison Mace, Angela Kirby and Martha Street; (commended) Claire Askew, Dorothy Coventon, Sue Davies, Jennie Farley, Hilaire, Alice Kavounas, Anna Kisby, Jennie Osborne, Orel Protopopescu, Louise Warren and Rosy Wilson;
POETRY SELECTED BY WENDY FRENCH: Audrey Ardern-Jones, Kay Cotton, Katherine Gallagher, Victoria Gatehouse, Lucy Hamilton, Penny Hope, Kathleen Jones, Kaye Lee, Anna Lewis, Nancy Mattson, Moya Pacey, Harriet Proudfoot, Anne Ryland, Maggie Sawkins, Penelope Shuttle, Jean Stevens, Anne Stewart, Merryn Williams, Margaret Wilmot, Glynda Winterson and Patricia Helen Wooldridge
ARTWORK: by Amanda-Jane Burrell, Andria J Cooke, Monica Farthing, Kate Foley, Jenny Herbert, Alison Mace and Caro Reeves
[on Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze] Verandahs may be deeply embedded in Jamaican culture, but the world they look out on is changing, both societally and personally. … And the poet acknowledges that the very fact that she is now content to sit on her verandah is a marker of her age: in contrast, her children jet across continents…
Tracey Herd describes characters who live on the edge, suffering severe depression, abandonment, neglect. In contrast to Breeze’s easy-spun conversations, these are poems that demand high emotional investment – and sometimes recourse to Google to discover back-stories…
Rita Ann Higgins’s Tongulish takes words on a dance. Several of her speakers use language to confuse others, or just to avoid thinking clearly themselves, and she skewers their idiocies while also delighting in the opportunities for high-wire linguistic play that they provide…
Read the reviews
First prize poems by Caroline Price, The fiancée replays her video
and Alison Mace, Schoolteaching: Five sonnets for performance
read the poems
Issue 16 … Read extracts
A CRIMSON CREED KATE FOLEY appreciating Myra Schneider
INTERVIEW WITH MYRA SCHNEIDER by DILYS WOOD
AN EXCEPTIONAL POET, ELIZABETH BURNS by MYRA SCHNEIDER
EDITING FOR THE RIALTO by FIONA MOORE
HOW A POEM CHANGED MY LIFE EMMA WRIGHT on creating the Emma Press
WOMEN POETS FOR THE PLANET DILYS WOOD on a ‘Special’ Second Light Event REVIEWS:
WENDY KLEIN, GILL LEARNER, LOUISE ORDISH, KATE PURSGLOVE, DILYS WOOD and DOROTHY YAMAMOTO on books by Kim Addonizio, A C Clarke, Ann Drysdale, U A Fanthorpe, Choman Hardy, Angela Kirby, Kim Moore, Fiona Owen, M R Peacocke, Greta Stoddart;
and short reviews by DILYS WOOD (books & pamphlets): Isabel Bermudez, Caroline Carver, Elizabeth Hare, Danielle Hope, Bernie Kenny, Abegail Morley, Jennie Osborne, Isabel Palmer, Jo Peters, Shed Poets (Carol Boland, Marguerite Colgan, Bernie Kenny, Maureen Perkins, Judy Russell, Rosy Wilson), Lucille Gang Shulklapper, Di Slaney, Jane Spiro, Frances Corkey Thompson, Vishvāntarā
FEATURED POETS: KATE FOLEY and MYRA SCHNEIDER
POETRY SELECTED BY MAGGIE SAWKINS: Jean Atkin, Yvonne Baker, Denise Bennett, Maureen G Coppack, Lorna Dexter, Katherine Gallagher, Sandra Horn, Gill Horitz, Angela Kirby, Linda Rose Parkes, Ilse Pedler, Sue Proffitt, Caro Reeves, Daphne Schiller, Penelope Shuttle, Jean Stevens, Anne Stewart, Martha Street, Isobel Thrilling, Denni Turp, Jean Watkins, Merryn Williams, Patricia Helen Wooldridge
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Jenny Herbert, Maggy Markworthy, Caro Reeves, Anne Stewart
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: MONIZA ALVI
DW: Your tastes obviously lean towards spiritual profundity in poetry but your own poems often refer to the home or everyday events such as tube travel or what’s going on in your local park. How do ‘everyday’ starting-points and your wider interest in the human spirit work for you?
MS: Often I do set out from what appears to be everyday but in fact my subject matter is varied. For example I write about the natural world and the environment which greatly concerns me, childhood, relationships, and I feature myth and history. To me the spiritual isn’t separate from the clutter of day-to-day living…
Read full interview
and read poem, Returning, by Myra Schneider
This at least was one occasion when – solely owing to the audience voting with their feet and booking in heavy numbers – poetry was given space and support. The poets were not ‘celeb’ figures chosen because they would fill the coffers. This was a free reading and the poets were selected because Second Light, the proposer of the evening, knew that they had much to give.
The poets who read were Jemma Borg, Helen Moore, Myra Schneider, Kay Syrad, Adele Ward. This group included in their aggregate experience, standing as a parliamentary candidate for the Green Party, research work with Friends of the Earth, taking part in ‘demos’, involvement in projects and academic study, as well as (in all cases) being profoundly interested as writers in the fate of the planet…
Read full article
Issue 15 … Read extracts
THE POET AND THE PLANET JEMMA BORG explores new dimensions in ‘nature poetry’
SOWING THE SEEDS OF CONTINUANCE FIONA OWEN on the ecopoetry of ANNE CLUYSENAAR
POLITICS & ECO-POLITICS by KAY SYRAD on HELEN MOORE and PRISCILA UPPAL
THE HERMETIC WORLD OF LOUISE GLUCK explored by MYRA SCHNIEDER
LIVES OF THE POETS i.m. ELIZABETH BURNS, PHILIPPA LAWRENCE REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
R V BAILEY, KATE FOLEY, LYNN FOOTE, KATHERINE GALLAGHER, JOY HOWARD, ALEX PRYCE, MYRA SCHNEIDER, LAVINIA SINGER, KAY SYRAD and DILYS WOOD on books by Fleur Adcock, Kate Foley, Tua Forsstrom, Louise Gluck, Kerry Hardie, Selima Hill, Jane Hirshfield, Martha Kapos, Gwyneth Lewis, Allison McVety, Elizabeth Rapp, Maggie Sawkins, Naomi Shihab Nye, Pia Tafdrup and Rosemary Tonks;
and short reviews by DILYS WOOD: Virginia Astley, Marianne Burton, Janet Fisher, Rose Flint, Cynthia Fuller, Rebecca Hubbard, Victoria Kennefick, Thelma Laycock, Melinda Lovell, Caroline Maldonado, Jenny Morris, Caroline Natzler, Helen Overell, Linda Rose Parkes, Ann Segrave, Susan Jane Sims, Anne Stewart, Pat Watson
FEATURED POET: ANNE STEWART
POEMS PLACED IN SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION, 2015: Carolyn King, Margaret Wilmot, Judith Taylor, Kathy Miles; Yvonne Baker, Jan Bay-Petersen, Margaret Eddershaw, Viv Fogel, Louise Green, Denise McSheehy, Jenna Plewes, Isobel Thrilling, Aileen La Tourette
POETRY SELECTED BY MONIZA ALVI: Nadine Brummer, Caroline Carver, Alexandra Davis, Margaret Eddershaw, Daphne Gloag, Lydia Harris, Sue Johnson, Alwyn Marriage, Kathy Miles, Ann Milton, Belinda Rimmer, Myra Schneider, Wendy Stedman, Martha Street, Marion Tracy, Margaret Wilmot
ARTWORK: by Linda Black, Andria J Cooke, Monica Farthing, Kate Foley, Jenny Herbert
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: KATHERINE GALLAGHER
