Poetry Competition 2021 CLOSED

Poetry Competition 2020 RESULTS

News and Events

Spring Festival 2021

Autumn Festival 2020

ARTEMIS poetry (submit)

Holland House Residential feedback!

Poetry Competition 2019 (& earlier) Results

Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Memorial Fund


Do you tutor or lead workgroups? We supply REMOTE WORKSHOPS:
Her Wings of Glass series      Fanfare series.
HALF-DAY WORKSHOPS for individuals – March 21: LATEST, DUO on ‘Endings’
by Anne Stewart and Sarah Westcott. More here


Holland House Residential – 2019, see Lynda O’Neill on why she “wouldn’t miss them for anything”

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Second Light Network, News and Events, Competition…

The last Newsletter was sent out by e-mail ‘mail-out’ on 25th August 2021. If you haven’t received it, request it here: e-mail request. Still not coming through? Try ‘opt-in’ to receiving here.

Note, Members only: To submit News / Events items for e-notices or inclusion in ARTEMISpoetry Noticeboard, see Submit News Item.      Non-Members may submit poetry-related calls and competitions only. See more information here: Non-Members, calls and comps Newsletter deadlines are 15th of February, May, August and November for expected mail-outs around the ends of those months/beginning of next.
ARTEMISpoetry Issue 26, mailout date: 28th May 2021. If you are a member, subscriber, or contributor, and haven’t received your copy by 2nd week in June (UK), please do let us know: advise by e-mail. Guidelines for submissions here.

News and Events

Dates for your diary, …

16-20th Aug 21: annual residential gathering at Holland House, Cropthorne (fully booked).
Autumn Festival 2021, Fri & Sat November 19th/20th


Second Light Poetry Competition for Long and Short Poems by Women 2021

The competition is now closed for entries. Thank you to all who have sent submissions. The results will be posted here by 30th September.

JUDGE HANNAH LOWE teaches at Brunel University. Her collections are, Chick (Bloodaxe), which won the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize for Poetry, and Chan (Bloodaxe). She is one of 20 Next Generation Poets 2014. Her third collection The Kids will be published by Bloodaxe in 2021.

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THU 20th to SAT 22nd May 2021: Spring Festival RECOVERY

     “I lost a world the other day / Has anyone found?’ Emily Dickinson
We have received very enthusiastic feedback following the festival. Our thanks to all involved.
After bad times, how do we recover? What are the aims, processes, stages, necessary nudges in the process of finding ourselves as humans and writers? Models of recovery are found in archaeology, medicine, psychology, societal renewal after wars/conflicts, Nature’s renewal after natural and man-made disaster. For writers ‘recovery’ is key: retrieving the truth of the past; dredging form and meaning from inchoate material; shedding weaker, imitative, superfluous material, finding essences.
Jean Atkin, Esther Morgan, Jacqueline Saphra and Sarah Westcott each led a half-day workshop exploring the theme. There were also two readings hosted by Wendy French – Five Guest Poets: Shanta Acharya, Anne Boileau, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Alison Mace and Caroline Maldonado, with Open Mic readings by workshop participants and Second Light Members.
For those who were unable to attend online, we offer several remote workshops suitable for working on at home. The latest of these, themed ‘Endings’ and adapted from workshops led by Anne Stewart and Sarah Westcott at the Autumn Festival 2020, are available from 1st March 2021 at £12 for one or £20 for both. See Endings, duo.

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FRI 20th & SAT 21st November: Autumn Festival Beginnings and Endings

The Autumn Festival workshops took place online with workshops by Helen Ivory, Hannah Lowe, Anne Stewart and Sarah Westcott.
Members of Second Light may still take up the ‘slashed price’ offer of the remote workshop series: Her Wings of glass and/or Fanfare (please e-mail Administrator e-mail request. These workshops, and Myra Schneider’s one day workshop, Perceptions of Time remain available to non-Members at the usual prices. See Remote Workshops,

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Second Light Poetry Competition for Long and Short Poems by Women 2020 – RESULTS

