Featured Poets, May 2020                     home page
 

Alison Mace       Carla Scarano D’Antonio       Gill Horitz       Jane McLaughlin       Sue Moules       Angela Platt       Anne Stewart       Maureen Weldon       Merryn Williams       Robin Winckel-Mellish      

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)  

Alison Mace

After writing poems throughout her adult life, Alison Mace has at last got a full collection out: Man at the Ice House, published by The High Window Press at £10. Her work takes on difficult, often personal subjects, but is essentially positive.

A Glimpse of Eve

     on visiting a premature baby
 
Three weeks breathing, now, Eve,
twenty-one days in a box
under a measured glow.
Thirty-six weeks today,
that’s what the nurses say,
so another four to go
before you can start to live:
shouldn’t have smelt the air
till a day beyond New Year.
 
Your tiny pulsing weight
I lift, invited, and lay
you down, unwrapped, on the bed:
hot red torso, distended,
limbs like fingers and thumbs.
Your legs spring into the cross
of the foetal diagram
‘Your Baby at Thirty-Six Weeks’ –
I glimpse the child unborn.
 
You seek about, the mouth
wide in your turning head.
Last week you learnt to suck;
now I’ve given you back
you feed with an earnestness
that shows you mean to grow.
Eve, claiming your future:
whole woman in waiting,
exquisite miniature
 

Alison Mace

first published in anthology, Seven Ages of Woman, 2014, ed. Toni Wilde and Heather Randall; in pamphlet collection, Man at the Ice House, 2019, ed David Cooke, The High Window Press

Publications:
Man at the Ice House, 2019, The High Window, £10;
several poems in Seven Ages of Woman, Blue Funk, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9535473-5-7, price £6.50

Alison Mace website: http://alisonmacepoet.org.uk
 
e-mail Alison Mace

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Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Carla Scarano D’Antonio moved to England from Rome in 2007, she obtained her MA in CW in 2012. She won the First Prize of the John Dryden Translation Competition 2016. In her day-to-day life, she teaches Italian language and literature in an international school in Woking.

Negotiating Caponata

First peel and chop potatoes in cubes
cook separately in a frying pan
then add peppers and aubergines in pieces;
salt, tomato passata, one or two tbsp., some water,
simmer for one hour or two. Stir.
The aloofness at times.
They are difficult to digest like peppers
or sour like aubergines,
floating adrift or biting back.
But the cut ingredients finally mash together in the sauce,
sensitive and vulnerable.
The body has no protection
when the light dims.
 

Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Poem published in Negotiating Caponata, 2020

Publications:
Negotiating Caponata, Dempsey & Windle, July 2020


A Winding Road, Chiaroscuro, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9569264-1-8 (self-published)

Carla Scarano D’Antonio website
 
Carla Scarano D’Antonio blog
 
e-mail Carla Scarano D’Antonio

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Gill Horitz

Gill Horitz has worked in the arts for over 30 years. She co-edited South 47. Her work has been published/placed in various magazines/competitions, including a shortlisting for the Bridport Prize. She belongs to a Poetry Group run by Paul Hyland.

What Lies in the Winter Wood

End of day, end of year – and she’s thinking what’s next,
her head against the pane and the wind slamming the gate.
 
When she looks up, the trees are moving through the half light
towards her, through snow piled over the vanished road.
Not a single thought holds her back.
All the meanings held by the trees she remembers,
and how their barks can be unrolled and written upon.
No ordinary wood moves like this, and time is short.
 
Through the holly tunnels she sings a low song to the owl
and the night leans down, savouring her wintry breath.
What will I take from this? she thinks, looking back
as the moon hurries her along. To believe just once
that such a place exists, the imaginary heart
where everything worth moving towards lies.
 

Gill Horitz

Poem published in Smiths Knoll, Issue 50

State of Play Arts
 
Gill Horitz at poetry p f
 
e-mail Gill Horitz

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Jane McLaughlin

‘Tightly-wrought sequences and lyrical pieces … poignant and often surprising’ (Katherine Gallagher). Jane McLaughlin writes poetry and fiction. She has been widely published in magazines/anthologies; her first collection is Lockdown (Cinnamon 2016).

The Lacemaker Travels to Seville

The silver hook slips to and fro.
Dark head bent over red sweater,
in the next seat she nets
a fine white band. Fingers arched,
thumbs steady. Turn of the wrist.
 
The train gallops the latifundios,
Cordoba fades behind golden hills.
Slant orange sun descending
paints white villages, backlights her hair.
The work grows, precise as frost.
 
Her small bones and tendons learnt
this craft from women whose maths
was in their heads, patterns
of chequered mesh, stars, flowers,
eloquent as a Moorish ceiling.
 
It does not need words: the yarn
is hooked into its own language.
In the lexicon of human gestures
her movements mean this and nothing else:
I am making lace.
 
