Featured Poets, Aug 2019                     home page
 

Christine Vial       Diana Pritchard       Elizabeth Soule       Jean Atkin       Joy Howard       Kathryn Southworth       Maria Jastrzębska       Mary Robinson       Nicolette Golding       Simone Mansell Broome       Susan Jane Sims      

Christine Vial

East-end baby-boomer, now living in Enfield (North London) where she teaches literature and creative writing. Widely published & a popular live performer. Debut pamphlet: ‘Dancing in Blue Flip-flops’ pub autumn 2018. More info at poeticvoiceslive

“A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse and Thou… ”

     The Last Word Cafe at the British Library
 
In a corner, a young French woman is teaching French
to a young Iranian. He, in his turn, is teaching her Persian.
English is the language they share for this transaction.
“And why do you want to learn French?” she asks him.
“Because I love French cinema and art. One day I hope
to live in Paris”. They are waiting for a performance
of the Ruba‘iyat of Omar Khayayyam in Persian and in English.
 
And so are we – in another corner – where I’m speaking
Brick Lane Cockney to my American husband: two nations
divided by a common language. Both his names are Dutch.
My father’s surname is Huguenot, from the exiled weavers
of Spitalfields, and my mother’s maiden name is Lenihan.
 
In the global village, commonality usually means Coca-Cola
and diversity means danger. But here – held in this edge of glass –
our shared and different languages weave a map of poetry
flung out bright and hopeful against the winter sky.

Christine Vial

Poem first published in Barnet Poetry Competition Anthology, 2011;
in pamphlet collection Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018;
audio online at poeticvoiceslive (see below)

Publications:
Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018, RQpoetry pamphlets, ISBN 978-1-9010171-9-2, £5
(proceeds to Freedom from Torture’s “Write to Life” group);
a selection of Christine’s poems appears in each of the following anthologies:
Doing Christmas Differently, 2006, Wild Goose publications; Home, 2007, CETH; Taste, 2008, CETH; The Book of Love and Loss, 2014, Belgrave Press

Christine Vial at poeticvoiceslive
 
e-mail Christine Vial

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Diana Pritchard

Hertfordshire born, married, one son, two daughters, Diana Pritchard now lives in Guernsey. Her poetry is influenced by a wilderness upbringing in 1950s,1960s British Columbia. A volunteer CAB advisor, she currently chairs Guernsey Writers.

One Wrong Foot

The river, frozen over now,
flows fast beneath a rough
mountainous range of ice,
for January is the coldest month.
 
A man is making his way across.
He taps a tentative stick, testing,
seeking out a route to the saw-mill.
His children follow in his exact footsteps.
 
A moose has crossed before them.
Her tracks trail out of the wilderness
past the timber shack by the frozen creek,
over the ice to the land of willow-bush.
 
The children stop to peer down a hole
chopped in the river’s solid surface
hoping for a fleeting glimpse of fish,
a silver flash, but they are called away.
 
They’ll work at the mill, stack lumber,
heave slabs onto the fire, roll logs.
Later, tired, they’ll eat bread with jam
then climb into bunk-beds to listen for wolves.

Diana Pritchard

Poem published: Ver Open Competition Joint Winner, February 2001. Published in Moods of Water by Ver Poets.

Publications: Publ: Woolgathering, The National Poetry Foundation, 1999 ISBN: 1-900726-61-0 ISBN, 5.00

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Elizabeth Soule

Elizabeth Soule studied English and Philosophy at Nottingham University and taught English for many years. She is a member of the Suffolk Poetry Society and has had work published in the Norwich Writers’ Circle Anthology.

December 2011, a Memory of August 1968
   for Vaclav Havel

In a starless chill before dawn
we stood by the water’s edge,
tiny points of candle-light,
as a solitary flute sang out our misery
to the vastness of a dark sea.
 
Some had crouched over the radio all night
and guessing the worst,
had woken us
to stumble from tents to our hopeless vigil,
while hundreds of miles away
another kind of darkness rumbled over the frontier,
grinding the dreams of Spring
beneath remorseless tracks.
 
Then in bitter, barren silence
one by one each candle was extinguished,
our futile tribute
to those who dared to dream.
 
But hope and freedom are seeds that will not sleep
and the dust of dreams is fertile ground.
Small bright shoots split stone
Shatter concrete,
their progress more inexorable
than any trundling tank.
 
The brave gardener whose fearless tending
of improbable seedlings
gave us back belief,
now returns himself to the nurturing earth
and reminds us
that when the darkness seems most complete,
dawn is not so far away.
 

Elizabeth Soule

Poem published in PEN anthology Write to be Counted, 2017

e-mail Elizabeth Soule

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Jean Atkin

Jean Atkin is a poet & writer in education & the community. Her second collection How Time is in Fields was published in 2019 by IDP. She is Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival & BBC Poet for Shropshire for 2019 National Poetry Day.