The word eco, of course, is from the Greek, oikos, meaning ‘home’ and, according to Alfred K. Siewers, ecopoesis is ‘a language-art of empathy that is essential for human development in the physical environment, and which ultimately is based in the imagination’. Siewers reviewed Anne’s collection Batu-Angas in the Temenos Academy Review 121 , where he praised the work for ‘its relevance in pointing toward the essential role of poetry in shaping a saner twenty-first-century culture of science’…
Read full Fiona Owen article
Forsström’s language is highly visual, landscape and weather strikingly rendered as colourful pictures: fireworks are raining roses, a red cloud burns in watery reflection. This cleverly depicts how natural phenomena alter our ways of seeing, like when a snowstorm subsides “instilling a sense of space and giddiness” …
[on Pia Tafdrup] – The blurb helpfully outlines her mythic structure, Joycean in scale: ‘Each part portrays an element … represented by a creature’ with a ‘key figure’. The unifying theme is travel, far beyond a lake in October. Home is not a place to be cherished, but defiantly escaped from, to explore the ‘if’ her mother and grandmother were never allowed to realise … Read the reviews
Issue 14 … Read extracts
THE ILLUMINATED WORLD a dialogue between Science and Poetry, KAY SYRAD asks JEMMA BORG
THE NEXT GENERATION HANNAH LOWE looks ahead
BEYOND REALITY: the place of the surreal in poetry by MYRA SCHNEIDER
ON EDITING THE BOOK OF LOVE & LOSS R V BAILEY and JUNE HALL
IN PRAISE OF ANTHOLOGIES ANNE STEWART on 6 of the latest
‘Her Wings of Glass’, ‘The Book of Love & Loss’ ‘Running Before the Wind – poems about the sea’, ‘the Other Side of Sleep – narrative poems’, trio of chapbook anthologies: ‘Outlook Variable – Poems about Weather’, ‘Shades of Meaning – Poems about Colours’ and ‘Transitions – Poems about the Seasons’, and ‘Poets in Person – at the Glassblower’ – a project celebration
A BOOK OF JOURNEYS ANNE SHERRY on her husband’s dementia and other journeys
LIVES OF THE POETS i.m. ANNE CLUYSENAAR
REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
ALISON BRACKENBURY on MYRA SCHNEIDER; KAY SYRAD on PASCALE PETIT; DILYS WOOD on MIMI KHALVATI and LYNNE WYCHERLEY;
JUDI SUTHERLAND on ADELIA PRADO, ARUNDHATHI SUBRAMANIAM and ANTONELLA ANEDDA;
DILYS WOOD block reviews: Joanna Boulter, Carol Coates, Kerry Derbishire, Joan Downar, Viv Fogel, Geraldine Green, Pauline Keith, Rosie Jackson, Gill McEvoy, Alwyn Marriage, Caroline Natzler, Gill Nicholson, Carolyn O’Connell, Rennie ParkerLaurna Robertson, Rosy Wilson
ANNE STEWART block reveiws: Anne Boileau, Valerie Bridge, Elizabeth Burns, Sue Davies, Julie Maclean, Sue Rose
FEATURED POET: ALISON BRACKENBURY
POETRY SELECTED BY SUSAN WICKS: Kate Compston, Kerry Darbishire, Cynthia Fuller, Cora Greenhill, Jenny Hamlett, Denise McSheehy, Pat Marum, Cato Pedder, Jenna Plewes, M Sanchez, Jane Seabourne, Isobel Thrilling, Josie Turner, Anna Wigley, Margaret Williams, Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Jenny Herbert
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: SUSAN WICKS
KS: What is so compelling in this magnificent and assured first collection is, I think, the way you observe the world with a scientist’s precision (noting function, tracing descent) whilst at the same time allowing yourself to be transported across the sky by a soaring passion for the world’s mysteries. (“There were some things / of which he could be certain. The rest was love”, The Mathematician). Would you say that there is a tension for you between the rival belief systems of science and religion that provides a driving force in your creative work?
JB: I’m not sure I would say there’s a tension between science and religion. I was exposed a lot from an early age to the Bible and hymns, but I think the important thing may be that ‘love of the world’s mysteries’ that you point out. I tend now to think of science and poetry in some kind of opposition…
Read full article
If Khalvati was an athlete, we would call her ‘world-class’. She has deep reservoirs of skill and knowledge and is an innovator. The decision to work within a line limit seems to inspire new, exciting ways of constructing the approach to each poem.
It’s a tough assignment to say what’s included in any Khalvati poem in this phase of her work. Her approach is sophisticated, subtle, sometimes indirect. Moods overlap. Formality and informality are made to work in harness. A typical poem involves ramifications of subject matter and variations in the emotional intensity of the poem. The poems ‘morph’ under our gaze.
Note: this poem now appears with the title They in Susan Wicks’ collection The Months, published in June 2016 and a PBS Recommendation. The poem is included here with the kind permission of Bloodaxe Books.
read the poem
Issue 13 … Read extracts
SYLVIA PLATH ‘INTERVIEWED’ by KAY SYRAD
A LETTER TO SYLVIA PLATH by ANNE STEVENSON
THREE YOUNG POETS ON PLATH’S INFLUENCE by MOORE / SINGER / WESTCOTT
WITHOUT WARNING ALISON BRACKENBURY on the poetry of JENNY JOSEPH
AND YOU HELEN DERYN REES-JONES on writing about HELEN THOMAS
REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
DILYS WOOD on ANNE CLUYSENAAR; MYRA SCHNEIDER on HANNAH LOWE; KATE FOLEY on MURIEL RUKEYSER;
ALEX PRYCE on CARRIE ETTER, SELIMA HILL, CAOLINN HUGHES and SARAH KIRSCH;
WENDY KLEIN on ANNEMARIE AUSTIN, MENNA ELFYN, CORA GREENHILL, JUDITH KAZANTZIS, SUSANNA ROXMAN
DILYS WOOD block reviews: Anna Adams, Ana Blandiana, Rose Cook, Judy Gahagan, Jean Harrison, Alison Hill, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Jenny Lewis, Dinah Livingstone, Christine McNeill, Julie Sampson, Penelope Shuttle, Helen Tookey
FEATURED POET: ADELE WARD
WINNING & COMMENDED POEMS, Second Light Poetry Competition, 2014, Judge Jackie Kay:
Ann Alexander, Margaret Beston, Sue Davies, Kate Foley, Pippa Little; Rose Flint, Anne Lawrence, Pippa Little, Jacqueline Mulhallen, Myra Schneider, Caroline Smith, Vivienne Tregenza
POETRY SELECTED BY Katherine Gallagher: R C J Allan, Helen Curtis, Margaret Eddershaw, June English, June Hall, Jenny Hamlett, Angela Kirby, Denise McSheehy, Jenna_Plewes, Caroline Price, Kathleen M Quinlan, Penelope Shuttle, Anne Stewart, Christine Vial
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Alison Mace, Maggy Markworthy, Anne Stewart, Denni Turp
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: R V BAILEY
U S-based Jamie Dedes featured Second Light and ARTEMISpoetry in a new webzine, ‘The BeZine’, during interNATIONAL POETRY MONTH (April 2015) and, amongst other items, included a composite article, on Plath’s influence, by three young poets: Kim Moore, Lavinia Singer and Sarah Westcott.
