Featured Poets, April 2020                     home page
 

Dorothy Baird       Maureen G Coppack       Penny Dedman       Pat Francis       Helena Hinn       Stevie Krayer       Marilyn Longstaff       Jenny Morris       Carolyn Oulton       Mary Robinson      

You may also wish to listen to poem recordings that have been added to our (small but growing!) digital archive. We have poems there by:
 
Nadine Brummer, Daphne Gloag, Gill Horitz, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill Learner, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Jennie Osborne, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy, Fiona Ritchie Walker, Sarah Westcott and Lynne Wycherley.
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

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
 
e-mail

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Maureen G Coppack

Maureen lives in North Wales. Poems published in Iota, Poetry Nottingham, Other Poetry, Second Light, Helicon, and various other magazines. Success in local competitions. Chapbooks: Shared Ground and Turtle Stone. She is currently working on a new collection, Alternatives.

Wading Through Green

It would have been a July afternoon
with everyone piling out into the sun.
And I remember the dog rose blooming
in a flush of pink, as we waded through green meadows,
hunting for lucky leaves among the purple clover.
 
Then someone made a daisy chain, and suddenly
we were all crowned in gold and white,
and there were butterflies,
(orange tip, common blue, cabbage white)
dancing around our heads.
 
And I recall those colours midsummer bright,
but any sounds have slipped away.
Memory runs a silent film, which is strange
and sad, because I’m sure, so very sure,
that all our hearts were singing.

Maureen G Coppack

Publications: Chapbooks, Shared Ground and Turtle Stone

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Penny Dedman

Penny Dedman is a retired TV Producer and script writer, and has been writing most of her life, even when she didn’t want to. She writes short stories, poems and is three-quarters of the way through a novel.

Crossing the Daintree

The car ferry crosses to the rainforest:
I heard the glissando whistle of the whip bird
You took the photo of me leaning on the rails,
You had said: ‘What if I just keep driving?’
 
The solitary sitter on the plane
The flight home to London,
mindful of family
and another life.
 

Penny Dedman

Footnote: The Daintree is a river in the Northlands, Australia.

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Pat Francis

Pat Francis has poems in ARTEMISpoetry, Frogmore Papers, South and South Bank Poetry. ‘Recalling London East’ was published by Paekakariki Press during lockdown. “Ambition: to keep writing next year, when I’m 90.”

    Felicette

    For sale
    fifteen of them
    much of a muchness.
       They’ll do said the lab boys.
 
    With care one cat
    grew glossy
    plump, placid.
       Don’t let them get fond of it said the chief scientist.
 
    The electrodes inserted
    in C351
    looked like a little space-helmet.
       Good publicity said the press boys.
 
    The space cat floated
    for five minutes,
    weightless.
       Success! gloated the headlines.
 
    They watched to see
    if the capsule would burn
    on re-entry.
       Lucky this time said the scientists.
 
    The cat landed
    the crowd cheered
    the scientists bowed.
       Felicette the Space Cat! gloated the press boys.
 
    They waited two months
    for people to forget her
    then dissected her brain.
       For the sake of humanity said the scientists.
 

Pat Francis

Publications:
Recalling London East, illustrated by Jane Colling, 2020, Paekakariki Press, ISBN 978-1-9081334-1-0, £12.50

Pat Francis website
 
e-mail Pat Francis

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Helena Hinn

Helena Hinn lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has been published by Virago, Faber and Faber, and in Women’s Press anthologies and has a published collection of prose, Histories of the Imagination.

Pins

pins are silver – the colour of the moon
long ago women would throw pins into wells
giving back to the earth
a tiny part of what had been taken
 
the tiny insignificant pin
which is invaluable to women
: to secure when sewing
: to fix, to enable work to happen
 
women work for pin money
an insubstantial amount to the world
but essential to them
 
if women had an emblem
I would promote the pin
to the world it seems a small unimportant object
but women understand the value of a pin
 
and women’s values
know the essential nature of the tiny
and its part in the whole

Helena Hinn

Helena’s website
 
e-mail

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Stevie Krayer

Stevie Krayer gave up university administration to have more time for writing and, since moving from London to Wales in 1993, has published six books, including three poetry collections, and an anthology of Quaker poets (co-edited with R V Bailey).

from “Mass for the Oort Cloud”
Agnus Dei

Thar she blows!
telltale trace
on the horizon. No
leviathan – behold
the speck of god-dust
that takes away
the weight
of that mighty
unaccounted for
dark mass
(well, maybe). Load
it up with all
your unanswered
questions, scientists!
If only
it could take
away our own
darkness – but
even if we
conscientiously put out
our garbage, there’s
no celestial dustcart
to call; and
where
could it be taken?
Out in that desert
no benign
kites and gulls
wait.

Stevie Krayer

Poem published in New Monkey, 2014

Publications:
New Monkey, 2014, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093574-7-1
A Speaking Silence (anthology, co-edited with R V Bailey), 2013, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093573-0-3
Questioning the Comet, 2004, Gomer, ISBN 1-843233-46-0
Voices from a Burning Boat, 1997, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0132-8
The Book of Hours by R M Rilke (translation), 1994, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0432-7

e-mail Stevie Krayer

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Marilyn Longstaff

Marilyn Longstaff lives in Darlington and is a member of Vane Women. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines, anthologies and on the web. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and has had published 5 books of poetry.

