Featured Poets, March 2019                     home page
 

Angela Kirby       Caroline Gill       Dilys Wood       Helen Ivory       Jennie Osborne       Lesley J Ingram       Marion Tracy       Myra Litton       Victoria Gatehouse      

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)  

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

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Caroline Gill

Caroline Gill won 1st Prize in the Petra Kenney Poetry Competition (gen. section) in 2007. Her poem, Preseli Blue, featured on BBC Poetry Please from the Guardian Hay Festival 2008. Poems published in UK, India, Romania & USA. Home: Ipswich.

Elegy for Idris Davies

Who hears the bells of Rhymney as they toll?
There are no drams to draw along the tracks:
the empty tarmac waits for laden trucks,
but hollows in the hillside tell their tale.
 
The winch and winder man have long since gone:
deserted pits are crudely steeped in slag.
Would Shelley’s spirit ring out once again
if flames of silver leaped to greet the lark?
 
A sloping cemetery will testify
to times when angry voices could be heard.
An echo rises from the Rhymney bard:
it rocks and rolls a piercing lullaby.
 
The grass is brown: brass bands have lost their sheen,
but April’s music trickles down the rill.
A shaft of sun makes rainbow-puddles shine
in terraced streets, to light the poet’s trail.
 
Allotments snake along the mountain road,
with weathered water butts of blue and green.
A raven waits while seeds of hope are sown,
but wigwam-canes stand vacant and betrayed.
 
A poet plants his footsteps in the mire,
through furnaces and forges razed to soil.
Bare strips of sky and horizontal moor
arouse defiant voices in his soul.
 
Stonemasons shed their monumental tears
in mounds below the monkey puzzle’s arm.
A sombre moon cast shadows on the dawn:
a valley dreams beneath the midnight stars.
 

Note: A dram is a cart for carrying coal

Caroline Gill

Poem published: THE SEVENTH QUARRY (ed. Peter Thabit Jones), no.3, Winter 2006. Also on the Poetry Library Southbank Centre Website.

Publications:Six poems in Hidden Dragons / Gwir a Grymus, (Parthian 2004), ISBN 9781902638393, £7.99

Caroline Gill website
 
e-mail

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Dilys Wood

Dilys Wood has connections to Wales, Yorkshire, London and Sussex. She returned to writing in late middle-age and founded Second Light in 1994, her interest in greater opportunities for women having been re-inforced by her experience as Secretary of the Women’s National Commission.

Dilys is the founder and organiser of Second Light Network. (see ‘More’ link below)

Mid-wife

A poem is as new as beginnings,
as fresh as the first day at school.
 
A poem is as bright as our admiration
for courage, our respect for freedom.
 
A poem is as early as the first leaf,
as white as the most swan-white cloud.
 
A poem is a drop of rain, a little
convex mirror with the prime of day in it.
 
A poem is so raw, so young that it has grown
no first, second or third skin.

Dilys Wood

Publications:
Antarctica, Greendale Press, 2008 (all proceeds to Second Light Network funds). Direct from Dilys, 5.95.
Women Come to a Death, Katabasis, 1997.

address: 3 Springfield Close
East Preston
West Sussex
BN16 2SZ
 
e-mail [NOTE: tiscali address is redundant. Please amend your record to btinternet address]

more...

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Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory, poet and visual artist; sixth Bloodaxe Books collection Constructing a Witch (2024). Editor, webzine Ink Sweat and Tears; poetry tutor, UEA/WCN online; work translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Croatian, Spanish and Greek for Versopolis.

The Fainting Room

When they laced me tight this morning
my body split asunder.
Clouds heaved themselves across my eyes.
 
Nobody heard the crack of rib
or witnessed the small moth of my soul
slip from my mouth.
 
All day I felt the separation so keenly,
yet the household continued about me
as if unaltered.
 
When Nell came to dust the parlor,
I feared for my soul – my little ghost –
settled on the mantle.
 