The Children of Lir

His hands were folded. He seemed
to be waiting. I saw him lower
his eyes to earth
 
as I landed, a brother at each wing tip.
Behind us the sea lough tolled with the bell.
When it had stopped, he spoke.
 
I remember the coarseness of his robe,
his mudstained feet. His voice was narrow
as reeds. Rain fell.
 
We heard him out.
I searched my brothers’ eyes: and then
we spread our wings. I felt the loosening
 
of flight feathers, saw them fall;
I watched smooth plumage snow
from thinning bones.
 
I folded, for the first time, shriven fingers
and with my stranger’s hand I touched – and found
skin slack on flesh and desert dry.
 
My hair curved round me
long and faint and grey.
White down fanned to ground.
 
Shameless, my favourite brother stood
and stared into the sky. I saw him lank
and naked.
 
His eyes filled. I took his hand.
 
The monk prayed. Rain fell.
 

Jean Atkin

Poem published: Poetry Ireland Review 106 (2012)

Publications:
How Time is in Fields, 2019, IDP, 978-1-912876-07-5, £9.99
Not Lost Since Last Time, 2013, Oversteps Books, 978-1-906856-3-8-0, £8
The Dark Farms, 2012, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9571994-2-2, £9
Lost at Sea, 2011, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9535804-6-0, £10

Jean Atkin website
 
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Joy Howard

Joy Howard’s poems have featured in several anthologies. Now retired from social services, she works as a freelance consultant, lecturer and editor. She is a co-founder of Grey Hen Press and a contributor to Grey Hen’s inaugural publication Second Bite.

Stranded

and anchored in a fretwork of foam
over sea-shimmering silver gilt sand
I’m bliss-basking like an old grey seal
beached and loving it
 
so till the seventh wave
lolls over me and nudges me back
to the sea   let your hands glide
over mounded flesh and soft pelt
while you plumb my fathomable eyes
and marvel at my stillness
 
believe me
I’m more graceful in water
 

Joy Howard

in collection Foraging, 2017, Arachne Press;
previously published in anthology Running Before the Wind,
2013, Grey Hen Press

tel: 01535 645711
 
Grey Hen Press
 
Joy at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Kathryn Southworth

Kathryn Southworth, known as elmvillagepoet, is a retired academic. She was a founding fellow of the English Association, Vice Principal of Newman University College, review manager for QAA, governor in mental health and Rose Bruford Drama College.

Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls

Stopped outside Wigan Station on a rainy Tuesday
my eyes are drawn to writing on a factory wall – sweets –
and round the corner you can just make out
Uncle Joe’s mint balls keep…
 
Then childhood sweeps back on me –
my godfather, gentleman farmer, exotic
with Wigan accent and red wig, pressing on everyone
a sticky bag of amber globules –
these’ll keep thee warm.
 
His green eyes were the colour of country
to a town child, and the pocket watch
in his best black waistcoat shone
with the glamour of long ago.
 
My train moves on, and the writing on the wall
comes into full view, so now I know and how
could I forget – Uncle Joe’s mint balls
keep you all aglow.

Kathryn Southworth

Poem published in Between the Lines, City LIt Anthology

Publications:
Someone was here, 2018, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-910834-90-9
Wavelengths, poetry pamphlet with Belinda Singleton, June 2019, Dempsey and Windle, ISBN 978-1-907435-85-0

e-mail Kathryn Southworth

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Maria Jastrzębska

Maria is Polish and lives in Brighton. She has three collections and her work is much published in anthologies and magazines (UK, France, Finland, Slovenia, the internet). She is involved with SOUTH POLE, Queer Writing South, Outskirts and THE SOUTH.

Old Knives

Old knives lie still
in wooden drawers, lined
 
with shiny paper. They smell
of rust, belong to a family
 
of broken scissors, brass
tongs, tarnished platters
 
and screws stored in tobacco tins.
You could clean round them.
 
They lack conviction. Old knives
can’t cut in straight lines
 
anymore, but their handles
fit warmly into your hand.
 

Maria Jastrzębska

Poem published: Zlati Coln / Golden Boat 2006, Apokalipsa 2007 Zlati čoln/Golden Boat mednarodna prevajalska delavnica Društvo Apokalipsa

Latest collection:Syrena, Redbeck Press

web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail Maria

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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.

You asked for a poem about listening

     for Kathryn
 
How easy is it to represent a sound in words?
Take, for example, the sound of a dog’s paws
 
on frozen leaves – a medium-sized dog – and notice
how the pads spread apart. The leaves are stiff
and the ice crystals abrade each other.
The dog does not press down hard with his feet.
As he walks a few grains of frost cling
to his paws. When he runs he disturbs the leaves
so that they have a right side (frosted)
and an underside (unfrosted) like scraps
of satin cloth. The dog’s breath steams
in the chill air. Far off to the south east
dawn burns. A heron studies the river.
Soon rooks will rise from their roost to begin
a day’s foraging in the fields. And the sound? Crunch
is too sharp (boots walking on gravel). Crack –
no, that’s pine resin in the fire. Snap –
worse still – twigs, not leaves, under the same boots.
 
