Featured Poets, September 2018                     home page
 

Diana Brighouse       Clare Crossman       Vivienne Fogel       Bridget Fraser       Justina Hart       Stevie Krayer       Alwyn Marriage       Denise McSheehy       Moya Pacey       Anne Ryland       Ann Segrave       Judith Taylor       Sarah Westcott       Mary Wight      

Diana Brighouse

Diana Brighouse is undertaking an MA in Creative Writing (Chichester) and plans to continue to doctoral study. Previously a doctor (NHS), in recent years, she has turned to fine art & creative writing, aiming to explore these boundaries.

Dried-up tears for Yemen

Tiny fist curled like an autumn leaf
baked by the sun, dried by the wind.
Reaching for the breast like soft leather
baked by the sun, dried by the wind.
 
You came too soon
winter, not spring,
hastened by bombs.
Your eyes too big,
your face too wise.
 
Children play in the mud and dung
and drink at the well where sickness comes.
 
Unyielding earth
baked by the sun,
dried by the wind,
no food grows,
roads are closed,
broken by bombs
bordered by guns.
 
Snipers or starvation,
shrapnel or disease,
death makes no discrimination.
 

Diana Brighouse

Diana Brighouse website
 
e-mail Diana Brighouse

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Clare Crossman

Clare Crossman grew up in Cumbria and now lives with her husband near Cambridge. She runs poetry workshops for various school and community groups with START Arts and CCC. She has an MA in Theatre Studies, and loves being involved with poetry in performance.

The Winter Crown
(poem at Christmas)

From the small wood, I cut spiked sloes,
regal and hardy, against winter’s grain.
 
I threaded them through the willow ring,
wired on a paper butterfly, woven with gold silk.
 
I tied on foil stars, for girls with glittering bracelets,
silver pendants dropping from their ears.
 
Pine and sandalwood for boys
in dinner suits, dignified and tall as trees.
 
I placed it in the church porch beside the others.
Who had chosen laurel, lilies to lie on stone.
 
Ribbons of blue and green for first love,
to keep the memory of the lost, the dead.
 
Ghosts, amongst twisted strands of bryony stalk,
as dry as straw, and the red dogwood canes.
 
The light inside was gold, all the lead lights lit.
Carols rang, for miracles, (how a lemon tree flowers in December).
 
An old man died, bombs blasted lives away,
a child was found in a dark hole.
 
Those unbroken circles,
that catch and hold how we connect.
 
In the hope of angels passing over,
to reach across borders with their wings
 
where all crowns are barbed with distance.

Clare Crossman

Publications:
The Shell Notebook Poems, in Take 5 04, Shoestring Press.
Fenlight, CD, Sequence of poems and music with acoustic musician, Richard Newman. Performed Cambridge, Norwich, Ely.

tel: 01763 261300
 
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Vivienne Fogel

Viv Fogel is an integrative psychotherapist and an artist. Her poems have been published in anthologies and magazines since the mid-70’s. From 1980-82 she was one of the Evettes, a performing poetry quartet. First collection: Without Question, (Mandaras Publishing 2006).

Notebook

My daughter enjoys the safety of lines,
but I prefer the blank page, to dive

and spiral bird free in a cloudless sky.
She cuts paper into delicate shapes,
 
pastes petals, turns butterflies into collages,
begins again if there is one mistake.
 
I splatter words like Pollock onto clear canvas
and smudge, rub holes in paper, stain and tear.
 
My daughter bathes in milk, soaks in Carrib sun,
paints her nails as bright as her imagined future.
 
She perfects her dress, her look, takes time,
whereas I, careless, will wear the same for days.
 
She emerges at last, silky in a swirl
of turquoise, pink ipod, humming out of tune,
 
as I wait for her in the afternoon’s heat,
my hand’s shadow on the filling page.

Vivienne Fogel

Publications: Without Question, Mandaras, 2006. ISBN 0-9544730-5-1. £10

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Bridget Fraser

Bridget Fraser founded the Free Range Poets (FRP) several years ago. Currently a flexible ten members meet monthly to workshop new poems. FRP read regularly for the Henley Literary Festival and publish an annual collection of new work.

Maps

Time was
we sailed our carefree seas
braved tides and currents
breasted jeopardy of waves
to seek safe harbour
you sure-tied and safe within my lee
umbilical to mother-ship
 
To circumnavigate our world
we plotted by the stars
discovered islands kind or cruel
safe shores and treacherous seas.
 
Then in due course
you followed your own star
aligned your compass opposite to mine
to mark your own Odyssian tides.
I handed on to you
that two-edged blade
of freedom,
watched you loosen ropes
untie old knots
and cast off onto seas of your own making.
 
The mother-ship, becalmed yet far from calm,
could only flutter prayers in semaphore
to keep you safe
protect you from dark seas
unfathomed
fathomless
 
My tattered sails once caught the winds of promise –
carry that promise on to new horizons.
May I still be your anchor
though my sails lie slack
my rigging creaks
with missing you.
 

