Featured Poets, December 2022                     home page
 

Alwyn Marriage       Barbara Dordi       Clair Chilvers       Estelle Price       Jay Whittaker       Judith Taylor       Lyn Moir       Mary Robinson       Sue Spiers       Wendy Pettifer      

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)  

Alwyn Marriage

Alwyn Marriage 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 (a selection):
Possibly a Pomegranate: Celebrating Womankind, 2022, Palewell Press, ISBN 978-1-911587-61-3. £9.99
Chiara, ebook, Cutalongstory, 99p
Pandora’s Pandemic, 2021, SPM Publications, ISBN 978-1-9162263-7-1. £8
William Harvey’s Visitor, ebook, Cutalongstory, £1.99
The Elder Race, 2020, Bellinghouse Books, ISBN 978-0-9930443-1-1. £10
Rapeseed: Following rape – a novel, 2017, Stairwell Books, ISBN 78-1-939269-51-5. £10

Alwyn’s web-site
 
e-mail Alwyn

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Barbara Dordi

Barbara Dordi writes poetry, reviews and articles in English and French. She is the former editor of Equinox; she now edits The French Literary Review, which publishes poems, stories and articles with a French connection. Deadlines 30th July/31st December.

In the Footsteps of Achille Laugé

Under a savage Midi sun,
in these winds: the Cers, the Autan,
and the dreaded Tramontane,
where honey-scented broom and pale-pink
almonds line the narrow roads of the Aude,
he made all this his own
a legacy of the seasons.
 
Up with the lark and out of doors
to capture the sights of the south.
He knew the frisson of expectancy
of this special light that makes
everything glow, when all seems possible,
meadows glinting gold
under a cerulean sky.
 
Brushing borders of yellow broom
his roulotte atelier would rumble
by fields stacked high with hay
to-ing and fro-ing l’Alouette
home of his family, his art.
The house stands here still, holding
its breath, awaiting his return.
 
 
 
 
l’Alouette – Laugé named his home ‘the lark’
roulotte atelier – mobile workshop

Barbara Dordi

published in Achille Laugé, Neo-Impressionist 1861-1944 – A Brief History, 2015

Publications:
Achille Laugé, Neo-Impressionist 1861-1944 – A Brief History, Deco Partnership, 2015, ISBN 978-0-9536800-5-4, £11.95 (or 15 euros), incl p&p, direct from B. Dordi;
The Alfred Jewels, (bilingual), Illustrated in colour. Hayward, 2012 ISBN 0-9536800-4-5 £11.99
Moving Still, 2009, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-9056146-9-1 £7.99
Entre-Deux–Two Francophiles in Alaigne, (bilingual), Illustrated in colour, £7.95
Picture-Poems, ISBN 0-9536800-3-7 £11.99

Address for submissions to French Literary Review: 11 Bath Road, Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7EP
 
Barbara Dordi at BlogSpot.
web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

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Clair Chilvers

Clair Chilvers’s poems have been published in online and print journals, and anthologies. She has published two collections: Out the Darkness (Frosted Fire, 2021) and Island (Impspired Press, 2022). She lives in Gloucestershire, UK. twitter: @cedc13

The Island

Come with me to the island,
escape with me
from the damp English air.
 
We’ll rent a caique,
edge out past Agios Nikolaos
to a deserted cove,
anchor, bathe naked in the warm clear sea.
Sit on the deck under a blue tarpaulin,
lunch on rough bread, feta, ripe red tomatoes.
 
In the evening we’ll wander hand in hand to the village –
smells of oregano and hot tarmac, perfectly blended
old men play backgammon, ouzo beside them,
beads never far from their hands.
 
Into Babis’s taverna,
where he presides in the kitchen
over cauldrons of bean soup, trays of moussaka.
Sit with me outside in the square
at a small wooden table, surrounded by cats.
Taramasalata, local black olives,
wine from Antipaxos, much prized,
thick coffee, sketto, a glass of kumquat liqueur.
 
Walk back up the hill with me,
through the olive grove by torchlight
to the cottage,
moon rise, stars perfectly clear.
Had we come in Spring, my darling,
there would be fireflies.

Clair Chilvers

in collection Out of the Darkness, Frosted Fire, 2021

Publications:
Island, collection, 2022, Impspired Press, ISBN 978-1-914130-50-2
Out of the Darkness, collection, 2021, Frosted Fire, ISBN 978-1-8384357-2-1
Pilgrimage, pamphlet, 2017, ISBN 978-16909959-2-0
Featured Author in Iss 5, Impspired, also Iss 3, 4, 6, 7
Heritage, anthology, New Writing VIII. Horseplay Press, 2019

Clair Chilvers blog
 
Clair Chilvers at Facebook
 
e-mail Clair Chilvers

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Estelle Price

Estelle Price lives in Cheshire but often goes west to the Llŷn Peninsula. She is learning Welsh. Estelle is the winner of the 2021 Welsh Poetry Competition & the 2018 Book of Kells Writing Competition. Her poems are in Poetry Wales & other journals.

