Featured Poets, Jun 2019                     home page
 

Anne Ryland       Carolyn Oulton       Denni Turp       Gill Learner       Judith Taylor       Maggie Norton       Mary Wight       Pauline Kirk       Sue Wallace - Shaddad       Veronica Zundel      

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 Ryland

Anne Ryland’s first collection, Autumnologist, (Arrowhead Press, 2006) was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2007). Her poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where she teaches adults and runs writing workshops for community groups.

For a Daughter

My name would not be your middle name.
 
You wouldn’t inherit my listomania, I promise:
I’d renounce list-making in honour of your birth.
 
The term Muscular Dystrophy would not be sewn within you.
 
I would not pass on my stony ova
or the euphemisms stuffed up the sleeve like handkerchiefs.
 
Thank You wouldn’t be your mantra; it trapped me at the amber light.
 
You wouldn’t stare at every dog and see only its bite.
 
You would never know that ‘worry’ derives from ‘wyrgan’, to strangle:
I’d lock the door to my mother’s worrymongery
 
but I would be your guide in the storehouse of the thesaurus,
assure you there’s no such curse as being too clever.
 
I’d even show you how to blow a trumpet in a long and steady tone.
 
My desk and my blue propelling pencil would be yours.
 
I’d hand you your great-grandmother’s last letter to her daughter
from the hospital – ‘bye bye, dear’
 
All my words would be yours, so you’d observe me on the page,
learn all that I am and was and should have been.
 
And, my daughter, each night I’d hum you a lullaby.
You would remember me as a song, not an apology.
 

Anne Ryland

Poem published: Mslexia, No. 34. Runner-up, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, 2007.

Publications: Autumnologist, Arrowhead Press, 2006, ISBN 1-904852-11-4, £7.50.

Anne Ryland website
 
e-mail (via SLN)

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Carolyn Oulton

Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) and teaches on the Creative and Professional Writing BA.

Before I am old

     ‘And has the remnant of my life
     Been pilfered of this sunny Spring?’
 
       Dorothy Wordsworth
 
In the shadow of the woods
shapes push through like teeth,
bluebells hang steep,
bump against my tyres, through the field
the advance and retreat of a tractor.
 
I’m having that one for a start.
If I don’t go through
those toys, who will? Read those PhD
chapters today, I’ll never have time
to write comments before the review.
 
That’s a second generation
of arthritis.
The toys are in the shed.
The work is done. If I can’t get back
and look, I’m holding on to the wood and the cliff.

Carolyn Oulton

Poem published in Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple

Publications:
Accidental Fruit, 2016, Worple, ISBN 978-1-9052083-5-7

Carolyn Oulton website
 
e-mail Carolyn Oulton

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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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Gill Learner

Gill Learner’s poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines such as Agenda, Acumen, ARTEMISpoetry, The North; it has also won a number of prizes and commendations. She lives in Reading, is a keen gardener and fan of Radio 3.

Chill Factor

He tries to dream cool – of ponds he dared to step on
till he heard the gun-shot crack, stilled waterfalls
in Cumbria, of sleeping in an igloo or an ice hotel.
 
Sangin dust grits between his teeth, chafes
his shoulder blades, sticks to his sweat no matter
how much care he takes undressing, shaking out.
 
His final tour. It’s 48 degrees: he must think cool –
frost fairs on the Thames, blue light of glacier caves,
Shackleton’s Endurance trapped and crushed.
 
Heat beats at his helmet like a welder’s torch,
his nape’s on fire, eyes sear with watching
as the search team makes its slow way back.
 
His last long walk. The escort’s guns are poised.
Without his body armour he steps light
along the track. Tomorrow – home, to stars
 
in their proper places, Cathy’s frown, the garden
gossipy with birds, the children’s bikes to fix.
Soft-fingered sun. Rain. He lies flat, tools
 
to hand. The silence grows. Now he believes
cool – in Saturn’s rings, the Skaters’ Waltz,
a white bear on its lonely floe. He wipes his mind,
 
strokes away sand and earth, starts to unpick
a knotted mass of metal, batteries and wires.
The desert holds its breath.
 

