Featured Poets, July 2020                     home page
 

(Diana Hendry)      Jan Bay-Petersen       Clair Chilvers       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, Gill Horitz, Mimi Khalvati, Lottie Kramer, Gill Learner, Gill McEvoy (read by Anne Stewart), Maggie Norton, Jennie Osborne, Elizabeth Soule, Jill Townsend, Marion Tracy, Fiona Ritchie Walker, Sarah Westcott and Lynne Wycherley.
 
Select and listen here               Poets of the Month (other dates)  

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’s poems have been published in online and print journals, and anthologies. Her first collection Out the Darkness was published in 2021 (Frosted Fire). She lives in Gloucestershire, UK.

Knitting

   I
 
Cast on loosely
Grandmother frowned
as she turned the heel
on grey metal needles.
 
   II
 
Mother knitted
with casual nonchalance,
on the beach
in a striped deckchair
Knit one purl one
 
   III
 
a lecture in Copenhagen
to an audience of ten
one knitting
Knit two together
 
   III
 
A white shawl
for my firstborn
knitted through a haze of nausea
Knit one, slip one
 
   IV
 
Corfiot black-clad grandmothers
on their doorsteps, late afternoon,
gossiped, needles clicked
Knit two together
 
   V
 
Lake Titicaca,
the boatman’s teenage son
knitted a tasselled hat
Knit one, purl one
 
   VI
 
Grandson
in a striped handknitted jumper
took his first steps
knit two together
 
   VII
 
My mother by the window
knitted blanket over her knees
in her gentlewomen’s care home
Cast off neatly

Clair Chilvers

in collection Out of the Darkness, Frosted Fire, 2021

Publications:
Out of the Darkness, collection, 2021, Frosted Fire, ISBN 978-1-8384357-2-1
Pilgrimage, pamphlet, 2017, ISBN 978-16909959-2-0
Featured Author in Impspired Issue 5, June 2020
Heritage, anthology, New Writing VIII. Horseplay Press, 2019

Clair Chilvers blog
 
e-mail Clair Chilvers

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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.

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 is a Welsh-speaking Cockney writer living in rural north Wales, a green Socialist, a staunch republican since her early teens, a dog rehomer, and a woman with a very long working life (mostly in the not-for-profit community sector) behind her.

Held hard and fast

Thickness of earth between my toes
is not enough, and yet too much.
It draws me down, holds my skin
in such a tight embrace, I’m sound,
the ground my inescapable domain.
Some may wish for gills, a way
to breathe in water, insist the sea
could be their home again. Not me.
I want only air in waves that barrel endlessly
to lift me on the tides of warmth that rise
and let me spread once more my loss
of wings, a mattered memory of glide.
Inside my head I’m always airborne, escaping
every failure felt as astronaut, as kite,
as tiny skimming hummingbird in flight.
 

Denni Turp

poem published in Witches, Warriors, Workers: an anthology of contemporary working women’s poetry, ed. Jane Burn and Fran Lock (Culture Matters, 2020)

e-mail Denni Turp

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