Featured Poets, November 2017
 

Maggie Butt       Carla Scarano D’Antonio       Ruth Hanchett       Hilaire       Doreen Hinchliffe       Iris Anne Lewis       Ann Milton       Carolyn Oulton       Eve Pearce       Jenna Plewes       Diana Pritchard       Daphne Schiller       Martha Street       Kathleen Swann

Maggie Butt

Maggie is an ex-journalist and BBC TV documentary film maker, now head of the Media department at Middlesex University, London. Her prize-winning poems have appeared in many magazines, and her new collection, Lipstick, has been warmly reviewed.

Lipstick

In war time women turn to red
swivel-up scarlet and carmine
not in solidarity with spilt blood
but as a badge of beating hearts.
 
This crimson is the shade of poets
silenced for speaking against torture,
this vermillion is art
surviving solitary confinement,
 
this cerise defies the falling bombs
the snipers taking aim at bread-queues,
this ruby’s the resilience of girls
who tango in the pale-lipped face of death.

Maggie Butt

Poem published: in collection Lipstick.

Publications:
Lipstick, first full poetry collection, Greenwich Exchange, March 2007;
Story, The Heart of the Matter, edited essay collection, Greenwich Exchange, September 2007;
Quintana Roo, poetry pamphlet, Acumen, 2003

Maggie Butt website
 

web-pages at poetry p f
 
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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.

The new house

has unfilled spaces
I measure with my thoughts,
wide windows and verandas
bursting with light,
a white staircase spiralling up,
knots in the honey wooden floor
like dark birthmarks or gigantic ants
I skip by instinct.
The corners are sealed with golden velvet,
the walls are cream.
On the roof the skylights mirror the blue
in trembling reflections.
I lean from the balcony drowsily
looking down at the grey tarmac,
a pool of flames.

Carla Scarano D’Antonio

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

Carla Scarano D’Antonio website
 
Carla Scarano D’Antonio blog
 
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Ruth Hanchett

Ruth Hanchett: ‘Endgame’ exemplifies how I seek economy of words, an approach that seems increasingly my own. My poems placed in competitions, magazines or anthologies have tended to be highly compressed. I find membership of the British Haiku Society helpful.

Endgame

Walked by your river this morning.
Sunless. Clouds longed to let go
their rain. Boats clung
to their moorings. Cafés closed.
 
Ward windows struggle to bring in
trees and sky – your river
too far away.
You lie in bed, soft-skinned
downy arms by your sides,
hair wispy as a dandelion clock,
whitely transparent, face bone-cheeked.
 
Your ‘yeses’ are baby birds,
tiny attempts to fly out
of your mind into mine. Your eyes
speak. You open your mouth
to be fed. Wait. Clamp it shut.
 

Ruth Hanchett

Endgame won the Segora International Poetry Prize in 2016

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Hilaire

Hilaire is a Melbourne-born, London-based writer of poetry and prose. Her poems have been published in both British and Australian magazines and displayed on London’s buses. She has read at various venues, including a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Snake Valley

Come live with me in Snake Valley.
There’s a bungalow, ten acres, two dams.
I’ll teach you to swim,
how to fend off the yabbies
as they tickle and nip at our toes.
You will escort spiders
off the premises;
I’ll deal with the ants.
The water in our taps
will run honey-pale,
tasting of childhood.
In the long, baking afternoons
we’ll lie low
in the creaking cool of the house.
When it rains,
we’ll dance and hoot in the mud.
And the snakes
will leave us alone
if we return the favour.
At dusk, strolling our acres,
we must remember
to bang a stick,
scan the ground ahead.

Hilaire

Poem published:
Triptych Poets: Issue One, Blemish Books. October 2010

Publications:
Triptych Poets: Issue OneBlemish Books, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-9807556-1-9
Hearts on Ice, Serpent’s Tail, 2000 ISBN: 1-852426-63-2

Hilaire’s website
 
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Doreen Hinchliffe

Doreen Hinchliffe has been published widely in anthologies and magazines, including Acumen, Mslexia, Orbis, The Interpreter’s House and Magma. Her first collection, Dark Italics, was published by Indigo Dreams in October 2017.

