Featured Poets, April 2019                     home page
 

Ann Alexander       Carolyn O’Connell       Dorothy Baird       Jane McLaughlin       Justina Hart       Margaret Wilmot       Moya Pacey       Ruth Hanchett       Susan Davies       Wendy French      

Ann Alexander

Ann Alexander won 1st prize in Mslexia’s poetry competition (2007), and Bedford Open (2007). Other prizes include the Frogmore, BBC Poem for Britain, Grey Hen, and Peterloo. She lives in Stratford upon Avon now.

To the front, as night is falling

Those who set up home by the sea
must consider the tides, and we do.
 
At the end of the day we walk to the sea, and talk
of the incoming, outgoing, neap and full,
high, ebb, spring and flood of the tides.
 
We consider the moon that sucks the tides;
full, horned, gibbous and pale,
waxing and waning, ringed and red.
 
The children, the ecstatic dogs,
louche youths under the granite walls,
have gone to earth.
 
Unobserved,
we sniff the wind that tickles the waves:
simoom, sirocco, willywar, breeze;
dip our squealing toes in the gravelly sea;
imagine the world that lies beneath –
its mountains and rifts, its wrecks, its bones;
the uplifting, collapsing of rock.
 
      Each morning he gets up,
      shakes his memory and the day to life –
      and if his eyes, his ears, his legs
      are every day a little less,
      the balance holds.
      Evening will come.
 
Walk me to the sea, he says then,
holding out his hand
to save me from drowning.
 

Ann Alexander

First Prize, Grey Hen Poetry Competition 2013 and published at www.greyhenpress.com;
Published in Old Things (Ward Wood 2016)

Publications: Old Things, Ward Wood, 2016
Too Close, Ward Wood, 2010
Nasty British & Short, Peterloo Poets, 2007
Facing Demons, Peterloo Poets, 2002
Essential Poems for Britain, Harper Collins, BBC

35 Mansell Street
Stratford upon Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 6NR
  
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Carolyn O’Connell

Four poems have been published in ‘Mirrored Voices’ An Anthology of Emerging Poetsfrom around the world. It was incepted by the American fiction/non fiction author Paul Morabito.

Diamonds

Diamonds fall on glass, rain on the window
patterns of water shimmering in the dawn
not precious gems, eternal settings of graphite
pressed for millennia beneath specific rocks.
Worn by women as tokens of affection, pride
of their menfolk as they sport rich gifts,
the carat of a poor man pledging life
a bauble cast unheeding by the oligarch.
 
One set of diamonds a young mother wore
token not of love but duty to be done
her pledge no to a single man but
to a race she never wished was hers
 
and on that day the diamonds were returned
to wait in silence for another’s brow,
now a lifetime’s past, children then undreamt
walk streets changed beyond concept,
 
all that was sixty years ago.
 

Carolyn O’Connell

Poem published in collection, Timelines, Indigo Dreams, 2014

Collection: Timelines, Indigo Dreams, 2014, ISBN 978-1-909357-53-2, £7.99
Anthology: Mirrored Voices Emerging Poets Anthology, Star Investment Strategies LLC, 2015, ISBN 978-1-5077107-1-5, £6.95.

Tel: 07950 395607
 
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Carolyn O’Connell blog
 
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Dorothy Baird

Dorothy lives in Edinburgh where she runs creative writing groups in the community and is a Human Givens psychotherapist. In 2009, she founded and for five years ran the Young Edinburgh Writers, a creative writing group for teenagers in the city.

It Never Stops

The antennae that once woke me
to catch a hiccup
before it revved to screams
now scan the quality of night
to read who’s out, who’s in.
 
And ‘out’ means stravaiging
in pubs and clubs, daundering
on streets with chittery bumps
they don’t feel, lurching for
taxis, friends’ floors, the last bus,
 
while I’m the missions’ sergeant
in my wakeful nightie,
alert for keys, creaking
stairs, the sloosh of taps,
counting them home.
 

Dorothy Baird

Featured on BBC Radio 4 in Ruth Padel’s programme on writing workshops.
Published in collection Mind the Gap (see below)

Collections:
Mind the Gap, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-909357-85-3
Leaving the Nest, 2007, Two Ravens Press, ISBN 978-1-906120-06-1

Dorothy’s website
 
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Jane McLaughlin

‘Tightly-wrought sequences and lyrical pieces … poignant and often surprising’ (Katherine Gallagher). Jane McLaughlin writes poetry and fiction. She has been widely published in magazines/anthologies; her first collection is Lockdown (Cinnamon 2016).

