Featured Poets, July 2018                     home page
 

Anne Sherry       Denni Turp       Fokkina McDonnell       Gill Nicholson       Jan Bay-Petersen       Jean Atkin       Jill Boucher       Kathleen M Quinlan       Maria Jastrzebska       Mimi Khalvati       Shirley Bell       Shirley Wright       Vicki Morley       (not currently a member of Second Light)

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)  

Anne Sherry

Anne Sherry is a Writer and Management Consultant. She lives in Winchester but travels widely. Her first collection, Safe Passage, was published in 2014.

Failing to Find Old Sarum

Border-line bothered
weekend-weary
I turn into a business park
stop by open field, reach
a place of silence, of slow time.
 
A brilliance of blue
in a bank of quitch
harebells fat and juicy
sturdy as hyacinths
a few fussy in old lady pink
 
and a singularity, tall
stocky with hairy
heart-shaped leaves
tiny blooms, cream centres
an absolute blue.
 
This is Germander
a veronica of the Figwort family,
cousin to heath, common field
slender, ivy, thyme-leaved
and loud lousewort.
 
In the distance, ancient buildings
hangers with Belfast roof trusses
a Tiger Moth drones overhead
fast followed by a Dragonfly.
A place of old time.
 

Anne Sherry

Published by Mudfog Press December 2019 in pamphlet of same name

Publications:
Failing to Find Old Sarum, 2019, Mudfog Press, ISBN 978-0-9927930-1-2, £5.95 (free p&p)
Safe Passage, a Memoir in Poetry and Prose, 2014, Ashbrook Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927930-0-5, £7.95 +p&p,
(proceeds after costs to Alzheimer’s Research UK, www.cpibookdelivery.com)

e-mail Anne Sherry

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Denni Turp

Denni Turp writes mostly in English, and is a member of Lapidus and of two local writing groups where she lives in north Wales. She works as North Wales Field Officer for Disability Arts Cymru.

Monolopy

He had a cherry tree.
The cherries it produced
were deep of colour
and of sweetness,
full of juice, and
he didn’t want to share.
 
The birds would come
to taste some of the fruit,
and leave him songs
wrapped round the stones.
‘Not fair,’ he said.
‘This needs to change.’
 
So he built a cage
to keep the tree secure,
closed up all the gaps
and spaces totally
to keep them out,
so he could have it all.
 
Bees bounced in panic
against the wall.
Petals fell and clustered
at the roots, the birds
no longer sang,
and there were no fruits.
 

Denni Turp

e-mail Denni Turp

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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
 
e-mail Fokkina McDonnell

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Gill Nicholson is not currently a Member of Second Light. back to top

Jan Bay-Petersen

Jan Bay-Petersen, a New Zealander, worked in agricultural development and lived for 20 years in Taiwan. She began writing poetry after she moved to Cambridge. She has published in several poetry journals and won the 2013 Poetry Society Stanza Poetry Competition.

It’s a Two and You’re Dead

The closer we live to our gods, the more we need games.
Luck isn’t random: it chooses and fondles, then flits,
while we phantom midges soar high on the breath
of the gods or are drowned in their spit.
If our buzzing offends, if we stick in their throat,
they may take as amends what we don’t want to lose,
and you pay with an arm and a leg. Let us pray.
 
Playing games gives a hint. They’re a rear-vision mirror
to show what is coming up close from behind.
They won’t stop the truck, but maybe you’ll pause
a significant tick while you’re sending a text
so your paths don’t collide. If you’re ten over par,
if your darts hit the wire – give the blind date a miss.
Don’t ask for a raise, not today. Catch the bus.
 
Wait till you throw double six, till your horse
gallops home, till the ball draws a line
from your boot to the goal, till the Queen, King and Knave
join the cloverleaf Ace. Though you can’t read the stars
you can tip them like Braille and the rhythms are good,
your sails belly and fill, the duck’s entrails are pink.
There’s a cat and he’s black and you’re blessed. Take the trick.
 

Jan Bay-Petersen

Poem published in The North, 50

Jan Bay-Petersen at poetry p f
 

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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
 
e-mail

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Jill Boucher is not currently a Member of Second Light. back to top

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Maria Jastrzębska

Maria is Polish and lives in Brighton. She has three collections and her work is much published in anthologies and magazines (UK, France, Finland, Slovenia, the internet). She is involved with SOUTH POLE, Queer Writing South, Outskirts and THE SOUTH.

Old Knives

Old knives lie still
in wooden drawers, lined
 
with shiny paper. They smell
of rust, belong to a family
 
of broken scissors, brass
tongs, tarnished platters
 
and screws stored in tobacco tins.
You could clean round them.
 
They lack conviction. Old knives
can’t cut in straight lines
 
anymore, but their handles
fit warmly into your hand.
 

Maria Jastrzębska

Poem published: Zlati Coln / Golden Boat 2006, Apokalipsa 2007 Zlati čoln/Golden Boat mednarodna prevajalska delavnica Društvo Apokalipsa

Latest collection:Syrena, Redbeck Press

web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail Maria

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Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati is the founder of The Poetry School, is on the Council of Management of the Arvon Foundation, the Editorial Board of Wasafiri and is a PBS selector. Her latest collection is The Meanest Flower (Carcanet 2007, PBS Recommendation).

The Valley


Through a thin spray of flowers from the valley
(and frailer for the shyness you gave them with),
through sprigs of blue, their minute suns, many
and angled to many corners of the earth,
I saw, not the valley or even the hill
that rose in front of me, but half-imagined
plateaux that lay beyond these disused mills:
meadows waist-high, horizons mountain-rimmed.

Wildflowers grow there in abundance, so many
you could reap armfuls of them, cauldrons
of colour stoked with their dyes, cornflowers, teasels
snarling your hair and on your headscarf, apron,
shirt and shawl, the whole sky would spill a pinny
studded with seeds. But thank you, thank you for these.

Mimi Khalvati

Poem published in collection, The Meanest Flower

Most Recent Publications, all from Carcanet:
The Meanest Flower, 2007. PBS Recommendation. Short-listed for TS Eliot Prize.
The Chine, 2002.
Mimi Khalvati: Selected Poems, 2000.
Entries on Light, 1997.
Mirrorwork, 1995, ACE Writer's Award.

web-site

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Shirley Bell is not currently a Member of Second Light.

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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

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

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