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 Helen Pritchard       Martha Street       Kathleen Swann (note: poem since changed)

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)  

Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Carla Scarano D’Antonio is an Italian teacher, poet, short story writer and painter. She contributes reviews to London Grip, Write Out Loud, South, the High Window, Woking Writers Circle website, Tears in the Fence, Pulsar and other magazines.

Words are Good

     ‘Words dry and riderless’
          Sylvia Plath, Words
 
The echo of the inexpressible
appears among lines
carving what I don’t know yet
configuration of signs.
 
Are words good enough?
We feel to use them literally.
What’s my pleasure in using words?
I encounter them on a journey
 
of recovery,
reimagining the past
in a memoir of self-discovery
turning at last
to the bottom of the pool.
 

Carla Scarano D’Antonio

Poem published in Acumen, 102

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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Ruth Hanchett

Ruth Hanchett is a member of the Poetry Society, two stanza groups, The British Haiku Society, Enfield Poets and Second Light. She writes particularly from close observation of people and of herself, exploring social and emotional themes arising.

from ‘Fall’ a sequence of seven poems:

Fall

I
 
I fell as from a great height into another world.
From a flat plane I stared up at the night sky
and moonlike faces which seemed to ponder
my angle on the slab of stone.
In a smudge of morphine I still screamed.
I lost myself, and, subject, patient,
was propelled into a timeless zone.
Rigid in ambulance straps, under lights, I could not
count the hours, could not recognise the place
but entered a country where people in white
told me what to do, what they would do. I heard
the snap of scissors through my new jeans,
heard murmurs that the hip was broken, felt
the catheter slip in, the movements
of shapes in the dark; floating in a hospital gown
I felt the lift into bed, sleep merging into the oblivion
of surgery, the awakening in the ward, the surgeon
above me, It’s gone well, it’s up to you now, but,
for weeks, the systems flowed over me, journeys
took me down dazzlingly long corridors then back
to staring at walls and waiting for visitors
who came like angels and didn’t tell me what to do.
Physiotherapists, lean and smiling, began to nudge me
nearer to myself and I moved towards it.
At home again the ground was rough, uneven
but my steps became discerning. I grew taller,
so much taller.
 

Ruth Hanchett


Pamphlet, Some Effects of Brilliance, 2019, Rafael Q Publishers, ISBN 978-1-901017-20-5, £5.00

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Hilaire

Hilaire is co-author with Joolz Sparkes of London Undercurrents. She was poet-in-residence at Thrive Battersea in 2017 and Highly Commended in the 2019 Live Canon International Poetry Prize. She writes and gardens in Battersea.

The Sheffield Man

Was it only our family he visited
at dead of night? Slipping bone-handled knives,
dimpled thimbles, an heirloom coffee spoon,
into his felt-lined pockets. His thefts small,
intermittent, occasionally reversed.
Look what’s turned up under the sink!
Triumphant, Dad held aloft a pewter
napkin ring, long lost. This was not
the stuff of nightmares.
 
Grown up, abroad, I found the Sheffield Man
unknown amongst my peers – a family quirk,
a joke I only got in retrospect.
 
But now he’s back and he’s greedy,
working daylight hours behind my mother’s back.
The peg tin, can opener, keys. Her reading glasses.
All magicked away out of sight.
He’s even filched the whatchamacallit
and the reason she first needed it.
 
I stab pins into a Sheffield Man doll
even though I know there’s no reversing
this final vanishing act.
 

Hilaire

Highly commended in the Red Shed Open Poetry Competition 2018 and published in The Quality of the Moment competition pamphlet, Currock Press

Publications:
indoors looking out, lower case press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5272-6319-2 £5
London Undercurrents,, Holland Park Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-907320-82-8 £10
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
 
e-mail

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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

Doreen Hinchliffe website
 

e-mail Doreen Hinchliffe

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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

After 25 years in Belgium, Ann Milton is preparing for the adventure of returning to the UK, an adventure which will furnish her with more poems as she draws on the daily life of herself and her family.

