Featured Poets, July 2021                     home page
 

Caroline Carver       Dorothy Baird       Iris Anne Lewis       Jenny Hamlett       Kate Foley       Lynda O'Neill       Marg Roberts       Moira Andrew       Pat Francis       Stevie Krayer       Susan Jane Sims      

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, 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)  

Caroline Carver

Caroline Carver: I’m not a Jamaican or a Bermudian or a Canadian or even a Cornishwoman but a curious mid-Atlantic mixture of all of these with a bit of Inuit thrown in and therefore somewhat like a coelacanth: confused about origins and the big Why?

Sedna the Sea Goddess

The bird turned into a man
so beautiful
snow lay on his shoulders
like ermine

was he petrel or fulmar?
he didn’t say
 
At first he came
only in dreams
one summer night
lay with her
 
at dawn she left her house
to marry him
 
Who could explain
her father’s rage?
His storms reached
across oceans
 
she knew full joy
only six days     before
 
he killed her husband
threw her in his umiak –
pushed her overboard
when winds frightened him
 
she wouldn’t give in
gripped the boat so hard
he had to chop her fingers off
one by one
did not know
as she sank into her new Kingdom
 
they would transform
become    whales   narwhals   seals   walruses…
 
Among those she loves best
Singing Midshipmen
fish which  like humpback whales
sing to the seabirds
 
make sailors who hear them
believe in mermaids

Caroline Carver

Poem published: Acumen.

Publications:
Three Hares, Oversteps Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906856-06-9, £8
Jigharzi An Me, Semicolon Press, 2000. ISBN 0-9533525-2-8, £6.95 (from Caroline)
Bone-Fishing, Peterloo Poets, 2005, ISBN 1-904324-32-0, £7.95

address:
Michaelmas Cottage
14 Passage Hill
Mylor
Cornwall
TR11 5SN
UK
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Dorothy Baird

Dorothy lives in Edinburgh where she runs creative writing groups in the community and is a Human Givens psychotherapist. In 2009, she founded and for five years ran the Young Edinburgh Writers, a creative writing group for teenagers in the city.

It Never Stops

The antennae that once woke me
to catch a hiccup
before it revved to screams
now scan the quality of night
to read who’s out, who’s in.
 
And ‘out’ means stravaiging
in pubs and clubs, daundering
on streets with chittery bumps
they don’t feel, lurching for
taxis, friends’ floors, the last bus,
 
while I’m the missions’ sergeant
in my wakeful nightie,
alert for keys, creaking
stairs, the sloosh of taps,
counting them home.
 

Dorothy Baird

Featured on BBC Radio 4 in Ruth Padel’s programme on writing workshops.
Published in collection Mind the Gap (see below)

Collections:
Mind the Gap, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-909357-85-3
Leaving the Nest, 2007, Two Ravens Press, ISBN 978-1-906120-06-1

Dorothy’s website
 
e-mail

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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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Jenny Hamlett

Jenny Hamlett has an MA in creative writing, has facilitated writing workshops and was Poet in Residence for Cassies, a garden on the Isle of Wight. She organised Penzance Poetry Society Stanza and is the current Treasurer of Moor Poets in Devon.

The Grey Mare’s Waterfall

     Kinlochleven
 
Discovered late evening
                the fall
is the colour of a woman’s hair
 
as she strides
                her last few years.
 
This sheer beauty
                offers no pulling back
 
from the uninhibited
                plunge
down vertical rock
 
a snatching of time,
                hurling it
into the pool.
 
If seconds were iron bars
                she could jam
in the cog wheels of a mill
 
she could not keep them,
                against this grey fall.
 
Better to turn away
                climb
one slow, hard step
 
after another towards
                the winter pass
at Lairigmor.
 

Jenny Hamlett

in collection Playing Alice, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017;
previously in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 7, 2011
and Words in Air app, 2013

Publications:
Playing Alice, 2017, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108343-2-9
Talisman, 2009, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9561991-9-5
The Sandtiger, 1994, Longman, ISBN 0-582-12169-8

Jenny Hamlett at poetry p f
 
e-mail Jenny Hamlett

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Kate Foley

Kate Foley’s first (of 4) collection, Soft Engineering, was shortlisted for the Aldburgh Festival prize for best first collection. She is a tutor ( wordsinhere , SLN, freelance), editor (Versal, Amsterdam) and this year’s judge for the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize.

