Featured Poets, Aug 2023                     home page
 

Anna Avebury       Christine Vial       Helena Hinn       Jennie Osborne       Juliet Humphreys       Marg Roberts       Marion Tracy       Nadine Brummer       Roz Chalk       Susan Jane Sims       Vivienne Tregenza      

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)  

Anna Avebury

Anna Avebury was born of Ukrainian parents in Bradford. She now lives in St Albans where she is a member of Ver Poets. She writes on a variety of subjects including nature, memory, and art.

Love’s Refuge

    A corner of the artist’s room     Gwen John
 
Here, the air is cool and still,
curtains motionless at the window
as sunlight flares through,
stirs the scented posy on the table.
 
A wicker chair holds out
its arms, pink parasol folded
like her heart by its side;
blue dress, her abandoned pride.
 
Drowsy in mid-summer heat
Paris hums beneath.
 

Anna Avebury

poem selected for John Cotton’s Ten Liners 2023, published by Ver Poets, St Albans

Publications:
Dress Rehearsal, self-published, £2.50 (proceeds to Open Door – local charity)
Ver Poets anniversary anthologies; Locked Down, Poetry Space, 2021

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Christine Vial

East-end baby-boomer, now living in Enfield (North London) where she teaches literature and creative writing. Widely published & a popular live performer. Debut pamphlet: ‘Dancing in Blue Flip-flops’ pub autumn 2018. More info at poeticvoiceslive

“A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse and Thou… ”

     The Last Word Cafe at the British Library
 
In a corner, a young French woman is teaching French
to a young Iranian. He, in his turn, is teaching her Persian.
English is the language they share for this transaction.
“And why do you want to learn French?” she asks him.
“Because I love French cinema and art. One day I hope
to live in Paris”. They are waiting for a performance
of the Ruba‘iyat of Omar Khayayyam in Persian and in English.
 
And so are we – in another corner – where I’m speaking
Brick Lane Cockney to my American husband: two nations
divided by a common language. Both his names are Dutch.
My father’s surname is Huguenot, from the exiled weavers
of Spitalfields, and my mother’s maiden name is Lenihan.
 
In the global village, commonality usually means Coca-Cola
and diversity means danger. But here – held in this edge of glass –
our shared and different languages weave a map of poetry
flung out bright and hopeful against the winter sky.

Christine Vial

Poem first published in Barnet Poetry Competition Anthology, 2011;
in pamphlet collection Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018;
audio online at poeticvoiceslive (see below)

Publications:
Dancing in Blue Flip-Flops, 2018, RQpoetry pamphlets, ISBN 978-1-9010171-9-2, £5
(proceeds to Freedom from Torture’s “Write to Life” group);
a selection of Christine’s poems appears in each of the following anthologies:
Doing Christmas Differently, 2006, Wild Goose publications; Home, 2007, CETH; Taste, 2008, CETH; The Book of Love and Loss, 2014, Belgrave Press

Christine Vial at poeticvoiceslive
 
e-mail Christine Vial

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Helena Hinn

Helena Hinn lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has been published by Virago, Faber and Faber, and in Women’s Press anthologies and has a published collection of prose, Histories of the Imagination.

Pins

pins are silver – the colour of the moon
long ago women would throw pins into wells
giving back to the earth
a tiny part of what had been taken
 
the tiny insignificant pin
which is invaluable to women
: to secure when sewing
: to fix, to enable work to happen
 
women work for pin money
an insubstantial amount to the world
but essential to them
 
if women had an emblem
I would promote the pin
to the world it seems a small unimportant object
but women understand the value of a pin
 
and women’s values
know the essential nature of the tiny
and its part in the whole

Helena Hinn

Helena’s website
 
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Jennie Osborne

Jennie Osborne lives on the edge of Dartmoor, active in poetry around South Devon. One of organisers of Teignmouth Poetry Festival. Performer and workshop leader. Won 2015 Kent and Sussex Poetry Prize.

Signals From The Other

It’s a game that’s gone on for millennia
between those with an ear fit to listen
and that with a multitude of names
which speaks with more than tongues
has blown its whistle more loudly each decade.
 
Some find they need to put their heads
to the ground to catch the litany of mole rats
or the rattle of gods. Some swear
by dreams but their dictionaries disagree –
a case of pick and mix at the new age bazaar.
 
Some follow the tracks of tiger or vole
as they peter off towards extinction,
or interpret the bees’ last messages,
the kakapo’s failing language, witness
the redwood’s blazing groans.
 
These days, it’s more a matter
of shedding earmuffs, ripping off blinkers,
turning down the eat me, buy me white noise
and peeling off the plastic gloves, putting
an ear or a fingertip to any throbbing pulse.
 
And what we choose to be deaf to
has given up on subtle, given up on
the liquid language in lost eyes, diminishing
chords spring after spring, starved soil’s
crunch as it turns to sand.
 
Seas have tried tantrum, rivers given lessons
in weeping. Every day the assemblage of ghosts
thickens, their silent accusation nudging through the ether,
tapping out its Mayday in minds which have cracked
the carapace, dare to be naked to our own complicity.
 
