Featured Poets, February 2020                     home page
 

Marion Ashton       Nadine Brummer       Margaret Eddershaw       Nicolette Golding       Helen Ivory       Melinda Lovell       Lynda O’Neill       Anne Ryland       Mary Anne Smith       June Webster       Lynne Wycherley      

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, Jennie Osborne, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy and Fiona Ritchie Walker
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

Marion Ashton

Marion gained a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway in 2010, tutored by Andrew Motion and Jo Shapcott. Her poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and a Cinnamon anthology. Her first collection ‘The Threshold’ was published 2018.

Skitter of Wings

We drive mile after mile through Houston sprawl –
a flashing succession of leering signs:
 
shopping-malls, car lots, eating joints,
to reach the ferry across Galverston Bay. Reeling
 
in the heat of Texan sun, hassled by screeching gulls
We finally arrive and have this long sweep
 
of Bolivar Sands to ourselves. Strong wind gusts
in from the Gulf of Mexico, stirs up the ocean,
 
sends rollers crashing on the beach – to drift back
in rasping sighs. We walk in calm silence,
 
faces turned upward, gulping salt-spray air,
bare feet squelching warm, damp sand,
 
approaching a colony of birds: terns, herons,
pelicans, preening and calling in congregation
 
along the water’s edge. We lap up the display
wanting to get closer – when, as at a gunshot,
 
they go up as one – an Alleluia of flapping,
a shaken sheet lifted, a skitter of wings
 
along the ribs – lung-filling gasps as they wheel
the sky and that lone hawk swoops back inland.

Marion Ashton

Skitter of Wings was one of the 5 Highly Commended poems in Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Competition March 2020

Publications:
The Threshold, 2018, ISBN 978-1-9770342-1-2

Marion at poetry p f
 
e-mail Marion

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

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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)

e-mail

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Margaret Eddershaw

Margaret took early retirement to live in Greece. She has had over 100 poems published individually and one collection, Spectators’ View (Peer Poetry International, 2002). In 2008: Cinnamon Press, Leaf Books, iota, Purple Patch and commendation in Barnet poetry competition.

Golden Rule

In a forgotten drawer
my father’s wooden rule,
brass-hinged to unfold
sideways and lengthways
for measuring boat timbers.
 
I hear the slap and click
of its closing,
before I can say ‘lifeboat’,
see it vanish
into that long pocket
on the thigh of blue overalls.
 
Indicator of his precision
love of numbers
a life measured
in feet and inches
business takings
cricket scores
football pools
bingo calls.
 
His emotions kept in check,
marked off by pencil,
held in columns,
buttoned up in cardigans,
till an outburst
a sea-squall soon past.
 
Now he’s gone to talk
spans and cubits
and dead-reckoning with Noah.

Margaret Eddershaw

Poem published: Iota, 2007

Publications: Collection, Spectators’ View, Peer Poetry International, 2002

e-mail

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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

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

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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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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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Lynda O’Neill

Lynda O’Neill was born and brought up in Portsmouth. She lives in Winchester with her husband and has two children. She has been published by South, Poetry Nottingham International, Iota and The New Writer.

Double English

Her flowing clothes were always black –
never a twin set. They swished as she
patrolled the corridors,
crunching Polos and tutting.
She had high frequency hearing
and an x-ray gaze behind her
spit-on-the-brush mascara.
Other teachers wore no lipstick
or played safe with dolly mixture pink.
She favoured an Edith Piaf gash.
 
As we suffered Assembly on canvas chairs
she sat with the Catholics in the Library.
More laughter than scripture, they said,
and a bottle of Gordons in her bag
with its crocodile snap.
 
We’d known our place since the age of eleven
but she thought we deserved her best.
‘I’m going to have a bash at
Middle English with this Chaucer,’ she’d say.
Next week her ice blue eyes
would rock’n’roll with warmth
as she smacked her Revlon lips
over a chapter of Pride and Prejudice.

Lynda O’Neill

Poem published: South 37, ISSN 0959-1133

Lynda O’Neill at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Anne Ryland

Anne Ryland’s first collection, Autumnologist, (Arrowhead Press, 2006) was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2007). Her poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where she teaches adults and runs writing workshops for community groups.

For a Daughter

My name would not be your middle name.
 
You wouldn’t inherit my listomania, I promise:
I’d renounce list-making in honour of your birth.
 
The term Muscular Dystrophy would not be sewn within you.
 
I would not pass on my stony ova
or the euphemisms stuffed up the sleeve like handkerchiefs.
 
Thank You wouldn’t be your mantra; it trapped me at the amber light.
 
You wouldn’t stare at every dog and see only its bite.
 