Alioth Al-Jawn

The black horse John
 
Always beware the quiet ones my mother said
muttering something about hidden depths,
still waters and dark horses.
 
Unlike an Arab stallion, according to my dad,
John had no rump; needed a belt
to hold his trousers up.
 
I couldn’t say he raced into my life in 1968,
 
maybe trotted quietly, tossing his faintly curling mane –
long, with auburn lights; blinkered, myopic,
Mona Lisa smile.
 
My parents should have listened to their own advice.
While they were fantasising Christian weddings
with fiery Geoff or beaming Dave or sober Stuart,
 
the black horse, John, remained invisible,
galloped below their radar, nuzzled his dark way
into my affections.  
 
 
note: Alioth Al-Jawn – Arabic, ‘black horse’; can also be translated as a star name.

Marilyn Longstaff

Poem published in Articles of War (see below)

Publications:
The Museum of Spare Parts, 2018, Mudfog, £5
Articles of War, 2017, Smokestack Books, ISBN 978-0-9934547-6-9, £7.99
Raiment, 2010, Smokestack Books, ISBN 978-0-9564175-4-1, £7.95
Sitting Among The Hoppers, 2004, ISBN 978-1-9048520-5-6, £7.50
Puritan Games, 2001 , Vane Women Press, ISBN 0-9522349-9-8, £4

Vane Women website
 
e-mail Marilyn Longstaff

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Jenny Morris

Jenny Morris writes poems and fiction. She has taught in the UK and abroad. Her writing has won awards, been published in five collections, numerous magazines and anthologies. She has read at literary festivals, on radio and in prison.

Harsh Coast

The sea must whisper, hiss or roar.
It strews the sand with hollow bones.
It nudges cliffs, invades the shore
and swallows homes.
The waters pulse like rolling wheels
on yellow fish that gleam as brass.
Black flowers by the broken creels
are dripping glass.
In mist the gulls shrill, mew and taunt
redundant foghorns with their screams.
Those lost and mournful echoes haunt
our silent dreams.
At dusk a chain of drowned men wades
to shore. Their footprints leave no trace.
The chimes of metal music fade
as flood tides race.
The wild geese fly, cloud shadows drift.
In crooked towns we wait for night,
for ill-starred ships, for storms to lift,
for second sight.
Wild waves grow dim. All glimmers gone.
The ruined sky is black and stark.
All night the moon is moving on
to break the dark.

Jenny Morris

Poem published in Poetry News

Publications: Domestic Damage, Cinnam on Press, 2020. ISBN 978-1-7886490-1-8 Keeping Secrets, Cinnamon Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-9090776-0-7 Lunatic Moon, Gatehouse Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9554770-0-3

The Sin Eater, National Poetry Foundation, 1993. ISBN 978-1-8705563-8-5 Urban Space, National Poetry Foundation, 1991. ISBN 978-1870556811

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Carolyn Oulton

Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) and teaches on the Creative and Professional Writing BA.

Before I am old

     ‘And has the remnant of my life
     Been pilfered of this sunny Spring?’
 
       Dorothy Wordsworth
 
In the shadow of the woods
shapes push through like teeth,
bluebells hang steep,
bump against my tyres, through the field
the advance and retreat of a tractor.
 
I’m having that one for a start.
If I don’t go through
those toys, who will? Read those PhD
chapters today, I’ll never have time
to write comments before the review.
 
That’s a second generation
of arthritis.
The toys are in the shed.
The work is done. If I can’t get back
and look, I’m holding on to the wood and the cliff.

Carolyn Oulton

Poem published in Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple

Publications:
Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple, ISBN 978-1-9052083-5-7

Carolyn Oulton website
 
e-mail Carolyn Oulton

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Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson’s work is concerned with connections between people, place and nature. She is interested in text – reading, writing, interpretation, shape. She particularly responds to the visual and has worked on a poetry/photography collaboration.

The patron saint of hares

     for Helen
 
I came to an open gateway
and at that same instant a hare entered
my field of vision. I am still. I am seeding grass,
 
brambles, nettles. She follows her known path,
a few steps at a time, pausing for scent
in the air, a tremor of earth beneath her feet.
 
When does she sense my presence?
                                           She halts
a shadow’s length away. How quick she is
in her stillness, every hair of her pelt
pricked, every nerve taut as wire.
 
Which of us will break this moment?
 
I want the legend of the hare who hid
from the hunters under the skirts
of Saint Melangell at prayer to be true.
 

Mary Robinson

in collection Trace, Oversteps Books, 2020
first published in anthology For the Silent, ed. Ronnie Goodyer, Indigo Dreams, 2019

Publications:
Trace, 2020, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-85-4, £8
Alphabet Poems, 2019, Mariscat Press, ISBN 978-1-9160609-2-0, £6
Out of Time (with photographs by Horatio Lawson), 2015, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, ISBN 978-0-9538477-3-0, £6
Uist Waulking Song, 2012, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, ISBN 978-0-9538477-2-3, £4.50
The Art of Gardening, 2010, Flambard, ISBN 978-1-906601-14-0

Wild About Poetry blog
 
Mary Robinson at poetry p f
 
e-mail Mary Robinson

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