Featured Poets, Jul 2019                     home page
 

Anne Boileau       Bridget Fraser       Daphne Schiller       Gill Horitz       Joan Sheridan Smith       Katherine Gallagher       Liz Parkes       Margaret Eddershaw       Maureen G Coppack       Pat Francis       Thelma Laycock      

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 Boileau

Anne Boileau writes poetry about the natural world, the environment, history and her friends and neighbours. Her pamphlet Shoal Moon was published by Grey Hen in 2016. Her novel Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife. came out in 2016.

Ghazal: The Memory of Bronze

Within its very substance dwells the memory of bronze.
Smiths at Giza treadling giant bellows forging bronze
 
Two small pyramids back to back, the size of a cricket ball.
Hold it like a seashell, you’ll hear craftsmen beating bronze.
 
Eight sides, eight faces: each displays a different attitude,
But every face and attitude tells the ancient tale of bronze.
 
It waits upon my windowsill, imbibes the heat of the sun,
Within its core remembering well the alchemy of bronze.
 
Take copper with a hint of tin or arsenic or zinc:
You have the stuff of resonance, church bells cast in bronze.
 
Before men thought to write things down, they extracted, analysed
And fired up fearsome forges, smelted ores, created bronze.
 
She weighs Gill’s sculpture in her hand, senses gravity.
Anne has travelled to that Age when Man discovered Bronze.
 

Anne Boileau

This poem was written during a collaboration with Mosaic Stanza in Colchester; eighteen visual artists were paired up with eighteen poets. My partner was a sculptor called Gill Southern. I was responding to her bronze sculpture titled From Fire

published in Stone’s Throw – art from poetry poetry from art, ed. Karen Dennison,
2016, Mosaic Stanza, mosaicpoetry.wordpress.com

Publications:
Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife., 2016, Clink Street Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9111106-1-3
Shoal Moon, 2014, Grey Hen Press, ISBN 978-0-9926983-2-4

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Bridget Fraser

Bridget Fraser founded the Free Range Poets (FRP) several years ago. Currently a flexible ten members meet monthly to workshop new poems. FRP read regularly for the Henley Literary Festival and publish an annual collection of new work.

Maps

Time was
we sailed our carefree seas
braved tides and currents
breasted jeopardy of waves
to seek safe harbour
you sure-tied and safe within my lee
umbilical to mother-ship
 
To circumnavigate our world
we plotted by the stars
discovered islands kind or cruel
safe shores and treacherous seas.
 
Then in due course
you followed your own star
aligned your compass opposite to mine
to mark your own Odyssian tides.
I handed on to you
that two-edged blade
of freedom,
watched you loosen ropes
untie old knots
and cast off onto seas of your own making.
 
The mother-ship, becalmed yet far from calm,
could only flutter prayers in semaphore
to keep you safe
protect you from dark seas
unfathomed
fathomless
 
My tattered sails once caught the winds of promise –
carry that promise on to new horizons.
May I still be your anchor
though my sails lie slack
my rigging creaks
with missing you.
 

Bridget Fraser

This seems to be a much-demanded favourite especially by mothers of the brides to be.

Poem published in And still the grass grows; Ruffling Feathers; Treading on Eggshells;
A River Runs Through Us; South
44; Inspirations … Central England 1995;
Women’s Perceptions … 1997

Publications:
And still the grass grows…
Ruffling Feathers
Treading on Eggshells
Against the Grain
A River Runs Through Us
All published by Granary Press, £3.99 each incl: p&p

Address:
Southbrook
Hambleden
Henley On Thames
Bucks
RG9 6SX
 
Tel: 01491 579989
 
Barn Galleries website
 
e-mail Bridget Fraser

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Daphne Schiller

Daphne Schiller studied English at Manchester and Creative Writing at U.E.A. She's been a teacher and Relate counsellor. Her first collection was published by Outposts in 1981. Her poems have won prizes and appeared in magazines and on London buses.

Daphne du Maurier at Ferryside

You rowed across the Fowey
thinking of Rebecca in her boat
or the silk sails of the Frenchman
entering his hideaway. Gulls
mustered on a nearby roof
but you struck out for home.
 