The Art of Getting Lost

Practise the art of getting lost
in the deepest forest, not knowing where
it ends, like the leaf of an oak tossed
 
on a sudden wind, unaware
of anything except the flight
in dappled sun, the ripples of air,
 
conscious only of slanting light
through branches, of being borne and held,
indifferent to left or right
 
to future or to past, propelled
into the heart of now by powers
unfathomed, unseen, deep in the meld
 
and mould of earth, in its tiny flowers
(bluer than bluebells, whiter than frost)
that lie beyond the counting of hours
 
and the counting of the cost.

Doreen Hinchliffe

Poem published in Acumen, Issue 87

Publications:
The Pointing Star, sonnet sequence, Live Cannon Poems for Christmas CD, ASIN: B01N8Z2E1T
Dark Italics, 2017, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-910834-58-9

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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

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Ann Milton

I am a housewife and mother, living in Brussels. I’ve been writing poetry for my own satisfaction and pleasure for some years, now I am exploring how to make it accessible to (enjoyable by, useful for?) others.

who will hear?

How can I dare to speak
what must not be heard? Where is it safe
to voice a naked thought?
I live with dreams that cannot
be realised, nightmares I cannot cast off
because the burden is unshared
 
I need some-one to listen to me,
without cruel judgement or kind pity,
so that the merciless noise will be driven
from inside my head, guided
to a distant home.
 
I would not burden the wise
with my foolishness, nor could any-one innocent
receive my guilt.
But if you have seen the wilderness
You could be the one to hear my story.
 

Ann Milton

e-mail Ann Milton

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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
 
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Eve Pearce

Eve Pearce is an accomplished actress and member of the Company of Elders Sadlers Wells Contemporary Dance. Born in Aberdeen, shee fell in love with London on moving South, aged 12. She began writing poetry 5 years ago, in Katherine Gallagher’s workshop.

Green

Green are the forests – green the fields
Green the frogs newly painted,
Green the ’gages bought in case of hunger.
Green your eyes which the visor shields
From overbearing sun.
 
In their cages the tigers crouch, panthers stalk.
 
State of the Art this, you know, the Keeper boasts,
A pyramid of stages – where you and they –
the animals, can walk,
The dignity of both preserved.

 
The Northern Lights had a great swathe of green
a satin cloak flung into lowering sky
the night my childhood ended.
 
I note the flash of green in the eye of the tiger.

Eve Pearce

address:
6/21 Northwood Hall
Hornsey Lane
London
N6 5PN
 
Pamphlet: Woman in Winter, Hearing Eye, 2007.

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Jenna Plewes

Jenna Plewes lives in Worcestershire, belongs to Cannon Poets and escapes to Devon whenever she can. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including Heart Shoots (for Macmillan Cancer Support). She was highly commended in the Hastings International Competition 2012.

Leave Me in the Light

When I die
don’t put me underground
cut down a giant oak
as they did
four thousand years ago
 
pull out the stump
drag it across the wide salt marsh
with honeysuckle ropes
upend it where the curlews call
 
lay me across its outstretched hand
under the sun, the moon
the turning stars
 
encircle me in
fifty trunks of oak
each split in two
fold a seamless skin of bark around my bier
 
leave me the smell of fresh cut wood
the shine of pale oak flesh
the sound of wind and tide
 
birds will clean my bones
midsummer’s rising sun will
find me through the keyhole of the east
and when midwinter sunrise looks for me
I will be gone.
 

 
 
Seahenge on the Norfolk coast is a prehistoric monument built in the 21st century BC.

Jenna Plewes

Winning poem in the Sampad competition and published in their anthology Inspired by my Museum.

Publications:
Pull of the Earth, 2016, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108340-6-0, £8.99 +p&p
Gifts, 2014, CreateSpace, ISBN 978-1-4953944-0-9 £5 – proceeds to charity (buy direct from Jenna Plewes)

Jenna Plewes website
 
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Diana Pritchard

Hertfordshire born, married, one son, two daughters, Diana Pritchard now lives in Guernsey. Her poetry is influenced by a wilderness upbringing in 1950s,1960s British Columbia. A volunteer CAB advisor, she currently chairs Guernsey Writers.