visit The Bezine, read other articles
Read the ‘Three Young Poets…’ article
YOU SHOULD NOW SEEK COVER DEAR HEART* – the title of Alex Pryce’s review of four collections of poetry for Issue 13: Carrie Etter’s Imagined Sons, Selima Hill’s The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism, Caoilinn Hughes’s debut collection, Gathering Evidence, and the late Sarah Kirsch’s Ice Roses: Selected Poems (translations by Anne Stokes).
from Pryce’s review of The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism: “The truth of female experience, of course, is that when it is non-idealised it is ultimately human, which is, of course, often more than a little grotesque…”
The title was taken from Sarah Kirch’s poem, Cold: “You should now / Seek cover dear / Heart. Otherwise longing will howl / Your lost dream / Of the beauty of the world…”.
Issue 12 … Read extracts
MY AMBITION IS TO WRITE BETTER: PASCALE PETIT interviewed by ADELE WARD
AMBITIOUS POETRY BY WOMEN (Part 4) KAY SYRAD on Radical Landscape Poetry
WHY SMALL IS STILL BEAUTIFUL – The Rise of the Pamphlet by ADELE WARD
THE POETRY SCENE: LAVINIA SINGER offers a young woman poet’s view
THE REWARDS OF READING POETRY: MYRA SCHNEIDER on the need for wide reading
LIES LIKE TRUTH (Part 2): “Jumping into someone else’s skin” by A C CLARKE
AT SEA WITH POETRY by CAROLINE CARVER on her Residency in Plymouth
REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
RUTH O’CALLAGHAN on GILLIAN ALLNUTT; MYRA SCHNEIDER on MONIZA ALVI; DILYS WOOD on FLEUR ADCOCK;
JUDI SUTHERLAND on KAREN SOLIE; LYNN FOOTE on CLARE CROSSMAN, ALYSON HALLETT, SHARON MORRIS; and DILYS WOOD Reviews: Judi Benson, Margaret Eddershaw, Hilary Menos, Ruth O’Callaghan (2 collections), Geraldine Paine, Lesley Quayle, Hilda Sheehan, Mary Sheepshanks, Jean Watkins and Rosy Wilson
FEATURED POET: LYNNE WYCHERLEY
POETRY SELECTED BY R V BAILEY: Monica Corish, Lorna Dexter, Kate Foley, Wendy French, Cynthia Fuller, Katherine Gallagher, June Hall, Elizabeth Hare, Ruth Hanchett, Maria Jastrzębska, Thelma Laycock, Gill Learner, Jennie Osborne, Penny Ouvry (see ERRATUM), Jo Peters, Jenna Plewes, Norma Powers, Pauline Prior-Pitt, Jan Porter, Kathleen M Quinlan, Rosie Sandler, Daphne Schiller, Myra Schneider, Brigid Sivill, Anne Stewart, Joan Waddleton, Maggie Wadey, Nicola Warwick, Jean Watkins, Merryn Williams, Glynda Winterson, Veronica Zundel
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Lorna Dexter, Kate Foley, Jenny Herbert and Margaret Williams
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: HILARY DAVIES
Our apologies to Penny Ouvry. Due to an administrative error, her poem Holiday on page 40 of ARTEMISpoetry Issue 12 has been published with the first line of the poem omitted. The poem should commence:
Later, when the children are in bed
they look each other in the eye
thank God –
read the poem
Editors: Adele Ward, Dilys Wood
There have been a number of anthologies of what we might call avant-garde or ‘modernist’ poetry published in the UK recently and whilst many of us may feel that we could never belong in this camp, it is exciting and potentially inspiring for our own development, I think, to investigate how women poets are currently working within this movement.
In her Shearsman Press anthology, The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, Harriet Tarlo presents landscape poetry by men and women writing within the modernist tradition…
from O’Callaghan on Allnutt: The language is as varied as the sentence structure, ranging from the vernacular to nursery rhymes to ‘hounselled’ (my mother, her brother) and includes seventeenth-century measures such as ‘pottle’ (My Seventeenth-century Girlhood) and the equally old ‘astonied’ (Lyke-Wake) that has all the resonance of astonished but, yet again, adds a further dimension to our reading. The use of rhyme to make connections, the employment of upper or lower case and drawing attention to the way in which the word’s physical construction is heightened by its sound (Abut) – and vice versa – plus the courage to allow a single line/image to occupy a whole page (as in now), are all part of the varied process by which Allnutt holds her audience in thrall.
from Schneider on Alvi: Athar’s mother is a heroic figure who endures hardship and grief and rises above them. The narrative follows the stages of her exile, the community’s exile: the shock of remote government forcing the families to uproot themselves, the journey, the total disorientation of living in a temporary camp, the heart-rending distress when Athar can’t be found, the gradual settling into a new home and the acceptance of life a different place in spite of the continuing sense of loss. I believe At a Time of Partition will be read by people who wouldn’t normally read poetry because it reads as a compelling story and yet it is very much a poem. How has Alvi made it work?
from Wood on Adcock: Glass Wings strongly evidences – in my view more so than Dragon Talk – Adcock’s ‘emotional intelligence’, her ability to tell us more than we know about our own weaknesses. In Having Sex with the Dead, one of the book’s more striking poems, having the somewhat ‘louche’ tone which sometimes crops up in Adcock’s work, the poet succeeds in conveying both the strong physical excitement and the routine irresponsibility of what might have once been called ‘free love’: “They have all forgotten now: forgotten / you and their wives and other mermaids / who slithered in their beds and took their breath”. The reason for forgetting is that the “one time flesh and pulsing blood” has “long been ash and dispersed chemicals”.