I was named for you, and now
under a full moon in the estuary,
sandbags on the quay
awaiting high tide, I look across
to Polruan's golden eyes
sparking in the dark.
 
and want to take my own red boat,
stroke it across this softness,
listen to the creak of oars,
scoop up pools of moonlight
till I reach the white house
on the other side.
 

Daphne Schiller

Publications:
In My Element, Outposts Publications 1981
Cargo of Emeralds, Dodman Press 1986
Soundings, Queenscourt Publishing 1989
Saying Goodbye to the Sea, Queenscourt Publishing 1993
The Scarlet Fish, self-published 2002

tel: 01727-864898
 
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Gill Horitz

Gill Horitz has worked in the arts for over 30 years. She co-edited South 47. Her work has been published/placed in various magazines/competitions, including a shortlisting for the Bridport Prize. She belongs to a Poetry Group run by Paul Hyland.

What Lies in the Winter Wood

End of day, end of year – and she’s thinking what’s next,
her head against the pane and the wind slamming the gate.
 
When she looks up, the trees are moving through the half light
towards her, through snow piled over the vanished road.
Not a single thought holds her back.
All the meanings held by the trees she remembers,
and how their barks can be unrolled and written upon.
No ordinary wood moves like this, and time is short.
 
Through the holly tunnels she sings a low song to the owl
and the night leans down, savouring her wintry breath.
What will I take from this? she thinks, looking back
as the moon hurries her along. To believe just once
that such a place exists, the imaginary heart
where everything worth moving towards lies.
 

Gill Horitz

Poem published in Smiths Knoll, Issue 50

State of Play Arts
 
Gill Horitz at poetry p f
 
e-mail Gill Horitz

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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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Katherine Gallagher

Katherine Gallagher (Australian-born) is widely-published; translator, tutor, committee member of SLN; London resident since 1979. The most recent of her collections is Circus-Apprentice. Formerly Writers Inc Education Officer, she also writes poetry for children and has poems in numerous anthologies.

Katherine is a tutor for Second Light Network and serves on the committee (see more... link below).

Gwen John Swims the Channel

September 3, 1939. Early evening
and the sea soughs, sways –
a sketchbook washing calm,
its ribs carrying the meticulous rainy births:
portraits from her many lives.

She has always loved the coastline,
come back to it, the waves’ fringed-grip:
daily swimming the Channel, testing herself
against its heave and push.
Ahead, Dover’s scribbly-white cliffs,
and beyond, the hills of Tenby –
its beach’s curve, her childhood’s
patch of sand. She has tested this sea’s glass

and painted herself into its mirror
like a cloud passing over. She has more
interiors to match and place, place and match
as again she gives herself to the water,
its moody mountains surging,
pacing her – the archetypal swimmer
planing darkness, with the coast
clearing and Paris-Meudon behind her.

Katherine Gallagher

Poem published: Mslexia; Circus-Apprentice

Publications:
Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems, Arc Publications, 2010, ISBN 978-1-906570-42-2. pbk £11.99;
Circus Apprentice, Arc Publications, 2006, ISBN No. 1-904614-02-7. 8.99;
After Kandinsky, Vagabond Press (Rare Objects Series), 2005, (details from Katherine);
Tigers on the Silk Road, Arc Publications, 2000, ISBN No. 1 900072 47 5. 6.95;
Fish-Rings on Water, Forest Books, 1989, ISBN No. 0 948259 75 2. 6.95 incl p&p(UK);
Passengers to the City, Hale & Iremonger, 1985, Sydney, 1985, ISBN No. 0 86806 212 x. Hardback. 9.00 incl p&p(UK);
more on Katherine’s web-site... and poetry p f Poem Cards.

Address:
49 Myddleton Road
Wood Green
London
N22 8LZ
 
tel: Tel: 020 8881 1418
 
web-site
 
e-mail

more...

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Liz Parkes

Liz Parkes, a former teacher, runs a writing group. She is a member of many of the local poetry groups and hopes to have a pamphlet published at the end of the year. She has work in Offa’s press anthologies as well as short plays performed locally.

Staffordshire Clogg Almanac

It hung from the mantle tree, belt or door in the Northern lands
where moor, lake and forest were tamed.
Rough hands took wood to fashion it, square it, a cubit’s length,
made a moon ruler of months, weeks, days;
marking time to turn furrow, plant, lie fallow.
 