Flowing like high cirrus
it will trim an alb, perhaps,
or christening robe. Maybe
hem a sister’s wedding dress.
A rite begun, tissue of spider’s breath.

Jane McLaughlin

Highly Commended, Torbay Open Poetry Competition, 2015

Publications:
Lockdown, 2016, Cinnamon Press, link
The Abbot’s Cat (e-novella), 2014, Cinnamon Press, (Kindle, avail from Amazon) link
Quintet (poetry), 2005, Cinnamon Press
Quartet (short stories), 2004, Cinnamon Press

twitter &MclaughlinJane3
at Facebook
Jane at poetry p f

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Sue Moules

Sue Moules has been published since she was eight. Her work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies; she has taught creative writing (children and adults) and is a Writer on Tour. She lives in Wales and has three children.

Nappies on my Neighbour’s Washing Line

Six weeks before the birth
of her third child, my young neighbour
hangs out great flags of nappies.
 
Peg and dip, peg and dip,
crescents of sky
between the white on white,
 
in her garden of plastic play shapes,
red, yellow, blue,
their strength unbleached by sun.
 
At night she leaves the nappies out.
Moonlight lets through curves of dark,
the white squares glow.
 
Such a row of perfect symmetry,
it stops my breath.

Sue Moules

Poem appears in collection: In the Dream Time.

Publications:
The Moth Box, Parthian, 2013. ISBN-978-1-9098440-7-0, £7.99,
The Earth Singing, Lapwing, 2010. £8
In The Green Seascape, Lapwing, 2009. £7.95
Mirror Image, a joint collection with Norma E Jones, Headland, 2009. £7.95
In The Dream Time, Flarestack, 2006; ISBN 1 900397 91 9. £3
The Copyright of Land, National Poetry Foundation, 2000.

e-mail

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Angela Platt

Angela Platt’s poems appear in many anthologies & magazines (Orbis, Spokes, The Interpreter’s House & others). She runs creative writing groups and is Poetry Soc. Newsport STANZA rep. Her poem Skydive won 3rd in the Prole Laureate competition, 2020.

Imager of Light

I’m left here to silence
rusting in the rain.
 
Sun sinking fast, tree shadows
darken. Leaves and grasses fan
a cool breeze and darkling motes,
black shapes stirring.
 
Night creatures may disturb
my hide, dislodge me from
the solid branch you placed me on.
 
If I should fall, those images
you took such care to make
would shatter … your running laughing
children sliding dunes at Merthyr Mawr.
 
Footprint hollows shrink, elide.
Soon it will be as if they’d never been,
here at play on this one day.
 
The leaden sky above me fills
with ragged cloths. Night sounds
unnerve. Children’s likenesses
inside, but they are curled at home
asleep and may not grow in me.
 
That long same day, it’s dark.
You’ve come! How could I doubt?
You hunt carefully, recall at last
beside which tree you’d stood
freezing the tumbling laughter
with a click.
 
Fingers inch the knobbled branch
cold metal edge
find leather skin pulled tight,
retrieving my box-shaped frame.
Old friend, my clip fits your finger-stub
as if another limb.
 
You wipe away my tear,
sling my strap across your marbled shoulder,
march the long miles forward
into memory.

Angela Platt

Imager of Light, in collection Crossing the Bloodline

Publications:
Crossing the Bloodline 2020, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-78864-900-1
39 jazz poems featured in Jazzrounds 1994-2003, ISSN 1465-1319
Percussion of Living, 2001, Green Corner Press, ISBN 0-9-54022-00-9
I Like to Imagine, self-published pamphlet, 1994
Introduction to Sexism in the Secondary Curriculum (chapter), ed Janie Whyld, 1981,
Harper & Rowe, ISBN 0-0-63182-51-3

Angela Platt website
 
enquiry to Second Light

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Anne Stewart

Anne Stewart founded poetry p f in 2005. Her awards include The Bridport Prize, Southport Prize, Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy) and a Hawthornden Fellowship. Her collections include The Janus Hour (2010) and The Last Parent (2019).

Anne is editor of the SecondLightLive web-site and serves on the Second Light Network Committee and as part-time administrator for the Network. (see ‘More’ link below)

sample poems and comments on ‘The Last Parent’
 

Body Language

            "I like the whisker of hair/ under her armpit. It suggests/
            that she’s not one of those women/ who are always trying
            to get rid/ of their smell."
 
                    Vicki Feaver, OI YOI YOI

 

Give me silky legs glistening in the sun,
bikini line and oxters done and no shame
for the dishonest shape-shifter I’ve become.
 
Give me orange and magnolia to bathe away
my scent–when it’s Woman-Ready-for-a-Man,
I’d just as soon my body said "Only if I say".
 
And when I choose to go against the master plan
by coating earthworm lips with New Dawn rose
or copper pink, grape or cherry blossom balm,
 
it’s no more a disguise than wearing clothes.
Or would you have me naked? No deceitful lines
between my vulva and the twitching public nose?