Issue 11 … Read extracts
AMONG THE ALREADY OCCLUDED WORLDS: GILLIAN ALLNUTT interviewed by RUTH O’CALLAGHAN
WHO IS POETRY FOR? MYRA SCHNEIDER on widening public access to poetry
A DAY ABOUT DUST: JUDITH CAIR on ANNE CARSON’S ‘ANTIGONICK’
LIES LIKE TRUTH: A C CLARKE on fictionalising real events
THE MAKING OF ‘OWL’: JILL EULALIE DAWSON on the writing process
REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
ANNE CLUYSENAAR on DAPHNE BLOAG; RUTH O’CALLAGHAN on CONNIE BENSLEY; MYRA SCHNEIDER on SHARON OLDS; MARGARET SPEAK on TESS GALLAGHER; ANNE STEWART on SUE HUBBARD; DILYS WOOD on PAULINE STAINER and ALISON BRACKENBURY;
KATHERINE GALLAGHER, RUTH O’CALLAGHAN, ANNE STEWART and DILYS WOOD Review: Nadine Brummer, Judith Cair, Susanne Ehrhardt, Helen Ivory, Maria Jastrzębska, Kathleen Jones, Tamara Kamenszain (trans. Cecilia Rossi), Angela Kirby, Wendy Klein, Pippa Little, Paula Ludwig (trans. Martina Thomson), Char March, Cheryl Moskowitz, Mandy Pannett, Ann Pilling, Clare Pollard, Margaret Wilmot, Wendy Wright, and FIONA SAMPSON’s ‘Beyond the Lyric: A Map of Contemporary British Poetry’
FEATURED POET: ESTHER MORGAN
POETRY – WINNERS & COMMENDED POETS, SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION 2013 and POETRY SELECTED BY HILARY DAVIES: KATHY MILES and CLARE BEST, GILL LEARNER, HELEN MOORE; Ann Alexander, R V Bailey, Elizabeth Burns, Susan Davies, Olivia Dawson, Karen Dennison, Lorna Dexter, Elsa Fischer, Kate Foley, Pam Job, Hilary Jupp, Alison Mace, Pat Marum, Jane McLaughlin, Angela Pickering, Caroline Price, Myra Schneider, Nicola Slee, Ruth Smith, Josie Turner, Sarah Williams, Cathy Wilson and Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Monica Farthing, Kate Foley and Harriet Proudfoot
BACK COVER: Featured Poet: ANNE CLUYSENAAR
… has this version been stolen from the Greek original or teased out from the surface with a knife? And to what end does this NICK become the silent character who, we are told, is always onstage and who “measures things”? The impression grows that this translation intends to offer us words with their remoteness and strangeness still upon them.
In such a manner Carson advances, with compressions and elisions of the original text, with references to modern thought, with diction which slides into contemporary usage and out of it again, with page layouts capable of slowing movement to a single phrase and with the counter-balance of mysterious illustrations. There is a sense that considerable forces have been marshalled for an assault on an intractable object…
The moving confession must echo what many have experienced. Indeed the explicit expression of distressing personal feelings, often drawing on everyday matter and body detail for imagery, is the great strength of Olds’ work. It is this which communicates to many people. She then admits: “In me now / there’s a being of sheer hate, like an angel / of hate.” This is almost the only time that Olds allows anger about the break up of the marriage to surface…
Stainer has always been in tight control of language, has always written in a vivid, densely metaphorical, minimalist way. There is no great change – certainly no lapse – except that there is a touch here and there of a new wittiness, a combination of the daring with the laid back. In [the same poem] (Reading by snowlight) where she says “I want to take the weight / out of language”, I felt a slight jolt at the witty use of ‘moccasin’ as a verb: “ … outside, / everything is moccasined…”
Issue 10 … Read extracts
LISTENING TO THE SILENCES: MIMI KHALVATI interviewed by RUTH O’CALLAGHAN
MY LIFE IN POETRY: RUTH FAINLIGHT
THE POSSIBILITIES AND PITFALLS OF NARRATIVE: MYRA SCHNEIDER
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING: the series continues with ADELE WARD on starting a publishing house
MY TRUMPET TEACHER IS A POET – IS THAT COOL? by KIM MOORE
EMERGENCY POET – POETRY ON PRESCRIPTION by DEBORAH ALMA
RIVERS OF POETRY … THEY FLOW SO CLEAR ANNE BOILEAU on The Suffolk Poetry Society
REVIEWS & SHORT REVIEWS:
ALISON BRACKENBURY on PENELOPE SHUTTLE; DILYS WOOD on SELIMA HILL and ANNE STEVENSON
WENDY KLEIN, MYRA SCHNEIDER, MARGARET SPEAK, KAY SYRAD and DILYS WOOD Review: Gail Ashton, R V Bailey, Pauline Suett Barbieri, Carole Coates, Kathryn Daszkiewicz, Jill Dawson, Helen Dunmore, Rhian Edwards, Helen Farish, Kate Foley, Jane Griffiths, Sue Guiney, Lucy Hamilton, Joan Hewitt, Angela Leighton, Dana Littlepage Smith, Alwyn Marriage, Kim Moore, Stephanie Norgate, Eve Pearce, Katha Pollitt, Deryn Rees-Jones, Marion Tracy and Susan Utting
FEATURED POET: PAULINE STAINER
POETRY – WINNERS & COMMENDED POETS, SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION 2012 and POETRY SELECTED BY ANNE CLUYSENAAR: DOREEN HINCHLIFFE and A C CLARKE, BRIGID SIVILL, MARGARET SPEAK; Maggie Butt, Margaret Eddershaw, Rosemary Fisher, Irene Hossack, Angela Kirby, Melind Lovell, Kathy Miles, Jo Peters, Aileen La Tourette, Margaret Wilmot; Isabel Bermudez, Chris Considine, Clare Crossman, Lara Frankena, Mary Hodgson, Anna Kisby, Kaye Lee, Caroline Price, Jill Townsend, Nicola Warwick, Merryn Williams and Glynda Winterson
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Mary Hannon, Jenny Herbert, Judith Kazantzis, Susan Skinner and Anne Stewart
BACK COVER: Featured Collection: Alison Brackenbury Then
… rehearsing is more like editing a poem – practising the same section over and over again, breaking the band down into parts so you can hear the weakest links – is exactly like reading your own poem over and over again, to find a line that will give way under scrutiny.