Thank you to all who entered our 2020 poetry competition. We are delighted to congratulate our Prize-Winners: Lucy Hamilton and Justina Hart (1st prizes), Marion Oxley (2nd prize), and Rebecca Hubbard and Kathy Miles (3rd prizes), as well as all those whose poems were commended and/or shortlisted. The full results are shown below.
JUDGE MYRA SCHNEIDER. Myra Schneider’s latest collections are Lifting the Sky (Ward Wood, 2018) and Persephone in Finsbury Park (SLP, 2016). Writing Our Selves, a writing resource written with John Killick, was published by Continuum Books in 2009.
Myra Schneider, Adjudication Report:
     There were a huge number of entries to the Second Light Competition this year … just over 1300 … and I was quickly struck by the wide range of subject matter and writing which revealed the very diverse backgrounds of entrants.
     I looked or poems which not only used language and rhythm well but excited me because of the way the material was used and developed. It was with difficulty that I drew up a long list of about 180 poems and I was sad there were many poems that had much to recommend them which I had to reject at this preliminary stage. Many of these were well written but sometimes they didn’t travel anywhere, simply related an incident or story or described something but were one-dimensional because the poet had brought nothing of her own to the material. Other poems which were well developed read like condensed prose even though they were put into lines and verses. Several poems, especially longer ones, didn’t justify their length either because they were repetitive or they included material which wasn’t needed. Finally, some poems were uneven … strong in some parts but weak at the end or elsewhere.
     My first short list had over 50 poems in it and then, although I was sure about the winning poems, it was very hard work to settle on a final commended and short list. The five winning poems are remarkable for their ambition and imagination and all of them draw brilliantly on the poet’s research and/or knowledge. The other poems I’ve picked out are outstanding too and those I had to reject from the 50 all reached a very high standard. There were many other good and promising poems so please don’t be disheartened if your entry wasn’t picked out.

1st Prize, Long Poem Category: Doggerland Rising, Justina Hart
1st Prize, Short Poem Category: Messengers, Lucy Hamilton
2nd Prize, The Sleeping Princess, The Boys and The Monk, Marion Oxley
joint 3rd Prize, Night hunters, Rebecca Hubbard, and Constellations, Kathy Miles
Read the Poems as they appear in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 25 (pdf)
Split the Lark, Sue Davies
The Words, Jenny King
The Light Gatherers, Kathy Miles
The Blank Page, Elisabeth Rowe
Our Brocken Spectres, Linda Saunders
Bodegón, Jean Watkins
Skunk Cabbage, Annie Wright
Shelter, Yvonne Baker
Mistress Iron Whale, Justina Hart
Ars Poetica, Alwyn Marriage
Sugar, Eleanor Punter
My Mother Being Very Deaf, Linda Saunders
Silversmith Raising a Vase, Linda Saunders
Talking of India, Ruth Sharman
Block, Kay Syrad
La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, Denni Turp

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Scheduled for Mon 27th to Fri 31st July 2020, Holland House Residential, Worcestershire

We regret that it was not possible to hold this event. 30 people working in close proximity – neither we nor Holland House would be able to put the necessary precautions in place. We sincerely hope that conditions in 2021 will permit us to resume this annual event.

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Mon 15th to Fri 19th July 2019, Holland House Residential, Worcestershire – and see Lynda O’Neill on reasons to keep coming…

Location! Location! Location!. So the Estate Agents’ mantra goes – and poets make profound explorations of the ‘sense of place’… The course, exploring this theme, commenced with tea on arrival mid-afternoon on Monday and ended with a substantial lunch on Friday. In between, several workshops and presentations (Tutors/Presenters: Alison Brackenbury, Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Price, Myra Schneider, Dilys Wood, plus group workshopping sessions, readings from all participants, the Holland House poetry competition, one-to-one help with PC technical problems (Anne Stewart) and & – neither last nor least – our now traditional Fun Night…
It doesn’t stop there – course participant, Daphne Milne has taken on the editorial role for our annual mini-anthology of work arising from, or read or workshopped during, the week. This will be made available to Second Light Members when published, circa September this year.
In the meantime, Lynda O’Neill has sent a short article, Five Wonderful Days in Worcestershire, on why she returns again and again:
“I’ve been attending Second Light residential workshops for several years. I wouldn’t miss them for anything.
The Holland House staff make us very comfortable and the food is excellent. The house is near Evesham and the gardens are magnificent. They were at their best this year, possibly because we visited two weeks earlier than usual. I heard a lot of contented sighing about the flowers and trees leading down to the River Avon.
This year Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Price and Myra Schneider led workshops on ‘Location, Location, Location’. The sharing of work after exercises produces work of great possibility. Alison Brackenbury, one of the mystery guests, gave us very useful information on poetry magazines and submissions to them. Members contributed their experiences.
I always enjoy the daily five minute readings by poets. We hear work that is moving, funny, challenging, surreal. The evening where we read humorous poems reduces us to hysterical laughter and snortings, with much clutching of stomachs.
Another feature is the competition Dilys runs which she judges late at night. We hear the winners on Friday morning after a group exercise which is collaborative and often a source of great amusement.
An important aspect of the course is the support we get from one another. We have developed real friendships over the years through our conversations and poems. In the first two days I was touched to get four hugs from old friends. Each year we have new poets, and it’s good to see them return, as they often do.
It’s our practice to sit with different people at meals, but there are times when the presence of some of us (no names, no pack drill) results in there being a ‘noisy table’. This year at breakfast Kaye Lee mistook scrambled egg for porridge and returned from the buffet with a topping of several chunks of melon on hers. She soon realized her error and I’m glad to say that when we stopped guffawing, she laughed longest.
And as for the beauty of the hollyhocks, words fail me. For once.”
          … thank you, Lynda! And all at Holland House, for looking after us so well while we work! work! work! And, er, play…

