Featured Poets, February 2019                     home page
 

Alison Brackenbury       Ann Segrave       Cora Greenhill       Elizabeth Birchall       Iris Anne Lewis       Jo Peters       Lyn Moir       Mary Anne Smith       Nadine Brummer       Sarah Westcott      

Alison Brackenbury

Born in Lincolnshire, 1953. Lives in Gloucestershire, works in family metal-finishing business. Seven collections of poetry published, received both Eric Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards. Competition judge. Tutor for the Poetry School. Main aim: smuggling poems out to wide world.

No

No one is ever good enough,
or kind enough.
No one stays awake
through the lovely rush of rain which fills our dark.
No one can hold the music.
They are counting coins or frowning
they are toppling, they are drowning.
No one is good.
 
But nothing is as quick as us,
no screen can match us
tape’s whirr catch us
nothing tilts like sun
to light from sad.
Nothing in all history
can reach to take your hand from me,
the dark, the rain’s gift, O
we should be glad.
 

Alison Brackenbury

Poem published: The Times Literary Supplement.

Selection of Publications, all Carcanet:
Singing in the Dark, 2008, ISBN 1 85754 914 7
Bricks and Ballads, 2004, ISBN 1 85754 751 9
After Beethoven, 2000, ISBN 185754 454
Selected Poems, 1991, ISBN 085635 924 6

Address:
c/o Carcanet Press
4th Floor, Alliance House
28-34 Cross Street,
Manchester
M2 7AQ
 
Alison Brackenbury web-site

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Ann Segrave

Ann Segrave lives in East Sussex and is inspired by the South Downs which surround her. Her first collection, Aviatrix, was published by Oversteps Books in 2009, followed by Persimmon in 2014. She has read at Dartington, the Troubadour and locally.

Aviatrix

To gain a bird’s eye view –
windhover’s sight.
Not counting scale or distance
but feeling the sweep and pull
of landscape in ascendance.
Roads thin, electric threads,
houses squat shelters pitched against the rain.

And she, my aviatrix – bird woman –
Will find her scope at last,
cease, like a hawk replete, to fret
and tangle in her forked routines.
See clearly or, renouncing sight,
let the wind take her to another place
where no thick objects cry out to be stacked,
no eyes and voices ground her urgent flight.

Ann Segrave

Poem first published in The Charleston Magazine, Issue 10, Autumn/Winter 1994;
and included in collection Aviatrix

Publication: Aviatrix, 2009, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978 1 906856 08 3, £8.

Ann Segrave website
 
e-mail Ann segrave

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Cora Greenhill

Cora Greenhill lives in Derbyshire and Crete, the human/physical landscape of both inspiring her ‘pungent and elemental’ (David Caddy) poetry. Her recent work appears in The North, The New Writer, ARTEMISpoetry, Mslexia, as well as in her new collection.

Slackening

Pouring your muesli helps assuage my guilt
while you get dressed to catch the twelve past eight
knowing I’ll take my tea back to our quilt
still warm, to read. I stay pyjama-ed til quite late
these days. Last week’s storms have stripped the trees.
It’s winter. Easy to find excuses not to swim.
We don’t need Google to tell us it will freeze
again tonight. Easier to sink another evening in.
 
So life winds down in loose, uneasy patterns.
We sort of rationalise our letting go of dreams.
Skin’s surface, like stems of green things, slackens,
but affection does a better job than creams;
while the habit of acceptance makes failing
memories, eyesight, backs, plainish sailing.
 

Cora Greenhill

poem published in The North 73, 2010 and The Point of Waking, 2013.

Publications (from Cora):
Artemis, The People’s Priestess, Three Drops Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-3269849-5-3 (also avail from Lulu online);
Far from Kind, Pindrop Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9573290-8-9;
The Point of Waking, Oversteps Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-9068564-3-4;
Only in Crete, 2006;
Deep in Time, Dreadful Work Press, 1999, ISBN 0-9514826-1-0

Cora Greenhill blog
 
e-mail

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Elizabeth Birchall

Elizabeth is long retired from social work, management and policy research. In her beloved Cotswolds, she fills her time with writing, reading, gardening, friends and pressing governments to do better! Her poems have appeared in numerous literary and poetry magazines.

OXFORD UNITED:
Luminox, March, 2007

They set Broad Street ablaze last week,
Expelled the cars and bikes,
Brought in two ambulances in case.
Cowley and North Oxford, all ages, mixed
In slow and quiet amazement
Inching along the crowded street.
 
A flaring pendulum hung from a bamboo spire
And swung a thousand slow rotations
In notation of the city’s age.
Black against orange glow, children clung
To railings, agog at pots of fire swagged
From the Clarendon's sober pediment.
 
Blazing at each meridian and latitude, a sphere
Lit, vivified the New Bodleian hulk.
A telescopic crane stretched into the dark
Bearing a chandelier whose blaze
Extinguished the stars with infinitely more
Élan than the usual sodium lights.
 
The gale tore banners of flame
From braziers and stove pipes
Red, yellow, white hot.
Galaxies of sparks blew in the cold night
And wrapped around crowds wondering
To be allowed so intimate
With such untamed energy.