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

Ga Maar Lekker Slapen
(Sleep well now)

Ga maar lekker slapen, you say.
 
It’s 4 am. I have been standing on a blue dock.
Ice lights in the water. A ship against the quay
 
is rumbling in its guts. Steel threads run to the lip
of the gang plank. A freight wagon rolls to the edge,
unstoppable as coals down a shute. I know
it is full of my sins. I make myself
 
look at its logo, hoping it’s in Cyrillic,
something I can’t read. It’s the turning away
 
that creates furrows in our bed. When morning
comes and I open one saurian eye, I see
 
your collar bones arrow together as you bend.
In one hand a brown coffee mug, the other
 
wafting little pursed lips of fierce-smelling
wake-up coffee steam towards my sleep.
 
If I said to you I need to be sorry you’d ask
to whom, for what? since you have taught me
 
finally how to be kind. That’s just how it is,
you would say.
 
Ga maar lekker slapen.

Kate Foley

Publications:
The Silver Rembrandt, Shoestring Press, 2008
Laughter from the Hive, Shoestring Press, 2004
A Year Without Apricots, Blackwater Press, 1999
Soft Engineering, OnlyWomen Press, 1994

web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

more...

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Lynda O’Neill

Lynda O’Neill was born and brought up in Portsmouth. She lives in Winchester with her husband and has two children. She has been published by South, Poetry Nottingham International, Iota and The New Writer.

Double English

Her flowing clothes were always black –
never a twin set. They swished as she
patrolled the corridors,
crunching Polos and tutting.
She had high frequency hearing
and an x-ray gaze behind her
spit-on-the-brush mascara.
Other teachers wore no lipstick
or played safe with dolly mixture pink.
She favoured an Edith Piaf gash.
 
As we suffered Assembly on canvas chairs
she sat with the Catholics in the Library.
More laughter than scripture, they said,
and a bottle of Gordons in her bag
with its crocodile snap.
 
We’d known our place since the age of eleven
but she thought we deserved her best.
‘I’m going to have a bash at
Middle English with this Chaucer,’ she’d say.
Next week her ice blue eyes
would rock’n’roll with warmth
as she smacked her Revlon lips
over a chapter of Pride and Prejudice.

Lynda O’Neill

Poem published: South 37, ISSN 0959-1133

Lynda O’Neill at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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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.

Praise to the hawthorn on the boundary of Chandos Street car park

Those moments when you open
to this morning’s blue and its retreating clouds
 
this symphony of sparrows    endless
fluttering of feathers   of feeding.
 
Those moments when under your shade
a baby is soothed in her mother’s arms
 
school kids scoot   skateboard   trudge
office workers balance coffee-to-go
 
croissants under heavy or light shoulders
hearts   gay   weary   counting days to
 
weekends. And above   pigeons like angels
almost suspended    skilled at drifting
 
at dozing in your branches after gorging
on blossom. And Paul asleep in his tent
 
under the ticket machine    water bottle parked
on top of his unfinished thriller    smell
 
 
of his last smoke. All this being    breath
non-breath this earthiness   this sky
 
this mix
and you a part of it.
 

Marg Roberts

Marg Roberts blog
 
e-mail Marg Roberts

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Moira Andrew

Moira Andrew lives in Somerset. She has six poetry collections in publication: latest, A Box of Sky. Her new collection Breakfast with Swallows is due out late 2017. She has written poetry for children and a number of books for primary teachers.

My mistake

A warm hand on the small of my back –
such a broad sexy hand, a scattering of fine hairs
above the knuckles – signalled his return.
        That and the smell of his skin.
 
I daren’t turn round. He stood behind me, breath
fluttering against my left ear. ‘It’s me,’ he said –
as if I didn’t know. And I was happy, relief
        gushing through my body.
 
How could I have doubted him? Of course
he wasn’t dead – I’d been kidding myself
all this time, what with the funeral, winding
        up his affairs, binning his clothes.
 
