Featured Poets, August 2021                     home page
 

Anne Stewart       Claire Booker       Elaine Briggs       Helen Ivory       Jenna Plewes       Kathy Miles       Lyn Moir       Maureen G Coppack       Nadine Brummer       Sheila Lockhart       Vivienne Fogel      

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)  

Anne Stewart

Anne Stewart founded poetry p f in 2005. Her awards include The Bridport Prize, Southport Prize, Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy) and a Hawthornden Fellowship. Her collections include The Janus Hour (2010) and The Last Parent (2019).

Anne is editor of the SecondLightLive web-site and serves on the Second Light Network Committee and as part-time administrator for the Network. (see ‘More’ link below)

sample poems and comments on ‘The Last Parent’
 

Body Language

            "I like the whisker of hair/ under her armpit. It suggests/
            that she’s not one of those women/ who are always trying
            to get rid/ of their smell."
 
                    Vicki Feaver, OI YOI YOI

 

Give me silky legs glistening in the sun,
bikini line and oxters done and no shame
for the dishonest shape-shifter I’ve become.
 
Give me orange and magnolia to bathe away
my scent–when it’s Woman-Ready-for-a-Man,
I’d just as soon my body said "Only if I say".
 
And when I choose to go against the master plan
by coating earthworm lips with New Dawn rose
or copper pink, grape or cherry blossom balm,
 
it’s no more a disguise than wearing clothes.
Or would you have me naked? No deceitful lines
between my vulva and the twitching public nose?

 
Hirsute and unscented may be truth of a kind,
but there are worse things, when you feel exposed,
than silk and oranges, and roses, to hide behind.

Anne Stewart

Poem published: The Interpreter’s House, Nov 03, ISSN 1361-5610, and nominated for Forward Prize, 2004;
Discussed in Mary Michaels’ article How Does Your Poem Smell?, in Connections, Spring 2005 edition.
Strix Varia published Anne’s reflection on the writing of Body Language in their PoetSpeak series.

Collection: The Last Parent, Second Light Publications, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-9927088-3-2, £9.95 (Book Club offer £40 plus feedback).
Collection: The Janus Hour, Oversteps Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-9068561-6-8, £8.
Anthology: Ten Hallam Poets, Mews Press, 2005, ISBN: 1-84387-123-8, £7.99.
Glossy illustrated postcards: 2 of Body Language and 2 of Melting into the motorway on the inside lane, £1, from Anne.

20 Clovelly Way
Orpington
Kent
BR6 0WD
 
tel: 07850 537489
 
Anne’s web-site
 
e-mail

more...

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Claire Booker

Claire Booker’s poems have been set to music, filmed, displayed on buses and published widely, including in Ambit, Magma, Poetry News, Popshot, the Moth, Rialto, Stand and the Spectator. She was awarded a Kathak Literary Award in Bangladesh in 2019.

The Fisherman’s Daughter

Dad was an artist with a needle –
woosh, woosh it would go, like Sunday rain
and I’d lie in bed listening to him
mending or making.
 
Nets came straight from the beach,
strung on a hook by our hearth, and he’d braid
right there, on a big old bedspread
between Mum’s dresser and the pull-out table,
 
unhitching stories
until the room started rocking like a beamer
and I could smell the fish shoaling,
feel their weight as they pulled against the trawl,
 
bubbles breaking.
You could say I made a good catch, but
it was strange that first dawn with Bill lying
beside me: not a sound from downstairs,
 
as if the house had stopped breathing.
I still miss Dad’s sure hands tightening the twine,
and his quiet ear for my life.
He was never one to tie on a smile,
 
but none of my worries
were too small to fling back and we’d sit for hours
looping and twisting the rows.
Dad called it cutting the holes out.
 
Once the little ’uns arrived, I knew
there’d be no hole big enough to wriggle through.
Fish don’t know how to go backwards.
That’s how it works.
 

Claire Booker

Poem published in Time and Tide Anthology, Arachne Press,
and simultaneously performed at The Solstice Shorts Festival in Lisbon, Maryport, Greenwich, Hastings and Clydebank.

Publications:
The Bone That Sang, 2020, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-912876-39-6, £6
Later There Will Be Postcards, 2016, Green Bottle Press, ISBN 978-1-910804-04-9, £6.20

Address:
26 Gorham Avenue
Brighton
BN2 7DP
 
Tel: 01273 302435
 
Claire Booker website
 
e-mail Claire Booker

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Elaine Briggs

Elaine Briggs lives and works in France as a translator. Poems have received prizes in Segora and Hungry Hill competitions. A collection has been long-listed by Cinnamon.

The Translator and His Harp Sing the Iliad

A harp is a made thing,
the heartwood of Homer, an ode.
 
It’s a flightless wing
with speech in its keys
 
and strings taut and resonant
open for winds to frisk at sea.
 
