Featured Poets, July 2020                     home page
 

Diana Hendry       Jan Bay-Petersen       Clair Chilvers       Bridget Fraser       Hilary Hares       Angela Kirby       Iris Anne Lewis       Abigail Elizabeth Ottley       Julie Sampson       Anne Sherry       Denni Turp      

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)  

Diana Hendry

Diana Hendry has published six books of poetry and forty children’s books. She is assistant editor of Mariscat Press (poetry pamphlets). She lives in Edinburgh, has three grandchildren and plays the piano.

Nasturtiums

Love should be like nasturtiums
shot through with sunshine and fire,
easily available, simply exuberant.
 
Love should be like nasturtiums
ignoring the obvious season of spring,
waiting until the summer is almost
over then going for it, rampant
running wild, catching on.
 
Love should be like nasturtiums
able to flourish on the poorest soil,
useful and beautiful, happy
anywhere. Enduring, common.

Diana Hendry

Poem published in Gutter magazine

Note:

Publications:
The Watching Stair, Worple Press
The Seedbox Lantern: New & Selected Poems, Mariscat Press
Late Love & Other Whodunnits, Peterloo/Mariscat Presss
Second Wind (with Douglas Dunn and Vicki Feaver), Saltire Press

Diana Hendry website
 
e-mail Diana Hendry

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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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Clair Chilvers

Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and latterly worked for the UK National Health Service. She lives in Gloucestershire, UK and has had poems published in Ink Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, Atrium, ARTEMISpoetry, Impspired and Sarasvati.

Cynara scalymus

Incongruous in a herbaceous border
an artichoke stands proudly.
The cruel thistle leaves pale green
against the dark, damp, Devon soil
the stem sturdy, woody
the globes with their triangular petals
densely packed.
A cook would say that it had gone to seed.
But no, the purple flower, spiky
as a punk’s haircut,
is a wonder for a day or two
until it darkens and dies back
to a quieter shape.
 
Too late to pluck these globes to eat.
I imagine boiling them for twenty minutes
dipping each leaf in melted butter
my teeth stripping off the inner softness
Then saving the best till last
cutting out the soft spikes from the heart
to eat the tender flesh.

Clair Chilvers

Poem published at Atrium, 2018

Publications:
Pilgrimage, pamphlet, 2017, ISBN 978-16909959-2-0
Featured Author in Impspired Issue 5, June 2020

Clair Chilvers blog
 
e-mail Clair Chilvers

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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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Hilary Hares

Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey. Her poems have found homes online and in print and she has an MA in Poetry from MMU. Whilst waiting for the muse, she’s slave to a demanding bird table and lives in hope of meeting the perfect dog.

On sculptural figures looking out to sea

All Gormley’s kin each is his own man.
The local children call one Jeff.
 
They drown every day.
Like gods they have no smiles.
 
Sometimes Titian or Hockney
will paint them a dawn and,
 
when the tide recedes, jellyfish land
at their feet like green glass plates.
 
I watch as seagulls perch on their shoulders,
mirror their gaze, ask: Why stare so hard?
 
But they’re not letting on, their eyes fixed
as though they can’t bear to look down.
 
I persist: According to Frost nothing
we’re searching for is out far or in deep?

 
Their silence is deeper than the sea. I make
a final bid for conversation, tell them this:
 
I can see what’s happening behind you.
There’s no turning back.

 

Hilary Hares

Winner: Write by the Sea 2018 Literary Festival Competition, 2018

Publications:
A Butterfly Lands on the Moon, sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care

e-mail Hilary Hares

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Angela Kirby

Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire and lives in London. She has a D.Phil in Creative Writing from Sussex University, gives regular readings in the UK and abroad, and her poems have won prizes in several major competitions and are widely published.

Trizonia

O most excellent donkey who,
not having heard of the sleep button,
woke me three times this morning
with your ancient and execrable lament,
do you bemoan the start
of your over-burdened day
and the end of your brief night’s rest
in this unpromising patch of scrub
or do you, perhaps, grieve for me
who today must leave this incomparable islet
where there are neither cars
nor motorcycles, where nothing
very much happens, apart
from the occasional birth or marriage
and the rather more frequent deaths,
where there is little to see, just Iannis
repainting the peeling mermaid
on his taverna, and his grandmother
taking a broom to the six hollow-ribbed cats
who have stolen yet another chicken-leg,
and the three old men who,
having finished their backgammon
and the last of the ouzo, now take
the sun’s path home across the harbour
in a boat as blue as that clump of scabious
you are considering?

Angela Kirby

published in anthology, Speaking English, Five Leaves Press, 2007

Publications:
collection, The Days After Always, new and selected poems, Shoestring Press, 2015, £12, ISBN 978-1-910323-38-0
collection, A Scent of Winter, Shoestring Press, 2013, £9, ISBN 978-1-907356-67-4
collection, Dirty Work, Shoestring Press, 2008, £8.95 incl p&p, ISBN 978-1-904886-83-9
collection, Mr Irresistible, Shoestring Press, 2005, £8.95 incl p&p, ISBN 1-904886-19-1 (2008: 2nd re-print)

121 Hurlingham Road
London
SW6 3 NJ
 
tel: 020-7736-3965
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail Angela Kirby

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Iris Anne Lewis

Iris Anne Lewis is a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has been published in magazines and anthologies. She was invited to read her work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Please find her on Twitter @IrisAnneLewis

Woodland Burial

A different type of pillow talk
we chose the plot together,
you rooted to the hospice bed
by tubes delivering opium sap.
 