My mistake. Except that it wasn’t. I woke up
alone, just me and the cat, to an even bigger mistake.
It was hard to get up and face the day, his voice
        begging me to believe him.

Moira Andrew

Publications:
Imagine a Kiss, 2020, Dempsey & Windle, ISBN 978-1-9133202-0-4. price £10
Looking Through Water, 2020, Poetry Space, ISBN 978-1-9094044-4-1. price £5
Breakfast with Swallows, 2017, Austin Macauley, ISBN 978-1-7871039-8-6. price £5.99
A Box of Sky, 2017, Integral & CLP (Bucharest), ISBN 978-6-0687826-0-7. price £5
Grandad’s Party, 2016, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-1-909404-34-2. price £2.50

Moira’s website
 
e-mail

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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

Publications:
Recalling London East, illustrated by Jane Colling, 2020, Paekakariki Press, ISBN 978-1-9081334-1-0, £12.50

Pat Francis website
 
e-mail Pat Francis

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Stevie Krayer

Stevie Krayer gave up university administration to have more time for writing and, since moving from London to Wales in 1993, has published six books, including three poetry collections, and an anthology of Quaker poets (co-edited with R V Bailey).

from “Mass for the Oort Cloud”
Agnus Dei

Thar she blows!
telltale trace
on the horizon. No
leviathan – behold
the speck of god-dust
that takes away
the weight
of that mighty
unaccounted for
dark mass
(well, maybe). Load
it up with all
your unanswered
questions, scientists!
If only
it could take
away our own
darkness – but
even if we
conscientiously put out
our garbage, there’s
no celestial dustcart
to call; and
where
could it be taken?
Out in that desert
no benign
kites and gulls
wait.

Stevie Krayer

Poem published in New Monkey, 2014

Publications:
New Monkey, 2014, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093574-7-1
A Speaking Silence (anthology, co-edited with R V Bailey), 2013, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093573-0-3
Questioning the Comet, 2004, Gomer, ISBN 1-843233-46-0
Voices from a Burning Boat, 1997, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0132-8
The Book of Hours by R M Rilke (translation), 1994, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0432-7

e-mail Stevie Krayer

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Susan Jane Sims

Susan Jane Sims lives in Dorset with husband, Chris. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She founded the publishing company Poetry Space in 2010.

Bearing Gifts

A friend
has brought you
a book called Mortality,
by Christopher Hitchens.
The friend is a father,
almost twice over.
I could not think of anything
more appropriate

he said.
 
Another brings scrabble
and we play
on the end of your hospital bed.
On the white sheet you helped
the hca draw and tuck,
and demonstrate your skill
with hospital corners.
 
I find I have the letters
to spell tumour,
Instead I put down m o u t
up against h from hope.
 
A group club together
for expensive whiskey,
wrap it in pink tissue
you carefully peel away
like skin. You can imagine the sips
of liquid gold on your tongue.
Making it last.
Wondering who or what will
outlive who or what.
 
These days
have been surreal.
Secrets have been passed on
for you to guard.
Your hand has been held
through a long and wakeful night.
You have been told a hundred times
that you are loved.
 
The staff bring you every report
and test result. Offer to show you the scan.
call you respectfully, Dr Sims
and you wish yourself
into the role of blissful patient
with faith and blind trust.
What’s done can’t be undone.
What’s learnt becomes both curse and blessing.
 
First morning alone you ring
I’ve been writing
my best man speech for Dave
, you say.
What’s he going to do without me?
What are we all going to do
I say
without you in our lives.
 

Susan Jane Sims

My son Mark was diagnosed in February 2015 with Stage 4 metastatic cancer in lung, liver, spleen and gall bladder. It was also discovered later in his brain and his tonsils. The primary cancer was a malignant melanoma on his scalp when he was 15.
 
Mark died on 19th January 2017 aged 28.

published in Reach magazine in June, 2015. (edition 201)

Publications:
Splitting Sunlight, Dempsey and Windle, 2019. ISBN 978-1-9074357-9-9
Irene’s Daughter, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-0-9565328-2-4
A number of things you should know, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-9093576-8-6

Susan’s Poetry Space website
 
e-mail Susan

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