Featured Poets, February 2021                     home page
 

Anna Avebury       Christine Vial       Dorrie Johnson (poem since removed)       Hilaire        Jennie Osborne       Justina Hart       Lynne Wycherley       Maureen Weldon       Pam Zinnemann-Hope       Simone Mansell Broome       Victoria Gatehouse      

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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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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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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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
 
e-mail

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Lynne Wycherley

Lynne Wycherley finds herself drawn to light-haunted landscapes – a legacy, perhaps, of childhood by the Fens. Her lyrical and sometimes metaphysical poems have featured widely. (Her recent prizes include the Second Light poetry competition and the E.A. Fellows’ Prize).

Leaving Burray

Beyond the Barrier, fear’s grey wall,
it appears from nowhere –
 
a strip of blue, transcendent blue,
as if a thousand kingfishers
fell from heaven.
 
Glance again and it’s gone,
mist’s sleight of hand,
its voltage trace still printed on your soul.
 

 
* Barrier – Churchill Barrier (Scapa Flow)

Lynne Wycherley

in collection Poppy in a Storm-Struck Field

Publications (selection, all with Shoestring Press):
Brooksong & Shadows, 2021
The Testimony of the Trees, 2018
Listening to Light: New & Selected Poems, 2014
Poppy in a Storm-struck Field, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907356-00-1. £9
North Flight, 2006

e-mail Lynne

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Maureen Weldon

Maureen Weldon’s awards include: Highly Commended, SWWJ, Elizabeth Longford Trophy Poetry Competition, 2006. Her work is published in: Crannog, Poetry Scotland, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, Coffee House. Autumn 2014, first pamphlet collection to be published by Poetry Space Ltd.

La Valse

The young woman winks at me
she will carry on and on,
seventy is no age at all.
Not like the nineteen fifties
a carbon copy of your Mum,
who always wore respectability,
the pleated skirt, the short tight perm,
the purple rinse.
But the young woman in a miniskirt,
or hotpants, with good legs and small
shapely breasts. Who along the way
acquired four husbands, one daughter
and a disappointed heart.
Until you, old poet-man
took her by the hand and she knew,
that sure as the stars dance in the heavens
seventy is no age at all.
 

Maureen Weldon

La Valse: runner-up in the Wirral Poetry Festival International Poetry Competition 2023
judged by David J. Costello, and featured reading at the prize-giving event.

Publications:
The Waking Hour, 2021, Red Squirrel Press. £6;
Midnight Robin 2014, Poetry Space Ltd, ISBN 978-1-909404-14-4
Breakfast at Kilumney, 2010, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 978-1-9063573-1-3. £5;
Earth Tides, 2002, Poetry Monthly Press, ISBN 1-90303-12-9. £4;
To Change These Hours, 2004, Kite Modern Poetry Series, ISBN 0-907759-39-4. £5.95;
Of Crossed Wires, 1996, Wire Poetry Booklet Series, ISBN 1-900462-60-5. £4;
Leap, 1993, Envoi Poets Publications, ISBN 1-874161-01-1. £5

Address:
3 Byrn Emlyn
Pentre Halkyn
Holywell
 
e-mail Maureen Weldon

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Pam Zinnemann-Hope

On Cigarette Papers, Pam Zinnemann-Hope’s debut collection, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. It was adapted by her for the Afternoon Play on radio 4 in which she also acted. She runs poetry seminars near Dorchester.

Marriage to Lazar – 1905

On the day my bankrupt father married me off
the luck sat more in my husband’s cup
than mine, believe me. Lazar broke the glass
for us in Krakow; a broken glass
is meant to bring you luck. But I’d already
turned my back on my dreams, cut up
my ball-gown stitched with seed pearls,
the dumb song-birds on my own embrodiery;
I spoke sternly to my tiny stubborn heart;
I stood straight with Lazar under the canopy;
I dropped my eyes to his uncultured vowels.
What could I do while the gold band slid
onto my finger? Make a secret vow:
never forgive my father, or fall in love.

Pam Zinnemann-Hope

in collection On Cigarette Papers, Ward Wood, 2012

Publications:
On Cigarette Papers, Ward Wood, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9568969-8-8
Who’s In The Next Room, HappenStance, 2010, ISBN 978-1-9059395-1-0
4 Ned books, Walker Books, 1986/7/8, ISBN 978-0-744 5062-6-6 (& 3 following)
NW15, Anthology of New Writing, Granta, 2007

e-mail

Pam Zinnemann-Hope at Ward Wood

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Simone Mansell Broome

Simone began writing poems in late 2004. She’s since been recorded, broadcast, published, & won several prizes. Simone also represented Wales in Radio 4’s performance poetry competition, 2009. She co-runs Ceridwen the Ceridwen Centre

Five Changes

If I tried to give you up, it would be like
buying a train ticket from Aberystwyth
to Hastings, on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday —
a reduced service, works on the line…
essential maintenance;
and I’d expected five changes, steeled myself for
Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Reading, Gatwick
and Brighton,
had psyched myself to tick them off, one by one,
but found cancellations,
my progress halted, my plans thwarted,
my route re-arranged on a chalked easel
with quirky spellings…inaudible apologies…
and instead of three-down-two-to-go,
time for a coffee, a quick last sidinged pass
at crossword or sudoku,
I’d find I was just travelling — locomoting slowly —
in a large reticulated arc
back
to you.

Simone Mansell Broome

Poem published: 1st Prize winner, Carillon magazine competition 2007, and published in Carillon issue 17, Mar/Apr 2007, ISSN 1474-7340.

Publications:
Cardiff Bay Lunch, Lapwing Publications (Belfast), 2010 – ISBN 978-1-907276-44-6 £8;
Not exactly getting anywhere but… – Ceridwen Press, April 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077 £3.50;
Juice of the Lemon, youwriteon.com, December 2008, ISBN 978-1849231077, £4.99

Simone Mansell Broome, Troed-y-Rhiw, Drefelin, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, SA44 5XD
 
Simone Mansell Broome website
 
e-mail Simone Mansell Broome

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Victoria Gatehouse

Victoria Gatehouse is a poet and researcher. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and have featured on BBC Radio. Competition wins include Iklley, Otley, PENfro and the Indigo International Wild Nature Poetry Award. Victoria’s second pamphlet, The Mechanics of Love, published by smith|doorstop, was selected as a Laureate’s Choice in 2019.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

The doctor says it’s nothing serious, something
she’ll just have to live with, a malfunction
of the nerves perhaps, not uncommon in women of her age
and she leaves with a script for a mild antidepressant,
a leaflet counselling moderation in alcohol, tobacco
and spicy foods and when she returns, he says it again
after taking a look at lips, teeth and tongue –
nothing to see and he says it with a smile when she can feel
the bees humming in her blood, the tips of their wings
chafing artery walls and she knows without being told
they’re house bees, the ones who feed, clean
and ventilate the hive, pack nectar into the comb
without really tasting it, the ones who wait for mid-life
to take their first orientation flights and she can really
feel the smart of them, the bees in her blood, unfurling
their proboscises to touch the corolla of her heart.
So many years spent licking out hives, all the burn of it
here on her tongue and they’re starting to forage now,
to suck sweetness into their honey stomachs, and the doctor
he’ll keep telling her it’s nothing when they’re rising
like stings, the words she’s kept in.
 

Victoria Gatehouse

Poem published in Mslexia

Publications:
The Mechanics of Love, 2019, smith|doorstop
Light After Light, 2018, Valley Press

e-mail Victoria Gatehouse

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