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FRI 22nd & SAT 23rd November 2019: Autumn Festival – Poetry Makes Nothing Happen…

Four workshops explored the theme and our responses to it. These were led by Kate Foley, Helen Ivory, Myra Schneider and Sarah Westcott, with titles: Yes it Does…, Incantation and Spells, The Potency of Poetry and Empathy and Awareness . Our now-traditional ‘Open Mic’ Friday session (for women poets) was led by Guest Poets Jean Atkin, Helen Ivory, Joan Michelson and Rachel Spence. Kate Foley, the judge of our 2019 poetry competition, gave a reading and comment on the adjudication of the competition on Saturday afternoon, along with Guest Poet winning poet Harriet Proudfoot and commended poets Angela Kirby, Jan Bay-Petersen, Jenny Hamlett, Pam Job, Mary Robinson and Jenny Vuglar

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“As a trumpet-call of celebration, Fanfare is exactly the right title for this anthology. Adventurous … witty and moving, intelligent … these poems … will shock and delight you.”, Dr R V Bailey
The sky is full of cadences writes Sue Rose in her poem in this beautiful anthology, a fitting metaphor for the sheer range of topics and tones in these poems … ”, Hannah Lowe

Published in 2015, in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 20 (May 2018), we made an offer of free copies to book reading groups, in exchange for feedback from their discussions. We are delighted that the Kintyre Writers’ Circle took up our offer and have given us comment on the poems. Their letter (as follows) features in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 23.
     To: Editors, ARTEMISpoetry
     Kintyre Writers’ Circle were pleased to have the opportunity to read the recent publication, Fanfare. As you can imagine, different members of the group enjoyed different poems. We welcomed the diversity of topics and approaches of the writers.
     Some of the subject matter was disturbing in content and the writers dealt with this unflinchingly, while at the same time displaying empathy and some of their own pain. One of our group thought that Blackbird by Pascale Petit and Eli’s Book by Louise Green fitted this category.
     Another of our members particularly enjoyed Meteor by Deryn Rees-Jones particularly the change of pace in the middle of the stanza.
     We all enjoyed the irony of Antarctica to Temazepam by Maggie Sawkins, a particularly apt comment on today’s preoccupation with the need to have a specific amount of sleep at night.
     Many thanks for this chance to read so many good poets.
          Kintyre Writers’ Circle.

