It is always sad when someone dies, especially so when that ‘someone’ is known to you and, perhaps, someone you are, or rather were, very fond of. When it is a creative person – a poet, an artist, say – it would be sadder still, if they were simply ‘crossed off the administrative list’ with no reference to their contribution to the canon. Here, we present a little of the poets we have been fond of.
We would very much like to be in contact with the Executors of the following: Barbara Allen, Jill Bonser, Mary Bourne, Stella Cirket, Valerie Clarke, Pat Corina, Gillian Elinor, Joy French, Valerie Lynch, Ruth Partington, Barbara Roberts and Brigid Somerset. Please telephone UK 01689 811394 or email Anne Stewart.
“Anna Adams, poet, painter, ceramicist, once called herself an ‘autodidact’, referring to the absence of a conventional higher education, though she won a free place at Harrow Art School aged thirteen and went on to study at the Hornsey College of Art. She married the painter Norman Adams and lived physically and spiritually close to painters.” – quotation from i.m. article by Dilys Wood, An Eloquent Life, which appears in ARTEMISpoetry (Issue 8 May 2012).
Anna was a long-standing member of Second Light. Her poems were published in Issues 1 and 6 of ARTEMISpoetry and artwork was included in Issue 9. Issue 7 featured Anna’s poetry and art on the back cover. read i.m.article by Dilys Wood. See back cover, Issue 7.
She published 17 collections, most recently:
Green Resistance, Enitharmon Press, 1996
A Paper Ark, Peterloo, 1996
Flying Underwater, Peterloo, 2004
She edited 2 anthologies for Enitharmon: Thames in 1999 and London, in prose and verse in 2003 and her work has appeared in cultural/geographical anthologies, from Enitharmon and Iron Press – respectively, The River Thames in Verse and A Hundred British Islands.
A posthumous collection, Time-Pockets (2011, ISBN 978-0-9556329-0-8) is available for £5, from Fisherrow Press, 11, Bush Street, Musselborough, EH21 6DB.
Alice Beer was a long-term member of Second Light and a regular participant in our residential courses at Launde Abbey, near Leicester. Her poetry, deceptively simple at times, resonates with many at that deeper level ‘where the spirit lives’… Alice was also a potter, a lino-cut card-maker, a Quaker, and, even into her ’90s, a campaigner for peace. She had a wicked sense of humour too and was not above teasing those she was fond of. Many people found her to be an inspirational character with an ‘uplifting’ presence and, no doubt, each will have their own story to tell.
An i.m. article by Anne Stewart, Alice All Over the Place, appears in ARTEMISpoetry (Issue 7 November 2011) – read article.
Facing Forward, Looking Back, Poetry Monthly Press, 1999
Talking of Pots, People & Points of View, poetry p f, 2005
Window on the Square, SoundsWrite, 2009
posthumous pamphlet collection, 2012, At My Age, free download
The back cover of ARTEMISpoetry Issue 5 celebrates Mary Bourne, “poet and painter, who died of cancer in 2009 and wrote many poems about her experience of living with disease. These moving poems seem to have been written very much with the aim of giving expression to incidents and thoughts that others might find it hard to articulate, including her reactions to going blind in the last phase of illness
… A typical wry poem is Beauty Contest, where the judging of paintings is compared to the judging of baby or female flesh: the judge cradles her painting, “a little gem, he says. // A sudden glow / warms my inside / like a post-partum bleed. / A gush of mother’s pride.” Someone else’s anxiety and inhibition – in this case the priest who secretly longs to be a painter – brings out ready sympathy: “She handed him the brush, / challenging with her eyes / to reach out or retreat” (The Priest and the Artist).” –
read i.m.article by Dilys Wood. See back cover, Issue 5.
Request contact with executors e-mail site editor
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U A Fanthorpe was a long-term member and staunch supporter of Second Light. She is a past-judge of the Second Light Poetry Competition and actively promoted ARTEMISpoetry when we first made the leap from Members’ Newsletter to a public, ‘for-sale’ literary journal. “UAF made many different kinds of contribution to poetry. One of these was to give us a new image of the genus poet … Fanthorpe gave us a woman not young, small, sharply intelligent, sympathetic, quizzical, polite and formidable. This potent image – potent because her poetry gave her the right to be somebody and influence her world … ” (Dilys Wood, writing in the Editorial of ARTEMISpoetry Issue 3, November 2009). Fanthorpe’s impact on the poetry world is, literally, immeasurable.