Teaching music and writing poetry are ultimately an act of balance – they both have that feeling of walking a tightrope, of words being vastly important…
Issue 9 … Read extracts
WE AS HUMAN BEINGS: ANA BECCIU interviewed by MARIA JASTRZĘBSKA
THE JUDICIOUS USE OF LEMONS: A CONVERSATION JANET SUTHERLAND, KAY SYRAD and CLARE WHISTLER on US poets ANNE CARSON and JORIE GRAHAM
THE DARK HOLE IN THE HEAD: MYRA SCHNEIDER on the Mystery of the Creative Moment
A WOMAN POET OF THE PAST: MERRYN WILLIAMS on CHARLOTTE MEW
BODIES OF WORK: CLARE BEST on the creative project arising from her breast surgery
HIDDEN BY A DARK SHIVER IN THE WATER: JUDITH CAIR on translating passages from Homer’s Odyssey
HAVE A SHED – WILL SHARE: DILYS WOOD on the SHED POETS, Carol Boland, Marguerite Colgan,
Bernie Kenny, Maureen Perkins, Judy Russell & Rosy Wilson
BEWARE THE SOUND OF FIFE AND DRUM: RUTH O’CALLAGHAN in the U S
THE LIVES OF THE POETS: Elizabeth Nicholes Bewick, Adrienne Rich, Wislawa Szymborska
CAROLINE CARVER on ABEGAIL MORLEY; HILARY DAVIES on JEAN ‘BINTA’ BREEZE;
KATE FOLEY ON KAY SYRAD; and Short Reviews: Sara Boyes, Hilary Davies, Anne Stewart and Dilys Wood on Moira Andrew, Rachael Boast, Ruth Bidgood, Carole Bromley, Judy Brown, A C Clarke, Caroline Carver, Kate Foley, Leah Fritz, Mo Gallaccio, Rita Ann Higgins, Clare Holtham, Judy Kendall, Dinah Livingstone, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Nancy Mattson, Jean McNeil, Maggie Norton, Amanda Parkyn, Diana Pooley, Daphne Rock, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Caroline Squire, Adele Ward, Pam Zinnemann-Hope and anthology Kaleidoscope;
FEATURED POET: FIONA SAMPSON
POETRY SELECTED BY ALISON BRACKENBURY: SHANTA ACHARYA, ANN ALEXANDER, ANNE CLUYSENAAR, KATHERINE GALLAGHER, RUTH O’CALLAGHAN, MYRA SCHNEIDER and LYNNE WYCHERLEY…
plus Pat Allen, Deborah Alma, Cynthia Fuller, Daphne Gloag, Lois Howard, Angela Kirby, Wendy Klein, Gill Learner, Carmina Masoliver, Gill McEvoy, Rosie Miles, Amy Neilson Smith, Jo Peters, Nicola Slee, Anne Stewart, Lynne Taylor and Glynda Winterson
ARTWORK: by Anna Adams, Elizabeth Bell, Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Alison Moulden, Harriet Proudfoot, Katharine Scambler & Susan Skinner
BACK COVER: Featured Collection: Myra Schneider What Women Want
Although I wrote a journal throughout the months before and after surgery, I did not expect to write poems on the subject. The project that became Self-portrait without Breasts ambushed me about nine months after the operation. I returned from a writing retreat with eight poems about breasts, instead of the story I had intended to draft…
Her work is particularly compelling when the poems dip into the surreal. In Breaking up, someone “steals the sense from her sentence”, “Last week in Starbucks / he snatched away the letter L … when he starts on the vowels, / she’ll disappear completely”. I love the way the fantasy world mixes with the reality of Starbucks. A few pages on, we are having coffee in Costa, but still nothing is straightforward … “We drink here because of the rain forests, / We’re saving them.”
We apologise for the mis-spelling of Anne Sherry’s name in Yours Sincerely, Letters to the Editor, page 60.
Dilys Wood & Anne Stewart, Editors, ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 8
Issue 8 … Competition winners and more… Read extracts
RUNNING DOWN TO WINTER: MAUREEN DUFFY interviewed by RUTH O’CALLAGHAN
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING (Part 3) GABRIEL GRIFFIN does it in Italian
A SELF-EFFACING GENIUS: KATHERINE GALLAGHER on U A FANTHORPE
INTIMATE SUBVERSIONS: MARIA JASTRZĘBSKA on Argentinian Women Poets
ON FORM: Anne Stewart puts the case for the odd sonnet
OF KINGS, BUFFALOES AND UKULELES: Ruth O’Callaghan stateside
THE LIVES OF THE POETS: An Eloquent Life, Anna Adams
REVIEWS: Elizabeth Burns on Nicola Slee;
Kate Foley on Clare Brant, Esther Jansma, M R Peacocke;
Ruth O’Callaghan on Carol Ann Duffy;
Myra Schneider on Anne Cluysenaar;
Penelope Shuttle on Lyn Moir;
Anne Stewart on Esther Morgan;
and many more reviews
FEATURED POET: JUDY GAHAGAN
POETRY SELECTED BY MYRA SCHNEIDER and 2011 Poetry Competition Winners & Commended Poems:
ALISON BRACKENBURY, ANNE CLUYSENAAR, KATHERINE GALLAGHER, SELIMA HILL,
MIMI KHALVATI, PENELOPE SHUTTLE and ANNE STEVENSON…
Yuko M Adams, Pat Borthwick, Caroline Carver, A C Clarke, Clare Crossman, Rose Flint,
Kate Foley, Viv Fogel, Daphne Gloag, Jenny Hamlett, Justina Hart, Hilaire, Samantha Jackson,
Hilary Jenkins, Wendy Klein, Gill Learner, Kaye Lee, Gill McEvoy, Caroline Natzler,
Moya Pacey, Jane Routh, Hilda Sheehan, Susan Skinner, Kay Syrad and Margaret Wilmot;
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Harriet Proudfoot & Anne Stewart
BACK COVER: Featured Collection: Mimi Khalvati Child
ROC: You began publishing poetry at sixteen – perhaps surprisingly in such adverse conditions?
MD: I’d forgotten that some were as early as that. I thought I started publishing at seventeen. I think it was a bit like the young John Clare hiding his poems in the chimney-breast. Perhaps it began as a way of communicating with my mother when we were separated by showing or reciting them to her when I was taken to see her. She always encouraged me in any aspect of my education because as she said: ‘It’s the one thing they can’t take away from you.’ However the rest of the family found it and me rather pretentious…
Mention Argentine poetry and people think Borges. Less well-known are Argentina’s significant and often iconoclastic women poets. What a treat then to read four women poets in this series. For all of them, despite their different voices, a central theme is women’s fractured, conflicted sense of self along with a questioning of our relationship to language. Self-expression is never just taken for granted – sometimes sheer necessity, other times a trap. Even in the most oblique poems there is a boldness I found totally refreshing.
Most influential of the four….
Issue 7 … Focus on Dutch Poets
INTERVIEW: ESTHER JANSMA interviewed by KATE FOLEY
AMBITIOUS POETRY BY WOMEN, Part 3: KAY SYRAD on Writing Politically
ASTRID ALBEN: writes about ∞
LIVING THE TRANSLATION: Kate Foley
CALIBAN DANCING: M R Peacocke on making and forgetting poems
LONG LIVE THE LONG POEM!: Myra Schneider
THE LIVES OF THE POETS: May Ivimy Badman, Alice Beer, Linda Chase
REVIEWS: Caroline Carver on Chris Considine;
Kate Foley on Kerry Hardie and Ruth Stone;
Ruth O’Callaghan on Fiona Sampson;
Anne Stewart on Waterloo Press Poets;
Dilys Wood on Gillian Allnutt, Ruth Fainlight and Louise Gluck…
and many more reviews
FEATURED POET: M R Peacocke
POETRY SELECTED BY JUDY GAHAGAN
Poems by: Jan Bay-Peterson, Diana Brodie, Caroline Carver, Anna Crowe, June English,
Daphne Gloag, Cora Greenhill, Jenny Hamlett, Helen Jagger, Gill Nicholson, Ann Phillips,
Ann Scorgie, Margaret Speak, Wendy Stedman, Anne Stewart, Jill Townsend, Alex Toms,
Margaret Wilmot, Glynda Winterson, Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: by Andria J Cooke, Kate Foley, Judith Kazantzis & Michaela Ridgway
BACK COVER: Featured Collection: Anna Adams Time-Pockets
KF: Can you tell us something about your career in poetry? When did you begin to write, to think of yourself as a poet, to publish? Were there poetic mentors or influences – Dutch or other – who played a part?
EJ: …When I was around seventeen years old I tried my hand at poetry, and found that this suited me much better than prose. In poetry, my impression was that I could use simple language and be much less pretentious. I am not very aware of aesthetic influences during those early years. The Dutch poet Ed Leeflang taught me during several conversations that I should stick with what is physically possible. Stones do not fly, chairs are not tables. I followed this rule for quite a while…
A small preamble. Three important senior poets with very different ‘voices’ tell us something about poetry. It’s an art-form almost too close to us, relating to speech which is ‘natural’ and the hall-mark of humans. However, as each of these three poets builds towards a career-length achievement, we appreciate her unique ‘construct’, overcoming the resistance of form and language to her own needs and aims. These poets struggle, tread water, succeed and fail. But, even in a blind reading, we might recognise each mature voice here: its timbre; its own natural / unnatural, highly original expression.