Gill Learner

Poem published in collection: Chill Factor;
and in ARTEMISpoetry 11 and anthology Songs for the Unsung (Grey Hen Press, 2017)

Publications:
collection, Chill Factor, Two Rivers Press, 2016;
collection, The Agister’s Experiment, Two Rivers Press, 2011;
Anthologies include Fanfare, Second Light Publications, 2015; The Emma Press Anthology of Love, 2018; Vaster than Empires, Grey Hen Press, 2018

web-pages at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Judith Taylor

Judith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen. Her poetry has appeared in a number of magazines: her first chapbook collection was published in 2006 and her second will be out in February 2010.

Kingfisher

Flare.

And gone. A blue
was given this bird’s name,
but it scorches
over the water. Only a hawk,
tracking above, would see it
blue:
 
from here
it’s a fiery weapon,
the sear - one side to the other –
that of a flame
along its fuse. And all the shadow
detonates round it;
all the light
 
used
to fuel a single bird
to escape velocity, out of the sky’s
predator view.
 
Gone. The ground
resettles, mined
out, its ore
burned
 
blue.

Judith Taylor

Poem published in chapbook: Earthlight (Koo Press 2006)

Publications:
Local Colour, chapbook, Calder Wood Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-902629-34-6. £4.50.
Meeting Points, anthology, Lemon Tree Writers, 2006. ISBN 0955308607 £3-50
The tide breathes out, anthology, Lemon Tree Writers, 2006. ISBN 9780955308611 £4-99
Skein of Geese: poems from the 100 Poets Gathering at StAnza 2007, StAnza/Shed Press, ed. E Livingstone, 2008, £5-00
Earthlight, chapbook, Koo Press, 2006, ISBN 9780955307539 £3-50

e-mail

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Maggie Norton

Maggie is South Cumbria Poet Laureate 2007, and is having a wonderful time as Cumbria ambassador for poetry here and abroad. She is a writing tutor at Lancaster University. She adores waterways and lakes, preferably steering a 1.5hp Mariner engine on an orange inflatable.

Mrs Tennyson is Interviewed in the Morning Room at Farringford

And Life with the Great Poet?

I feel so privileged, being Alfred’s helpmeet
copying his works, for his hand is clarity itself.
All correspondence I attempt to answer in his style
and ink the pens for signatures during tea.

Interests?

Oh, yes, indeed, of course I have.
His poems I set to music on the pianoforte
and compose the hymns for family celebrations.

Between ourselves, my dear, I confess
to writing fiction of an autobiographical derivation,
but pray don’t make a note of that, for he
does not know of it but it is a comfort
that I might show it to the grandchildren.

Encouraged?

I always have, yes indeed.
Being late to marry at thirty-six
I had a very full life before and during
our long engagement, when dear Alfred
and I together made a name for him.

Family Life?

He’s built a sphere of love around us
in the houses I run both here and Aldworth.
So much to thank God and dear Alfred for,
so much, so much, and bless him,
he allows me to place upon his desk
handwritten notes (in what he charmingly
calls ‘my poetic prose’) on subjects
he might care to work up into poems.

Ah, yes – your interests?

Though not so much of late have I attended
to his needs, being easily fatigued
with a weary dragging pain that chains
me to this sofa, and dear Alfred
is so patient with what he terms
‘a womanly trouble’. He is my rock,
my fortress and my strength. What would I do without him?

Maggie Norton

Poem: Strokestown International Poetry Competition
in collection Onions and Other Intentions

Recent Pamphlets:
Onions and Other Intentions, 2012, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1907401565, £7.99
Making Hay, with videopoem, commissioned for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Sedbergh Book Town, in collaboration with videographer Kate Harrison Whiteside;
The Bundle on the Dresser, with DVD. The story of Tom, a hill farmer who wants his son to take over the farm. Then foot and mouth disease arrives;
Kurt Schwitters–in Praise of Life, a commissioned poem for radio, now with CD of two voices reading, with Maggie’s music.

web-page on wordmarket.org.uk

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Mary Wight

In 2017 Mary Wight returned to live in the Scottish Borders where she grew up, after spending most of her life in or around Edinburgh. She is hoping to push some of her poems into the shape of a slim publication if they will co-operate.

Feasting

She brought thoughts,
words rather than grapes,
slipped out among
laundered clothes.
 
Little offerings best
but today he wanted more
and she couldn’t deny him.
Her tongue spilled stories
 
he devoured, egged her on
until the cough again,
                            lunge
for a cardboard bowl.
 
