Featured Poets, Jan 2020                     home page
 

Jean Atkin       Simone Mansell Broome       Jamie Dedes       Jill Gardiner       Danielle Hope       Pauline Kirk       Fokkina McDonnell       Jennie Osborne       Marg Roberts       Joan Sheridan Smith       Sue Wallace-Shaddad      

Jean Atkin

Jean Atkin is a poet & writer in education & the community. Her second collection How Time is in Fields was published in 2019 by IDP. She is Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival & BBC Poet for Shropshire for 2019 National Poetry Day.

The Children of Lir

His hands were folded. He seemed
to be waiting. I saw him lower
his eyes to earth
 
as I landed, a brother at each wing tip.
Behind us the sea lough tolled with the bell.
When it had stopped, he spoke.
 
I remember the coarseness of his robe,
his mudstained feet. His voice was narrow
as reeds. Rain fell.
 
We heard him out.
I searched my brothers’ eyes: and then
we spread our wings. I felt the loosening
 
of flight feathers, saw them fall;
I watched smooth plumage snow
from thinning bones.
 
I folded, for the first time, shriven fingers
and with my stranger’s hand I touched – and found
skin slack on flesh and desert dry.
 
My hair curved round me
long and faint and grey.
White down fanned to ground.
 
Shameless, my favourite brother stood
and stared into the sky. I saw him lank
and naked.
 
His eyes filled. I took his hand.
 
The monk prayed. Rain fell.
 

Jean Atkin

Poem published: Poetry Ireland Review 106 (2012)

Publications:
How Time is in Fields, 2019, IDP, 978-1-912876-07-5, £9.99
Not Lost Since Last Time, 2013, Oversteps Books, 978-1-906856-3-8-0, £8
The Dark Farms, 2012, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9571994-2-2, £9
Lost at Sea, 2011, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9535804-6-0, £10

Jean Atkin website
 
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Simone Mansell Broome

Simone began writing poems in late 2004. She’s since been recorded, broadcast, published, & won several prizes. Simone also represented Wales in Radio 4’s performance poetry competition, 2009. She co-runs Ceridwen the Ceridwen Centre

Five Changes

If I tried to give you up, it would be like
buying a train ticket from Aberystwyth
to Hastings, on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday —
a reduced service, works on the line…
essential maintenance;
and I’d expected five changes, steeled myself for
Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Reading, Gatwick
and Brighton,
had psyched myself to tick them off, one by one,
but found cancellations,
my progress halted, my plans thwarted,
my route re-arranged on a chalked easel
with quirky spellings…inaudible apologies…
and instead of three-down-two-to-go,
time for a coffee, a quick last sidinged pass
at crossword or sudoku,
I’d find I was just travelling — locomoting slowly —
in a large reticulated arc
back
to you.

Simone Mansell Broome

Poem published: 1st Prize winner, Carillon magazine competition 2007, and published in Carillon issue 17, Mar/Apr 2007, ISSN 1474-7340.

Publications:
Cardiff Bay Lunch, Lapwing Publications (Belfast), 2010 – ISBN 978-1-907276-44-6 £8;
Not exactly getting anywhere but… – Ceridwen Press, April 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077 £3.50;
Juice of the Lemon, youwriteon.com, December 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077, £4.99

Simone Mansell Broome, Penybanc Farm, Drefach Felindre, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA44 5XE
 
Simone Mansell Broome website
 
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Jamie Dedes

Jamie Dedes, born in New York, lives in N. California. A former columnist and feature writer, she runs an information site for poets and writers and founded an online arts collective that publishes a literary journal of which she is managing editor.

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, I’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia –
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river…
 
I’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped –
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings…
 
I’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
I’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow –
you’ll see me sliding happy down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.
 

Jamie Dedes

Poem published in Vita Brevis

Jamie Dedes blog: The Poet by Day
Jamie Dedes The Poet by Day Facebook page
Monthly Arts e-zine The BeZine

 
e-mail Jamie Dedes

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Jill Gardiner

Jill Gardiner is a former Chair of Brighton Poets, whose work has been published in The Interpreter’s House (2015) and ARTEMISpoetry (2018). Also a historian, known for From the Closet to the Screen – Women at the Gateways Club 1945-85 (Pandora 2002).

At the Opera

after the painting by Mary Cassatt
 
I have seen her each night from afar
Across a salon, or in some distant room
And often on his arm. And, tonight,
I have followed her to the opera.
In the picture, you do not see her:
Her bare shoulders; the three strings
Of pearls I gave her; the shock
Of that white muslin dress in November.
 