It’s time for stormy crescendo, turning up
the heat, for waves of howl so strong
they lift us, hurl us, shatter us, drown us,
leave us to lie among oil-smothered fish, poisoned
cetaceans on a plastic-studded beach
 
and soon there will be unmaking, the first
threads are pulled. We can’t say
there was no signal.
 

Jennie Osborne

Poem in Signals From The Other, 2022, Dempsey and Windle

Publications:
Signals From The Other, 2022, Dempsey and Windle, ISBN 978-1-9133297-4-7 £10.50
Colouring Outside the Lines, 2015, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068565-8-8. £8
collection, How to be Naked, 2010, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-9068561-3-7. £8

Overall winner of the SecondLightLive Poetry Competition, Round 2, Nov 08 to Sep 09. Listen to Jennie reading There’s Something about a Woman Swallowing Flames

e-mail Jennie Osborne
 
web-pages on poetry p f.

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Juliet Humphreys

Juliet Humphreys’ poems have appeared in a range of magazines, including The North, The Rialto, Orbis, Acumen, South Bank Poetry, Obsessed With Pipework and (online) Ink, Sweat and Tears. In 2021 she was shortlisted for ‘Primers’ (Nine Arches Press).

Mrs Hitchcock takes a bath

I’m not so sure about showers –
if you must know it’s the sound
how it rushes, pounding,
drowning everything
and, dear, sometimes –
I know it’s probably only the pipes –
but sometimes it screams
 
so I’ll just take a bath
and if it’s all the same with you
I’ll lock the door.
Dearest, don’t look at me like that,
you know I care about the water too –
I’ll just put less ice in my gin.
 

Juliet Humphreys

First Published at Ink, Sweat and Tears (online)

e-mail Juliet Humphreys

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Marg Roberts

Marg Roberts has been reading and writing poetry for about 15 fifteen years. She lives in Leamington Spa and loves cycling, gardening and family.

Praise to the hawthorn on the boundary of Chandos Street car park

Those moments when you open
to this morning’s blue and its retreating clouds
 
this symphony of sparrows    endless
fluttering of feathers   of feeding.
 
Those moments when under your shade
a baby is soothed in her mother’s arms
 
school kids scoot   skateboard   trudge
office workers balance coffee-to-go
 
croissants under heavy or light shoulders
hearts   gay   weary   counting days to
 
weekends. And above   pigeons like angels
almost suspended    skilled at drifting
 
at dozing in your branches after gorging
on blossom. And Paul asleep in his tent
 
under the ticket machine    water bottle parked
on top of his unfinished thriller    smell
 
 
of his last smoke. All this being    breath
non-breath this earthiness   this sky
 
this mix
and you a part of it.
 

Marg Roberts

Marg Roberts blog
 
e-mail Marg Roberts

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Marion Tracy

Marion Tracy has an MA in English Literature and has been writing her own poetry for about 6 years. She’s been published by 14 Magazine, ARTEMISpoetry, Mslexia, Obsessed With Pipework, Poetry Express, Poetry Wales, Scintilla and Tears in the Fence.

Stones

He hears a sound, plip plop. It’s small stones thrown
or wet insects on glass. The noise is getting bigger.
It sounds as if stones are being shovelled onto the house.
He asks his cousin if she’s experienced anything like this.
 
He frowns when she says, It must be possums.
He smiles when his neighbour says, Perhaps it’s like
when my wife left me.
He laughs when his wife says,
Yes, I’ve been hearing it for a while, it’s like memories of home.
 
He looks up through the leaves of the tree.
Stones are coming down through the branches.
Stones are bouncing off each branch in turn.
Stones are plums falling down like blue stars.
 
His neighbour looks and says, Who can be responsible?
Is it the work of clever children?
His cousin gasps and says,
Is it the work of aliens, these bright disks as they fall?
Is it, asks his wife, all the words that need saying?
 
In the room, the stones are all over the bed.
The stones are all over the rug but there’s no holes
in the ceiling. He looks up and there’s no footprints on the roof.
The stones are raining down and he asks his cousin,
 
Why do the stones not fall straight down but seem to turn in the air?
He asks his neighbour, Why do the stones have no shadow?
Why do the stones fall on my house and not on yours?

Why, laughs his wife, it’s all the stones that ever got stuck in my shoe.
 

Marion Tracy

Poem published: Poetry Review Vol 103:1 Spring 2013.

Pamphlet Collection: Giant in the Doorway, HappenStance Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-905398-3-1, £4.

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Nadine Brummer

Nadine Brummer Has had poems published in many magazines and in many anthologies. First full collection ‘HalfWay to Madrid’ (Shoestring Press, 2002) was made a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

The Frog’s Princess


That night, finding him in my bed,
within kissing distance,
I wanted to take the stare
off his face – those eyes
all bulge and goggle.
Then I saw their depth, a look
that could take me anywhere
backwards in time. I recalled
an aquarium under the sea where
I’d pressed my face to the glass
of a wolf-eel’s tank, mesmerised
by a little reptilian head
with eyeballs lifting off
like spaceships that settled
into an expression beyond
a seal-pup’s dopey smile
or the pout of fish –
like that of some new-born child
you swear has been here before.
The frog was like him,
but when he gulped and a mouth
smelling of weed or bull-kelp
came close to my lips
I flinched and held out my hand
to stop his jump and touched
a spasm of green, a creature trying
to slither out of himself.
I’ve been so often trapped
In flesh that didn’t feel mine
I wondered what he could see
when he gazed into a pond;
he took my sigh as a signal
to kiss. I loved him best
the moment before he changed,
a small, crouched, alien thing
in need of a body.