We apologise for the mis-spelling of Allison McVety’ name in the contents list and in the review of her collection, Miming Happiness on page 37.
Issue 6 Contents:
INTERVIEW: Pia Tafdrup interviewed by Ruth O’Callaghan
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING: Jan Fortune-Wood & Alwyn Marriage
TAKE-OFF INTO A RICHER WRITING UNIVERSE: Alison Brackenbury, June English, Lynda How, Myra Schneider & Anne Stewart on getting into the www habit.
(full text of Brackenbury’s piece here) (full text of Stewart’s piece here)
GOING BACK TO THE FUTURE: Katherine Gallagher on AusLitFests
GOING DIGITAL: Alison Hill on ARTEMISpoetry recordings at the South Bank…
REVIEWS: Anne Cluysenaar on Mary MacRae; Ruth O’Callaghan on Pia Tafdrup & on Seeking Refuge anthology;
Myra Schneider on Penelope Shuttle; Penelope Shuttle on Katherine Gallagher;
Kay Syrad on Pascale Petit & Jo Shapcott; Dilys Wood on Paula Meehan & Fleur Adcock;
Gill McEvoy on Allison McVety, Ruth O’ & Linda Rose Parkes;
Linda Rose Parkes on Eleanor Cooke, Helen Ivory & Marilyn Longstaff;
plus many other short reviews by Dilys Wood
Winners, Commended & Shortlisted poems from the Second Light Poetry Competition 2010
FEATURED POET: R V Bailey
POEMS SELECTED BY M R Peacocke
Poems by: Anna Adams, Ann Alexander, Anna Avebury, RV Bailey, Elizabeth Burns, Caroline Carver, Anne Cluysenaar, Catherine Temma Davidson, Jill Eulalie Dawson, Jackie Fellague, Rose Flint, Kate Foley, Cora Greenhill, June Hall, Justina Hart, Jo Heather, Penelope Hewlett, Doreen Hinchliffe, Emily Hinshelwood, Alex Josephy, Jane Kirwan, Wendy Klein, Gill Learner, Kaye Lee, Jane McLaughlin, Gill McEvoy, Alwyn Marriage, Lyn Moir, Helen Moore, Caroline Price, Elisabeth Rowe, Anne Ryland, Margaret Speak, Anne Stewart, Shelley Tracey, Josie Turner, Sarah Westcott, Margaret Wilmot
ARTWORK: by Elizabeth Bell, Adele Davide, Judith Kazantzis, Sue Moules, Helen Rowan & Anne Stewart
BACK COVER: Featured Collection: Anne Stewart’s The Janus Hour
(extract from Editiorial) An embarrassment of riches? So many new collections and pamphlets by women poets are sent to us for review that we can scarcely keep up. This issue includes short and long reviews of thirty books by eight reviewers. We are also proud to carry articles in this issue from two enterprising women publishers, Jan Fortune-Wood (Cinnamon) and Alwyn Marriage (Oversteps).
Women’s increased involvement in poetry draws attention to paradoxes which often characterise women’s activities in previously male-dominated fields …
Read Glass Ceiling article
The deeper I go into Mary MacRae’s poems the more spacious my own world becomes. In her first collection, As Birds Do, it was already clear that this poet is fascinated by the packed, corrugated, wrinkled, layered, coiled nature of the world, offering as it does potential openings and unfoldings both within what we call material reality and also within our cells and synapses, the layers of human thought and feeling. A poem in that book, Visitants, commented: “how close unfold is to enfold”.
Inside the Brightness of Red, a substantially longer second collection, deepens that perception.
Sandgrain and Hourglass follows on from Redgrove’s Wife, the book in which Penelope Shuttle began to express her grief and disorientation after the death of her husband, Peter Redgrove. This new collection travels widely both geographically and in subject matter which is often treated from an unusual angle. Although its central theme is a continuation, the poet has reached a point where she is able to look more directly at loss and to trace the stages of grief. In The Keening she visualizes the body of her husband, scans it as it was when he was young and healthy and faces the fact “we’re no longer one flesh”. She ends the poem: “This looking is what is called mourning, / and this is how I have learned to mourn.” There is a sense of ritual and the last part of the poem has a biblical note.
Katherine Gallagher’s New & Selected Poems has been long-anticipated, but the wait has been worthwhile; Arc Publications are to be commended on this impressive volume of over 160 pages.
Gallagher inhabits her poems with ease and confidence. Like her magpie in her poem Homecoming, “sitting within its song”, she sits within her poems. This direct and resonant phrase is characteristic of this poet’s strongly individual voice. She possesses deep warmth and breadth of communication, her language is both winged and yet grounded in real and recognizable experience. Here are poems of familial insight, drawing on the rich resource of memory.
We apologise for an editorial error in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 5, page 23. In Fiona Sampson’s contribution to the article “Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Part 1” in her second paragraph, her given phrasing “BME [black and minority ethnic] writers” was incorrectly replaced by “BME [black, minority, ethnic] writers”. The full article, duly corrected, appears here.
Issue 5 Contents:
INTERVIEW: Antjie Krog interviewed by Ruth O’Callaghan
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING: Fiona Sampson & Eleanor Livingstone
AMBITIOUS POETRY BY WOMEN (Part 2): Myra Schneider & Dilys Wood
ON READING AND WALKING THE DOGS OF POETRY: Anne Stewart
REVIEWS: Caroline Carver on Jenny Hamlett; Wendy French on Bernardine Evaristo and Danielle Hope;
Penelope Shuttle on Elisabeth Rowe and Anne Stewart; Ruth O’Callaghan on Fiona Sampson and Wendy Klein;
Maggie Sawkins on Shanta Acharya, Joanna Ezekiel and Maria Jastrzębska; Dilys Wood on Sheenagh Pugh;
Kay Syrad on Siobhán Campbell, Imtiaz Dharker and Chase Twichell, plus many other short reviews…
FIRST PRIZE WINNERS, Second Light Poetry Competition 2010
FEATURED POET: Alison Brackenbury
POEMS SELECTED BY R V BAILEY: poems by Anne Ballard, Caroline Bath, Nikki Bennett, Anne Boileau, Rachel Burns, Anne Cluysenaar, Valerie Doyle, June English, Rose Flint, Maryann Foster, Frances Green, Jenny Hamlett, Maria Jastrębska, Paula Jennings, Hannah Hutchinson, Gill Learner, Andie Lewenstein, Liz Loxley, Gerda Mayer, Rosie Miles, Dee Rivaz, Myra Schneider, Margaret Speak, Martha Street, Daphne Schiller, Isobel Thrilling, Merryn Williams and Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: by Elizabeth Bell, Sally Clark, Judith Kazantzis, Helen Rowan, Dilys Wood
THE LIVES OF POETS: i.m. Clare Holtham (1948-2010); Mary Bourne (1939-2009)
BACK COVER: Poem and Painting by Mary Bourne
ROC: You live in a multi-lingual society with eleven official languages and five unofficial ones and, additionally, with English being the language of commerce and science. How does such linguistic diversity affect the poetry of South Africa?