Elizabeth Birchall

Publications: The Forest That Sailed Away

tel: 01608 677271
 
e-mail

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Iris Anne Lewis

Iris Anne Lewis is a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies. She was invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Please find her on Twitter @IrisAnneLewis

Woodland Burial

A different type of pillow talk
we chose the plot together,
you rooted to the hospice bed
by tubes delivering opium sap.
 
You wanted oak and ash to
shelter you in broadleaved woods,
and in return to nurture them
with mouldered bone and flesh.
 
Tethered still to life, you slip into a
shadowed sleep. Death creeps closer,
steals your breath and shifts you to
a different state. I close your eyes.
 
Drifts of bluebells mark your spot.
Light, leaf-dappled, casts patterns on
your shaded grave. Bare branches arc
a latticed vault against the winter skies.
 
Encased in willow, you now begin
your slow and secret work in deep
secluded dark, becoming one
with earth and plants and rain and sun.
 

Iris Anne Lewis

e-mail Iris Anne Lewis

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Jo Peters

Jo Peters lives in Yorkshire and has been published in various magazines and anthologies and has been successful in several competitions. Her pamphlet Play was published in 2015 by Otley Word Feast Press.

Goddess

Driving, I caught a glimpse
of Botticelli’s Venus
wearing blue jeans
walking over Otley bridge
where the swift Wharfe
had swirled her ashore.
 
She knows the mill girl
who dawdles by the forge
as the muscled smith
leans his back against
a massive flank to tip
up the feathered fetlock.
 
She smiles at the lad
herding his flustered sheep
across the bridge
who will take his thirst
to the barmaid at the Black Bull
when the selling is done.
 
She sees the nursemaid
in Tittybottle Park turn,
push her charge up the hill
to New Hall where
the gardener’s boy once
threw her a rose.
 
The goddess steps
aside as the young folk,
now uniformed, homework
downloaded, throng up
to Prince Henry’s School where
the desire lines of courtship abide.
 
The invisible wind strews no roses,
but it whips her hair,
her glorious corn-coloured hair
that lifts, streams away
from the perfection
of her oval tilted face.
 

Jo Peters

Poem published in Surprise View, Poems About Otley, Otley Word feast Press, 2015

Publications:
Play, 2015, Otley Word Feast Press, ISBN, 978-0-9927616-5-3

e-mail Jo Peters

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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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Mary Anne Smith

Mary Anne Smith began writing seriously in 2011, and her work has been shortlisted and commended in both national and international competitions. She has read at events in England, Ireland and Italy, and in 2017 co-developed a poetry and music event for the Wise Words Festival in Canterbury.

Out of the City

     In response to Ted Hughes’ poem ‘Cities’
 
I’m glad you took us out of the city when you did,
from all those High Roads and brake-shrieking Hackney cabs
from Routemaster rumblings, the clack clack of surface railways,
the whine of the underground, and aircraft sighing slowly over
the haze of exhaust fumes and chimney smoke, hanging above it all.
 
If we had stayed, where would I find my poems now –
in the narrow spaces between the tower block and the terrace,
in the ranks of identical bicycles slanted by the station, gaps in
the cafe chains, or flickers of light in all those heavy-eyed hotels?
 
Instead of knowing the words of birdsong, or finding lines in
the striations of petals or whispered by trees, I’d read the tags
of graffiti or pick up throwaway lines from the gutter, find some
iridescence in the oily rainbows arcing across the tarmac.
 
I might trawl fresh ideas from the sameness of the river,
pan for gold in light reflected under piers and bridges,
find resonance in the church bells and clock chimes, or a
rhyme in the iambic pentameter of trains crossing points.
 
I could trace each changing statement of the skyline and
rewrite it in a plainer text, block out the shifting silhouettes
against the polluted blue of the night sky, then by dawn be
the one light still shining, the dying candle I once held out for you.
 

Mary Anne Smith

Poem commended in the Elmet Poetry Prize, 2016;
published in competition anthology and online at Elmet Trust website

Tel: 07754 701278
 
Mary Anne Smith website
 
e-mail Mary Anne Smith

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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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Sarah Westcott

Sarah has an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway and has been widely published. She won the Awel Aman Tawe poetry competition and has been a runner-up in the Mslexia competition three times. Her debut pamphlet, Inklings, is out now.

Pool

I wait, quickening,
reflecting light,
holding darkness.
Will a hand break my skin,
rise out, bearing a knife?
 
Feel the fingers of a child,
stirring. Dog tongue;
ticklish, urgent.
Indents of rain
or tears –
a wish-bone, drifting.
 
Look down
to see my bed
ribbed with light,
soft and rich -
all the bright coins.
 
When the moon is high
lie on the bank,
come close,
smell wet clay,
breath, returned.
 
Sense your unborn
coming up,
her daughter
and her daughter,
each ripple
clear as plainsong.
 

Sarah Westcott

Votive wombs were offered to the gods to help with fertility problems in Etruscan times. They were left by sacred pools, much like coins are thrown into wishing wells today.
 

Publications:
Inklings, 2013, Flipped Eye, ISBN-10: 1-905233-39-6 £4

Sarah Westcott blog
 
e-mail Sarah Westcott

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