 
Hirsute and unscented may be truth of a kind,
but there are worse things, when you feel exposed,
than silk and oranges, and roses, to hide behind.

Anne Stewart

Poem published: The Interpreter’s House, Nov 03, ISSN 1361-5610, and nominated for Forward Prize, 2004;
Discussed in Mary Michaels’ article How Does Your Poem Smell?, in Connections, Spring 2005 edition.
Strix Varia published Anne’s reflection on the writing of Body Language in their PoetSpeak series.

Collection: The Last Parent, Second Light Publications, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-9927088-3-2, £9.95 (Book Club offer £40 plus feedback).
Collection: The Janus Hour, Oversteps Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-9068561-6-8, £8.
Anthology: Ten Hallam Poets, Mews Press, 2005, ISBN: 1-84387-123-8, £7.99.
Glossy illustrated postcards: 2 of Body Language and 2 of Melting into the motorway on the inside lane, £1, from Anne.

20 Clovelly Way
Orpington
Kent
BR6 0WD
 
tel: 07850 537489
 
Anne’s web-site
 
e-mail

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Maureen Weldon

Maureen Weldon’s awards include: Highly Commended, SWWJ, Elizabeth Longford Trophy Poetry Competition, 2006. Her work is published in: Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, Coffee House. Autumn 2014, first pamphlet collection to be published by Poetry Space Ltd.

Midnight Robin

While the sky shimmers like shot silk.
I count the chimneypots,
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
 
On my kitchen table, sheets and sheets
of screwed up poems.
Tomorrow I’ll flatten them
for shopping lists.
 
While perfumed smells of hyacinths
bring memories of my mother;
‘they make lovely Christmas presents’
she would say, as she potted and tended.
 
The evening moves along.
The moon a half golden bracelet.
The sky cluttered with stars.
 
All is still. No cars. No trains.
And in this stillness,
the midnight robin sings.
 

Maureen Weldon

Poem published in Crannog 18, 2008, ISSN 1649-4865;
and in Bolts of Silk, 2013

Publications:
Breakfast at Kilumney, 2010, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 978-1-9063573-1-3. £5;
Earth Tides, 2002, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 1-90303-12-9. £4;
To Change These Hours, 2004, Kite Modern Poetry Series, ISBN 0-907759-39-4. £5.95;
Of Crossed Wires, 1996, Wire Poetry Booklet Series, ISBN 1-900462-60-5. £4;
Leap, 1993, Envoi Poets Publications, ISBN 1-874161-01-1. £5

Address:
14 Green Park
Connagh’ Quay,
Deeside
Flintshire
CH5 4QJ
 
Tel: 01244 822366
 
e-mail Maureen Weldon

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Merryn Williams

Merryn Williams’ life is currently divided, like ancient Gaul, into three zones – literary, family, Jeremy. She was first editor of The Interpreter’s House, which published around a thousand poets, and her own publications are too numerous to list.

P.N.D.

     post-natal depression
 
One fell off the fragile bridge,
others froze in horror.
Far below them, howling winds
and glimpse of raging water.
 
Four young women shared a house,
partied, shrieked with laughter.
All got married, scattered wide.
Three go on without her.
 
Driving rain, on clothes and skin;
you feel the great bridge shudder.
The baby knows there’s something wrong,
stares round and sees no mother.
 
Three go home. All night they weep;
why did no one save her?
while each, in fear, bears step by step,
a child across the water.
 

Merryn Williams

Poem published in Acumen and in The Fragile Bridge (see Publications)

Publications:
The Fragile Bridge: New and Selected Poems, Shoestring Press, 2019;
The First Wife’s Tale, Shoestring Press, 2007;
Jane Austen’s The Watsons, Pen Press, 2006;
The Latin Master’s Story, Rockingham Press, 2000;
The Chalet Girls Grow Up, Plas Gwyn Books, 1998

Address:
19 The Paddox
Oxford
OX2 7PN
 
tel: 01865 511259
 
Merryn Williams website
 
web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

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Robin Winckel-Mellish

South African-born Robin Winckel-Mellish lives and works in the Netherlands. She has worked as a freelance journalist for many years and runs a poetry critique group in Amsterdam. Recent publications in Versal and Dvoice.

The Leaf Rakers

Out of nowhere they appear,
women the colour of autumn,
scraping the heels of moon hills,
sweeping the bones of borders
 
as if sleepwalking.
Kraal women raking dust,
loose as water, rippling vessels
of clay and sepia, swathed infants

bundled on their backs.
Slack as cobras, broken shadow
is transmuted on paths
and pools and garden walls –
 
earth bodies. And I in silk gown
breakfast on mango and papaya
as crackling twig brooms herd
the bonanza spilled around.

Robin Winckel-Mellish

Poem published: Versal 5

Address:
van Bronckhorstlaan 2
2242 PX Wassenaar,
the Netherlands.
 
tel: 31 70 5114800
 
e-mail

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