Come Night

     (after Derek Mahon)
 
And why would I not wish, after a drawerful of days
disarrayed with worry, to walk into dusk’s byways
leaving the back gate unlatched? Come night
I’ll say, lead me away from the probing kitchen light
where fear simmers blood-orange like a dying sun
and all the talk is of treatment not yet begun.
Race me across the cropped grass until my mind
is infused with black, the future set free, undefined.
Somewhere in the forest a badger leaves the sett
to forage for her cubs. Inside a child learns the alphabet
his small hand feeding the page with words.
I stand with my back to the door knowing in spite
of everything a mother never loses the urge
to run, for who can tell if everything will be alright?
 

Estelle Price

Poem published in 14 Magazine, Series 2, Issue 2

Publications:
Primers 6, Summer 2022, Nine Arches Press

e-mail Estelle Price

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Jay Whittaker

Jay Whittaker’s debut poetry collection Wristwatch (Cinnamon Press) was the Poetry Book of the Year in the Saltire Society Literary Awards 2018, and her second collection, Sweet Anaesthetist, is published October 2020 (Cinnamon Press).

Canopy

     (day 20, first chemo cycle)
 
Do tree tips tingle, niggle like my scalp?
Most people’s hair (I’m told) comes out on day eighteen.
White hairs work loose first, waft down.
This late summer evening, my scarfed skull
as bald and vulnerable as a fledgling’s,
I stand under the row of sycamore, my neck sore
from looking up to the abundance of leaves.
Whatever happens to me, the earth is turning.
At the same hour in winter, haven’t I stood
in this very spot, watching bare branches
implore the sky for light?
 

Jay Whittaker

Poem originally published in Wristwatch, 2017, Cinnamon Press

Publications:
Sweet anaesthetist, 2020, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-7886408-3-1, £9.99
2 poems in Staying Human: new poems for staying alive, 2020, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-7803739-0-4, £12.99
4 poems in Scottish feminist judgments, 2019, Hart Publishing, ISBN 978-1-5099232-6-7, (hbk) £95
Wristwatch, 2017, Cinnamon Press, ISBN 978-1-9108368-0-4, £8.99 Pearl, Selkirk Lapwing Press, 2005, 0953121267, out of print

Pearl, 2005, Selkirk Lapwing Press, ISBN 0-9-531212-6-7 (out of print)

Jay Whittaker website
 
e-mail Jay Whittaker

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Judith Taylor

Judith Taylor lives in Aberdeen, where she co-organises the monthly Poetry at Books and Beans events. Her first full-length collection, Not in Nightingale Country, is published by Red Squirrel Press, and she is one of the Editors of Poetry Scotland.

Requiem

   (after a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Aberdeen City Art Gallery)
 
You want to think
it’s a human shape. It isn’t
quite.
 
You want to think it’s a bone flute
for the wind to play, but too much
is eroded out.
 
You want to think
that smooth surface resigns itself:
a ruined tree, made furniture.
 
You want to think its pierced places
fill with light, when the heart of it
is a pool of shadow.
 
You want to think.
You want some form of containment
the form itself will not give
 
for memory
for enduring grief.
You want an explanation.
 
You circle it
closer in this time.
There isn’t an explanation.
 

Judith Taylor

Poem published in Not in Nightingale Country (Red Squirrel Press, 2017)

Publications:
Not in Nightingale Country, Red Squirrel Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1-910437-69-8 £8.99
Local Colour, chapbook, Calder Wood Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-902629-34-6. £4.50. (out of print. contact author for copies)
Earthlight, chapbook, Koo Press, 2006, ISBN 9780955307539 £3.50 (out of print)

Judith Taylor website
 
e-mail

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Lyn Moir

… edited 5 SLNewsletters, is in 3 SLN anthologies (IOW; Parents; Making Worlds), Prague Tales and Skeins of Geese, 100 poets (2008), was a teacher and lecturer in Spanish, and a Hawthornden fellow (2004). Her third collection is due (bluechrome 2008).

Travelling, Blue

     i.m. DJM
 
We’re all in a waiting room with people we don’t know
who have suddenly become our new best friends
even though we have never lived in Walthamstow,
and we are waiting for the ship or bus or train
which will take us from here to some destination
we don’t know either. And you are there,
a little fidgety boy, can’t sit still, waiting
for the great adventure to begin. And I am me now
and then and in some parallel world where all of us
of several generations are waiting patiently for
the opening of the ticket office or passport inspection,
but now we are going up a mammoth tower
in a lift with a spiral staircase and from the top
the view is marvellous so we slide down to form a queue,
collect our bags but I can’t carry all of them.
I lose the most important
and you.
 