“UA became FRSL in 1987, CBE (for services to poetry) in 2001, and she was awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2003. Several other collections followed Consequences, and the Collected Poems 1978-2003 came out in 2005.” – taken from i.m. article by R V Bailey, which appears in ARTEMISpoetry (Issue 4 May 2010). read article.
Her list of publications is extensive, commencing with the first volume, Side Effects from Peterloo and … not yet ending as Enitharmon Press are soon to publish a new Selected Poems, chosen and introduced by R V Bailey, to add to those they have already published.
image © Annabel Faraday
Berta Friestadt was a poet, playwright, novelist, short-story writer and much-loved teacher. In 2006, her novel Mass Dreams won the London Region competition of Discovered Authors, who published the work, under their D A Diamonds imprint, in 2007. She was a long-term member of Second Light and a regular participant in our residential courses at Launde Abbey, near Leicester.
Her lively work appears in Second Light anthologies, in A Twist of Malice, Uncomfortable Poems by Older Women (Grey Hen Press, 2008), in magazines such as Mslexia and ARTEMISpoetry. Her poignant contribution to an article about holocaust experiences and influences was published in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 2 – read article.
An i.m. article by Dilys Wood appears in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 3 – read article.
Read Berta’s poem, Stella, Nurse Practitioner, which was published in ARTEMISpoetry (Issue 1, November 2008)
Clare Holtham’s poetry “was obviously very accomplished but what marked it out was a combination of the ‘natural voice’ (no sense of forcing, no overload of the self-consciously erudite) with an impression of seriousness and the weight of both knowledge and experience. As I learnt after her death, Clare’s life had been, in the modern euphemism, ‘challenging’ and also productive and successful. She was marked for future recognition as a writer had she lived.” – taken from i.m. article by Dilys Wood (ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 5 November 2010).
Sadly Clare died of cancer before a body of work had been published in a collection. However, a posthumous collection, The Road from Herat, poems and photographs of Clare Holtham, edited and with an introduction by Roger Garfitt, was published by Poetry Workshop Publications in association with Five Seasons Press – ISBN 978 0 9566113 2 1.
In March 2013, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 45-minute specially commissioned and researched drama-documentary on Clare’s life and early poetry titled The Road to Herat, with the role of Clare played by Harriet Walter.
Clare’s last page at Second Light
The Road from Herat – Review by Kate Kellaway in The Observer, 8 January 2012.
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Pam Hughes was born in Devon and moved to Seaford in Sussex in 1998. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Sussex University in 2000. Her poem, The Seven Sisters, won the Second Light poetry competition in 2006 and her poem, Jawbation, (written in Sussex dialect) won second prize in the Poetry London competition in 2004.
In her unpublished thesis, Dancing Around the Edges, Hughes wrote: “my leitmotif is dislocation, a sense of never quite belonging…” and her 2007 co-publication with Ann Johnson, Secondglances, says: “[Pam Hughes] … writes in response to the sea, the downs and rats in her garden”.
read a selection of Pam Hughes’ poems (pdf file).
The Guardian Obituary.
Publications (available from Executor, Ralph Taylor):
Secondglances, poetry by Pam Hughes, drawings by Ann Johnson, 2007;
Shadows on the Downs, poetry by Pam Hughes, paintings by Harold Mockford, 2008
Contact Executor Ralph Taylor
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“I knew Mary MacRae as a member of a poetry workshop we both attended in north London. She came to writing poetry late and published just two collections – As Birds Do (2007) and (posthumously) Inside the Brightness of Red (2010) both from Second Light Publications. Her poem Jury …” (follow link above to read whole article)
Mary MacRae lived in London and spent her working life teaching English. In 1997 she joined The Poetry School and studied with Mimi Khalvati, Myra Schneider and other tutors there; she was awarded the Poetry School Scholarship for 2002-3.
Her poetry has been published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, won prizes in Scintilla’s Long Poem Competitions and in the Second Light competition, and her poem Jury was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and published in Forward’s Decades of Poems anthology in 2011.
Her first poetry collection, As Birds Do, was published by Second Light Publications in 2007 and is now out of print. A posthumous collection of Mary’s poetry, Inside the Brightness of Red, was also published by, and is available from, Second Light Publications (2010).
Mary’s family have made a significant donation to a travel bursary fund managed by Second Light.