It’s the prow of a boat
where Orpheus turned helmsman
 
set a rhythm
for oars to dip and rise
 
and the water that streamed from their blade
outsang the Sirens’ wolfish howl.
 
You stand alone, your frame
spindly as the African lyre you cradle.
 
Then, in Afghan headgear worn for a crown,
you swell – wind and breath
 
sing to me the Muse’s song
and the rage of Achilles is re-made.

Elaine Briggs

Address:
Tours, France
   
e-mail Elaine Briggs

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Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory, poet and visual artist; fourth Bloodaxe Books collection Waiting for Bluebeard (2013). Editor, webzine Ink Sweat and Tears; poetry tutor/Course Director, UEA/WCN online. Hear What the Moon Told Me is a book of collage poems with KFS.

Bluebeard the Chef

You coax the rabbit from its skin,
cradle the bruised flesh ripped with shot.
A deft incision and soon the tiny heart
is in your hand, its stillness
opens up a dark hole in the sky for you.
 
You climb inside
and all the stars are dying eyes
fixed into you like pins.
So you slice each optic nerve
and disappear.
 
The knife completes your hand
with such sweet eloquence
you part recall its amputation
when you were wordless
in your father’s house.
 

Helen Ivory

from Waiting For Bluebeard, 2013, Bloodaxe Books.

 

Publications: Hear What the Moon Told Me (collage poems), 2016, KFS Press, ISBN 978-1-9094438-2-2
Waiting for Bluebeard, 2013, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-8522497-5-5
In Their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on their Poetry, (eds Helen Ivory and George Szirtes), 2012, Salt Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9077732-1-1
The Breakfast Machine, 2010, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-8522487-3-4
The Dog in the Sky, 2006, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-8522471-7-1

Helen Ivory website
 
e-mail Helen Ivory

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Jenna Plewes

Jenna Plewes lives in Worcestershire, belongs to Cannon Poets and escapes to Devon whenever she can. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including Heart Shoots (for Macmillan Cancer Support). She was highly commended in the Hastings International Competition 2012.

Leave Me in the Light

When I die
don’t put me underground
cut down a giant oak
as they did
four thousand years ago
 
pull out the stump
drag it across the wide salt marsh
with honeysuckle ropes
upend it where the curlews call
 
lay me across its outstretched hand
under the sun, the moon
the turning stars
 
encircle me in
fifty trunks of oak
each split in two
fold a seamless skin of bark around my bier
 
leave me the smell of fresh cut wood
the shine of pale oak flesh
the sound of wind and tide
 
birds will clean my bones
midsummer’s rising sun will
find me through the keyhole of the east
and when midwinter sunrise looks for me
I will be gone.
 

 
 
Seahenge on the Norfolk coast is a prehistoric monument built in the 21st century BC.

Jenna Plewes

Winning poem in the Sampad competition and published in their anthology Inspired by my Museum.

Publications:
Pull of the Earth, 2016, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108340-6-0, £8.99 +p&p
Gifts, 2014, CreateSpace, ISBN 978-1-4953944-0-9 £5 – proceeds to charity (buy direct from Jenna Plewes)

Jenna Plewes website
 
e-mail

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Kathy Miles

Kathy Miles is a librarian and poet who has lived and worked in Wales since 1972. Her work has frequently appeared in magazines and anthologies. She is a Writer on Tour, and member of the Red Heron performance group.

The Gift

She took it in both hands.
Examined it to see its colour, the quality,
what she might expect of it.
A surprise, she said, but still she smiled,
pale against the whiteness of the bed,
the wrappings from her present
scattered on the floor like a spilt
phial of pills. There was ribbon,
of course, a yellow bow, a card.
The air smelt of red carnations
and something else, something sweeter.
 
Her breath was a pearl in the hot room,
a slipstream too slight to stir a bee’s wing.
And the flowers were difficult,
competed with her for the sliver of air.
Her hands fussed over the covers
astonished fingers slid over silk.
And my gift, that small bequest
I took back home
was the moment our fingertips touched
and the air was brimming.
 

Kathy Miles

Poem published in Envoi, Issue 164 February 2013

Publications:
The Shadow House, 2009, Cinnamon Press;
The Third Day: Landscape, 1993, Gomer Press
Word, 1993, Gomer Press
The Rocking-Stone, 1988, Poetry Wales Press

e-mail Kathy Miles

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Lyn Moir

… edited 5 SLNewsletters, is in 3 SLN anthologies (IOW; Parents; Making Worlds), Prague Tales and Skeins of Geese, 100 poets (2008), was a teacher and lecturer in Spanish, and a Hawthornden fellow (2004). Her third collection is due (bluechrome 2008).

