Featured Poets, January 2019                     home page
 

Alwyn Marriage       Mrs Ann Milton       Denise Bennett       Helena Hinn       Jay Whittaker       June Hall       Lynda O’Neill       Marion Ashton       Maureen Weldon       Nola Turner       Shirley Wright      

Alwyn Marriage

Alwyn has been a university Philosophy lecturer, Editor of a journal, Chief Executive of two international NGOs and is now Managing Editor of Oversteps Books. Her poetry and non-fiction are published widely and she reads in Britain and abroad.

La Matelote

the restaurant was called la Matelote,
– the same word as le matelot
but ending in an ‘e’
and therefore feminine.
 
We debated what a female sailor
would be called in English
other than, of course,
a sailor –
 
‘fish wife’ hasn’t quite the same
éclat: shore-bound and down-to-earth,
she scolds her husband
wipes scale-covered hands on bloodied apron;
 
‘sailor girl’ sounds
far more jaunty, even saucy,
a jolly sea shanty of a lass
who’s good at knots, but lacks maturity;
 
a ‘woman of the waves’, though cumbersome,
has a more romantic ring,
laid-back and offering
her ebb and flow, her undulating curves.
 
In our minds these women all
transmogrified into a mermaid,
sea-born and always breaking free
like words for which there’s no equivalent.
 
Consulting a dictionary to check
the latest addition to our French vocabulary
we found ‘la matelote’
simply means ‘fish stew’.
 

Alwyn Marriage

Poem published in French Literary Review and ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 6

Publications:
festo, 2012, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-32-8. £8.
touching earth, 2007, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-0-9552424-7-2, £8.
The People of God, 1995, Darton Longman & Todd, ISBN 0-232-51989-7, £9.95.
New Christian Poetry (ed), Collins, 0-00-599207-9, £7.95.
Life-Giving Spirit, 1989, SPCK, ISBN 0-281-04430-9, £7.95.
Beautiful Man, 1977, Outposts Publications, 90p.

Alwyn’s web-site
 
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Ann Milton

I am a housewife and mother, living in Brussels. I’ve been writing poetry for my own satisfaction and pleasure for some years, now I am exploring how to make it accessible to (enjoyable by, useful for?) others.

who will hear?

How can I dare to speak
what must not be heard? Where is it safe
to voice a naked thought?
I live with dreams that cannot
be realised, nightmares I cannot cast off
because the burden is unshared
 
I need some-one to listen to me,
without cruel judgement or kind pity,
so that the merciless noise will be driven
from inside my head, guided
to a distant home.
 
I would not burden the wise
with my foolishness, nor could any-one innocent
receive my guilt.
But if you have seen the wilderness
You could be the one to hear my story.
 

Ann Milton

e-mail Ann Milton

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Denise Bennett

Denise Bennett has an MA in creative writing & runs poetry workshops. She is widely published. In 2004 she won the inaugural Hamish Canham poetry awarded by the Poetry Society. She regularly reads at Tongues & Grooves poetry and music club Portsmouth.

Water Chits

     Gallipoli 1915
 
I joined the band to play the flute
to chivvy the men to war –
but mostly I was lackey to the medic,
sent out with the water chits;
scraps of paper with the words,
please let the bearer have some drinking water;
sent out to the lighter
to fetch the water shipped from Egypt.
Even in dreams I can hear
the medic’s call –
water, water – we need more water –
as if by magic, I could conjure up
eight kettles of water to wash
the wounded, to cook the meal,
to clean the mess tins,
to give ten dying men a drink.
In all this dust and heat, no one
said we would have to beg for water.
 

Denise Bennett

     inspired by a letter written by a marine bandsman
     at the time of the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915

first published in Poetry News, Summer 2015;
title poem of forthcoming pamphlet (Indigo Dreams, 2016)

Publications:
Parachute Silk, 2015, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-55-7.
Planting the Snow Queen, 2011, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-20-5.

Denise Bennett at poetry p f
 
e-mail Denise Bennett

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Helena Hinn

Helena Hinn lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has been published by Virago, Faber and Faber, and in Women’s Press anthologies and has a published collection of prose, Histories of the Imagination.