At dinner, my soul watched from the wallpaper
as I raised the soup spoon to my lips –
there wasn’t space beneath my corset for a single bite.
 
I rose to reach my hand out
but her wings blurred ash.
I felt the table and the diners fall away.
 
I awoke inside this little room
to find the doctor had been summoned,
with his new, mechanized instrument.
 
My binding had been loosed,
the doctor applied the treatment
until a paroxysm possessed me.
 
I breathed deeply of the whole earth.
My soul flew into my open throat.
My husband dropped some coins into his hand.
 

Helen Ivory

from The Anatomical Venus, 2019, Bloodaxe Books.

 

Publications:
Constructing a Witch, 2024, Bloodaxe Books
Wunderkammer: New and Selected Poems, 2023, MadHat Press (USA)
The Anatomical Venus, 2019, Bloodaxe Books
Maps of the Abandoned City, 2019, SurVision
Waiting for Bluebeard, 2013, Bloodaxe Books

Helen Ivory website
 
e-mail Helen Ivory

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Jennie Osborne

Jennie Osborne lives on the edge of Dartmoor, active in poetry around South Devon. One of organisers of Teignmouth Poetry Festival. Performer and workshop leader. Won 2015 Kent and Sussex Poetry Prize.

Signals From The Other

It’s a game that’s gone on for millennia
between those with an ear fit to listen
and that with a multitude of names
which speaks with more than tongues
has blown its whistle more loudly each decade.
 
Some find they need to put their heads
to the ground to catch the litany of mole rats
or the rattle of gods. Some swear
by dreams but their dictionaries disagree –
a case of pick and mix at the new age bazaar.
 
Some follow the tracks of tiger or vole
as they peter off towards extinction,
or interpret the bees’ last messages,
the kakapo’s failing language, witness
the redwood’s blazing groans.
 
These days, it’s more a matter
of shedding earmuffs, ripping off blinkers,
turning down the eat me, buy me white noise
and peeling off the plastic gloves, putting
an ear or a fingertip to any throbbing pulse.
 
And what we choose to be deaf to
has given up on subtle, given up on
the liquid language in lost eyes, diminishing
chords spring after spring, starved soil’s
crunch as it turns to sand.
 
Seas have tried tantrum, rivers given lessons
in weeping. Every day the assemblage of ghosts
thickens, their silent accusation nudging through the ether,
tapping out its Mayday in minds which have cracked
the carapace, dare to be naked to our own complicity.
 
It’s time for stormy crescendo, turning up
the heat, for waves of howl so strong
they lift us, hurl us, shatter us, drown us,
leave us to lie among oil-smothered fish, poisoned
cetaceans on a plastic-studded beach
 
and soon there will be unmaking, the first
threads are pulled. We can’t say
there was no signal.
 

Jennie Osborne

Poem in Signals From The Other, 2022, Dempsey and Windle

Publications:
Signals From The Other, 2022, Dempsey and Windle, ISBN 978-1-9133297-4-7 £10.50
Colouring Outside the Lines, 2015, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068565-8-8. £8
collection, How to be Naked, 2010, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068561-3-7. £8

Overall winner of the SecondLightLive Poetry Competition, Round 2, Nov 08 to Sep 09. Listen to Jennie reading There’s Something about a Woman Swallowing Flames

e-mail Jennie Osborne
 
web-pages on poetry p f.

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Lesley J Ingram

Born in Doncaster, Lesley lives in Ledbury. She runs the Herefordshire Stanza, and has been printed here and there – is working on everywhere. It may take some time.

Unzipping

This is more than dibbing in, but not quite
rifling through. The zip defensively tooth
and nail, bites, snatching the tremor from my skin,
scratching my rouge noir. Deep breaths.
This has to be against some law.
 
