Featured Poets, Sep 2019                     home page
 

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley       Anne Stewart       Caroline Carver       Daphne Milne       Doreen Hinchliffe       Elizabeth Rapp       Jan Bay-Petersen       Jill Townsend       Kate Foley       Kathleen Swann       Maggie Sawkins       Martha Street       Myra Schneider       Robin Winckel-Mellish      

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley’s work, mainly poetry and short fiction, features in circa 200 journals, magazines and anthologies since 2009, including The Blue Nib, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Atrium Poetry, The Atlantic Review and (in translation) Pro Saeculum.

House
Kennack Sands, Cornwall

House teeters on the cliff’s high edge
looks out across the drizzling grizzled shoreline.
 
House keeps her head in the clouds
is careful never to look down.
 
House is stubborn, built square and stout.
Once her feet were planted in tomorrow.
 
Now the red earth retreats, loosens its grip,
shifts a little more every day.
 
But House goes on, stares out the weather
hears the grey gulls squabble and screech.
 
Her blue eyes are dull. Her roof, her stone
know the end of things will come when it will.
 
Waves crash and roar, let wind have its way
let the elements do their worst.
 
House stands for all that, endures her undoing
loves her blisters and overgrown gutters
 
finds something to honour in her damp,
rotting timbers, her long neglected flaws.
 
House is bold, defiant. She nurses those cracks
that go creeping through her weedy foundations
 
where small creatures scuttle in the twilight hour
where one day she will open at the seams.
 

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Poem published in Atrium Poetry, 2017

Publications by Abigail Elizabeth Ottley (formerly Wyatt):
The Blue Nib, 38, 2019 (several poems)
Records, Rivers and Rats, ed. Kay Green, 2018, Earlyworks Press (several poems)
Wave Hub: new poetry from Cornwall, ed. Dr Alan M. Kent, 2014, Francis Boutle Publishers
Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories, ed. Simon Million, 2012, Lulu.com

Abigail at Facebook
 
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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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Caroline Carver

Caroline Carver: I’m not a Jamaican or a Bermudian or a Canadian or even a Cornishwoman but a curious mid-Atlantic mixture of all of these with a bit of Inuit thrown in and therefore somewhat like a coelacanth: confused about origins and the big Why?

Sedna the Sea Goddess

The bird turned into a man
so beautiful
snow lay on his shoulders
like ermine

was he petrel or fulmar?
he didn’t say
 
At first he came
only in dreams
one summer night
lay with her
 
at dawn she left her house
to marry him
 
Who could explain
her father’s rage?
His storms reached
across oceans
 
she knew full joy
only six days     before
 
he killed her husband
threw her in his umiak –
pushed her overboard
when winds frightened him
 
she wouldn’t give in
gripped the boat so hard
he had to chop her fingers off
one by one
did not know
as she sank into her new Kingdom
 
they would transform
become    whales   narwhals   seals   walruses…
 
Among those she loves best
Singing Midshipmen
fish which  like humpback whales
sing to the seabirds
 
make sailors who hear them
believe in mermaids

Caroline Carver

Poem published: Acumen.

Publications:
Three Hares, Oversteps Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906856-06-9, £8
Jigharzi An Me, Semicolon Press, 2000. ISBN 0-9533525-2-8, £6.95 (from Caroline)
Bone-Fishing, Peterloo Poets, 2005, ISBN 1-904324-32-0, £7.95

address:
Michaelmas Cottage
14 Passage Hill
Mylor
Cornwall
TR11 5SN
UK
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Daphne Milne

Daphne Milne is a member of Falmouth Poetry Group and OOTA, Fremantle, WA. Her work is published in various magazines and she runs occasional workshops in St Ives, gives readings at various local litfests.

Storm St Ives

Sand peppercorns against windows
counterpoints the wind’s echoing roar.
Below the sea makes its own landscapes
boils like grey/green lava.
Tomorrow the world will be scourged
into a different shape.

Daphne Milne

Poem published in Acumen, Issue 83

e-mail Daphne Milne

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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

e-mail Doreen Hinchliffe

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Elizabeth Rapp

Elizabeth Rapp lives in Somerset. She runs residential and day poetry workshops at various South West venues. She is a graduate teacher, Lay Minister, and has worked with the homeless and with children.