AK: Our multilingualism is perhaps our strongest trademark. I find it highly enriching. I executed a project in which I translated poetry from these eleven languages into English, working with small committees on the best poems from each of these languages. But one is deeply grateful that there is at least one language in which we who have been divided for so long can find one another – although that is not quite true as English is very much the language of the elite, of those with better education and middle class prospects. It is also a shame that we didn’t incorporate the wonderful culture of the Dutch: speaking four to five languages and translating.
Read whole interview
(on Elisabeth Rowe:)
Restrained and thoughtful, her poems often convey the transient nature of our key experiences. I was particularly drawn to these lovely poems of the liminal, such as Casting Off, Shadow Selves, There Be Dragons and Dusk where “Light ebbs with the tide; / a serpent river uncoils / from the mud-flats.”
And I much recommend the classy and accomplished sonnet Love Letters: “They smell of things that have been kept too long.” Likewise the tender and measured Several kinds of ordinary happiness.
(on Anne Stewart:)
There’s a Finnish proverb that says ‘Better a bitter truth than a sweet lie’ – (Parempi pyy pivossa, kuin kymmenen oksalla) and the poems in Anne Stewart’s debut collection bear this out. Stewart does not flinch from the bitterness of the truth; her poems are fearless, muscular, flexible, staunch. They look at scenes and events from the past that are still raw; other poems move forward to whatever might lie ahead, with equal courage. Janus indeed presides over this striking collection.
Read the full reviews
The language is extraordinarily beautiful. It is a rich and evocative book and one I could not put down as the story unfolds in chapters each through the eyes of the different players. We grow to know, love, respect or dislike each person as their character evolves. Taiwo, one of the main players who leaves his mother and twin sister in Nigeria and never returns learns of his sister’s death months after she died. In Chapter 10, he thinks “Today I search my sister’s eyes like pebbles in a lake.”
Read whole review
MY LIFE IN POETRY: Anne Stevenson
U A FANTHORPE, 1929 – 1930: R V Bailey
AMBITIOUS POETRY BY WOMEN (Part I): Myra Schneider & Dilys Wood
Never Accept Dilys’s Hospitality… by Ruth O’Callaghan
REVIEWS OF COLLECTIONS BY: Alison Brackenbury, Elizabeth Burns, Mavis Carter, Caroline Carver, Rose Cook, Barbara Dordi, Wendy French, Daphne Gloag, Marilyn Hacker, Lucy Hamilton, Sarah Jackson, Maria Jastrzębska, Pru Kitchling, Philippa Lawrence, Etelka Marcel, Lyn Moir, Sue Moules, Caroline Natzler, Rosemary Norman, Melanie Penycate, Lesley Quayle, Joan Sheridan Smith, Hylda Sims, Harriet Torr and Lynne Wycherley
and Reviews of Resource Books: Poetry Writing: The Expert Guide (Fiona Sampson) and Writing Your Self (John Killick & Myra Schneider)
FEATURED POET: Katherine Gallagher
WINNERS, Second Light Poetry Competition, 2009: Lynne Wycherley, Margaret Wilmot & Kay Syrad
COMMENDED, Second Light Poetry Competition, 2009: Suzanne Burrows, Anne Cluysenaar, Kate Foley, Clare Holtham, Pippa Little, M R Peacocke, Marion Tracy, Jenny Vuglar
POETRY SELECTED BY Alison Brackenbury: Annemarie Austin, Anne Ballard, Carol Beadle, Maggie Butt, Caroline Carver, Stephanie Conybeare, Rose Cook, June English, Sally Festing, Nicolette Golding, Janet Fisher, Judy Gahagan, Jenny Hamlett, Lynda How, Joy Howard, Helen Jagger, Kaye Lee, Jo Peters, Daphne Schiller, Jill Townsend, Josie Turner, River Wolton
Second Light Poetry Competition, 2009, Shortlisted: Ann Alexander, Dorothy Baird, Anne Boileau, Helen Lovelock-Burke, H Coffey, Margaret Eddershaw, Jacqueline Gabbitas, Mavis Howard, Gill Learner, Sue MacIntyre, Nancy Mattson, Jane McLaughlin, Rosemary McLeish, Caroline Natzler, Elisabeth Rowe, K V Skene, Dorothy Yamamoto
ARTWORK: Elizabeth Bell, Adele Davide, Rosemary Muncie, Janine Pinion; and Images and Lines: Anne Stewart
“I am not a nano-particle being fired through an interferometer;
I’m a living person whose outer and inner selves are intimately connected…”
Where to begin? Well, to be as up-to-date as I can, I’ll start by citing an article that struck me weeks ago, when I was sorting through old copies of The New Scientist. On the front cover of the issue of 15 May, 2004, was a headline, ‘Make me Quantum: How to be in two places at once’. Right away it occurred to me that ‘quantum’ or a ‘quantum feeling’ would be a good way to express the weird sense I’ve had as far back as I can remember of being at the same time myself and not myself, both here and not here. When I turned to the article, I was struck by the first paragraph’s likeness to a poem I’d written in the early ’80s. …
“Anton Zeilinger raps his knuckles on the wooden table in front of him. He thinks the table is
there, passively sitting on the floor of his office… But he can’t be sure. ‘Reality seems to be
immediate: I can touch this table,’ he says. ‘However, if you think carefully about it, all I
have is information getting into my brain.’ ”
(‘Small Philosophical Poem’ follows in article)
… As for being in two places at once, here again I want to call on quantum physics for a metaphor. For although, in a classical sense, my life has proceeded normally from year to year, in a more mysterious way it has oscillated violently, circling around and back on itself between times of insight and creation and times of mental stagnation and misery. The life I have led as a woman, in short, often feels to me the same and yet different from my life as a poet. Like a quantum particle, I can exist in two places at once – though, let me hastily add, I don’t think being conscious of a double state is all that unusual. Nearly everybody dreams. And my ‘quantum’ life, which I think of as my ‘real’ life, certainly has a root in a dreamy state of mind, though I can’t imagine a dream causing me nearly as much hard, conscious labour as the writing of a poem. …
Read whole article Anne Stevenson at Bloodaxe Books
“ … among other things, England and Leicestershire and Richard III and hope, courage and gypsies …”
Many readers will perhaps already know the outline of UA’s life: how she began as a teacher at Cheltenham, later becoming Head of English; and how (much to her mother’s dismay) she gave up this respectable career to become clerk-receptionist in a small neurological hospital. It was in this apparently unpromising ground that the poetry began. And it began – as poetry quite often does – in the collision between expectation and reality.
She’d applied for the job thinking all hospitals were like the Radciffe Infirmary in Oxford, where she’d had to spend three months after a serious accident when she was an undergraduate, and where – once the difficult and painful bit was over – she’d rather enjoyed herself, convalescing along with other cheerfully recovering patients in the orthopaedic ward …
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RUTH O’CALLAGHAN INTERVIEWS MARILYN HACKER
WRITERS ON EXILE: Elke-Hannah Dutton, Gill Fothergill, Katherine Gallagher, Mary Hodgson, Maria Jastrzębska, Etelka Marcel, Sibyl Ruth.