Not Drowning

Her descent through the water slows,
the threatening storm
no longer pulls her down, even creates
 
her buoyancy. Freed from
helplessness in a downward torrent
she begins to stretch out weary legs –
 
too light a motion to be called swimming, yet
the first sign of hope since the day she heard
her daughter had became her son.
 
The water grows warmer as her body reaches
for the light shimmering through the waves
still far above. The weight drains away
 
and empowers her to rise. She knows
life will never be the same again, lungs
made raw by long submersion, fingers frozen
 
in the unexplored depths: yet she laughs
because the dark fear of this time
has become the strength she needs.
 

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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Jenna Plewes website
 
e-mail

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Diana Helen Pritchard

Hertfordshire born, married, one son, two daughters, Diana Helen Pritchard lives in Guernsey. A wilderness upbringing during the 1950s, and 1960s in British Columbia, Canada influences her poetry. She is a member of Guernsey Writers.

Stone

Beside my heart; the pump,
the one that circulates my blood,
there is another heart.
 
Not the heart guided by emotion,
but a gnarled, heavy, black, stone heart
invisible even to an X-ray.
 
It wasn’t born with me,
just entered my body one day,
found its way through my skin
 
through an unguarded fissure,
reached the essence of me
before I could mouth my own name.
 
Beady as a cock-robin’s eye at first,
this ‘anti-matter’ absorbing my childhood,
imploded to the size of the universe
 
until the ‘real’ heart; the pump,
the one that circulates my blood,
wanting to be rid of it, found a solution.
 
It started my body running
across fields, along riverbanks,
up gravel tracks, over the snows
 
into the medals on sports day
(never good enough of course)
always striving for the big burn.
 
The black-heart stone smouldered.
The body started marathoning
over the downs, into muddy ditches,
 
along highways, over cobbled streets
through green forests and desert dunes.
The black-stone heart caught alight,
 
flamed up, burned down,
became smaller than a cock-robin’s eye
and I opened my arms to my existence.
 

Diana Helen Pritchard

Poem published in Published in Jersey Arts 2005 Competition Anthology (Commended).

Publications (all available at Amazon):
One Wrong Foot, Shortcliff, 2022, ISBN 9781919614427, £6.50
My Paths to Freedom, autobiography, Shortcliff 2021, ISBN 9781919614403, £12.99
Poems Inspired by Objects, Shortcliff, 2022, ISBN 9781919614434 £6.50
 

Shortcliff Poetry
 
e-mail Diana Helen Pritchard

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Martha Street

Martha Street lives in Bristol and meets in the city’s libraries with Bus Pass Poets.

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

e-mail

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Kathleen Swann

Kathleen Swann is a Yorkshire poet, brought up in Cumbria, where her love of the countryside and it’s characters have influenced her poetry. Published in anthologies and magazines and a songwriter for the Leeds Lieder Festival.

Turpentine and Beeswax

Your tall frame bent over the bench
the tip of your tongue between your teeth
time meant nothing, dovetails and dowels
were fashioned with care, sharp chisels
shaped gentle curves across the grain
releasing the inner pattern of waves.
 
Smokey warmth from the iron range
carried the spicy smell of wood
through the oak-beamed rooms
of the old cottage cellar
oak sawn from trees that had
given way to age many years ago.
 
Outside a wool-white sky lay over hills
filled the wood with shifting mist
hung crystal drops on the cherry tree
as we drank sweetened tea from mugs
placed teacake dough in the bread oven
in memory of my grandmother.
 
Wood and workbench now long gone
I lift the old tool bag from its rusty hook
carefully wrap each implement
in its own soft cloth, lay them in the bag
the old smell of turpentine and beeswax
turn the dusty air to remembered perfume.
 

Kathleen Swann

Poem published in Ripples Beyond the Pool, Coverstory Books

Publications:
Oak Tree Alchemy, Coverstory Books, ISBN 978-1-9993027-4-0. £7
Ripples Beyond the Pool, Coverstory Books, ISBN 978-1-9993027-8-8. £7

e-mail Kathleen Swann

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