Featured Poets, January 2020                     home page
 

Jean Atkin (poem since replaced)      Simone Mansell Broome       Jamie Dedes       Jill Gardiner       Pauline Kirk       (Fokkina McDonnell)       Jennie Osborne       Marg Roberts       Joan Sheridan Smith       Sue Wallace-Shaddad      

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)  

Jean Atkin

Jean Atkin’s most recent books are Fan-peckled (Fair Acre Press) poems about the lost words of Shropshire, and The Bicycles of Ice and Salt (IDP) in 2021. She works as a poet in education & community projects.

Vik

Some mornings the van shakes on its wheels
and when I haul the sliding door, the ocean
roars its fury in a voice I’ve never heard
but feel I might deserve.
 
Some mornings I walk down to the beach
at Vik. Black sand is soaked to carbon
and the blistered air is stropped with foam.
I pull my hat over my ears.
 
Some mornings the ocean rumbles like an earthquake
just offshore. I ground my boots in raven sand.
The white comes frothing. Comes sliding up
the beach and I retreat.
 
Some mornings here it rains salt. Some mornings
the Atlantic flings stones at the beach. Some mornings
are a smashed sea bird and a gull-coloured sea.
Some mornings are hunters.
 

Jean Atkin

from forthcoming third collection High Nowhere;
first published in Raceme, Summer 2022, issue no. 13

Publications:
The Bicycles of Ice and Salt, 2021, IDP
Fan-peckled, 2021, Fair Acre Press
How Time is in Fields, 2019, IDP
Not Lost Since Last Time, 2013, Oversteps Books
Understories, 2019, Whalebone Music

Jean Atkin website
 

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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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Jamie Dedes

Brooklyn born, Jamie Dedes, now in Northern California and published widely, is Poet Laureate of Womawords Literary Press (Africa-based international), curator of The Poet by Day (info hub for writers and poets) and Founder/Editor of “The Bezine”.

Beyond Yearning to Hope

     Dedicated to the Senator Bernie Sanders, running for
     the Democratic nomination for president of the United States

 
The dreams can drive you crazy sometimes
The ones that envision a just world, one
Where equity is the backbone of endurance
A vineyard of bliss, so to speak, a garden of joy
Relative to the greed times of unworthy living
In a penthouse with a golden toilet, while
Others sleep on cardboard outside, urinating
In the streets, begging for lunch and walking
Barefoot in the snow, betrayed from day one
By the false ideal of rugged independence,
Of monied might is alright, of resource hording
By the richest and unconscionable trafficking of
Children for the unhinged pleasures of the elite
Oh my God, how did this happen? and who
Might have thought that the munitions factory
Of a deadly virus would bring us nose to nose?
How COVID-19 recognizes no bank account or
Prestigious position, just drops its noxious tidbits
Indiscrimanently, into lungs of princes, prime ministers
Those sleeping rough on city streets, its travels
Enhanced by an uneven distribution of access
To water, healthcare, space, living wages,
Paid time off, the rudiments of a civilized life
Girded by compassionate societies, lessons
Learned, we await implementation, and
Dare we move beyond yearning to hope
 

Jamie Dedes

Originally published in Brave Voices journal

Jamie Dedes blog: The Poet by Day
Jamie Dedes The Poet by Day Facebook page
Monthly Arts e-zine The BeZine

 
e-mail Jamie Dedes

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Jill Gardiner

Jill Gardiner is a former Chair of Brighton Poets, whose work has been published in The Interpreter’s House (2015) and ARTEMISpoetry (2018). Also a historian, known for From the Closet to the Screen – Women at the Gateways Club 1945-85 (Pandora 2002).

At the Opera

after the painting by Mary Cassatt
 
I have seen her each night from afar
Across a salon, or in some distant room
And often on his arm. And, tonight,
I have followed her to the opera.
In the picture, you do not see her:
Her bare shoulders; the three strings
Of pearls I gave her; the shock
Of that white muslin dress in November.
 
You only see me in my tight black gown,
And my opera glasses fixed on some point
Beyond your sight, and the yellowing fan
I am hardly holding. Any moment now
My grip will tighten as she turns
From him and catches my eye again.
One time she blushed. We are rarely alone.
Our intimacy is confined to public places.
 
In a distant box, you see another man:
Where I go, he follows. And grown so bold
That his opera glasses are trained on me
As if that whole wide audience were not there.
I have heard them whisper in the drawing rooms:
‘She’s handsome still, and alone too long.
Why does he wait?’ He has asked. I freeze.
I am spoken for and cannot say to whom.
 