You only see me in my tight black gown,
And my opera glasses fixed on some point
Beyond your sight, and the yellowing fan
I am hardly holding. Any moment now
My grip will tighten as she turns
From him and catches my eye again.
One time she blushed. We are rarely alone.
Our intimacy is confined to public places.
 
In a distant box, you see another man:
Where I go, he follows. And grown so bold
That his opera glasses are trained on me
As if that whole wide audience were not there.
I have heard them whisper in the drawing rooms:
‘She’s handsome still, and alone too long.
Why does he wait?’ He has asked. I freeze.
I am spoken for and cannot say to whom.
 

Jill Gardiner

First published in The Western Mail (among other winners in the 1992 Cardiff International Competition)
and subsequently in The North 1992.

Publication:
With Some Wild Woman – Poems 1989-2019, 2019, Tollington Press, ISBN 978-1-90934-716-8 (due out 15th November). For details of launch events, please email Jill.

e-mail Jill Gardiner

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Danielle Hope

Danielle Hope founded and edited Zenos, a magazine of British and International Poetry, and is editorial advisor for the Literary Magazine, Acumen.

In the kitchen

I’ve heard voices for some time so I enter.
My father pauses mid-sentence, stares
at the black table leg. His eyes wary,
mouth open as if caught on camera
scrumping apples. The radio splutters softly.
 
How two years have shrunk him.
His spade hands now scooped out
as he struggles unsteadily to sit.
He has only the remnants of pride to force
his wooden breaths, shore his shoulders back.
 
‘Talking to mum?’ I ask. ‘It’s private
between her and me’. Outside a car passes.
He reaches to rub thick cream
onto where his right ankle still won’t heal.
The steady drip of the kitchen tap like a clock.
 

Danielle Hope

Poem published in collection, Giraffe under a Grey Sky, Rockingham Press

Publications:
Fairground of Madness, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-873468-01-2, £5.95
City Fox, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-873468-55-5, £6.95
The Stone Ship, Rockingham Press, ISBN 1873468 911, £7.95
Giraffe Under a Grey Sky, Rockingham Press, ISBN 978-1-904851-34-9, £7.99

Danielle Hope website
 
contact Danielle
 

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Pauline Kirk

Poet and novelist Pauline Kirk lives in York. She is editor of Fighting Cock Press, a member of the Pennine Poets group and on the editorial board of ‘Dream Catcher’. She also writes the DI Ambrose Mysteries with her daughter as PJ Quinn.

‘Horned Animals, Mesolithic –
     – possibly handles’

In Maltese heat
three terracotta heads
challenge through museum glass.
Noses tilt, eyes appeal,
yet each is no bigger
than a fifty-penny piece.
 
Who fashioned you? Who
took clay six thousand years ago,
to fashion your exact ears,
slender horns and throat?
Each neck hints a missing handle
now crumbled back to dust.
 
Did you decorate jars
for a god, or perfume for a bride?
My mind shudders
beneath the weight of years.
My ancestors crouched in caves,
but they carved horses’ heads on bone,
 
still beautiful.
I turn to safer displays,
but a question nags on.
What of our time will amaze,
when the silt is cleared,
six millennia gone?
 

Pauline Kirk

Poem published in Pennine Platform, no 79, 2016;
in collection Time Traveller (see below)

Publications:
Time Traveller, Graft Poetry, 2017, ISBN 978-0-9558400-9-8, £8.50
Poetic Justice: A DI Ambrose Mystery, writing as PJ Quinn, Stairwell Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-939269-77-5, £10.00
Thinking of You Always: the Letters of Cpl. Hill 1941-1945, Stairwell Books and Fighting Cock Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-939269-36-2, £10.00
Border 7, Stairwell Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1-939269-25-6, £10.00; also available as an Audio Book: Amazon Audible, 2019, ISBN 978-1-939269-72-0, £22.00 or Audible subscription
Walking to Snailbeach: Selected and New Poems, Redbeck Press, 2004, ISBN 1-904338-15-1, £8.95

Pauline Kirk website
 
Pauline Kirk at poetry p f
 
web pages Pennine Poets
 
e-mail

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Fokkina McDonnell

Fokkina McDonnell was born in the Netherlands, but has lived in the UK for most of her adult life. Her poems have been broadcast, and published in over 20 anthologies and magazines, including Orbis, The North, Mslexia, Magma and Poetry News.

The twins have set up a tattoo parlour

Some say it was self-inflicted;
he was tired of his demanding job.
Cosmo says he lost the right arm
in an accident at sea. He asks
me to sign a short disclaimer.
Damian is upstairs doing admin.
Cosmo pulls out a handful
of small beetles, insects, dragonflies
from the pockets on his legs.
I find it hard to choose among
swirling grey wings, shuttling black.
I thought a swift or starling?
Cosmo looks doubtful. He can
do a crow from memory. Yellow
eyes, curved beak, he says,
plucky legs. I can only nod.
 