Bridget Fraser

This seems to be a much-demanded favourite especially by mothers of the brides to be.

Poem published in And still the grass grows; Ruffling Feathers; Treading on Eggshells;
A River Runs Through Us; South
44; Inspirations … Central England 1995;
Women’s Perceptions … 1997

Publications:
And still the grass grows…
Ruffling Feathers
Treading on Eggshells
Against the Grain
A River Runs Through Us
All published by Granary Press, £3.99 each incl: p&p

Address:
Southbrook
Hambleden
Henley On Thames
Bucks
RG9 6SX
 
Tel: 01491 579989
 
Barn Galleries website
 
e-mail Bridget Fraser

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Justina Hart

Justina Hart was short-listed in the 2010 Second Light competition and has been published in the Daily Poem column of the Independent. Having worked in national newspapers and online, Justina is currently writing a poetry collection and a novel.

A Wire to Grief

When you flash upon me,
yanking the voice from my throat,
I’m usually peeling potatoes
or combing my just-woken hair
 
or, worse, in bed with my not-quite-lover
who’s helped pull me clear.
And you freeze me: peeler,
hairbrush, almost-lover in hand,
 
like that giant iguana I once saw
suddenly play dead, one foot high
in the air as if it was having a laugh,
not petrified, like me.
 
You rip all sound from the room
so it slips, cliffs rise, drop away.
There’s that pause when nothing happens
before everything does; and I’m falling
 
like David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death
when his bombed Spitfire plunges, and he pleads
to be spared – he loves the radio control chick
on the line he’s never even met.
 
Through the smoke and flames
I see, for a second, a reprieve for me, too –
if I had another life, I’d never walk out again,
leaving me and you just hanging.
 

Justina Hart

Publications:
Angels: millennial messengers, 2000, Seraphim Press, ISBN 0953577902
The Rhythm of Stones, 1995, Carnival Press, ISBN 1899378014

Address: Lichfield and London
 
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Stevie Krayer

Stevie Krayer gave up university administration to have more time for writing and, since moving from London to Wales in 1993, has published six books, including three poetry collections, and an anthology of Quaker poets (co-edited with R V Bailey).

from “Mass for the Oort Cloud”
Agnus Dei

Thar she blows!
telltale trace
on the horizon. No
leviathan – behold
the speck of god-dust
that takes away
the weight
of that mighty
unaccounted for
dark mass
(well, maybe). Load
it up with all
your unanswered
questions, scientists!
If only
it could take
away our own
darkness – but
even if we
conscientiously put out
our garbage, there’s
no celestial dustcart
to call; and
where
could it be taken?
Out in that desert
no benign
kites and gulls
wait.

Stevie Krayer

Poem published in New Monkey, 2014

Publications:
New Monkey, 2014, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093574-7-1
A Speaking Silence (anthology, co-edited with R V Bailey), 2013, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1-9093573-0-3
Questioning the Comet, 2004, Gomer, ISBN 1-843233-46-0
Voices from a Burning Boat, 1997, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0132-8
The Book of Hours by R M Rilke (translation), 1994, University of Salzburg, ISBN 3-7052-0432-7

e-mail Stevie Krayer

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Alwyn Marriage

Alwyn has been a university Philosophy lecturer, Editor of a journal, Chief Executive of two international NGOs and is now Managing Editor of Oversteps Books. Her poetry and non-fiction are published widely and she reads in Britain and abroad.

La Matelote

the restaurant was called la Matelote,
– the same word as le matelot
but ending in an ‘e’
and therefore feminine.
 
We debated what a female sailor
would be called in English
other than, of course,
a sailor –
 
‘fish wife’ hasn’t quite the same
éclat: shore-bound and down-to-earth,
she scolds her husband
wipes scale-covered hands on bloodied apron;
 
‘sailor girl’ sounds
far more jaunty, even saucy,
a jolly sea shanty of a lass
who’s good at knots, but lacks maturity;
 
a ‘woman of the waves’, though cumbersome,
has a more romantic ring,
laid-back and offering
her ebb and flow, her undulating curves.
 
In our minds these women all
transmogrified into a mermaid,
sea-born and always breaking free
like words for which there’s no equivalent.
 
Consulting a dictionary to check
the latest addition to our French vocabulary
we found ‘la matelote’
simply means ‘fish stew’.
 

Alwyn Marriage

Poem published in French Literary Review and ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 6

Publications:
festo, 2012, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-32-8. £8.
touching earth, 2007, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-0-9552424-7-2, £8.
The People of God, 1995, Darton Longman & Todd, ISBN 0-232-51989-7, £9.95.
New Christian Poetry (ed), Collins, 0-00-599207-9, £7.95.
Life-Giving Spirit, 1989, SPCK, ISBN 0-281-04430-9, £7.95.
Beautiful Man, 1977, Outposts Publications, 90p.

