Featured Poets, December 2018                     home page
 

Isabel Bermudez       (Amanda-Jane Burrell)       Gill Fothergill       Hilary Hares       Carolyn King       Kaye Lee       Melinda Lovell       Jenny Morris       Julie Sampson       Anne Sherry      

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)  

Isabel Bermudez

Isabel Bermudez lives in Kent. Her chapbook collection, ‘Extranjeros’ (2015), is available from Flarestack Poets. Her full collection ‘Small Disturbances’ is published by Rockingham Press (October 2016).

Heron speaks

He says again, he
doesn’t know how he used
to fit everything in,
 
he doesn’t know where it goes,
the time, it just evaporates…
Watching from the balcony
 
it’ll all be wound up he says,
by the end of next year,
the old brewery

 
as two huge metal tanks
suspended in air like flies in aspic
are lowered over its brick wall
 
onto waiting barges
bound for elsewhere
and I find myself thinking
 
of odds and ends, how it was
always he who used to say, Don’t fret…
Now he sees it go,
 
a barge that slips away
as light returns again:
the empty river’s trick
 
a gleam of silverware,
those centuries of beer,
ship-loads of sugar, yards of steel
 
whose yellowed ledgers state
in neat black script
their clear economy of
 
trade and deficit, while love,
the one timepiece that endures,
waives past debts,
 
and borrows only to exchange,
is like the strange December moon,
the long-night moon,
 
keeper of the light, of human dust
and the vanished years, clocking
the measure of our fate.

 

Isabel Bermuez

in collection Small Disturbances

Publications:
Small Disturbances, 2016 (October), Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-19048516-6-0
Extranjeros, 2015, Flarestack Poets, ISBN 978-1-9064804-2-4

Address:

2 York Rise
Orpington
Kent
BR6 8PR  
Isabel Bermudez at poetry p f
 
e-mail Isabel Bermudez

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Gill Fothergill

I have written poetry off and on thoughout my life. Now that I have retired from teaching the urge comes more frequently.

To Pam
The Neighbour I have Never Met

I read your cook book, its pages stiff
With stains, hand-written notes skewiff,
Fiery sweat and a floury hand.
For you, Pam, nothing frozen or canned.
 
Loved wife, I know you only by repute.
He lists fondly your every attribute.
Truly, for him, you are just next door,
He will always await your step on the floor.
 
I know you bought fresh produce only
I bet you inspected market stalls closely.
Did you like to chat with with the greengrocer?
Ask the baker to see the loaf up closer?
 
I know that you and he liked walking
And would have seized the chance for talking.
I am sure you analysed the lives
Of children: their husbands and their wives.
 
I’ve seen you in some snapshots:
One young and slender, looking hot
In a black and white garden of your youth.
Can these pictures really reveal your truth?
 
Now Pam, I investigate your book
Searching for something new to cook,
And I can clearly hear your helpful voice
As you talk me through your recipe choice.
 
 
 
      I have decided to put poems that are very far from perfect (as if!) on my page. If I wait to achieve my best, it will never happen! Apologies for some poor scansion.

Gill Fothergill

e-mail

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Hilary Hares

Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey. Her poems have found homes online and in print and she has an MA in Poetry from MMU. Whilst waiting for the muse, she’s slave to a demanding bird table and lives in hope of meeting the perfect dog.

On sculptural figures looking out to sea

All Gormley’s kin each is his own man.
The local children call one Jeff.
 
They drown every day.
Like gods they have no smiles.
 
Sometimes Titian or Hockney
will paint them a dawn and,
 
when the tide recedes, jellyfish land
at their feet like green glass plates.
 
I watch as seagulls perch on their shoulders,
mirror their gaze, ask: Why stare so hard?
 
But they’re not letting on, their eyes fixed
as though they can’t bear to look down.
 
I persist: According to Frost nothing
we’re searching for is out far or in deep?

 
Their silence is deeper than the sea. I make
a final bid for conversation, tell them this:
 
I can see what’s happening behind you.
There’s no turning back.

 

Hilary Hares

Winner: Write by the Sea 2018 Literary Festival Competition, 2018

Publications:
A Butterfly Lands on the Moon, sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care

e-mail Hilary Hares

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Carolyn King

Carolyn King is widely published in magazines & with three poetry collections. Competition successes over the last few years include 1st in Second Light and in Poetry on the Lake formal category and twice shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize.

Riffing with Stephane Grappelli

A childhood memory: not of his virtuoso performance –
rather of Mother’s tiny hands racing over the piano keys
to keep pace with the tempo;
Dad standing tall, an enigmatic Czardas screaming
from his violin like some tsunami – gale-force
in a gust of chords that blew my mind.
But he had other memories: not of the classical kind
but of dim smoke-filled bars where strings
were plucked by stage-struck youngsters
fiddling the night away – and that one special night
Grappelli called for someone in the audience
to join him up on stage.
I feel the thrill;
the flight of fancy fingering.
His riffs are music to my ears.
He went out with a flourish:
a motorcycle accident, when I was ten.
Short-changed of years, left me a memory
indelible as ink from a jazz poetry-performance pen.
I long to probe still deeper
into how and where and when.
 