THE BIG BALLADS (part 2): Hylda Sims concludes the case
FIRST WORDS … from crooked letters to the exhilaration of poetry: Anne Ryland
PUTTING A COLLECTION TOGETHER: Myra Schneider
REVIEWS oF COLLECTIONS BY: Gillian Clarke, Anne Cluysenaar, Judy Gahagan, Selima Hill, Emma Jones, Martha Kapos, Lotte Kramer, Ruth O’Callaghan, Ruth Padel, Geraldine Paine, Kate Rhodes and Women’s Work anthology (eds. Eva Salzman & Amy Wack)
FEATURED POET: Penelope Shuttle
POETRY SELECTED BY KATHERINE GALLAGHER: Ann Alexander, C R Barnes, Liz Berry, Nadine Brummer, Elizabeth Burns, Caroline Carver, A C Clarke, Eleanor Cooke, Kay Cotton, Clare Crossman, Margaret Eddershaw, Angela France, Rebecca Gethin, Helen Jayne Gunn, June Hall, Judith Kazantzis, Gill McEvoy, Jane McLaughlin, Denise McSheehy, Cheryl Moskowitz, Rosemary Norman, Linda Rose Parkes, Caroline Price, Sibyl Ruth, Anne Ryland, Daphne Schiller, Margaret Speak, Marion Tracy, Vivienne Tregenza, Catherine Whittaker, Margaret Wilmot
ARTWORK: Elizabeth Bell, Andia J Cooke, Adele Davide, Marylou Grimberg, Judith Kazantzis
MH: (extract from answer in respect of influences)
“When I returned to the United States in 1976, it was to the ebullience of American ‘Second Wave’ feminism, which included an efflorescence of women’s writing and publishing. It was then that I first read the work of Gwendolyn Brooks and of Muriel Rukeyser in depth, discovered that of Audre Lorde and June Jordan, read Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh for the first time, and learned about that book’s unlikely influence on Emily Dickinson. It was, in fact, in the context of feminist ‘re-vision’ that I began reading Dickinson in depth (which I do not state to try to politicise her work in any way.)
All at once, women poets were in the majority, not the minority, in my reading – and there were women’s bookshops where a sizeable selection of their work could be found, presses and journals publishing it, publishing literary criticism relative to it. It was more than ‘heady’ to discover that Marianne Moore had been a friend and mentor to Elizabeth Bishop, that HD’s beneficent companion Bryher had financed the publication of Moore’s first book of poems, and of Djuna Barnes’ Ladies’ Almanack – to know that women poets had supported and influenced each other’s work, had not each been an isolated token – information students and readers now take more for granted.”
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RUTH O’CALLAGHAN INTERVIEWS U.A. FANTHORPE AND R.V. BAILEY
PAIN INTO POETRY: women who write about the flight from terror
WRITING FROM THE ROUGH: poems about grief
THE BIG BALLADS: Hylda Sims examines their appeal
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A POEM? Myra Schneider offers an example
20plus REVIEWS: Valentine Ackland, Moniza Alvi, Janet Fisher, Rose Flint, Angela Kirby, Mary Oliver, Pascale Petit, Caroline Price, Carol Rumens, Isobel Thrilling and more…
SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION: WINNERS, COMMENDED & SHORTLISTED
POETRY SELECTED BY PENELOPE SHUTTLE: Sue Aldred, Zeeba Ansari, Elizabeth Burns, Caroline Carver, Christine Coleman, Christine Evans, Ruth Fainlight, Victoria Field, Lara Frankena, Leah Fritz, Cynthia Fuller, Rebecca Gethin, Maria Jastrzębska, Sue Johnson, Wendy Klein, Gill McEvoy, Lyn Moir, M.R. Peacocke, Lesley Saunders, Myra Schneider, Martha Street, Margaret Wilmot
ARTWORK: Elizabeth Bell, Della Chapman, Adele Davide, Judith Kazantzis
NEWS: "FIFTY/FIFTEEN" – Second Light prepares to celebrate their 15th anniversary
Pascale Petit is a far-travelled poet: already by the time her first collection of poems was published in 1998 she’d twice visited the Amazon basin, and this latest collection contains poems from California, Nepal, China, France… but her journeys are inward as well as outward: she is a seasoned traveller of the imagination and has like Orpheus and the Sumerian Goddess Inanna journeyed to the underworld and returned to tell the tale.
This collection confirms her as a major force in current British poetry: both intensely mythical and intensely autobiographical, and now moving out into a wider world carrying the fruits of those inner explorations. In fact I’d see this volume as a transitional one: my guess is that her forthcoming work will continue the outer focus that is begun here.
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RUTH O’CALLAGHAN INTERVIEWS FIONA SAMPSON
FRIENDS REMEMBER DAPHNE ROCK (1927-2008)
MAY WE TELL YOU WHO WE ARE?: We focus on A Touch of Malice, ed. Joy Howard, and other anthologies of women writing about their own lives
20plus REVIEWS: Annemarie Austin, Alison Brackenbury, Anne Cluysenaar, Kate Foley, Janet Frame, Jorie Graham, M.R. Peacocke, Stephanie Norgate, Myra Schneider, Pauline Stainer, Anne Stevenson and more…
POETRY SELECTED BY MYRA SCHNEIDER: Anna Adams, Alison Brackenbury, Nadine Brummer, Maggie Butt, Valerie Clarke, Anne Cluysenaar, Kay Cotton, Beata Duncan, June English, Janet Fisher, Kate Foley, Berta Freistadt, Jacqueline Gabbitas, Mo Gallaccio, Katherine Gallagher, Daphne Gloag, Lucy Hamilton, Jenny Hamlett, Alison Hill, Angela Kirby, Lotte Kramer, Gill Learner, Mary MacRae, Gill McEvoy, Rosemary McLeish, Sue Moules, Janine Pinion, Victoria Pugh, Mary Sheepshanks, Kay Syrad, Isobel Thrilling and Merryn Williams
NEWS, POETRY PRIZES 2008: Rose Flint wins the Cardiff International, Sibyl Ruth wins the Mslexia, Anne Stewart wins the Bridport Prize… and many other successes
ARTWORK: Kate Foley, Judith Kazantzis, Janine Pinion
We learn, from the first of the two bracket sections which open and close Kate Foley’s new collection, that the Silver Rembrandt of the title is a mime artist performing outside the Rijksmuseum, clad in silver lycra…
bows to the kids,
conducts their mood with a shining brush,
paints the gilded air as it streams past,
Rembrandt is also Muse to Lily, the tough yet vulnerable protagonist of this verse novella (which forms the major part of the collection). Lily first encounters the great artist himself when her teacher sends a postcard of his Old Woman Reading back to her class from Amsterdam.
The young Lily is bewitched by the picture and immediately makes an emotional connection between the old woman depicted by Rembrandt reading her bible and Lily’s beloved grandmother –
it is a kind of photo of her gran.
Kate Foley uses a remarkable exactness and yet fluidity of language to depict Lily, whose story is one of damage and determination, brief joy, sorrow, beyond-sorrow; of the hard work of firstly claiming the self, and then mending the self.
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