Featured Poets, February 2018                    home page
 

Dorothy Baird       Anne Boileau       Susan Davies       Caroline Gill       Sue Johnson       Janet Lees       Maggie Norton       Myra Schneider       Elizabeth Soule       Marion Tracy

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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Anne Boileau

Anne Boileau writes poetry about the natural world, the environment, history and her friends and neighbours. Her pamphlet Shoal Moon was published by Grey Hen in 2016. Her novel Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife. came out in 2016.

Ghazal: The Memory of Bronze

Within its very substance dwells the memory of bronze.
Smiths at Giza treadling giant bellows forging bronze
 
Two small pyramids back to back, the size of a cricket ball.
Hold it like a seashell, you’ll hear craftsmen beating bronze.
 
Eight sides, eight faces: each displays a different attitude,
But every face and attitude tells the ancient tale of bronze.
 
It waits upon my windowsill, imbibes the heat of the sun,
Within its core remembering well the alchemy of bronze.
 
Take copper with a hint of tin or arsenic or zinc:
You have the stuff of resonance, church bells cast in bronze.
 
Before men thought to write things down, they extracted, analysed
And fired up fearsome forges, smelted ores, created bronze.
 
She weighs Gill’s sculpture in her hand, senses gravity.
Anne has travelled to that Age when Man discovered Bronze.
 

Anne Boileau

This poem was written during a collaboration with Mosaic Stanza in Colchester; eighteen visual artists were paired up with eighteen poets. My partner was a sculptor called Gill Southern. I was responding to her bronze sculpture titled From Fire

published in Stone’s Throw – art from poetry poetry from art, ed. Karen Dennison,
2016, Mosaic Stanza, mosaicpoetry.wordpress.com

Publications:
Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife., 2016, Clink Street Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9111106-1-3
Shoal Moon, 2014, Grey Hen Press, ISBN 978-0-9926983-2-4

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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
 

e-mail Susan Davies

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Caroline Gill

Caroline Gill won 1st Prize in the Petra Kenney Poetry Competition (gen. section) in 2007. Her poem, Preseli Blue, featured on BBC Poetry Please from the Guardian Hay Festival 2008. Poems published in UK, India, Romania & USA. Home: Swansea.

Elegy for Idris Davies

Who hears the bells of Rhymney as they toll?
There are no drams to draw along the tracks:
the empty tarmac waits for laden trucks,
but hollows in the hillside tell their tale.
 
The winch and winder man have long since gone:
deserted pits are crudely steeped in slag.
Would Shelley’s spirit ring out once again
if flames of silver leaped to greet the lark?
 
A sloping cemetery will testify
to times when angry voices could be heard.
An echo rises from the Rhymney bard:
it rocks and rolls a piercing lullaby.
 
The grass is brown: brass bands have lost their sheen,
but April’s music trickles down the rill.
A shaft of sun makes rainbow-puddles shine
in terraced streets, to light the poet’s trail.
 
Allotments snake along the mountain road,
with weathered water butts of blue and green.
A raven waits while seeds of hope are sown,
but wigwam-canes stand vacant and betrayed.
 
A poet plants his footsteps in the mire,
through furnaces and forges razed to soil.
Bare strips of sky and horizontal moor
arouse defiant voices in his soul.
 
Stonemasons shed their monumental tears
in mounds below the monkey puzzle’s arm.
A sombre moon cast shadows on the dawn:
a valley dreams beneath the midnight stars.
 

Note: A dram is a cart for carrying coal

Caroline Gill

Poem published: THE SEVENTH QUARRY (ed. Peter Thabit Jones), no.3, Winter 2006. Also on the Poetry Library Southbank Centre Website.