The Mary MacRae website has a large selection of her poems and reviews, biographical details, Executor contact details and much more…
Alison Michell was a member of Second Light for several years and had a member’s page on SecondLightLive. see Alison’s last page on SecondLightLive
Alison lived in South London and started writing seriously after cancer diagnosis in 2002. Her first collection Journeywoman was published following her MA study in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths and her work was published in various magazines and anthologies (Rapport; Morley College Review; Goldfish Anthology 2; Waves; The New Writer; Mslexia). Alison’s second collection, Look Well to this Day was published in December 2012.
Publications – all proceeds to Beating Bowel Cancer:
Look Well to this Day, 2012, from Beating Bowel Cancer, £6
Journeywoman, 2009, Bookmark Publications, ISBN 978-0-9560731-0-5 £6, Beating Bowel Cancer
Contact with Executor is via e-mail to Helen Ogden
‘when poetry lays its hand on our shoulder…’ Adrienne Rich, 1929-2012
1995: a small, middle-aged woman poet in the darkened auditorium of the South Bank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, leaning on a transparent stick. I confess to not being able to remember what she read, only her quiet, authoritative voice and that magic stick, that gathered the light but, unlike Prospero’s staff, remains for me unbroken. No stage prop but a necessary support for someone who had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since her twenties, with all the debility and pain that this auto-immune disease involves. That evening by the Thames, I bought her 1993 Notebooks on Poetry and Politics: What is Found There. What I found was a lucid, passionate, generous exploration of the deepest nature of poetry and its relationship to human struggle.
She says* ‘I’m both a poet and one of the ‘everybodies’ of my country. I live with manipulated fear, ignorance, cultural confusion and social antagonism huddling together on the faultline of empire. I hope never to idealise poetry – it has suffered enough from that. Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy. Neither is it a blueprint, nor an instruction manual, nor a billboard. There is no universal Poetry… only poetry and poetics and the streaming, intertwined histories to which they belong.’
Thank you Adrienne Rich for making me examine my poetic and my very ordinary conscience once again. Your strange, transparent walking stick is still leading the way for me.
(abstracted from Kate Foley’s i.m. article in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 9, November 2012)
*from Rich’s Guardian article, Legislators of the World, 18.11.06
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Daphne Rock was a long-standing member of Second Light. She began to take her writing seriously after attending an Arvon course when she was 50. She published several chapbooks as well as full collections and, as well as poetry, had some successes with plays and short stories. She used poetry writing with adult students improving literacy and with Asian students learning English, often tying it in to geology and fossils.
Two articles appeared in Issue 1 of ARTEMISpoetry (November 2008): Recapitulation of the Night, effectively an i.m. article, yet principally in Daphne’s own words, and an i.m. article, Blaze She Bloody Did, with contributions from five fellow-poets: Adele Davide, Kate Foley, Lyn Moir, Rosemary Norman & Jenny Vuglar.
read article: Recapitulation of the Night
read article: Blaze She Bloody Did.
Is It Now, Hearing Eye, 2006;
Defoe, The Isle of Sheppey and the Fate of Things, Circular walk through the Heritage Landscape of Blaenafon, Easy to Miss: Looking for the Lead Miner in Matlock Bath and a posthumous collection A Tenth of Hydrogen (2011) are amongst those publications available from Corundum Press (contact Felicity Rock);
Waiting for Trumpets, Peterloo Poets, 1998
Daphne’s Place on the Web
Daphne at Second Light
Daphne at poetry p f
Contact executors via Felicity Rock, 83 Montrose Avenue, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 7DR. Tel: 01926 735626. e-mail Felicity Rock
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Nothing fazed her, an oar, a paddle, not even a tall ship’s rigging climbed with two tin hips and a dicky heart. Any water to be explored by canoe, inflatable or narrowboat. Any workshop poem in any form scribed before it could escape. Even a sestina.
She was an enthusiastic fan of skateboard championships, London buses and Second Light poetry events. She supported good causes and kind deeds, Isle of Wight home-grown or global, and took every opportunity to speak truth to power. Especially on Twitter.
Her work was published in magazines such as The Interpreter’s House and ARTEMISpoetry and in Second Light’s anthology Parents. She edited Shore Stories for Island Writers, and was a founder member of Shore Women Poets. An encourager of other writers, she gave a warm attentive ear to early drafts, always knowing how to finger a wandering line. She was much loved and will be much missed by her friends and admirers of her work.
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