Featured Poets, July 2022                     home page
 

Anne Boileau       Carolyn O’Connell       Dorothy Baird       Jean Atkin      Kate Foley       Kay Syrad       Margaret Eddershaw       Pat Francis       Sheila Lockhart      

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)  

Anne Boileau

Anne Boileau writes poetry about the natural world, the environment, history and her friends and neighbours. Her pamphlet Shoal Moon was published by Grey Hen in 2016. Her novel Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife. came out in 2016.

Ghazal: The Memory of Bronze

Within its very substance dwells the memory of bronze.
Smiths at Giza treadling giant bellows forging bronze
 
Two small pyramids back to back, the size of a cricket ball.
Hold it like a seashell, you’ll hear craftsmen beating bronze.
 
Eight sides, eight faces: each displays a different attitude,
But every face and attitude tells the ancient tale of bronze.
 
It waits upon my windowsill, imbibes the heat of the sun,
Within its core remembering well the alchemy of bronze.
 
Take copper with a hint of tin or arsenic or zinc:
You have the stuff of resonance, church bells cast in bronze.
 
Before men thought to write things down, they extracted, analysed
And fired up fearsome forges, smelted ores, created bronze.
 
She weighs Gill’s sculpture in her hand, senses gravity.
Anne has travelled to that Age when Man discovered Bronze.
 

Anne Boileau

This poem was written during a collaboration with Mosaic Stanza in Colchester; eighteen visual artists were paired up with eighteen poets. My partner was a sculptor called Gill Southern. I was responding to her bronze sculpture titled From Fire

published in Stone’s Throw – art from poetry poetry from art, ed. Karen Dennison,
2016, Mosaic Stanza, mosaicpoetry.wordpress.com

Publications:
Katharina Luther – Nun. Rebel. Wife., 2016, Clink Street Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9111106-1-3
Shoal Moon, 2014, Grey Hen Press, ISBN 978-0-9926983-2-4

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Carolyn O’Connell

Four poems have been published in ‘Mirrored Voices’ An Anthology of Emerging Poetsfrom around the world. It was incepted by the American fiction/non fiction author Paul Morabito.

Kettle

My blue kettle has stood for years on the kitchen counter.
Boiled innumerably over years:
cups of tea, coffee, hot water for cooking, or a winter’s bed bottle;
gently doing its job – unacknowledged!
 
This morning as I lift it to fill it with water for a coffee
a shaft of sun glitters over its old surface.
 
I stop, my hand raised between the handle and tap
listening to the water running –
 
my thoughts pour-back to that old farmhouse
where water was precious – the only source
a single tap that piped rainwater from an open concrete tank
unfit for drinking, only for boiling.
 
Even in age my aunt twice daily, would hang two white metal buckets
on the handlebars of her bike, ride/walk to the pump
fill them with spring water, her only drinking water.
 
I look again at the kettle and recognize other women
who today have the same task: –
for drinking water is the source of life
prized by them as without a single bucket or bottle
they die.
 

Carolyn O’Connell

Poem published in Reach Poetry 300, 25 Anniversary Edition

Collection: Timelines, Indigo Dreams, 2014, ISBN 978-1-909357-53-2, £7.99
Anthology: Mirrored Voices Emerging Poets Anthology, Star Investment Strategies LLC, 2015, ISBN 978-1-5077107-1-5, £6.95.

Tel: 07950 395607
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
Carolyn O’Connell blog
 
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Dorothy Baird

Dorothy lives in Edinburgh where she runs creative writing groups in the community and is a Human Givens psychotherapist. In 2009, she founded and for five years ran the Young Edinburgh Writers, a creative writing group for teenagers in the city.

It Never Stops

The antennae that once woke me
to catch a hiccup
before it revved to screams
now scan the quality of night
to read who’s out, who’s in.
 
And ‘out’ means stravaiging
in pubs and clubs, daundering
on streets with chittery bumps
they don’t feel, lurching for
taxis, friends’ floors, the last bus,
 
while I’m the missions’ sergeant
in my wakeful nightie,
alert for keys, creaking
stairs, the sloosh of taps,
counting them home.
 

Dorothy Baird

Featured on BBC Radio 4 in Ruth Padel’s programme on writing workshops.
Published in collection Mind the Gap (see below)

Collections:
Mind the Gap, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-909357-85-3
Leaving the Nest, 2007, Two Ravens Press, ISBN 978-1-906120-06-1

Dorothy’s website
 
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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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Kate Foley

Kate Foley’s first (of 4) collection, Soft Engineering, was shortlisted for the Aldburgh Festival prize for best first collection. She is a tutor ( wordsinhere , SLN, freelance), editor (Versal, Amsterdam) and this year’s judge for the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize.

Kate is a tutor for Second Light Network and serves on the committee (see more... link below).

Ga Maar Lekker Slapen
(Sleep well now)

Ga maar lekker slapen, you say.
 
It’s 4 am. I have been standing on a blue dock.
Ice lights in the water. A ship against the quay
 
is rumbling in its guts. Steel threads run to the lip
of the gang plank. A freight wagon rolls to the edge,
unstoppable as coals down a shute. I know
it is full of my sins. I make myself
 
look at its logo, hoping it’s in Cyrillic,
something I can’t read. It’s the turning away
 
that creates furrows in our bed. When morning
comes and I open one saurian eye, I see
 
your collar bones arrow together as you bend.
In one hand a brown coffee mug, the other
 
wafting little pursed lips of fierce-smelling
wake-up coffee steam towards my sleep.
 