One Wrong Foot

The river, frozen over now,
flows fast beneath a rough
mountainous range of ice,
for January is the coldest month.
 
A man is making his way across.
He taps a tentative stick, testing,
seeking out a route to the saw-mill.
His children follow in his exact footsteps.
 
A moose has crossed before them.
Her tracks trail out of the wilderness
past the timber shack by the frozen creek,
over the ice to the land of willow-bush.
 
The children stop to peer down a hole
chopped in the river’s solid surface
hoping for a fleeting glimpse of fish,
a silver flash, but they are called away.
 
They’ll work at the mill, stack lumber,
heave slabs onto the fire, roll logs.
Later, tired, they’ll eat bread with jam
then climb into bunk-beds to listen for wolves.

Diana Pritchard

Poem published: Ver Open Competition Joint Winner, February 2001. Published in Moods of Water by Ver Poets.

Publications: Publ: Woolgathering, The National Poetry Foundation, 1999 ISBN: 1-900726-61-0 ISBN, 5.00

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Daphne Schiller

Daphne Schiller studied English at Manchester and Creative Writing at U.E.A. She's been a teacher and Relate counsellor. Her first collection was published by Outposts in 1981. Her poems have won prizes and appeared in magazines and on London buses.

Daphne du Maurier at Ferryside

You rowed across the Fowey
thinking of Rebecca in her boat
or the silk sails of the Frenchman
entering his hideaway. Gulls
mustered on a nearby roof
but you struck out for home.
 
I was named for you, and now
under a full moon in the estuary,
sandbags on the quay
awaiting high tide, I look across
to Polruan's golden eyes
sparking in the dark.
 
and want to take my own red boat,
stroke it across this softness,
listen to the creak of oars,
scoop up pools of moonlight
till I reach the white house
on the other side.
 

Daphne Schiller

Publications:
In My Element, Outposts Publications 1981
Cargo of Emeralds, Dodman Press 1986
Soundings, Queenscourt Publishing 1989
Saying Goodbye to the Sea, Queenscourt Publishing 1993
The Scarlet Fish, self-published 2002

tel: 01727-864898
 
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Martha Street

Martha is still adapting to city life, having just moved to Bristol from Penzance, and hopes to find opportunities to join in poetry events here.

Let the Trees

Let the trees advise you.
Listen to their leaves chanting spells
so ancient we’ve lost their meaning,
a wordless language of solace.
 
Let the strong torsos of trees
show you endurance, and age;
let the magical shedding of red garments,
the giving to wind of white blossoms
speak of time’s unveiling,
how, stripped bare, the living body
can become even more beautiful.
 
The fall and decay of one giant
will scribble a message on bark,
the calligraphy of lichen, of claw marks,
transparent shells of beetles, and moss.
 
Can you see where that dark figure stood
blocking the sun? Now light falls through that space,
into the green of the clearing.

Martha Street

Publications:
Stone Soup, Palores Publications, 2010 ISBN 978-1-906845-19-3 £4.50 from author (includes p&p)
Little Book of Poems, pamphlet, Forward Press, 2002
Little Book of Poems, pamphlet, Forward Press, 2000

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Kathleen Swann

Kathleen Swann, a North Yorkshire poet with roots in Cumbria and a deep love of the countryside, its soft beauty and raw reality, admires the characters who live and work in isolated and difficult areas, and seeks to reflect this in her work.

Tommy

He passed our house several times a day
steel tipped clogs clinking on the metalled road
long slow strides carrying his thin frame at an angle
head bowed like a meditating monk.
He looked so old we felt we couldn’t count his years
parched skin stretched over sharp boned cheeks
blue-black shadows under cavernous eyes.
 
We stood pressed to the wall as he passed
not daring to speak
in case he turned his head to look at us,
the pungent smell shadowing him
wrinkled our noses but we stood stock still
we knew he slept in a corrugated barn
with his cow and dog for warmth.
 
Some days he drove the cow up the road,
often he carried a bale of hay on his back
his bony shoulders and legs
wrapped in rough sacking tied with baler twine.
They said he kept his money under the straw
he marked the seasons through our childhood
I can’t remember when we stopped noticing him.
 

Kathleen Swann

Poem published in Barkin Farm Anthology, 2015

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