Pins

pins are silver – the colour of the moon
long ago women would throw pins into wells
giving back to the earth
a tiny part of what had been taken
 
the tiny insignificant pin
which is invaluable to women
: to secure when sewing
: to fix, to enable work to happen
 
women work for pin money
an insubstantial amount to the world
but essential to them
 
if women had an emblem
I would promote the pin
to the world it seems a small unimportant object
but women understand the value of a pin
 
and women’s values
know the essential nature of the tiny
and its part in the whole

Helena Hinn

Helena’s website
 
e-mail

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Jay Whittaker

Jay Whittaker’s poems were shortlisted for a Scottish New Writers 2016 Award and the 2016 Bridport Poetry Prize, and have been published in Envoi, Orbis, Brittle Star & The Frogmore Papers. Her full length collection, Wristwatch, comes out in 2017..

Pearl

What sends you over the brink –
a final shove or ceaseless prodding?
Are you hounded to it, coaxed,
alarmed or caught off guard?
 
The end’s the same.
flailing arms, sky, chasm -
you fall, a shell of significance
at your heart a pearl.
 

Jay Whittaker

Publications:
Pearl, 2005, Selkirk Lapwing Press, ISBN 0-9-531212-6-7
“Regeneration” in Both sides of Hadrian‘s Wall, 2006, Selkirk Lapwing Press, ISBN 0-9-554056-3-7

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June Hall

June Hall is a former Faber editor. Death of her son and diagnosis of Parkinson’s drew her to poetry. Her work appears in Acumen, ARTEMISpoetry and elsewhere, incl. three poetry collections. She co-edited with Dr R V Bailey The Book of Love and Loss.

Uncharted

Your bone-hard mouth, like an open cave,
seaweed stretched over jagged rock-teeth,
gulps at the tide that sucks, in and out,
breathing rough, insistent spray. I hold
your drowning hand so tight blood drains
from it in white waves as if I were the parent,
you the child stranded in nightmare seas.
 
In the wreckage of lost life I don’t know who
or where you are, or if you know me at all.
I too am wrecked, a stranger to this vast ocean.
Muscles tighten and cramp, fearful
at your going, so far beyond my horizon.
Still, I hope my grip steadies you, that you feel
its squeeze, take in my muttered lovings.
 
Here by your bedside I want to call you home
though already you’re panting to push through
the storm’s growl and I’m rowing the wreckage,
one hand clutched to your fleshless claw, trying
to stay up and keep the rhythm of the stroke until
fingers twine around the rightness of your going,
reconciled at last to the distance between us.
 
Dying is a challenging business.
Over the crashing foam I cry out to you:
I’m here. Don’t worry, Mum. I’ll stay right here.
Hours later, though, I break my word and have
to leave your side. You let your grasp loosen
and, out of reach now, sink down alone
to the rock below, the uncharted sea-bed.
 

June Hall

in collection Uncharted

Publications:
Uncharted, 2016, Belgrave Press, ISBN 978-0-9546215-3-7, £9.99
Bowing to Winter, 2010, Belgrave Press, ISBN 978-0954621513, £7.99
The Now of Snow, 2004, Belgrave Press, ISBN 0-9546215-0-6, £7.99
First Sixty: The Acumen Anthology, 2010, Acumen, ISBN 978-1-8731612-3-4, £9.99
Cracking On, anthology, 2010, Grey Hen Press, ISBN 978-0-9552952-4-9, £10

web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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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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Marion Ashton

Marion shuttles between Lincolnshire and Houston, Texas. She works as an English tutor. Recently completed an MA in Poetry with Royal Holloway. Widely published in magazines and in anthology Glimmer. Currently working on first collection.

Breakdown Pond

Snow-covered park – a pale sun
pokes thin fingers through the rowans,
scribbling shadows at our feet.
 
Last week’s storm strewed the ground
with branches, turned the paths to mud;
today only our footprints blot the whiteness.
 
We stop at the pond, iced over but for
a black circle, blurred grey at the edges -
the pupil and iris of a blind eye.
 