If I said to you I need to be sorry you’d ask
to whom, for what? since you have taught me
 
finally how to be kind. That’s just how it is,
you would say.
 
Ga maar lekker slapen.

Kate Foley

Publications:
The Silver Rembrandt, Shoestring Press, 2008
Laughter from the Hive, Shoestring Press, 2004
A Year Without Apricots, Blackwater Press, 1999
Soft Engineering, OnlyWomen Press, 1994

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Kay Syrad

Editor, novelist & poet, Kay Syrad’s third solo collection is What is near (Cinnamon, 2021). She co-runs eco-poetry courses as half of the composite eco-poet kin’d & kin’d. She lives in rural East Sussex.

out   there

caught by the sun  the fly zigzags   darts
disappears   another or the same fly appears
darts   disappears   the beech branches grow out
horizontally seeking light   the leaves bright green
and shadowing   some yellow   the oak
hooshes in its high canopy               the wind
the sound   the green   the yellow
 
           in   here
 
           shame happens and a proxy shame happens
           the feeling filters down through organs
           tissue   as if woven on a loom   as if the body
           is a loom and shame the warp the weft
 
out   here
 
is where I am   in the all-ish vastness of wrong acts
a half-thought   a said/unsaid      the buzzing
isn’ continuous but pulses at intervals   re-charging
in the (de) forest   in the parched soil
 

Kay Syrad

Poem from collection What is near, Cinnamon Press, 2021

Publications:
What is near, 2021, Cinnamon Press
Wild Correspondings: an eco-poetry source book, 2021, Elephant Press
Inland, 2021, Cinnamon Press
Exchange, 2015, Little Toller
Send (novel), 2015, Cinnamon Press

Kay Syrad website
 
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Margaret Eddershaw

Margaret took early retirement to live in Greece. She has had over 100 poems published individually and one collection, Spectators’ View (Peer Poetry International, 2002). In 2008: Cinnamon Press, Leaf Books, iota, Purple Patch and commendation in Barnet poetry competition.

Golden Rule

In a forgotten drawer
my father’s wooden rule,
brass-hinged to unfold
sideways and lengthways
for measuring boat timbers.
 
I hear the slap and click
of its closing,
before I can say ‘lifeboat’,
see it vanish
into that long pocket
on the thigh of blue overalls.
 
Indicator of his precision
love of numbers
a life measured
in feet and inches
business takings
cricket scores
football pools
bingo calls.
 
His emotions kept in check,
marked off by pencil,
held in columns,
buttoned up in cardigans,
till an outburst
a sea-squall soon past.
 
Now he’s gone to talk
spans and cubits
and dead-reckoning with Noah.

Margaret Eddershaw

Poem published: Iota, 2007

Publications: Collection, Spectators’ View, Peer Poetry International, 2002

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Pat Francis

Pat Francis has poems in ARTEMISpoetry, Frogmore Papers, South and South Bank Poetry. ‘Recalling London East’ was published by Paekakariki Press during lockdown. “Ambition: to keep writing next year, when I’m 90.”

    Felicette

    For sale
    fifteen of them
    much of a muchness.
       They’ll do said the lab boys.
 
    With care one cat
    grew glossy
    plump, placid.
       Don’t let them get fond of it said the chief scientist.
 
    The electrodes inserted
    in C351
    looked like a little space-helmet.
       Good publicity said the press boys.
 
    The space cat floated
    for five minutes,
    weightless.
       Success! gloated the headlines.
 
    They watched to see
    if the capsule would burn
    on re-entry.
       Lucky this time said the scientists.
 
    The cat landed
    the crowd cheered
    the scientists bowed.
       Felicette the Space Cat! gloated the press boys.
 
    They waited two months
    for people to forget her
    then dissected her brain.
       For the sake of humanity said the scientists.
 

Pat Francis

Publications:
Recalling London East, illustrated by Jane Colling, 2020, Paekakariki Press, ISBN 978-1-9081334-1-0, £12.50

Pat Francis website
 
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Sheila Lockhart

Sheila Lockhart lives on the Black Isle in Scotland. Her poetry has appeared in journals online and in print. Her debut pamphlet Brother (2023) is published by V.Press.

Colossi

we walk away from town at dusk
red sand already darkening around us
you wouldn’t let me take a torch
said eyes would get accustomed to the dark
soon neon lights are out of sight
and the pale horizon fading
 
clouds turn violet like fresh bruises
and when the moon appears its beams
make hollows into pools of indigo
make sand glow like polished copper
I worry about snakes
 
then we hear the sound   you hold my hand
it’s only the wind you say but I am fearful
two black shapes loom out of the darkness
impossibly tall against the night sky
I sense in them deep suffering
like all the sadness in the world
 
one is pierced through its chest
just as you in your soul’s darkness
will later be pierced
and the wind blows through the holes
like someone moaning

Sheila Lockhart

Published online in The Ekphrastic Review, 09/03/21;
in pamphlet collection Brother, V. Press, 2023

Note: After Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus by Salvador Dali

Publications:
Brother, V. Press, 2023, IBSN 978-1-7398838-9-8, £6.50

e-mail Sheila Lockhart

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