Jill Gardiner

First published in The Western Mail (among other winners in the 1992 Cardiff International Competition)
and subsequently in The North 1992.

Publication:
With Some Wild Woman – Poems 1989-2019, 2019, Tollington Press, ISBN 978-1-90934-716-8 (due out 15th November). For details of launch events, please email Jill.

e-mail Jill Gardiner

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Pauline Kirk

Poet and novelist Pauline Kirk lives in York. She is editor of Fighting Cock Press, a member of the Pennine Poets group and on the editorial board of ‘Dream Catcher’. She also writes the DI Ambrose Mysteries with her daughter as PJ Quinn.

‘Horned Animals, Mesolithic –
     – possibly handles’

In Maltese heat
three terracotta heads
challenge through museum glass.
Noses tilt, eyes appeal,
yet each is no bigger
than a fifty-penny piece.
 
Who fashioned you? Who
took clay six thousand years ago,
to fashion your exact ears,
slender horns and throat?
Each neck hints a missing handle
now crumbled back to dust.
 
Did you decorate jars
for a god, or perfume for a bride?
My mind shudders
beneath the weight of years.
My ancestors crouched in caves,
but they carved horses’ heads on bone,
 
still beautiful.
I turn to safer displays,
but a question nags on.
What of our time will amaze,
when the silt is cleared,
six millennia gone?
 

Pauline Kirk

Poem published in Pennine Platform, no 79, 2016;
in collection Time Traveller (see below)

Publications:
Time Traveller, Graft Poetry, 2017, ISBN 978-0-9558400-9-8, £8.50
Poetic Justice: A DI Ambrose Mystery, writing as PJ Quinn, Stairwell Books, 2017, ISBN 978-1-939269-77-5, £10.00
Thinking of You Always: the Letters of Cpl. Hill 1941-1945, Stairwell Books and Fighting Cock Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-939269-36-2, £10.00
Border 7, Stairwell Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1-939269-25-6, £10.00; also available as an Audio Book: Amazon Audible, 2019, ISBN 978-1-939269-72-0, £22.00 or Audible subscription
Walking to Snailbeach: Selected and New Poems, Redbeck Press, 2004, ISBN 1-904338-15-1, £8.95

Pauline Kirk website
 
Pauline Kirk at poetry p f
 
web pages Pennine Poets
 
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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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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Joan Sheridan Smith

Joan Sheridan Smith’s work has been widely published in the small (and not so small, ed) presses including Acumen, Envoi, Iota, Poetry Monthly) and she has a pamphlet collection available (Gallery, Poetry Monthly Press, 2006).

Tenderness

You have a gentle touch with living things.
I can’t pick up a mouse, a frog, a bird,
afraid of harming them. You scoop them up,
cradle them in your hands and lift them clear
of the cat’s predatory paw.
You also love the cat.
 
In this I am reminded of my father.
He'd trap a window wasp
with an upended glass,
and sliding underneath a piece of card,
release it to the hazards of the air.

Joan Sheridan Smith

Publications:
Gallery, Poetry Monthly Press;
Schubertiad, collaborative CD (poems interspersed with piano pieces), £7.50 (orders via Joan);
A Garland for David, Poetry Monthly Press, £5 from www.poetrymonthly.com
 

38 Holcombe Crescent
Ipswich
Suffolk
IP2 9QZ
 
tel: 01473 601965
 
Joan on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Sue Wallace-Shaddad

Sue Wallace-Shaddad is a Suffolk- based poet with an MA from The Poetry School/Newcastle University (2020). Her poems are widely published and she is digital writer-in-residence for the Charles Causley Trust and Secretary of Suffolk Poetry Society

Rising

Head against cheek,
arms holding tight,
 
they rise from the water
like disembodied ghosts.
 
No words to explain
from where they have come.
 
The sea is a foreign place.
Not all will escape.
 

Sue Wallace-Shaddad

poem from Sleeping Under Clouds, a collaboration with artist Sula Rubens

Publications:
Sleeping Under Clouds, art and poetry pamphlet, 2023, Clayhanger Press, ISBN 978-1-7391770-2-7, £10
Art (anthology), 2021, Hybrid Press, ISBN 978-1-8734121-6-9
A City Waking Up, pamphlet, 2020, Dempsey & Windle ISBN 978-1-9133292-6-6, £8
A working life, self-published pamphlet 2014, out of print

Sue Wallace-Shaddad website
 
e-mail Sue Wallace-Shaddad

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