The Lacemaker Travels to Seville

The silver hook slips to and fro.
Dark head bent over red sweater,
in the next seat she nets
a fine white band. Fingers arched,
thumbs steady. Turn of the wrist.
 
The train gallops the latifundios,
Cordoba fades behind golden hills.
Slant orange sun descending
paints white villages, backlights her hair.
The work grows, precise as frost.
 
Her small bones and tendons learnt
this craft from women whose maths
was in their heads, patterns
of chequered mesh, stars, flowers,
eloquent as a Moorish ceiling.
 
It does not need words: the yarn
is hooked into its own language.
In the lexicon of human gestures
her movements mean this and nothing else:
I am making lace.
 
Flowing like high cirrus
it will trim an alb, perhaps,
or christening robe. Maybe
hem a sister’s wedding dress.
A rite begun, tissue of spider’s breath.

Jane McLaughlin

Highly Commended, Torbay Open Poetry Competition, 2015

Publications:
Lockdown, 2016, Cinnamon Press, link
The Abbot’s Cat (e-novella), 2014, Cinnamon Press, (Kindle, avail from Amazon) link
Quintet (poetry), 2005, Cinnamon Press
Quartet (short stories), 2004, Cinnamon Press

twitter &MclaughlinJane3
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Jane at poetry p f

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Justina Hart

Justina Hart was short-listed in the 2010 Second Light competition and has been published in the Daily Poem column of the Independent. Having worked in national newspapers and online, Justina is currently writing a poetry collection and a novel.

A Wire to Grief

When you flash upon me,
yanking the voice from my throat,
I’m usually peeling potatoes
or combing my just-woken hair
 
or, worse, in bed with my not-quite-lover
who’s helped pull me clear.
And you freeze me: peeler,
hairbrush, almost-lover in hand,
 
like that giant iguana I once saw
suddenly play dead, one foot high
in the air as if it was having a laugh,
not petrified, like me.
 
You rip all sound from the room
so it slips, cliffs rise, drop away.
There’s that pause when nothing happens
before everything does; and I’m falling
 
like David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death
when his bombed Spitfire plunges, and he pleads
to be spared – he loves the radio control chick
on the line he’s never even met.
 
Through the smoke and flames
I see, for a second, a reprieve for me, too –
if I had another life, I’d never walk out again,
leaving me and you just hanging.
 

Justina Hart

Publications:
Angels: millennial messengers, 2000, Seraphim Press, ISBN 0953577902
The Rhythm of Stones, 1995, Carnival Press, ISBN 1899378014

Address: Lichfield and London
 
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Margaret Wilmot

Born in California, now living in Sussex. I am drawn by imaginative associations… memory, landscape, ideas, paintings, words. Writing, for me, is a tool for seeing; making connections, refining perception, always a search, some kind of amorphous truth the goal.

Clay-Lady

1
 
As Eve
 
The clay-lady steps forth
innocent as the child whose hands fashioned
arm-paws, hair-cape, the apple
she raises high as a chalice.
 
Her awkward radiance proclaims
a miracle: the first apple!
 
Salt-shine sprinkles her frock. A smile
cracks wide her face, emits kiln-light, and in its glow
we too see miracles:
 
a lump of clay – and look –
 
 
2
 
In Amsterdam
 
A clay-lady moves through
pewter streets. Her salt-freckled frock shimmers;
she leans high into her apple.
 
The burghers’ narrow hammered houses
cannot contain this fire-fangled clay. A smile cracks
wide her face, emits kiln-light.
 
 
3
 
In New York on a winter afternoon
 
The apple-woman sits
in the pewter chair, moon dimming in her lap.
Dusk filters through the gritty window,
absorbs, effaces
 
her salt-grey skirts, the strong dough-grey arms.
Her fire-fangled yearning salts
the moon with light.
 

Margaret Wilmot

Poem published in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 8, May 2012

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Moya Pacey

I am living in Canberra Australia after spending 2009-2010 studying at Goldsmiths College for an MA in Creative and Life Writing. I am working on a second collection.

