Featured Poets, July 2020                     home page
 

(Diana Hendry)      Jan Bay-Petersen       Clair Chilvers       Hilary Hares       Angela Kirby       Iris Anne Lewis       Abigail Elizabeth Ottley     (poem since removed)       Julie Sampson       Anne Sherry       Denni Turp      

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)  

Jan Bay-Petersen

Jan Bay-Petersen, a New Zealander, worked in agricultural development and lived for 20 years in Taiwan. She began writing poetry after she moved to Cambridge. She has published in several poetry journals and won the 2013 Poetry Society Stanza Poetry Competition.

It’s a Two and You’re Dead

The closer we live to our gods, the more we need games.
Luck isn’t random: it chooses and fondles, then flits,
while we phantom midges soar high on the breath
of the gods or are drowned in their spit.
If our buzzing offends, if we stick in their throat,
they may take as amends what we don’t want to lose,
and you pay with an arm and a leg. Let us pray.
 
Playing games gives a hint. They’re a rear-vision mirror
to show what is coming up close from behind.
They won’t stop the truck, but maybe you’ll pause
a significant tick while you’re sending a text
so your paths don’t collide. If you’re ten over par,
if your darts hit the wire – give the blind date a miss.
Don’t ask for a raise, not today. Catch the bus.
 
Wait till you throw double six, till your horse
gallops home, till the ball draws a line
from your boot to the goal, till the Queen, King and Knave
join the cloverleaf Ace. Though you can’t read the stars
you can tip them like Braille and the rhythms are good,
your sails belly and fill, the duck’s entrails are pink.
There’s a cat and he’s black and you’re blessed. Take the trick.
 

Jan Bay-Petersen

Poem published in The North, 50

Jan Bay-Petersen at poetry p f
 

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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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

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Hilary Hares

Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey. Her poems have found homes online and in print and she has an MA in Poetry from MMU. Whilst waiting for the muse, she’s slave to a demanding bird table and lives in hope of meeting the perfect dog.

On sculptural figures looking out to sea

All Gormley’s kin each is his own man.
The local children call one Jeff.
 
They drown every day.
Like gods they have no smiles.
 
Sometimes Titian or Hockney
will paint them a dawn and,
 
when the tide recedes, jellyfish land
at their feet like green glass plates.
 
I watch as seagulls perch on their shoulders,
mirror their gaze, ask: Why stare so hard?
 
But they’re not letting on, their eyes fixed
as though they can’t bear to look down.
 
I persist: According to Frost nothing
we’re searching for is out far or in deep?

 
Their silence is deeper than the sea. I make
a final bid for conversation, tell them this:
 
I can see what’s happening behind you.
There’s no turning back.

 

Hilary Hares

Winner: Write by the Sea 2018 Literary Festival Competition, 2018

Publications:
A Butterfly Lands on the Moon, sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care

e-mail Hilary Hares

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Angela Kirby

Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire and lives in London. She has a D.Phil in Creative Writing from Sussex University, gives regular readings in the UK and abroad, and her poems have won prizes in several major competitions and are widely published.

Trizonia

O most excellent donkey who,
not having heard of the sleep button,
woke me three times this morning
with your ancient and execrable lament,
do you bemoan the start
of your over-burdened day
and the end of your brief night’s rest
in this unpromising patch of scrub
or do you, perhaps, grieve for me
who today must leave this incomparable islet
where there are neither cars
nor motorcycles, where nothing
very much happens, apart
from the occasional birth or marriage
and the rather more frequent deaths,
where there is little to see, just Iannis
repainting the peeling mermaid
on his taverna, and his grandmother
taking a broom to the six hollow-ribbed cats
who have stolen yet another chicken-leg,
and the three old men who,
having finished their backgammon
and the last of the ouzo, now take
the sun’s path home across the harbour
in a boat as blue as that clump of scabious
you are considering?