You wanted oak and ash to
shelter you in broadleaved woods,
and in return to nurture them
with mouldered bone and flesh.
 
Tethered still to life, you slip into a
shadowed sleep. Death creeps closer,
steals your breath and shifts you to
a different state. I close your eyes.
 
Drifts of bluebells mark your spot.
Light, leaf-dappled, casts patterns on
your shaded grave. Bare branches arc
a latticed vault against the winter skies.
 
Encased in willow, you now begin
your slow and secret work in deep
secluded dark, becoming one
with earth and plants and rain and sun.
 

Iris Anne Lewis

e-mail Iris Anne Lewis

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Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley’s work, mainly poetry and short fiction, features in circa 200 journals, magazines and anthologies since 2009, including The Blue Nib, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Atrium Poetry, The Atlantic Review and (in translation) Pro Saeculum.

House
Kennack Sands, Cornwall

House teeters on the cliff’s high edge
looks out across the drizzling grizzled shoreline.
 
House keeps her head in the clouds
is careful never to look down.
 
House is stubborn, built square and stout.
Once her feet were planted in tomorrow.
 
Now the red earth retreats, loosens its grip,
shifts a little more every day.
 
But House goes on, stares out the weather
hears the grey gulls squabble and screech.
 
Her blue eyes are dull. Her roof, her stone
know the end of things will come when it will.
 
Waves crash and roar, let wind have its way
let the elements do their worst.
 
House stands for all that, endures her undoing
loves her blisters and overgrown gutters
 
finds something to honour in her damp,
rotting timbers, her long neglected flaws.
 
House is bold, defiant. She nurses those cracks
that go creeping through her weedy foundations
 
where small creatures scuttle in the twilight hour
where one day she will open at the seams.
 

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Poem published in Atrium Poetry, 2017

Publications by Abigail Elizabeth Ottley (formerly Wyatt):
The Blue Nib, 38, 2019 (several poems)
Records, Rivers and Rats, ed. Kay Green, 2018, Earlyworks Press (several poems)
Wave Hub: new poetry from Cornwall, ed. Dr Alan M. Kent, 2014, Francis Boutle Publishers
Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories, ed. Simon Million, 2012, Lulu.com

Abigail at Facebook
 
e-mail Abigail

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Julie Sampson

Julie Sampson’s poetry has been widely published. Her debut collection Tessitura (Shearsman) came out in 2013. In 2009 she edited Mary Lady Chudleigh, Selected Poems (Shearsman) and she’s currently working on a second collection.

1894; Fran Skating on the Manor Pond

She skates over and around its frozen surface,
then spins a pencil-pirouette,
muffs blue-heat her hands
and from her waist a scarlet whirl of skirt.
In hazy light veins seem to break in olive eyes
as the blades of her boots refract the scratching ice
and under setting sun
her shadow is half a pulsating heart.
 
Ida, in the kitchen sits and snips
the corners of the paper folds.
Brittle like ice.
Deft, her fingers snip and snap then
rippling like a fan the row of skating dolls
holding hand by hand.
 
Robert, in the other room
turns a page.
His book about the Ministry
is a weight upon his mind.
 
His sisters are making their mark;
each enacts a secret lore
on a slated sheet of white,
figure skating on the land of open-space
and inscribing a serrated pictograph.
 
Even the tiny feet of each minute dancing doll
are chipped away to equip them with the sharpest razor cut.

Julie Sampson

The poem was runner-up in the Exeter Poetry Prize 1999; published in anthology Making Worlds; One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets, (Headland, 2003).

Collection: Tessitura, Shearsman Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84861-239-6
as editor Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, Shearsman Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84861-048-4

Julie Sampson website
 
e-mail

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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.

Feuille Blanche
     Limoges

I want to write a poem. But
this city on the Vienne seduces
my soul with her maisons à colombages,
Gothic glories, perfect porcelain.
 
I want to write a poem. But
the Frairie des Petits Ventres sizzles
my senses with nez d’amour,
andouillettes, amourettes.
 
I want to write a poem. But
the Place de la République rocks ’n rolls
when six dozen Limousines sashay
around a serious archaeological dig.
 
Oh la vache!

Anne Sherry

Maison à colombages: Half-timbered house
Nez d’amour: Boned and cooked pig snout stuffed with pig tongue and vegetables
Andouillette: Cooked sausage with veal or pork intestines and onions
Amourettes: Lamb’s testicles, literally a fling
Oh la vache!: Holy cow!
 

Poem published in The French Literary Review, October 2016

Publications:
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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