Alwyn’s web-site
 
e-mail Alwyn

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Denise McSheehy

Denise McSheehy lives in Devon. Her second collection The Plate Spinner was published by Oversteps Books in 2017. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

See-through

     ‘Opposite her was a window luminous and cool as aquarium glass
     and warped as water ’
               Marilynne Robinson
 
The childhood window
new light pouring in, a white rat
running the drain pipe.
 
A veranda glassed, stuffy
jammed with boots and bikes, ill-fitting windows
vaulting the room into yellow.
 
The narrow window in that first house, jerked
open, the crumbly lilac giving off
its sweet cool thread.
 
Night, the children sleeping – a window cracked
for air, your face
pressed against the cold glass.
 
Found windows, framing roof tops chimneys
their intricate arrangement
of levels and slopes.
 
A room with a wall of glass, its interplay
of green and steady north light
swapped with black.
 
Windows scored with rain.
The brutal slots in castle walls.
Light’s geometry.
 

Denise McSheehy

Poem first published in Agenda, 2014; in collection The Plate Spinner, 2017, Oversteps Books

Publications:
The Plate Spinner, 2017, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068567-5-5
Salt, 2008, The Poetry Can, ISBN 978-0-9539234-3-4, available from Denise
Salt Prints, pamphlet, 2000, Jones Press, , ISBN ISBN cISBN, £

Address:
Thurlby Cottage
Fore Street
Morchard Bishop
EX17 6NX
 
Denise McSheehy at poetry p f
 
e-mail Denise McSheehy

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Moya Pacey

I am living in Canberra Australia after spending 2009-2010 studying at Goldsmiths College for an MA in Creative and Life Writing. I am working on a second collection.

Smalls

Keep the secrets of your laundry basket
close to home; should a visitor call,
on washing day, unexpected –
your french lace knickers
forlorn & ragged as a bed
of wild silk pansies
at the end of a hot summer’s day,
& his boxer shorts, extra large now,
shirring elastic sagging like a top
heavy sunflower – seeds all gone,
can be whipped indoors
double quick.

Moya Pacey

Poem published in Women’s Work, eds Hathorn and Bailey, Pax Press, 2013;
reading on Radio National Poetica, late 2013.

Publications:
The Wardrobe, 2009, Ginninderra Press, ISBN 978-1-7402758-0-4. £7.00.

Moya Pacey on Facebook
 
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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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Ann Segrave

Ann Segrave lives in East Sussex and is inspired by the South Downs which surround her. Her first collection, Aviatrix, was published by Oversteps Books in 2009, followed by Persimmon in 2014. She has read at Dartington, the Troubadour and locally.

Aviatrix

To gain a bird’s eye view –
windhover’s sight.
Not counting scale or distance
but feeling the sweep and pull
of landscape in ascendance.
Roads thin, electric threads,
houses squat shelters pitched against the rain.

And she, my aviatrix – bird woman –
Will find her scope at last,
cease, like a hawk replete, to fret
and tangle in her forked routines.
See clearly or, renouncing sight,
let the wind take her to another place
where no thick objects cry out to be stacked,
no eyes and voices ground her urgent flight.

Ann Segrave

Poem first published in The Charleston Magazine, Issue 10, Autumn/Winter 1994;
and included in collection Aviatrix

Publication: Aviatrix, 2009, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978 1 906856 08 3, £8.

Ann Segrave website
 
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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

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Sarah Westcott

Sarah has an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway and has been widely published. She won the Awel Aman Tawe poetry competition and has been a runner-up in the Mslexia competition three times. Her debut pamphlet, Inklings, is out now.

Pool

I wait, quickening,
reflecting light,
holding darkness.
Will a hand break my skin,
rise out, bearing a knife?
 
Feel the fingers of a child,
stirring. Dog tongue;
ticklish, urgent.
Indents of rain
or tears –
a wish-bone, drifting.
 
Look down
to see my bed
ribbed with light,
soft and rich -
all the bright coins.
 
When the moon is high
lie on the bank,
come close,
smell wet clay,
breath, returned.
 
Sense your unborn
coming up,
her daughter
and her daughter,
each ripple
clear as plainsong.
 

Sarah Westcott

Votive wombs were offered to the gods to help with fertility problems in Etruscan times. They were left by sacred pools, much like coins are thrown into wishing wells today.
 

Publications:
Inklings, 2013, Flipped Eye, ISBN-10: 1-905233-39-6 £4

Sarah Westcott blog
 
e-mail Sarah Westcott

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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.

Flodigarry, Skye

As if it somehow had to be
that night was all sea and moon
swimming an ocean
of cresting sheets
breaking to dream
to dive again below
waves crashing a shore
each contained within
the other
needing no map
nothing pre-ordained
slipping floating
with one train of thought
senses drunk rioting
sea smell soaking the room
colours of its own
translucent green
ink-black-blue
all softened
by the moon
belly-full
dropping
light through steam
torrent
from old brass taps
flooding something out
until that night unknown
forever now
 
an island.

Mary Wight

Poem published in Causeway/Cabhsair 9 (1), 2018

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