It’s the sound of movement on a still morning,
the sound of a dog’s paws on frozen leaves.
 

Mary Robinson

this poem first published in Poetry Review volume 105:2, summer 2015

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

Wild About Poetry blog
 
e-mail Mary Robinson

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Nicolette Golding

Nic has had stuff published in a few poetry journals, a couple of London buses and some anthologies.

The Seal Wife

I do OK, attend the W.I., make a nice Victoria sponge, am sociable, fit in.
My husband is a good man, works to fill our house with things,
But tell me why would a good man hide my skin?
 
I am lonely, hungry for the sea, tired of human company. He knows
my longings. I do as he does, go where he goes,
wheel my Tesco trolley in these heavy clothes,
 
eat far too much these days, weight’s piling on my hips and thighs.
I nibble mackerel in the bath, pour salt in, watch it dry,
Hide receipts, sit on rocks, cry.
 
Nights I pull on headphones, when we make love I close my eyes,
trawl CDs for echoes of my mother’s song. His body never tells me lies
but I go diving under softer skies
 
and when he falls away, sleep with one eye open.
Tomorrow I rise early, beloved one,
to search this place, as I have always done.

Nicolette Golding

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Simone Mansell Broome

Simone began writing poems in late 2004. She’s since been recorded, broadcast, published, & won several prizes. Simone also represented Wales in Radio 4’s performance poetry competition, 2009. She co-runs Ceridwen the Ceridwen Centre

Five Changes

If I tried to give you up, it would be like
buying a train ticket from Aberystwyth
to Hastings, on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday —
a reduced service, works on the line…
essential maintenance;
and I’d expected five changes, steeled myself for
Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Reading, Gatwick
and Brighton,
had psyched myself to tick them off, one by one,
but found cancellations,
my progress halted, my plans thwarted,
my route re-arranged on a chalked easel
with quirky spellings…inaudible apologies…
and instead of three-down-two-to-go,
time for a coffee, a quick last sidinged pass
at crossword or sudoku,
I’d find I was just travelling — locomoting slowly —
in a large reticulated arc
back
to you.

Simone Mansell Broome

Poem published: 1st Prize winner, Carillon magazine competition 2007, and published in Carillon issue 17, Mar/Apr 2007, ISSN 1474-7340.

Publications:
Cardiff Bay Lunch, Lapwing Publications (Belfast), 2010 – ISBN 978-1-907276-44-6 £8;
Not exactly getting anywhere but… – Ceridwen Press, April 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077 £3.50;
Juice of the Lemon, youwriteon.com, December 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077, £4.99

Simone Mansell Broome, Penybanc Farm, Drefach Felindre, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA44 5XE
 
Simone Mansell Broome website
 
e-mail Simone Mansell Broome

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Susan Jane Sims

Susan Jane Sims lives in Dorset with husband, Chris. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She founded the publishing company Poetry Space in 2010.

Bearing Gifts

A friend
has brought you
a book called Mortality,
by Christopher Hitchens.
The friend is a father,
almost twice over.
I could not think of anything
more appropriate

he said.
 
Another brings scrabble
and we play
on the end of your hospital bed.
On the white sheet you helped
the hca draw and tuck,
and demonstrate your skill
with hospital corners.
 
I find I have the letters
to spell tumour,
Instead I put down m o u t
up against h from hope.
 
A group club together
for expensive whiskey,
wrap it in pink tissue
you carefully peel away
like skin. You can imagine the sips
of liquid gold on your tongue.
Making it last.
Wondering who or what will
outlive who or what.
 
These days
have been surreal.
Secrets have been passed on
for you to guard.
Your hand has been held
through a long and wakeful night.
You have been told a hundred times
that you are loved.
 
The staff bring you every report
and test result. Offer to show you the scan.
call you respectfully, Dr Sims
and you wish yourself
into the role of blissful patient
with faith and blind trust.
What’s done can’t be undone.
What’s learnt becomes both curse and blessing.
 
First morning alone you ring
I’ve been writing
my best man speech for Dave
, you say.
What’s he going to do without me?
What are we all going to do
I say
without you in our lives.
 

Susan Jane Sims

My son Mark was diagnosed in February 2015 with Stage 4 metastatic cancer in lung, liver, spleen and gall bladder. It was also discovered later in his brain and his tonsils. The primary cancer was a malignant melanoma on his scalp when he was 15.
 
Mark died on 19th January 2017 aged 28.

published in Reach magazine in June, 2015. (edition 201)

Publications:
Splitting Sunlight, Dempsey and Windle, 2019. ISBN 978-1-9074357-9-9
Irene’s Daughter, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-0-9565328-2-4
A number of things you should know, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-9093576-8-6

Susan’s Poetry Space website
 
e-mail Susan

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