I finger-skim the surface shapes, reading
the contents like braille, a sharp edge, a cold key,
a press of leather, a prickling of guesses.
Time washes in, pools in the notebook
I know holds your days, your
coffee mornings, keep fit classes, chemo
 
dates. Your variations in temperature.
I recognise your lipstick mirror by the ring
of bling round its top. I can’t open it.
I would see you. Drowning in your Youth
Dew, choking in your tissues and
mini-sudukos, half-dying
 
in the deeping and the laws
of nature … I see you shake your head.
‘Dive in’, you say, ‘dive in – we have no secrets
you and me’. Already half way round
the bend I nod. Had. You mean had.

Lesley J Ingram

* written for the theme ‘Into the Deep’

Poem published: Mslexia, April 2010

Publication:
Scumbled, 2015, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-909077-72-0, £8.99

Lesley J Ingram website
 
e-mail Lesley J Ingram

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Marion Tracy

Marion Tracy has an MA in English Literature and has been writing her own poetry for about 6 years. She’s been published by 14 Magazine, ARTEMISpoetry, Mslexia, Obsessed With Pipework, Poetry Express, Poetry Wales, Scintilla and Tears in the Fence.

Stones

He hears a sound, plip plop. It’s small stones thrown
or wet insects on glass. The noise is getting bigger.
It sounds as if stones are being shovelled onto the house.
He asks his cousin if she’s experienced anything like this.
 
He frowns when she says, It must be possums.
He smiles when his neighbour says, Perhaps it’s like
when my wife left me.
He laughs when his wife says,
Yes, I’ve been hearing it for a while, it’s like memories of home.
 
He looks up through the leaves of the tree.
Stones are coming down through the branches.
Stones are bouncing off each branch in turn.
Stones are plums falling down like blue stars.
 
His neighbour looks and says, Who can be responsible?
Is it the work of clever children?
His cousin gasps and says,
Is it the work of aliens, these bright disks as they fall?
Is it, asks his wife, all the words that need saying?
 
In the room, the stones are all over the bed.
The stones are all over the rug but there’s no holes
in the ceiling. He looks up and there’s no footprints on the roof.
The stones are raining down and he asks his cousin,
 
Why do the stones not fall straight down but seem to turn in the air?
He asks his neighbour, Why do the stones have no shadow?
Why do the stones fall on my house and not on yours?

Why, laughs his wife, it’s all the stones that ever got stuck in my shoe.
 

Marion Tracy

Poem published: Poetry Review Vol 103:1 Spring 2013.

Pamphlet Collection: Giant in the Doorway, HappenStance Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-905398-3-1, £4.

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Victoria Gatehouse

Victoria Gatehouse is a poet and researcher. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and have featured on BBC Radio. Competition wins include Iklley, Otley, PENfro and the Indigo International Wild Nature Poetry Award. Victoria’s second pamphlet, The Mechanics of Love, published by smith|doorstop, was selected as a Laureate’s Choice in 2019.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

The doctor says it’s nothing serious, something
she’ll just have to live with, a malfunction
of the nerves perhaps, not uncommon in women of her age
and she leaves with a script for a mild antidepressant,
a leaflet counselling moderation in alcohol, tobacco
and spicy foods and when she returns, he says it again
after taking a look at lips, teeth and tongue –
nothing to see and he says it with a smile when she can feel
the bees humming in her blood, the tips of their wings
chafing artery walls and she knows without being told
they’re house bees, the ones who feed, clean
and ventilate the hive, pack nectar into the comb
without really tasting it, the ones who wait for mid-life
to take their first orientation flights and she can really
feel the smart of them, the bees in her blood, unfurling
their proboscises to touch the corolla of her heart.
So many years spent licking out hives, all the burn of it
here on her tongue and they’re starting to forage now,
to suck sweetness into their honey stomachs, and the doctor
he’ll keep telling her it’s nothing when they’re rising
like stings, the words she’s kept in.
 

Victoria Gatehouse

Poem published in Mslexia

Publications:
The Mechanics of Love, 2019, smith|doorstop
Light After Light, 2018, Valley Press

e-mail Victoria Gatehouse

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