Lyn Moir

published in Her Wings of Glass, 2014, Second Light Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927088-0-1

Publications:
Velázquez’s Riddle, Calder Wood Press 2011
Easterly, Force 10, Calder Wood Press 2009
Breakers’ Yard, Arrowhead Press 2003
Me and Galileo, Arrowhead Press 2001


2 Shorehead
St. Andrews
Fife
KY16 9RG
 
tel: 01334 472717
 
e-mail

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Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson’s work is concerned with connections between people, place and nature. She is interested in text – reading, writing, interpretation, shape. She particularly responds to the visual and has worked on a poetry/photography collaboration.

The patron saint of hares

     for Helen
 
I came to an open gateway
and at that same instant a hare entered
my field of vision. I am still. I am seeding grass,
 
brambles, nettles. She follows her known path,
a few steps at a time, pausing for scent
in the air, a tremor of earth beneath her feet.
 
When does she sense my presence?
                                           She halts
a shadow’s length away. How quick she is
in her stillness, every hair of her pelt
pricked, every nerve taut as wire.
 
Which of us will break this moment?
 
I want the legend of the hare who hid
from the hunters under the skirts
of Saint Melangell at prayer to be true.
 

Mary Robinson

in collection Trace, Oversteps Books, 2020
first published in anthology For the Silent, ed. Ronnie Goodyer, Indigo Dreams, 2019

Publications:
Trace, 2020, Oversteps Books, ISBN 978-1-906856-85-4, £8
Alphabet Poems, 2019, Mariscat Press, ISBN 978-1-9160609-2-0, £6
Out of Time (with photographs by Horatio Lawson), 2015, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, ISBN 978-0-9538477-3-0, £6
Uist Waulking Song, 2012, Westward Books, signed numbered edition, ISBN 978-0-9538477-2-3, £4.50
The Art of Gardening, 2010, Flambard, ISBN 978-1-906601-14-0

Literature Wales
 
Mary Robinson at poetry p f
 
e-mail Mary Robinson

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Sue Spiers

Sue Spiers works with the Winchester Poetry Festival as treasurer and was SIG Sec, British Mensa’s poetry group 2016-2021. Her work has been published in Acumen, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework, Stand and others.

.

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

Stook griiind, stook griiind
                                                the ventilator pulse
extends her life, thrusts air
                                                down her throat
into wizened lungs
                                                Her brain sucks
oxygen for its miserly self
                                                storing it
for her last memory of
                                                Shang-A-Lang
 
 
It robs muscle
                                                so she is still
it thieves liver
                                                so she pees brown
it purloins kidney
                                                so toxins thrive
 
 
Her mobile shrills
                                                Agadoo doo doo.
The nurse answers
                                                ‘Yes, I’ll tell her’
‘The Sassenachs send love’
                                                Her hand on the blue
waffle blanket flexes
                                                Her mouth moues
breathless unsound
                                                meaningless and true
 

Sue Spiers

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da was commended in the Poetry Society’s 2020 Stanza competition

 

Publications:
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, 2023, ISBN 978-1-4475-2676-6
Plague – A Season on Senryu, 2020, ISBN 978-1-7167-0175-6
Best of British, 2017, Paper Swans Press, ISBN 978-0-9931756-6-4, £9
Hallelujah for 50ft Women, 2015, Bloodaxe Books, ISBN 978-1-78037-155-9, £9.95
Jiggle Sac , 2012, self published at www.lulu.com, ISBN 978-1-291-04430-0, £5

Sue Spiers website
 
e-mail Sue Spiers
 
Twitter: @spiropoetry
 

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Wendy Pettifer

Wendy Pettifer has been writing poems since a teenager. Her first book was published during lockdown; her second, ‘The Witching Hour’, should be out in summer 2021. Her poems reflect life as a legal aid lawyer, lover, mum and traveller.

The Witching Hour

It’s in the dead of night that we decide
The witching hour when women choose their Fates
Our inner ear alert to tempting whispers
From those who ride the moon and reach the stars
Luring us into dreams of choice and change.
Husbands snoring gently by our sides
Children cocooned in maternal lullabies
 
It’s in the early hours that I creep home
From lazing with a lean and hungry man
Tattoed and pierced, sperm spent, satiated.
I cycle fast through smoky inner-city early haze
Open my door before the children wake, my partner stirs.
 
It’s when the men work far away
That we try other softer pleasures.
Snuggle curved like spoons behind each other’s cheeks
Listen to the seaside gulls cry for freedom
Wonder whether we should go home.
 
It’s down amongst the dirty dishes,
Scattered shoes, squashed toys, crummy carpets
We know those voices as our own
And keep them quiet within our hearts
Waiting for another Witching Hour
 

Wendy Pettifer

from collection The Witching Hour, 2021

Publications:
The Witching Hour, self-published, 2021
Lovelines, self-published. Available @lovelines.net or via Twitter account @WendyPettifer or from Pages Bookshop in Hackney

Wendy Pettifer website
 

e-mail Wendy Pettifer

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