Ice Garden

I begged him for a garden,
hollyhocks and delphiniums.
He gave me grottoes of ice.
No birds sing here: only the sound
of moonlight dreaming snow at midnight.
 
I have become bone carved from ice.
I spin on a needle’s point,
watched by an angel huddled
in snow with icebound wings;
his stricken face as I twirl and twirl.
 
Those dark and subtle hands
have locked me in this kingdom,
this palace of death-white ice.
Floors are as slippery as his lies.
I wander through cubes of refracted light
 
where indigo and jade dance on my silver dress,
turn into birds of paradise.
But today a small brown bird
perched on my wrist, then
gave me a pomegranate seed
from his beak.

Elizabeth Rapp

Poem: Winner of the A.A. Sanders poetry prize, 2000
 
Publications:
Dancing on Bones, full collection, Rockingham Press, 2000.
Living Proof, The Amate Press, Oxford.
Hare and Sixpence, The Rigmal Press, Devon
A CD of Elizabeth’s poems is available, £7, direct from Elizabeth.

The Lodge
Dillington
Ilminster
Somerset
TA19 9EH
 
tel: 01460 259898
 
e-mail

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Jan Bay-Petersen

Jan Bay-Petersen, a New Zealander, worked in agricultural development and lived for 20 years in Taiwan. She began writing poetry after she moved to Cambridge. She has published in several poetry journals and won the 2013 Poetry Society Stanza Poetry Competition.

It’s a Two and You’re Dead

The closer we live to our gods, the more we need games.
Luck isn’t random: it chooses and fondles, then flits,
while we phantom midges soar high on the breath
of the gods or are drowned in their spit.
If our buzzing offends, if we stick in their throat,
they may take as amends what we don’t want to lose,
and you pay with an arm and a leg. Let us pray.
 
Playing games gives a hint. They’re a rear-vision mirror
to show what is coming up close from behind.
They won’t stop the truck, but maybe you’ll pause
a significant tick while you’re sending a text
so your paths don’t collide. If you’re ten over par,
if your darts hit the wire – give the blind date a miss.
Don’t ask for a raise, not today. Catch the bus.
 
Wait till you throw double six, till your horse
gallops home, till the ball draws a line
from your boot to the goal, till the Queen, King and Knave
join the cloverleaf Ace. Though you can’t read the stars
you can tip them like Braille and the rhythms are good,
your sails belly and fill, the duck’s entrails are pink.
There’s a cat and he’s black and you’re blessed. Take the trick.
 

Jan Bay-Petersen

Poem published in The North, 50

Jan Bay-Petersen at poetry p f
 

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Jill Townsend

Jill Townsend has had poems published in many magazines and in the anthology Images Of Women. She has also had work included in over 60 children’s collections. For the last 35 years she has lived near the Surrey and Hampshire border.

Sun Block

At last the sun gives some warmth.
My body unwinds, learns itself
sinuous as the river.
Sweet grass flows beneath my hand
like the hair of an overheated child.
 
Through half-closed eyes I see
a swan, his little orange paddles
powering against the calm,
the barely resisting water.
 
My eyes close. Seed heads hiss
and part to the sudden shadow
of his spreading wings:
                                                  a shuddering
glimpse of no future trembles through me
and a voice saying Easy, Leda.
If I cry the grass scatters.

Jill Townsend

First published in the Agenda on-line supplement to the Rilke issue, Vol.42 3-4 and in print in Seeking Refuge ed. Jan Fortune (Cinnamon press)

web-site
 
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Kate Foley

Kate Foley’s first (of 4) collection, Soft Engineering, was shortlisted for the Aldburgh Festival prize for best first collection. She is a tutor ( wordsinhere , SLN, freelance), editor (Versal, Amsterdam) and this year’s judge for the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize.

Kate is a tutor for Second Light Network and serves on the committee (see more... link below).

Ga Maar Lekker Slapen
(Sleep well now)

Ga maar lekker slapen, you say.
 