Smalls

Keep the secrets of your laundry basket
close to home; should a visitor call,
on washing day, unexpected –
your french lace knickers
forlorn & ragged as a bed
of wild silk pansies
at the end of a hot summer’s day,
& his boxer shorts, extra large now,
shirring elastic sagging like a top
heavy sunflower – seeds all gone,
can be whipped indoors
double quick.

Moya Pacey

Poem published in Women’s Work, eds Hathorn and Bailey, Pax Press, 2013;
reading on Radio National Poetica, late 2013.

Publications:
The Wardrobe, 2009, Ginninderra Press, ISBN 978-1-7402758-0-4. £7.00.

Moya Pacey on Facebook
 
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Ruth Hanchett

Ruth Hanchett: ‘Endgame’ exemplifies how I seek economy of words, an approach that seems increasingly my own. My poems placed in competitions, magazines or anthologies have tended to be highly compressed. I find membership of the British Haiku Society helpful.

Endgame

Walked by your river this morning.
Sunless. Clouds longed to let go
their rain. Boats clung
to their moorings. Cafés closed.
 
Ward windows struggle to bring in
trees and sky – your river
too far away.
You lie in bed, soft-skinned
downy arms by your sides,
hair wispy as a dandelion clock,
whitely transparent, face bone-cheeked.
 
Your ‘yeses’ are baby birds,
tiny attempts to fly out
of your mind into mine. Your eyes
speak. You open your mouth
to be fed. Wait. Clamp it shut.
 

Ruth Hanchett

Endgame won the Segora International Poetry Prize in 2016

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Susan Davies

I am a retired lecturer in English Literature. I write poetry and short stories and I have just completed a memoir, and I’m now working on a novel. I contine to write poetry as it is my first love.

23 Fitzroy Road, Primrose Hill

What picture soothed the mind’s eye
and brought her to life again?
Maybe the white pillow case on the line
puffed up and puckered like a barnacle goose.
 
Or the memory of my first love,
waiting for me in his room, while I
a callow, skimp of a girl – barely
seventeen, and not yet broken in –
carelessly lingered by the landing
window, where below, over the fence,
I saw a young mother, pegging
out nappies in the snow along
a frosted loop of rope – her red hair
plaited and coiled like a coronet
to frame the loveliness of her face.
 
And I found myself caught in the silent
beauty and rhythm of her movement –
arching down, and reaching up
on the ringing, frosted path –
her raw, worn hands pinching
the corners of her parchment poetry –
her masterpieces stretched out to dry.
 
I didn’t know then that her mirrors
were already sheeted, and her spirit
demised with every shot of breath.
I didn’t know she wanted a sarcophagus
stamped with the face of the moon – bold, too, with tigery stripes,
and her body embalmed in warm
honey to lie beside her copper cauldron
and rouge-pots, glowing vermillion
like the eyes of a predatory god.
And her heart to be wrapped
in brown paper, tied up with string
and tucked between her bare, crossed feet.
 

Susan Davies

23 Fitzroy Road is a prize winning poem: Sentinel Poetry competition, September 2012

Publications:
Short Story, Crake’s Troll, published in collection Significant Spaces,
Earlyworks Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-9064518-6-8 £8.99

Susan Davies at poetry p f
 

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Wendy French

Wendy French is Chair of Lapidus, an organisation which promotes creative words for health and well-being, a facilitator for writing groups in healthcare settings and she works with Poet in the City to promote poetry and emotional wellbeing in secondary schools.

Wendy serves on the Second Light Network Committee. (see ‘More’ link below)

London Dry

A red bathmat destined for charity
lies in the moon’s path.
 
An empty bottle of gin floats
upright on bubble-less water.
 
Dressed in her best Harris Tweed
the colour of heather she’s dying
 
as she soaks in the bath. Her stale breath
and sauerkraut mouth will suggest
 
to the pathologist who teaches the art
of dissection that one’s own grief
 
isn’t so easy to stitch. In the half-lit orchard
moles bury themselves in the lawn.

Wendy French

Publications:
Splintering the Dark, Rockingham Press;
Sky over Bedlam, tall-lighthouse;
We Have a little Sister and She Hath No Breasts, tall-lighthouse

Address:
4 Myton Road
West Dulwich
London
SE21 8EB
 
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