Publications:Six poems in Hidden Dragons / Gwir a Grymus, (Parthian 2004), ISBN 9781902638393, £7.99

Caroline’s website
 
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Sue Johnson

Sue Johnson is published as a poet, short story writer and novelist. Her first poetry collection ‘Tasting Words, Hearing Colours’ was published by IDP in 2014. She is a Writing Magazine Home Study Tutor.

blue moon
a late night observation

from the kitchen window I see you
pushing away from the blanket of grey cloud
 
your silvery light pulsates in a clear patch of sky
serenaded by abbey bells
 
a scattering of stars keep a respectful distance
as if they know something special
is about to happen
 
an icy wind disturbs the bare branches of the plane tree
as I stand waiting
feeling dismayed as you sink back
into your cloudy bed
 
an echo of your light remains
a glimmer and then gone
like the dying embers of a fire
 
the sound of bells lives on in the darkness
 
then like the actress you are
you reappear at exactly the right time
to show the partial eclipse
in your bottom right hand quarter
 
a shadow
like a bite out of an apple
or a gloomy presence at a New Year party
 

Sue Johnson

Publications:
The Yellow Silk Dress (novel) (IDP 2015) 978-1-909357-39-6 £8.99
Tasting Words, Hearing Colours (IDP 2014) 978-1-909357-60-0 £8.99
Fable’s Fortune, 2011, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-907401-46-6. £7.99;
Creative Alchemy: 12 steps from inspiration to finished novel, HotHive, ISBN 978-1-908342-00-3. £8.99;
Surfing the Rainbow: visualization and chakra balancing for writers, Compass, ISBN 978-1-780998-69-5. £7.99;

Address:
38 Birch Avenue
Evesham
Worcs
WR11 1YJ
 
Tel: 01386 446477
 
Writers’ Toolkit web-site
 
e-mail

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Janet Lees

Janet Lees is a poet and artist working primarily with text, photography and film. Her poetry has been widely published and anthologised, she has won prizes in many different competitions, and her poetry films have been selected for a wide range of international festivals.

Reconsecrated

A taste of you slipped into me
like moonlight in a locked church.
The flesh at first left me cold:
respectful fingers, diffident lips
spilling awkward mumbles in
The Angel’s fug. We hunted down
politeness with iced vodka
and flew outside, where the night
took your tongue and gave it to mine,
igniting a flame that swallowed
Soho’s oxygen whole to shape
the way I kissed you back:
adoration of seventeen again,
ablaze with the lost conviction
that this can be a state of grace,
this immaculate need to fuck in the street.
 

Janet Lees

Published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2017

Tel: 07624 470941
 

Janet Lees website
 
e-mail Janet Lees

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Maggie Norton

Maggie is South Cumbria Poet Laureate 2007, and is having a wonderful time as Cumbria ambassador for poetry here and abroad. She is a writing tutor at Lancaster University. She adores waterways and lakes, preferably steering a 1.5hp Mariner engine on an orange inflatable.

Mrs Tennyson is Interviewed in the Morning Room at Farringford

And Life with the Great Poet?

I feel so privileged, being Alfred’s helpmeet
copying his works, for his hand is clarity itself.
All correspondence I attempt to answer in his style
and ink the pens for signatures during tea.

Interests?

Oh, yes, indeed, of course I have.
His poems I set to music on the pianoforte
and compose the hymns for family celebrations.

Between ourselves, my dear, I confess
to writing fiction of an autobiographical derivation,
but pray don’t make a note of that, for he
does not know of it but it is a comfort
that I might show it to the grandchildren.

Encouraged?

I always have, yes indeed.
Being late to marry at thirty-six
I had a very full life before and during
our long engagement, when dear Alfred
and I together made a name for him.

Family Life?

He’s built a sphere of love around us
in the houses I run both here and Aldworth.
So much to thank God and dear Alfred for,
so much, so much, and bless him,
he allows me to place upon his desk
handwritten notes (in what he charmingly
calls ‘my poetic prose’) on subjects
he might care to work up into poems.

Ah, yes – your interests?

Though not so much of late have I attended
to his needs, being easily fatigued
with a weary dragging pain that chains
me to this sofa, and dear Alfred
is so patient with what he terms
‘a womanly trouble’. He is my rock,
my fortress and my strength. What would I do without him?