For the watcher in the night, silvered by waxing and waning light,
there was no adjustment of quarter days
– he hooked his year to the moon.
Wise as a beast, he followed the plough across the winter skies.
 
On its four sides, one for each season, he carved his runes
obedient to his church, the festivals and fasts remembered by
a saint’s shoes, a love knot; a cross, a sword an axe.
He called them his Moon Ruler, Rimstock or Primestave.
These smooth stafas, shaped the name of a place that
took root, leaved and flowered.
 
 
 
note: A Clogg Almanac was a rod or ring marked with dates, religious seasons and planting seasons. The British Museum has some lovely examples.

Liz Parkes

Poem published in The Poetry of Staffordshire, Offa’s Press

Publications:
The Poetry of the Black Country, Offa’s Press, ISBN 978-0-9955225-3-4, £7.95
The Poetry of Staffordshire, Offa’s Press, ISBN 978-0-9565518-9-4, £7.95

Address:

 
Tel:
 
Liz Parkes website
 

e-mail Liz Parkes

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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

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Maureen G Coppack

Maureen lives in North Wales. Poems published in Iota, Poetry Nottingham, Other Poetry, Second Light, Helicon, and various other magazines. Success in local competitions. Chapbooks: Shared Ground and Turtle Stone. She is currently working on a new collection, Alternatives.

Wading Through Green

It would have been a July afternoon
with everyone piling out into the sun.
And I remember the dog rose blooming
in a flush of pink, as we waded through green meadows,
hunting for lucky leaves among the purple clover.
 
Then someone made a daisy chain, and suddenly
we were all crowned in gold and white,
and there were butterflies,
(orange tip, common blue, cabbage white)
dancing around our heads.
 
And I recall those colours midsummer bright,
but any sounds have slipped away.
Memory runs a silent film, which is strange
and sad, because I’m sure, so very sure,
that all our hearts were singing.

Maureen G Coppack

Publications: Chapbooks, Shared Ground and Turtle Stone

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Pat Francis

Pat Francis: “After a lifetime (nearly) of reading poetry I took the plunge into writing it. Paekakariki Press are publishing a small book, of poems drawn from memory and history: ‘Recalling London East’.”

Steel-Tipped Boots

The pavement rang sharp and clear
at each clip-clop of steel-tipped boots.
Little spurts of sparks flew; sound
of steel, flash of fire as men and boys
went to work that bent their backs.
 
‘But WHY can’t girls wear Blakeys?‘
I asked my mother, sulky. If she had responded
with birthday boots I would have
danced my way along the singing streets
sparking my steel-capped joy.
 
 
       note: Blakeys were the caps attached to boots to strengthen them
 

Pat Francis

Pat Francis website
 
e-mail Pat Francis

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Thelma Laycock

Thelma Laycock is a poetry tutor and the founder of Gabriel magazine. Her work is widely published and has been translated into Hebrew, Italian, and Romanian. Her most recent collection is A Difference in Direction (Indigo Dreams, 2015).

Nocturne in blue

It was often like that
if he came in first and she followed,
not so bad the other way round
but on a Friday or Saturday night
not totally unexpected
 
I could hear his key in the lock
heard the shaking, bronchitic cough
so I knew it was him:
I ran half-way down the stairs
seeking my usual shivering place
where they couldn’t see me
in case it blew over
 
But that night it was loud;
her Auntie Elsie’s clock, a wedding present,
came sailing through the air, lay broken,
I raced out to intercept his flying fists –
my little sister close behind me –
two soldiers in blue pyjamas
in the crossfire of battle
 
In the morning at school desks
we re-lived the night
dipping our pens into deep wells of ink
seeing Mam’s moon-pale face,
the purple fingermarks at her throat.
 

Thelma Laycock

in collection, A Difference in Direction, 2015, Indigo Dreams; in anthology, Her Wings of Glass, 2014, Second Light Publications.

Publications:
collection, A Difference in Direction, 2015, Indigo Dreams, £7.99, ISBN 978-1-909357-61-7;
collection, A Persistence of Colour, 2011, Indigo Dreams, £5.99. ISBN 978-1-907401-49-7;
pamphlet collection, Chameleon Days, 2007, Feather Press, £3.50 (sold in aid of Lakota Link), ISBN 978-1-84175-277-8

web-pages on poetry p f
 
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