It’s 4 am. I have been standing on a blue dock.
Ice lights in the water. A ship against the quay
 
is rumbling in its guts. Steel threads run to the lip
of the gang plank. A freight wagon rolls to the edge,
unstoppable as coals down a shute. I know
it is full of my sins. I make myself
 
look at its logo, hoping it’s in Cyrillic,
something I can’t read. It’s the turning away
 
that creates furrows in our bed. When morning
comes and I open one saurian eye, I see
 
your collar bones arrow together as you bend.
In one hand a brown coffee mug, the other
 
wafting little pursed lips of fierce-smelling
wake-up coffee steam towards my sleep.
 
If I said to you I need to be sorry you’d ask
to whom, for what? since you have taught me
 
finally how to be kind. That’s just how it is,
you would say.
 
Ga maar lekker slapen.

Kate Foley

Publications:
The Silver Rembrandt, Shoestring Press, 2008
Laughter from the Hive, Shoestring Press, 2004
A Year Without Apricots, Blackwater Press, 1999
Soft Engineering, OnlyWomen Press, 1994

web-pages on poetry p f.
 
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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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Maggie Sawkins

Maggie Sawkins lives in Southsea, Hampshire where she organises Tongues&Grooves Poetry and Music Club. Winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Zones of Avoidance. Maggie works with people in recovery from addiction.

Zones of Avoidance

     (a short extract)
 
I’m reading ‘The Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ –
I want to understand what drove my daughter out in the snow
 
with no coat or socks, in search of a fix.
I want to understand what divinity led her
 
to set up camp in the derelict ‘pigeon house’
after running out of sofas to surf.
 
     *
 
I was a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds girl myself.
I liked the way it made inanimate objects move,
 
until that day in Balham when my guy sang Rock n Roll Suicide
from a third floor window, and an Alsatian leapt
 
from the wood grain of the station door, and policemen
were penguins in disguise.
 
     *
 
Tough Love. The mantra of the support group for those
beaten by their loved one’s addiction.
 
When I was busted at nineteen and the bedsit landlord
tipped my belongings onto the street, the last person
 
I would’ve turned to was my mother.
You’ve made your bed. Lie on it. Lie on it. Lie on it.
 

Maggie Sawkins

Poem published in Zones of Avoidance, 2013

Publications:
Zones of Avoidance (multimedia live literature performance, directed by Mark C Hewitt), 2013;
The Zig Zag Woman, 2007, Two Ravens Press;
Charcot’s Pet, 2003, Flarestack

Zones of Avoidance website
 
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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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Myra Schneider

Myra Schneider has many collections of poetry. Other publications include novels for young people and books about personal writing. One is Writing My Way Through Cancer (Jessica Kingsley 2003). She tutors for the Poetry School in London.

Myra is a Consultant to Second Light Network, a previous competition judge, and is on the Tutor list. (see ‘More’ link below)

Lifting the Sky

Plant yourself in the quiet on a familiar floor
or on an uncut summer lawn
 
and, thinking of seabirds, stretch out your arms,
let them ascend through the unresisting air.
 
With palms facing upwards, travel your hands
till your fingertips almost meet,
 
then release your breath, begin to separate yourself
from the weight of all that lies on you.
 
Allow your mind to open to this moment and your arms
to rise as they lift the palpable blue
 
high above the crown of your head.
Your wings will fold away
 
but raise them slowly to the blue again, maybe
a lightness like liquid amber will flow through you.

Myra Schneider

Poem published: Lifting the Sky, Ward Wood Publishing, 2018

Publications:
Lifting the Sky, Ward Wood Publishing, 2018, ISBN 978-1-9087426-8-1, £9.99
Persephone in Finsbury Park, Second Light Publications, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9927088-2-5, £7.95
The Door to Colour, Enitharmon, 2014, ISBN 978-1-9075875-1-1, £9.99
Writing Your Self (with John Killick), Continuum, 2008, 978-1-8470625-2-9, £17.99
Writing Your Way Through Cancer, Jessica Kingsley, 2003, 1-843101-13-0, £19.95

Myra Schneider website
 
See Maitreyabandhu 2012 interview with Myra (40 minutes): Poetry East Interview
 
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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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