Fokkina McDonnell

Poem published in Strix 3, Spring 2018.

Publications:
Another Life, 2016, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068566-7-0

Fokkina McDonnell website
 
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Jennie Osborne

Jennie Osborne lives on the edge of Dartmoor, active in poetry around South Devon. One of organisers of Teignmouth Poetry Festival. Performer and workshop leader. Won 2015 Kent and Sussex Poetry Prize.

Salmon

It’s too early
for salmon leaping
or too late.
 
I’m in the right place
thinking perhaps
no time is wrong
 
That I feel at home here
or anywhere
that isn’t home
 
and as I stand in that knowledge
the salmon come, leaping.
 

Jennie Osborne

Poem published: The Rialto, Autumn 2013.

Publications:
Colouring Outside the Lines, 2015, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068565-8-8
collection, How to be Naked, 2010, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068561-3-7. £8;
CD, Something about a Woman, £5 + 50p p&p, direct from Jennie

Overall winner of the SecondLightLive Poetry Competition, Round 2, Nov 08 to Sep 09. Listen to Jennie reading There’s Something about a Woman Swallowing Flames

e-mail Jennie Osborne
 
web-pages on poetry p f.

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Marg Roberts

Marg Roberts has been reading and writing poetry for about 15 fifteen years. She lives in Leamington Spa and loves cycling, gardening and family.

Question

This hard, upholstered chair is not mine.
Through the windows men and women
get out of cars to go shopping.
 
The door is not our door.
In the corner of the room is an aquarium
Angel fish, Zebra fish and glints of colour.
We have a dog called Roger; we aren’t keen on fish.
 
Perfume fills the air like a disguise.
Two women
In uniform step into the room
Though no one is ill.
 
You frown.
You pat my hand.
I ask, ‘How are you?’
You do not answer.
In the palm of my hand a biscuit is melting.
I lick the chocolate
As delicately as a kitten.
 
Next to me, an elderly couple sit close on a settee.
She slips a hand into the front of his trousers.
Leaves
Fly
Off the trees.
 
You are frowning. Your lips move.
A woman says, ‘Time for tea.’
I get up from my chair and follow her.
A voice inside me, asks,
‘How did you know I was here?’
 
 
 
Footnote: I wrote this poem as a way of trying to understand my mother’s experience of dementia.
 

Marg Roberts

on display in Wilde’s Wine Bar, the Parade, Leamington Spa

Marg Roberts blog
 
e-mail Marg Roberts

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Joan Sheridan Smith

Joan Sheridan Smith’s work has been widely published in the small (and not so small, ed) presses including Acumen, Envoi, Iota, Poetry Monthly) and she has a pamphlet collection available (Gallery, Poetry Monthly Press, 2006).

Tenderness

You have a gentle touch with living things.
I can’t pick up a mouse, a frog, a bird,
afraid of harming them. You scoop them up,
cradle them in your hands and lift them clear
of the cat’s predatory paw.
You also love the cat.
 
In this I am reminded of my father.
He'd trap a window wasp
with an upended glass,
and sliding underneath a piece of card,
release it to the hazards of the air.

Joan Sheridan Smith

Publications:
Gallery, Poetry Monthly Press;
Schubertiad, collaborative CD (poems interspersed with piano pieces), £7.50 (orders via Joan);
A Garland for David, Poetry Monthly Press, £5 from www.poetrymonthly.com
 

38 Holcombe Crescent
Ipswich
Suffolk
IP2 9QZ
 
tel: 01473 601965
 
Joan on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Sue Wallace-Shaddad

Sue Wallace-Shaddad captures moments in time, observing life and nature, writing across a wide range of topics. She has had poems published in a number of anthologies including The Dawntreader and on line (Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetry Space).

Under watching angels
Blythburgh church

The last rays of sun filter
through leaded clerestory windows,
touching the choir with gold.
Robed in black, stark
under the rood screen
Ave Maria takes wing
as they raise Amens on high.
 
Angels gather above
as if to catch the soaring notes.
Once embellished,
now transmuted from glory
to bleached wood,
they remain symbolic of the faith
woven into the fabric,
the cloth of this church.
 
Bathed in light, at one with the sky,
the cathedral of the marshes,
sails towards dusk.

Sue Wallace-Shaddad

Poem published in Suffolk Poetry Society magazineTwelve Rivers, winter 2017

Publications:
A working life, 2014, self-published

Sue Wallace-Shaddad website
 
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