Angela Kirby

published in anthology, Speaking English, Five Leaves Press, 2007

Publications:
collection, The Days After Always, new and selected poems, Shoestring Press, 2015, £12, ISBN 978-1-910323-38-0
collection, A Scent of Winter, Shoestring Press, 2013, £9, ISBN 978-1-907356-67-4
collection, Dirty Work, Shoestring Press, 2008, £8.95 incl p&p, ISBN 978-1-904886-83-9
collection, Mr Irresistible, Shoestring Press, 2005, £8.95 incl p&p, ISBN 1-904886-19-1 (2008: 2nd re-print)

121 Hurlingham Road
London
SW6 3 NJ
 
tel: 020-7736-3965
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail Angela Kirby

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Iris Anne Lewis

Iris Anne Lewis is published in a variety of publications. She has featured in the Silver Branch Series of Black Bough Poetry. In 2018 she founded Wordbrew, a Cirencester-based group of poets.

I make myself a skirt of fish skin

Mother stitches mackerel eyes
as sequins on my bodice. They wink
dark gold in the sun.
 
My sisters leave their baskets
brimming full of gutted herring.
They braid my hair with seaweed.
 
Grandmother binds my thighs together,
strokes my silver scales. Her hands
are rough with barnacles.
 
Trawler men sing shanties of storm-
tossed ships and foundered boats.
There is salt in their voices.
 
Women lead me to the water’s edge,
show me how to dance to the surge
and suck of the waves.
 
They break in a bridal froth
of foam. Spindrift settles
as confetti on my shoulders.
 
I flip my tail,
rip through the tide,
dive deep in the ocean.
 
Claim the sea as my own.
 

Iris Anne Lewis

Poem published in Seaborne Magazine, 2022

e-mail Iris Anne Lewis

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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

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Anne Sherry

Anne Sherry is a Writer and Management Consultant. She lives in Winchester but travels widely. Her first collection, Safe Passage, was published in 2014.

Double Edged

My love who promised the earth
then pawned it all away
 
my love shouldered like Goliath
with the belly of a mollusc
 
my love with a cavalier’s exfoliated thighs
and the swaggering hips of a toreador
 
my love who adored my classic clothes
then recommended froth and flowers
 
my love with the feet of a ballerina
and the strut of a petulant brat
 
my love who liked my symbolic phrases
then told me not to play mind-games
 
my love with Blue Beard’s hooked nose
in the baby face of a petit ingénu
 
my love who appreciated my honesty
then devalued me for being naïve
 
my love who made me writhe and pant
then fled when I expected the same
 
my love with eyes like brackish pools
which obscured an Arctic mind
 
my love who hijacked my freedom
but clung limpet-like to his own
 
my love who chided me for vacillation
then revealed each endgame in his book
 
my love with the evasive tongue
which accused me of lying by omission
 
my love who scorned my secure life
then grabbed one for his own
 
my love with generous Gemini words
underscored actions of Scrooge
 
my love who promised to always be there
then scarpered when things got tough
 
my love whose past killed our present
contaminated my future.
 
That love who left me on a Pyrrhic fire
but missed this harpy eagle flying hope.
 

Anne Sherry

Publications:
Failing to Find Old Sarum, 2019, Mudfog Press, ISBN 978-0-9927930-1-2, £5.95 (free p&p)
Safe Passage, a Memoir in Poetry and Prose, 2014, Ashbrook Publications, ISBN 978-0-9927930-0-5, £7.95 +p&p,
(proceeds after costs to Alzheimer’s Research UK, www.cpibookdelivery.com)

e-mail Anne Sherry

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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Denni Turp

Denni is a Welsh-speaking Cockney writer living in rural north Wales, a green Socialist, a staunch republican since her early teens, a dog rehomer, and a woman with a very long working life (mostly in the not-for-profit community sector) behind her.

Held hard and fast

Thickness of earth between my toes
is not enough, and yet too much.
It draws me down, holds my skin
in such a tight embrace, I’m sound,
the ground my inescapable domain.
Some may wish for gills, a way
to breathe in water, insist the sea
could be their home again. Not me.
I want only air in waves that barrel endlessly
to lift me on the tides of warmth that rise
and let me spread once more my loss
of wings, a mattered memory of glide.
Inside my head I’m always airborne, escaping
every failure felt as astronaut, as kite,
as tiny skimming hummingbird in flight.
 

Denni Turp

poem published in Witches, Warriors, Workers: an anthology of contemporary working women’s poetry, ed. Jane Burn and Fran Lock (Culture Matters, 2020)

e-mail Denni Turp

Copyright© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet

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