Carolyn King

Latest publications (available from Carolyn):
Caviare and Chips, Human Writes, 2004, ISBN 0-9531860-2-4, £5.99;
The Reunion, ISBN 0-9531860-0-8;
Lifelines, ISBN 0-9531860-1-6

Woodleigh East
Madeira Vale
Ventnor
Isle of Wight
PO38 1QU
 
tel: 01983-852593
 
Carolyn King at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Kaye Lee

An Australian living in North London. Retired from nursing – time now to pursue a love of poetry. Published in various magazines and a prize winner in several competitions.

Hand in Hand

Years ago I held your hands
to guide you on the long
walk to hospital. Beneath
their patches your eyes
oozed tears to wash away
woodchips thrown there
by the giant saw.

Your hands were large,
calloused. Black sap
emphasized lines and folds,
darkened every nail. Skin,
brown and tough from the sun,
still let splinters skewer in –
you’d prise them out with Mum’s
fattest darning needle.

Though I led you, all
the strength of our bond
lay in your hands not
in my small, anxious
eight-year-old fingers.

When I hold your hands again
to help you from your wheelchair
mine are the weathered, rough hands,
yours are Persil white, baby soft.
You do not recall the pain
of penetrating wood and your hands,
calm, delicately trusting, accept
that now the strength is mine.

Kaye Lee

email

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Melinda Lovell

Melinda Lovell lives in the Cantal, France. She is much published in magazines The SHOp, The Frogmore Papers, Agenda, etc). Her collections are Walking the Hillside (Waterloo Press, 2015) and Breath and Sap (Chrysalis Poetry, 2018).

Woodlanders

For one August week they robbed me
of my walk, a loop in the woods.
An electric fence skewered the path
to stop their three sheep short
 
An odd economy. They forgot
their patch is an old right of way
for any shade-lover, same clan,
to pass by, hat over eyes
 
Why, with their courtly camps
scoring the glade with chores and games
sitting cool among berries and husks
in their rickety nut palace
 
did they forget my haunting
my scudding through shores of leaves
collecting nothing growing
but the ghosts between the trees?
 

Melinda Lovell

poem first published in Tears In The Fence

Publications: Melinda Lovell's second collection, Breath and Sap (Chrysalis Poetry; June 2018) is now out, and available from Melinda.
collection Breath and Sap, 2018, Chrysalis Poetry, ISBN 978-0-9956800-1-2. Avail from Melinda.
collection Walking the Hillside, 2015, Waterloo Press, ISBN 978-1-906742-64-5. Avail from Melinda. (Also as a Kindle book from Amazon). For 3 video clips of Melinda reading 3 poems from the collection, click on the following link: video readings.

Address:
Inchivala
Rouziers
Cantal, 15600
France
 
Melinda Lovell website
 
e-mail Melinda Lovell

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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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Julie Sampson

Julie Sampson’s poetry has been widely published. Her debut collection Tessitura (Shearsman) came out in 2013. In 2009 she edited Mary Lady Chudleigh, Selected Poems (Shearsman) and she’s currently working on a second collection.

1894; Fran Skating on the Manor Pond

She skates over and around its frozen surface,
then spins a pencil-pirouette,
muffs blue-heat her hands
and from her waist a scarlet whirl of skirt.
In hazy light veins seem to break in olive eyes
as the blades of her boots refract the scratching ice
and under setting sun
her shadow is half a pulsating heart.
 
Ida, in the kitchen sits and snips
the corners of the paper folds.
Brittle like ice.
Deft, her fingers snip and snap then
rippling like a fan the row of skating dolls
holding hand by hand.
 
Robert, in the other room
turns a page.
His book about the Ministry
is a weight upon his mind.
 
His sisters are making their mark;
each enacts a secret lore
on a slated sheet of white,
figure skating on the land of open-space
and inscribing a serrated pictograph.
 
Even the tiny feet of each minute dancing doll
are chipped away to equip them with the sharpest razor cut.

Julie Sampson

The poem was runner-up in the Exeter Poetry Prize 1999; published in anthology Making Worlds; One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets, (Headland, 2003).

Collection: Tessitura, Shearsman Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84861-239-6
as editor Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, Shearsman Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84861-048-4

Julie Sampson website
 
e-mail

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Anne Sherry

Anne Sherry is a Writer and Management Consultant. She lives in Winchester but travels widely. Her first collection, Safe Passage, was published in 2014.

Failing to Find Old Sarum

Border-line bothered
weekend-weary
I turn into a business park
stop by open field, reach
a place of silence, of slow time.
 
A brilliance of blue
in a bank of quitch
harebells fat and juicy
sturdy as hyacinths
a few fussy in old lady pink
 
and a singularity, tall
stocky with hairy
heart-shaped leaves
tiny blooms, cream centres
an absolute blue.
 
This is Germander
a veronica of the Figwort family,
cousin to heath, common field
slender, ivy, thyme-leaved
and loud lousewort.
 
In the distance, ancient buildings
hangers with Belfast roof trusses
a Tiger Moth drones overhead
fast followed by a Dragonfly.
A place of old time.
 

Anne Sherry

Published by Mudfog Press December 2019 in pamphlet of same name

Publications:
Failing to Find Old Sarum, 2019, Mudfog Press, ISBN 978-0-9927930-1-2, £5.95 (free p&p)
Safe Passage, a Memoir in Poetry and Prose, 2014, Ashbrook Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927930-0-5, £7.95 +p&p,
(proceeds after costs to Alzheimer’s Research UK, www.cpibookdelivery.com)

e-mail Anne Sherry

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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