198pp, 167 poets, 241 poems… Fanfare is now out. Normal price is £12.95 plus p&p, but our introductory offer is for £10 including UK p&p (£9 to Second Light members; £12 to ROW).
Download the Order Form (pdf, Fanfare & Her Wings of Glass offers)
or buy at the Second Light online shop:    Second Light Members      Non-Members: to UK      to outside UK.
When is a change a revolution? Fanfare, the promised sister anthology to Her Wings of Glass (2014, see below), continues the celebration of one of the most seismic on-going developments ever to affect literature…
Poets in Fanfare: list 1 – those poets who are, or were, also members of Second Light; list 2 – those poets who are not members.
Alison Brackenbury * Alyss Dye * Angela Kirby * Ann Alexander * Ann Phillips * Ann Scorgie * Ann Segrave * Anna Avebury * Anne Boileau * Anne Ryland * Anne Stewart * Belinda Singleton * Bernie Kenny * Carole Coates * Caroline Carver * Caroline Maldonado * Carolyn O’Connell * Clare Crossman * Cynthia Fuller * Daphne Gloag * Daphne Schiller * Diana Moen Pritchard * Dilys Wood * Dorothy Ann Coventon * Dorothy Yamamoto * Eleanor Livingstone * Elisabeth Rowe * Elizabeth Burns * Fiona Owen * Gill Horitz * Gill Learner * Gill McEvoy * Gill Nicholson * Glynda Winterson * Harriet Proudfoot * Helen Hill * Hilary Davies * Hilary Jupp * Hylda Sims * Jane Kirwan * Jane McLaughlin * Jane Routh * Janet Fisher * Janet Lees * Janet Sutherland * Jean Harrison * Jean Watkins * Jemma Borg * Jenna Plewes * Jennifer A McGowan * Jenny Hamlett * Jenny Morris * Jill Eulalie Dawson * Jill Sharp * Jill Townsend * Jo Peters * Joan Michelson * Joan Sheridan Smith * Joy Howard * Judith Cair * Judith Wolton * Julie Sampson * Justina Hart * Kate Foley * Katherine Gallagher * Kathleen M Quinlan * Kathy Miles * Kay Syrad * Kaye Lee * Laurna Robertson * Linda Rose Parkes * Lorna Dexter * Lotte Kramer * Louise Green * Lucy Hamilton * Lynne Hjelmgaard * Lynne Wycherley * M R Peacocke * Maggie Norton * Maggie Sawkins * Margaret Beston * Margaret Eddershaw * Margaret Wilmot * Martha Street * Melinda Lovell * Mimi Khalvati * Moniza Alvi * Moya Pacey * Myra Schneider * Nancy Mattson * Pam Job * Pam Zinnemann‑Hope * Pat Marum * Pat Watson * Patricia Crittenden Bloom * Patricia Helen Wooldridge * Patricia Leighton * Pauline Keith * Penelope Shuttle * R V Bailey * Rebecca Hubbard * Rosie Miles * Rosy Wilson * Sarah Westcott * Shirley Wright * Sue MacIntyre * Sue Rose * Susan Jane Sims * U A Fanthorpe * Val Doyle * Victoria Pugh * Vivienne Tregenza * Wendy French * Wendy Klein * Yvonne Baker
Alison Hill * Angela Leighton * Anna Adams * Anne Caldwell * Anne Cluysenaar * Audrey Ardern‑Jones * Aviva Dautch * Barbara Cumbers * Beverly Hughes * Caroline Natzler * Carolyn Jess‑Cooke * Charlotte Gann * Denise Bennett * Deryn Rees‑Jones * Di Slaney * Fiona Ritchie Walker * Genista Lewes * Gillian Allnutt * Helen Jagger * Helen Moore * Helen Overell * Hilary Menos * Hilda Sheehan * Isabel Bermudez * Jackie Hinden * Jacqueline Gabbitas * Jane Duran * Jean Hall * Jo Roach * Joan Downar * Joanna Boulter * Kerry Darbishire * Kim Moore * Lara Frankena * Mandy Pannett * Marilyn Ricci * Mary MacRae * Michaela Ridgway * Pascale Petit * Rebecca Goss * Rennie Parker * Rose Cook * Rosie Jackson * S J Litherland * Seni Seneviratne * Sharon Morris * Sheila Hillier * Sue Aldred * Susanne Ehrhardt * Tracey Martin * U A Fanthorpe * Victoria Gatehouse * Victoria Kennefick *

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“I’m completely wowed … the most important anthology for decades”, John Killick
“tremendously inspiring”, Moniza Alvi        “an amazing anthology”, Pauline Stainer
“It’s a magnificent anthology (and I’m not just saying this because my mother’s face
peers at me from the cover!)”, Adam Horovitz
“I’m impressed”, Anne Stevenson

