Featured Poets, January 2021                     home page
 

Angela Croft       Bridget Fraser (poem since removed)      > Pauline Kirk       Carolyn Oulton (poem since removed)       Julie Sampson       Kathryn Southworth       Jill Townsend       Cathy Whittaker      

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)  

Angela Croft

Angela Croft, previously a journalist, is widely published (first 2 at South Bank Poetry, then at Poetry Kit, now over 120). 40 poems are anthologised in Caboodle by ProleBooks, and more recently, she was guest poet in South 68.

Waiting

I pour milk from the brown jug
into the bowl, like the woman
 
on the postcard you sent
from Amsterdam
 
crumble the bread to make
your favourite pudding,
 
sweeten it with sugar
stir in the fruit, grate the nutmeg
 
sunlight on my hands,
your shadow pegged to my shoulder.
 

Angela Croft

First published in South 46

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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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Julie Sampson

Julie Sampson’s poetry is widely published and she’s been listed in various competitions. Her collections are Tessitura, It Was When It Was When It Was and Fivestones. She researches and writes about the lost history of Devon women writers.

We are hooked

by the tips of twigs in the linhay-field hedge.
She reels us, reels us in.
 
We, her ladybird t-shirted children
slip inside, fit snugly in the hollow
of her branch-nest bower,
swaddled in the coil of her moss-lined palm.
 
A chattery congregation, tiny twittery finch,
a dormouse, the rarer fritillary –
all pitch in with the chit-chat
of marginals, telling us how much she loves us.
We are her traveller’s joy.
 
Afraid of losing us
she lathes, then swashes our faces
with her wild-rose leaves,
 
her willows brush our long-hair tangles
and in the ambient whispers of sweet nothings
we lull to sleep in the canopy’s swing-harmonies –
backed by harps of hawhorn, beech, ash.
 
Knowing we are hers
we lie on our backs on her oak-leaf bunks
conjuring the scene –
 
Nancy and Peggy
at the helm
negotiate the Amazonian storm.
 

Julie Sampson

first published in Dawntreader in collection Fivestones, Lapwing Publications, 2022.

Collections:
Fivestones, Lapwing Publications, 2022, ISBN 978-1-7391642-7-0;
Tessitura, Shearsman Books, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84861-239-6;
as editor Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, Shearsman Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84861-048-4

Julie Sampson website
 
e-mail

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Kathryn Southworth

Kathryn Southworth, known as elmvillagepoet, is a retired academic. She was a founding fellow of the English Association, Vice Principal of Newman University College, review manager for QAA, governor in mental health and Rose Bruford Drama College.

Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls

Stopped outside Wigan Station on a rainy Tuesday
my eyes are drawn to writing on a factory wall – sweets –
and round the corner you can just make out
Uncle Joe’s mint balls keep…
 
Then childhood sweeps back on me –
my godfather, gentleman farmer, exotic
with Wigan accent and red wig, pressing on everyone
a sticky bag of amber globules –
these’ll keep thee warm.
 
His green eyes were the colour of country
to a town child, and the pocket watch
in his best black waistcoat shone
with the glamour of long ago.
 
My train moves on, and the writing on the wall
comes into full view, so now I know and how
could I forget – Uncle Joe’s mint balls
keep you all aglow.

Kathryn Southworth

Poem published in Between the Lines, City LIt Anthology

Publications:
Someone was here, 2018, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-910834-90-9
Wavelengths, poetry pamphlet with Belinda Singleton, June 2019, Dempsey and Windle, ISBN 978-1-907435-85-0

e-mail Kathryn Southworth

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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
 
e-mail

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Cathy Whittaker

Cathy Whittaker tutors in poetry and memoir and runs/co-runs various creative writing workshops – see www.openmindwriting.com. She is published in several anthologies and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

My Father’s Desk

hardly ever used, made of oak
stuffed with letters,
square, sturdy pigeon holes
for sticking bills in and old invitations
not replied to.
He never sat there for long
too busy looking after the Herdwick sheep
he was failing at making a living from,
a dream gone wrong.
On days when the rain didn’t stop
he made angry attacks on forms
searched for cheque books
shouting we can’t afford to use electricity
go out, pay for petrol.
So my mother would search for jobs
for him in the Whitehaven News,
and he’d refuse to do any of them.
Bad days when we kept away.
He wouldn’t stay crumpled
in his utilitarian chair
even though it stormed outside.
He’d take his crook, shrug into a torn anorak,
whistle the dog, stride up the intake
to count the sheep cropping the grass.
At his happiest outside alone,
debts, loans, jobs, pensions, wills,
all falling away
into the mist and rain
crossing the fells.
 

Cathy Whittaker

Poem published in This Place I Know, a new anthology of Cumbrian Poetry, Handstand Press

Publications:
15 poems in Quintet and other poets, Cinnamon Press, ed. Jan Fortune

e-mail Cathy Whittaker

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