We’re strangers – just cards at Christmas –
an age since university. Ruth shifts
her weight from foot to foot, staring
 
into the black hole, groping through
the years for the first words of her story.
The crack of a twig splits the silence:
 
a cock pheasant stepping from a bush.
We watch its jutting head stab red
and green across the parchment white.
 
High planes drag ragged chalk across
the slate-grey sky. Words sink and drown.
We turn to retrace our tracks in the snow.

Marion Ashton

Poem published in earlier version in Orbis, 2007

Marion at poetry p f
 
e-mail Marion

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Maureen Weldon

Maureen Weldon’s awards include: Highly Commended, SWWJ, Elizabeth Longford Trophy Poetry Competition, 2006. Her work is published in: Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, Coffee House. Autumn 2014, first pamphlet collection to be published by Poetry Space Ltd.

Midnight Robin

While the sky shimmers like shot silk.
I count the chimneypots,
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
 
On my kitchen table, sheets and sheets
of screwed up poems.
Tomorrow I’ll flatten them
for shopping lists.
 
While perfumed smells of hyacinths
bring memories of my mother;
‘they make lovely Christmas presents’
she would say, as she potted and tended.
 
The evening moves along.
The moon a half golden bracelet.
The sky cluttered with stars.
 
All is still. No cars. No trains.
And in this stillness,
the midnight robin sings.
 

Maureen Weldon

Poem published in Crannog 18, 2008, ISSN 1649-4865;
and in Bolts of Silk, 2013

Publications:
Breakfast at Kilumney, 2010, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 978-1-9063573-1-3. £5;
Earth Tides, 2002, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 1-90303-12-9. £4;
To Change These Hours, 2004, Kite Modern Poetry Series, ISBN 0-907759-39-4. £5.95;
Of Crossed Wires, 1996, Wire Poetry Booklet Series, ISBN 1-900462-60-5. £4;
Leap, 1993, Envoi Poets Publications, ISBN 1-874161-01-1. £5

Address:
14 Green Park
Connagh’ Quay,
Deeside
Flintshire
CH5 4QJ
 
Tel: 01244 822366
 
e-mail Maureen Weldon

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Nola Turner

Nola Turner lives in South East London and came to writing poetry late but is making up for lost time. Themes include relationships, the state we are in and politics writ small.

On the Road

Most trees have shed their leaves
but here and there some scraps persist,
a camouflage of khaki brown;
in hedgerows spikes of hawthorn
flash berries scarlet raw.
 
A mud clad fox, back snapped in two,
is wedged among the gutter muck;
past victim of the speeding cars
that zip along this stretch
of sub-suburban road.
 
With opaque eyes wide open
and mouth set in a grin,
he seems to sneer at his demise;
rank carcass on a short-cut route
from Minns to Sittingbourne.  

Nola Turner

Highly Commended, Penge Poetry Competition, 2016

e-mail Nola Turner

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Shirley Wright

Shirley Wright is a prize-winning poet, novelist and short-story writer. Her poems appear in many poetry magazines and her first full collection, The Last Green Field, is published by Indigo Dreams. Based in Bristol, she loves Cornwall, trees, and stones.

Reference Library

Here is the dark half-world
where roots weave earth
tight against the spin, the turn
of leaves, where night
 
owls swoop on echoes
from the wildwood, a vole perhaps,
the musk of history, things
dank or rustling.
 
Heads bow as though
to avoid the casual swipe
of low branches, the crack
and biro-click that herald
 
autumnal fruit. See
how it is garnered, one word,
one phrase at a time, acorns
in a grove of oaks from whence
 
all this transfigured landscape
had its being. Chairs creak,
tables groan beneath their load
of elbows and narrow fingers
 
fingering the black and white;
we might pause for coffee,
whisper thoughts on metempsychosis,
pick mushrooms from the forest floor.
 

Shirley Wright

Winner of 2nd Prize, Wells Literature Festival 2012;
published in Bristol Women Writers anthology Unchained., 2013

Publications:
The Last Green Field, 2013, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9093573-2-7. £7.99
Unchained, 2013, Tangent Books, ISBN 978-1-9064777-7-6. £9.99
Time Out of Mind, 2012, ThornBerry Publishing, ISBN 978-1-7817668-4-2. £7.99

Shirley Wright website
 
e-mail Shirley Wright

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