Travelling, Blue

     i.m. DJM
 
We’re all in a waiting room with people we don’t know
who have suddenly become our new best friends
even though we have never lived in Walthamstow,
and we are waiting for the ship or bus or train
which will take us from here to some destination
we don’t know either. And you are there,
a little fidgety boy, can’t sit still, waiting
for the great adventure to begin. And I am me now
and then and in some parallel world where all of us
of several generations are waiting patiently for
the opening of the ticket office or passport inspection,
but now we are going up a mammoth tower
in a lift with a spiral staircase and from the top
the view is marvellous so we slide down to form a queue,
collect our bags but I can’t carry all of them.
I lose the most important
and you.
 

Lyn Moir

published in Her Wings of Glass, 2014, Second Light Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927088-0-1

Publications:
Velázquez’s Riddle, Calder Wood Press 2011
Easterly, Force 10, Calder Wood Press 2009
Breakers’ Yard, Arrowhead Press 2003
Me and Galileo, Arrowhead Press 2001


2 Shorehead
St. Andrews
Fife
KY16 9RG
 
tel: 01334 472717
 
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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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Nadine Brummer

Nadine Brummer Has had poems published in many magazines and in many anthologies. First full collection ‘HalfWay to Madrid’ (Shoestring Press, 2002) was made a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

The Frog’s Princess


That night, finding him in my bed,
within kissing distance,
I wanted to take the stare
off his face – those eyes
all bulge and goggle.
Then I saw their depth, a look
that could take me anywhere
backwards in time. I recalled
an aquarium under the sea where
I’d pressed my face to the glass
of a wolf-eel’s tank, mesmerised
by a little reptilian head
with eyeballs lifting off
like spaceships that settled
into an expression beyond
a seal-pup’s dopey smile
or the pout of fish –
like that of some new-born child
you swear has been here before.
The frog was like him,
but when he gulped and a mouth
smelling of weed or bull-kelp
came close to my lips
I flinched and held out my hand
to stop his jump and touched
a spasm of green, a creature trying
to slither out of himself.
I’ve been so often trapped
In flesh that didn’t feel mine
I wondered what he could see
when he gazed into a pond;
he took my sigh as a signal
to kiss. I loved him best
the moment before he changed,
a small, crouched, alien thing
in need of a body.

Nadine Brummer

Poem published: Poetry London, May 2003

Publications:
What Light Does, Shoestring Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-910323-90-8 £10
Any Particular Day, Shoestring Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-907356-66-7 £9
Out of the Blue, Shoestring Press, 2006, ISBN 987-1-904886-31-0 £8.95
Half Way to Madrid, Shoestring Press, 2002. ISBN 1-899549-70-6 £7.50 (Poetry Book Society Recommendation)

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Sheila Lockhart

Sheila Lockhart lives on the Black Isle in Scotland. She’s been writing poetry for about five years about the people, places and works of art that touch her, and has been published in several journals online and in print.

Lucrezia as Poetry

     Inspired by Salvator Rosa’s painting in the Wadsworth Atheneum.
 
He’s torn the poems from your pen,
hurled them, storm-wrapped,
at your head, a crown of thorns,
lightning blue, berry-bruised,
and spiked with laurels.
Mouth stained silent.
Eyes black sloes
that fix only him.
 
A cold bed. An empty room.
He found you
clothed in shadows,
trochees leaking from your lips,
ink dripped from hesitant hand
onto salvaged sheet. He sees,
ah yes, Lucrezia as Poesie.
 
Now you must stand,
murderous,
to be rearranged, bilious ribbons
writhing on your sleeve.
A finger, rapier poised, flicks
the sharpened quill. One strike,
one stabbing verse could end it all.
 
He paints your book closed.

Sheila Lockhart

Published online in The Ekphrastic Review, Sep20

Publications:
Northwords Now, StAnza Poetry Map of Scotland, Twelve Rivers, Poetry Kit, Words for the Wild

e-mail Sheila Lockhart

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Vivienne Fogel

Viv Fogel is an integrative psychotherapist and an artist. Her poems have been published in anthologies and magazines since the mid-70’s. From 1980-82 she was one of the Evettes, a performing poetry quartet. First collection: Without Question, (Mandaras Publishing 2006).

Notebook

My daughter enjoys the safety of lines,
but I prefer the blank page, to dive

and spiral bird free in a cloudless sky.
She cuts paper into delicate shapes,
 
pastes petals, turns butterflies into collages,
begins again if there is one mistake.
 
I splatter words like Pollock onto clear canvas
and smudge, rub holes in paper, stain and tear.
 
My daughter bathes in milk, soaks in Carrib sun,
paints her nails as bright as her imagined future.
 
She perfects her dress, her look, takes time,
whereas I, careless, will wear the same for days.
 
She emerges at last, silky in a swirl
of turquoise, pink ipod, humming out of tune,
 
as I wait for her in the afternoon’s heat,
my hand’s shadow on the filling page.

Vivienne Fogel

Publications: Without Question, Mandaras, 2006. ISBN 0-9544730-5-1. £10

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