211pp, 134 poets, 237 poems… Her Wings of Glass (title from Sylvia Plath’s poem Stings) is now out. Normal price is £12.95 plus p&p, but we are continuing to offer it for £10 including UK p&p (£9 to Second Light members, £12 to non-members ROW).
Download the order form (pdf, Her Wings of Glass and Fanfare offers)
or buy at the online shop:    Second Light Members      Non-Members: to UK      to outside UK.
This anthology complements, but is not a repeat of, our previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women.
The focus is on women’s writing which deals with ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.
This is the first of two anthologies. Poems submitted were considered both for Her Wings of Glass and for Fanfare (out November 2015, see above).
A majority of poems chosen for Her Wings of Glass are by Second Light members past and present (see list 1) and an additional wide range of poets are included (list 2). Some factors outside the editors’ control – such as exceptionally high permission fees demanded for the use of published poems by some publishers and some women poets not wanting to be published in an all-woman anthology – prevented the anthology being fully representative of the talent of UK women poets. However, we were delighted by the numbers of superb poems submitted. The co-operation of Second Light’s membership has helped us greatly to offer a wide cross-section of exciting work which we think is a true reflection of ambition and achievement.
A C Clarke * Adele Ward * Alice Kavounas * Alison Brackenbury * Alyson Hallett * Angela Kirby * Angela Stoner * Ann Alexander * Anna Crowe * Anna Kisby * Anne Cluysenaar * Anne Ryland * Anne Stewart * Carol Beadle * Caroline Carver * Cheryl Moskowitz * Danielle Hope * Daphne Gloag * Denise Bennett * Denise McSheehy * Dilys Wood * Elizabeth Burns * Elizabeth Rapp * Gill Learner * Gill McEvoy * Helen Ivory * Hilary Davies * Hylda Sims * Isobel Thrilling * Jacqueline Gabbitas * Jane Mclaughlin * Jean Atkin * Jean Earle * Joan Poulson * Judith Cair * Judith Kazantzis * Judy Gahagan * June English * June Hall * Justina Hart * Kate Foley * Katherine Gallagher * Kay Cotton * Kay Syrad * Kim Moore * Lesley Quayle * Lotte Kramer * Lucy Hamilton * Lyn Moir * Lynne Wycherley * M R Peacocke * Maggie Butt * Maggie Sawkins * Maria Jastrzębska * Marion Tracy * Mary MacRae * Merryn Williams * Mimi Khalvati * Moniza Alvi * Myra Schneider * Nadine Brummer * Nancy Mattson * Penelope Shuttle * Pippa Little * R V Bailey * Rebecca Gethin * Rose Flint * Ruth Smith * S J Litherland * Sarah Westcott * Seni Seneviratne * Sharon Morris * Susanne Ehrhardt * Thelma Laycock * U A Fanthorpe * V Gatehouse * Victoria Pugh * Wendy French * Zeeba Ansari
Angela Leighton * Anna Adams * Anna Robinson * Anne Stevenson * Aviva Dautch * Caitriona O’Reilly * Carole Satyamurti * Caroline Price * Carrie Etter * Catherine Smith * Christine Evans * Clare Pollard * Deryn Rees‑Jones * Dinah Livingstone * Dorothy Nimmo * Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin * Elaine Feinstein * Esther Morgan * Fiona Sampson * Fleur Adcock * Frances Horovitz * Gillian Allnutt * Gillian Clarke * Gwyneth Lewis * Hannah Lowe * Helen Moore * Imtiaz Dharker * Jackie Kay * Jackie Wills * Jane Duran * Jane Griffiths * Jen Hadfield * Julia Darling * Kate Bingham * Katrina Porteous * Linda Black * Lorna Thorpe * Marie Naughton * Marita Over * Martha Kapos * Maura Dooley * Menna Elfyn * Pascale Petit * Pauline Stainer * Phoebe Hesketh * Polly Clark * Rebecca Goss * Róisín Tierney * Ruth Fainlight * Selima Hill * Sinéad Morrissey * Siobhan Logan * Susan Wicks * Vuyelwa Carlin

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Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Memorial Fund

Second Light is pleased to continue management of this fund, whose purpose is to assist members on low income, and their travelling companions if required, to attend Second Light events by way of providing a modest sum towards travelling costs. The fund was started with a generous donation from the family of Mary MacRae, a fine poet and, until her death in 2009, an enthusiastic and supportive member of Second Light. For more details or to apply, see Second Light Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Fund.

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A few photos from our Autumn Festival, 2008, where…

… a great time was had by all, sell out readings and workshops. Romanian participant, Elena Nistor, had her camera to hand…

Joan Waddleton, Maggie Norton

Maggie shows Joan how the coat fits …

Anne Ballard (speaker), Daphne Schiller, Anna Avebury

"and in this one here, look…"

Anne Stewart, Administrator

Something funny this way comes?

Pat Earnshaw and Hilary Llewellyn‑Williams

Discussing the finer points…

Penelope Shuttle, Kay Cotton

Cornwall meets Normandie; Penelope and Kay talk shop

Elena Nistor, Katherine Gallagher, Anne Stewart

Katherine takes the throne… Elena (on her right) directs the shot

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