After he risked a laugh,
as if to test
he could, it still worked.
It did …
 
that look in his eyes …
both of them wanted more.
He raised
a plastic tumbler, toasted the day.
 

Mary Wight

Poem published in Ink, Sweat & Tears, January 2020

e-mail Mary Wight

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Pauline Kirk

Poet and novelist Pauline Kirk lives in York. She is editor of Fighting Cock Press, a member of the Pennine Poets group and on the editorial board of ‘Dream Catcher’. She also writes the DI Ambrose Mysteries with her daughter as PJ Quinn.

‘Horned Animals, Mesolithic –
     – possibly handles’

In Maltese heat
three terracotta heads
challenge through museum glass.
Noses tilt, eyes appeal,
yet each is no bigger
than a fifty-penny piece.
 
Who fashioned you? Who
took clay six thousand years ago,
to fashion your exact ears,
slender horns and throat?
Each neck hints a missing handle
now crumbled back to dust.
 
Did you decorate jars
for a god, or perfume for a bride?
My mind shudders
beneath the weight of years.
My ancestors crouched in caves,
but they carved horses’ heads on bone,
 
still beautiful.
I turn to safer displays,
but a question nags on.
What of our time will amaze,
when the silt is cleared,
six millennia gone?
 

Pauline Kirk

Poem published in Pennine Platform, no 79, 2016;
in collection Time Traveller (see below)

Publications:
Time Traveller, Graft Poetry, 2017, ISBN 978-0-9558400-9-8, £8.50
Poetic Justice: A DI Ambrose Mystery, writing as PJ Quinn, Stairwell Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-939269-77-5, £10.00
Thinking of You Always: the Letters of Cpl. Hill 1941-1945, Stairwell Books and Fighting Cock Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-939269-36-2, £10.00
Border 7, Stairwell Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1-939269-25-6, £10.00; also available as an Audio Book: Amazon Audible, 2019, ISBN 978-1-939269-72-0, £22.00 or Audible subscription
Walking to Snailbeach: Selected and New Poems, Redbeck Press, 2004, ISBN 1-904338-15-1, £8.95

Pauline Kirk website
 
Pauline Kirk at poetry p f
 
web pages Pennine Poets
 
e-mail

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Sue Wallace-Shaddad

Sue Wallace-Shaddad captures moments in time, observing life and nature, writing across a wide range of topics. She has had poems published in a number of anthologies including The Dawntreader and on line (Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetry Space).

Under watching angels
Blythburgh church

The last rays of sun filter
through leaded clerestory windows,
touching the choir with gold.
Robed in black, stark
under the rood screen
Ave Maria takes wing
as they raise Amens on high.
 
Angels gather above
as if to catch the soaring notes.
Once embellished,
now transmuted from glory
to bleached wood,
they remain symbolic of the faith
woven into the fabric,
the cloth of this church.
 
Bathed in light, at one with the sky,
the cathedral of the marshes,
sails towards dusk.

Sue Wallace-Shaddad

Poem published in Suffolk Poetry Society magazineTwelve Rivers, winter 2017

Publications:
A working life, 2014, self-published

Sue Wallace-Shaddad website
 
e-mail Sue Wallace-Shaddad

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Veronica Zundel

I am a freelance writer for the Christian market, have been writing poetry for over 40 years and had 40-45 poems published in anthologies and magazines. Now learning a lot with the Poetry School online and thinking about submitting to poetry journals.

‘Dear God, all the children can run except me’

Most children come out right. They come with all
their arms and legs, ten fingers
and ten toes, their brains
wired up the ordinary way.
They go to Brownies and have sleepovers,
they learn ballet and Tae Kwon Do,
they do the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
No one avoids them, or their mothers
in the playground. When they grow up
they have good jobs, and partners
and get on the property ladder.
 
But you were never most children, and
never will be, your whole life long
my damaged, precious boy,
my baton passed to the future, my fear, my joy.
 

Veronica Zundel

Publications:
Going Out, Hodder 1990
Faith in her Words: six centuries of women’s poetry, Lion 1991
The Time of our Lives, BRF 2007
Crying for the Light, BRF 2008
All I know about God, I’ve learned from being a parent, BRF 2013

Veronica Zundel website
 
e-mail

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