Maggie Norton

Poem: Strokestown International Poetry Competition
in collection Onions and Other Intentions

Recent Pamphlets:
Onions and Other Intentions, 2012, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1907401565, £7.99
Making Hay, with videopoem, commissioned for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Sedbergh Book Town, in collaboration with videographer Kate Harrison Whiteside;
The Bundle on the Dresser, with DVD. The story of Tom, a hill farmer who wants his son to take over the farm. Then foot and mouth disease arrives;
Kurt Schwitters–in Praise of Life, a commissioned poem for radio, now with CD of two voices reading, with Maggie’s music.

web-page on wordmarket.org.uk

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Myra Schneider

Myra Schneider has many collections of poetry. Other publications include novels for young people and books about personal writing. One is Writing My Way Through Cancer (Jessica Kingsley 2003). She tutors for the Poetry School in London.

Myra is a Consultant to Second Light Network, a previous competition judge, and is on the Tutor list. (see ‘More’ link below)

It’s Possible

when you scrutinize a sycamore’s fists
and find its green thoughts
are not ready to uncrumple,
 
when you finger the kitchen tulips
whose pouts are now pink beaks,
see speckled song in the tigerlily throats,
 
when you peel a blood orange
and eat the ruby segments
while gazing at himalayas of cloud
 
whiter than icecream, at the sky
beyond them, its untouchable blue
which science explains but you feel
 
belongs to ever – it’s possible
you’ll believe that at the moment
darkness first split to let in light
 
some kind of consciousness
must have emerged and created
the multiplicity of colour.

Myra Schneider

Poem published: The Door to Colour, Enitharmon Press 2014

Publications:
Persephone in Finsbury Park, Second Light Publications, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9927088-2-5, £7.95
The Door to Colour, Enitharmon, 2014, ISBN 978-1-9075875-1-1, £9.99
What Women Want, Second Light Publications, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9546934-9-7
Circling The Core, Enitharmon, Autumn 2008, ISBN 978-1-9046346-6-9
Multiplying The Moon, Enitharmon, 2004, ISBN(13) 978-1-9046340-4-1)

website
 
See Maitreyabandhu 2012 interview with Myra (40 minutes): Poetry East Interview
 
e-mail

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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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Marion Tracy

Marion Tracy has an MA in English Literature and has been writing her own poetry for about 6 years. She’s been published by 14 Magazine, ARTEMISpoetry, Mslexia, Obsessed With Pipework, Poetry Express, Poetry Wales, Scintilla and Tears in the Fence.

Stones

He hears a sound, plip plop. It’s small stones thrown
or wet insects on glass. The noise is getting bigger.
It sounds as if stones are being shovelled onto the house.
He asks his cousin if she’s experienced anything like this.
 
He frowns when she says, It must be possums.
He smiles when his neighbour says, Perhaps it’s like
when my wife left me.
He laughs when his wife says,
Yes, I’ve been hearing it for a while, it’s like memories of home.
 
He looks up through the leaves of the tree.
Stones are coming down through the branches.
Stones are bouncing off each branch in turn.
Stones are plums falling down like blue stars.
 
His neighbour looks and says, Who can be responsible?
Is it the work of clever children?
His cousin gasps and says,
Is it the work of aliens, these bright disks as they fall?
Is it, asks his wife, all the words that need saying?
 
In the room, the stones are all over the bed.
The stones are all over the rug but there’s no holes
in the ceiling. He looks up and there’s no footprints on the roof.
The stones are raining down and he asks his cousin,
 
Why do the stones not fall straight down but seem to turn in the air?
He asks his neighbour, Why do the stones have no shadow?
Why do the stones fall on my house and not on yours?

Why, laughs his wife, it’s all the stones that ever got stuck in my shoe.
 

Marion Tracy

Poem published: Poetry Review Vol 103:1 Spring 2013.

Pamphlet Collection: Giant in the Doorway, HappenStance Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-905398-3-1, £4.

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