Nadine Brummer

Poem published: Poetry London, May 2003

Publications:
What Light Does, Shoestring Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-910323-90-8 £10
Any Particular Day, Shoestring Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-907356-66-7 £9
Out of the Blue, Shoestring Press, 2006, ISBN 987-1-904886-31-0 £8.95
Half Way to Madrid, Shoestring Press, 2002. ISBN 1-899549-70-6 £7.50 (Poetry Book Society Recommendation)

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Roz Chalk

Roz Chalk: After many years of teaching in london and lecturing in painting at Ruskin Cambridge Roz resumed her interest in poetry, reading across a wide range of voices, and writing new and revising her old poems.

Limen

The river run is wide today
and high after all the rain
flooded to the banking walls
where the stone beach ends.
 
Mo tells me: Jo’s had another episode.
They found him howling on High Cliff.
His doctors recommend a couple of years
they mean more of course
at Bridport
 
too far from his mother’s
and there’s no-one to take her
no-one has time to take her. Sometimes
she can’t find her way to the recycling
.
 
Sure, she can tell you all you’d want
to know of air-scape flight of the glider
over the moor, the Cornubian Batholith,
the dating of xenotime samples,
the 40 distinct minerals
and tin mine cassiterite, then
lose the way to the end of her garden.
 
But, leaning on the Moorstone
memory speaks,
all fizz and dazzle,
her and Mo on the sea wall
smoking and laughing,
watching the boats
bank up the stones
above the tide-lines fringe.
 

Roz Chalk

Poem published in Academia.edu paper Places by Water:poetic enquiries,
(as Runayker, visual artist with Roz Chalk, nom de plume for poetry).

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Susan Jane Sims

Susan Jane Sims lives in Dorset with husband, Chris. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She founded the publishing company Poetry Space in 2010.

Bearing Gifts

A friend
has brought you
a book called Mortality,
by Christopher Hitchens.
The friend is a father,
almost twice over.
I could not think of anything
more appropriate

he said.
 
Another brings scrabble
and we play
on the end of your hospital bed.
On the white sheet you helped
the hca draw and tuck,
and demonstrate your skill
with hospital corners.
 
I find I have the letters
to spell tumour,
Instead I put down m o u t
up against h from hope.
 
A group club together
for expensive whiskey,
wrap it in pink tissue
you carefully peel away
like skin. You can imagine the sips
of liquid gold on your tongue.
Making it last.
Wondering who or what will
outlive who or what.
 
These days
have been surreal.
Secrets have been passed on
for you to guard.
Your hand has been held
through a long and wakeful night.
You have been told a hundred times
that you are loved.
 
The staff bring you every report
and test result. Offer to show you the scan.
call you respectfully, Dr Sims
and you wish yourself
into the role of blissful patient
with faith and blind trust.
What’s done can’t be undone.
What’s learnt becomes both curse and blessing.
 
First morning alone you ring
I’ve been writing
my best man speech for Dave
, you say.
What’s he going to do without me?
What are we all going to do
I say
without you in our lives.
 

Susan Jane Sims

My son Mark was diagnosed in February 2015 with Stage 4 metastatic cancer in lung, liver, spleen and gall bladder. It was also discovered later in his brain and his tonsils. The primary cancer was a malignant melanoma on his scalp when he was 15.
 
Mark died on 19th January 2017 aged 28.

published in Reach magazine in June, 2015. (edition 201)

Publications:
Splitting Sunlight, Dempsey and Windle, 2019. ISBN 978-1-9074357-9-9
Irene’s Daughter, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-0-9565328-2-4
A number of things you should know, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-9093576-8-6

Susan’s Poetry Space website
 
e-mail Susan

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Vivienne Tregenza

Vivienne Tregenza is a Cornish poet published in Cornish New Poetries, Broken Sleep Books (2022). Winner of the Poetry on the Lake competition (Formal), shortlisted/commended in many competitions over the years, now finishing her first collection.

Elder (i)

          how fragrant its blossoms were!
                    Hyldemoer by Hans Christian Anderson

How they lit up the hedgerows!
How they came, unexpected
 
and fragile as snow in April.
My gnarled trunk, my branches remember
 
those first blossoms.
The sap rising in my green shoots
 
made me yearn to stretch
my wind-stroked limbs
 
towards the sky’s mysterious blue.
It drew me like water.
 
I am old now. Half hollow. Leave me
the dark fruits of my endeavours. Let me
 
soak up the rain.

Vivienne Tregenza

e-mail Vivienne Tregenza

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