You would never know that ‘worry’ derives from ‘wyrgan’, to strangle:
I’d lock the door to my mother’s worrymongery
 
but I would be your guide in the storehouse of the thesaurus,
assure you there’s no such curse as being too clever.
 
I’d even show you how to blow a trumpet in a long and steady tone.
 
My desk and my blue propelling pencil would be yours.
 
I’d hand you your great-grandmother’s last letter to her daughter
from the hospital – ‘bye bye, dear’
 
All my words would be yours, so you’d observe me on the page,
learn all that I am and was and should have been.
 
And, my daughter, each night I’d hum you a lullaby.
You would remember me as a song, not an apology.
 

Anne Ryland

Poem published: Mslexia, No. 34. Runner-up, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, 2007.

Publications: Autumnologist, Arrowhead Press, 2006, ISBN 1-904852-11-4, £7.50.

Anne Ryland website
 
e-mail (via SLN)

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Mary Anne Smith

Mary Anne Smith’s work has been recognised in both national and international competitions, most recently including first prize in the 6th O’Bheal Five Words competition, and first and second prizes in Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry competitions.

Rural Living

One last time, before he leaves,
Hare writes his name along the skyline;
the twin strokes in the H of his ears,
the cursive ‘a’ of his pale brown face,
the ‘r’ in his resting rear legs, then a
brief glimpse of the sans-serif ‘e’ of his
neat white tail, and he is gone.
 
A cloud of purple Quaking-grass lies adrift
like a piece of fallen dusk, and with its
final breath speaks in a shiver of whispers
through the Fescue and Timothy,
Canary Grass and Cat’s-tail, Cock’s-foot
Dog’s Wheat, Holy Grass and Hare’s Tail.
 
In a blur of striated moth-wings the Lark rises,
following Icarus’ flight-path to the sun;
answering the call of the void, he offers up
one last high-pitched, unbroken chant for
his old territory as it disappears beneath him,
 
falling away
 
to lawns and a new order. They don’t have to
spell it out, but of course, they do. This is
after all what they call rural living,
this uniform co-existence, marked out
in lines of freshly sprung-up signs, all
neatly labelled and site-appropriate:
 
Skylark Heights
Old Meadow Way
Hare Court.
 

Mary Anne Smith

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

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

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June Webster

June Webster has a Creative Writing Certificate from Open College of the Arts, studied Advanced Poetry at Morley College and City lit. Her poems are published in South Bank Poetry, DulwichOnView, Morley Poets First Anthology, Lighten Up Online

Unleashing Chaos

Sitting at my laptop on a dismal day with nothing in mind,
not a clue on what to write on the topic, change or routine.
 
I have no routine, so maybe, could start with a change there.
Should I have breakfast at a set time, not eat before or after?
 
That means setting my alarm, which would wake my husband
on his days off and almost certainly result in an argument.
 
That would be a change. We mostly bicker later in the day,
as we are both silent, nod or grunt-only, morning zombies.
 
I could plan my week, not go off whenever I feel the urge
to shop, wander aimlessly around the park or indeed visit
 
any gallery that takes my fancy. I could make a schedule,
map out days in advance. Create a filing system in alphabetical
 
or numeric order, instead of my usual, where-the-hell-did-I-put-
that-for-safekeeping method. Potential to transform, boundless!
 
Thought about the matter enough, deliberation is making me tired.
I need to think about what to write on topic, change or routine.
 

June Webster

Poem published in Published in Lighten Up Online Issue 45

e-mail June Webster

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Lynne Wycherley

Lynne Wycherley finds herself drawn to light-haunted landscapes – a legacy, perhaps, of childhood by the Fens. Her lyrical and sometimes metaphysical poems have featured widely. (Her recent prizes include the Second Light poetry competition and the E.A. Fellows’ Prize).

Leaving Burray

Beyond the Barrier, fear’s grey wall,
it appears from nowhere –
 
a strip of blue, transcendent blue,
as if a thousand kingfishers
fell from heaven.
 
Glance again and it’s gone,
mist’s sleight of hand,
its voltage trace still printed on your soul.
 

 
* Barrier – Churchill Barrier (Scapa Flow)

Lynne Wycherley

in collection Poppy in a Storm-Struck Field

Publications:
Poppy in a Storm-struck Field, 2009, Shoestring Press, ISBN 978-1-907356-00-1. £9.
North Flight, 2006, Shoestring Press.
At the Edge of Light, 2003, Shoestring Press.
Fens Poems (‘A Sea of Dark Fields’), 2000, Hilton House pamphlets.
Cracks in the Ice, 1999, Acumen Occasional Pamphlet Series.

e-mail Lynne

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