Featured Poets, Jul 2023                     home page
 

Anne Stewart       Deborah Harvey       Elizabeth Rapp       Hilary Hares       Jill Townsend       Katherine Gallagher       Margaret Eddershaw       Mimi Khalvati       Pat Francis       Sheila Lockhart       Viv Fogel      

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 Stewart

Anne Stewart founded poetry p f in 2005. Her awards include The Bridport Prize, Southport Prize, Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy) and a Hawthornden Fellowship. Her collections include The Janus Hour (2010) and The Last Parent (2019).

Anne is editor of the SecondLightLive web-site and serves on the Second Light Network Committee and as part-time administrator for the Network. (see ‘More’ link below)

sample poems and comments on ‘The Last Parent’
 

Body Language

            "I like the whisker of hair/ under her armpit. It suggests/
            that she’s not one of those women/ who are always trying
            to get rid/ of their smell."
 
                    Vicki Feaver, OI YOI YOI

 

Give me silky legs glistening in the sun,
bikini line and oxters done and no shame
for the dishonest shape-shifter I’ve become.
 
Give me orange and magnolia to bathe away
my scent – when it’s Woman-Ready-for-a-Man,
I’d just as soon my body said "Only if I say".
 
And when I choose to go against the master plan
by coating earthworm lips with New Dawn Rose
or copper pink, grape or cherry blossom balm,
 
it’s no more a disguise than wearing clothes.
Or would you have me naked? No deceitful lines
between my vulva and the twitching public nose?

 
Hirsute and unscented may be truth of a kind,
but there are worse things, when you feel exposed,
than silk and oranges, and roses, to hide behind.

Anne Stewart

Poem published: The Interpreter’s House, Nov 03, ISSN 1361-5610, and nominated for Forward Prize, 2004;
Discussed in Mary Michaels’ article How Does Your Poem Smell?, in Connections, Spring 2005 edition.
Strix Varia published Anne’s reflection on the writing of Body Language in their PoetSpeak series.

Collection: The Last Parent, Second Light Publications, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-9927088-3-2, £9.95 (Book Club offer £40 plus feedback).
Collection: The Janus Hour, Oversteps Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-9068561-6-8, £8.
Anthology: Ten Hallam Poets, Mews Press, 2005, ISBN: 1-84387-123-8, £7.99.
Glossy illustrated postcards: 2 of Body Language and 2 of Melting into the motorway on the inside lane, £1, from Anne.

20 Clovelly Way
Orpington
Kent
BR6 0WD
 
tel: 07850 537489
 
Anne’s web-site
 
e-mail

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Deborah Harvey

Deborah Harvey lives in Bristol and is co-director of The Leaping Word which provides writing, editing and counselling support for writers exploring personal material. Her sixth poetry collection, Love the Albatross, will be published by IDP in 2024.

Oystercatchers

     ‘Aujourd’hui mamon est morte’      ‘L’étranger’, Albert Camus
 
One day
the day she’s been waiting for will come
 
and she’ll take these words with her to the sea
unzip her coat, pull open her ribcage
 
let them fly as purposely
as oystercatchers
 
pulling the strings of the sky
and tide
 
lifting the weight from each blood cell
giving her permission
 

Deborah Harvey

Oystercatchers won the 2018 Plough Prize Short Poem Competition;
published in The Shadow Factory, IDP, 2019

Note:

Publications:
Learning Finity, 2022, IDP
The Shadow Factory, 2019, IDP
Breadcrumbs, 2016, IDP
Map Reading for Beginners, 2014, IDP
Communion, 2011, IDP

Website: The Leaping Word
 
e-mail Deborah Harvey

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Elizabeth Rapp

Elizabeth Rapp lives in Somerset. She runs residential and day poetry workshops at various South West venues. She is a graduate teacher, Lay Minister, and has worked with the homeless and with children.

Ice Garden

I begged him for a garden,
hollyhocks and delphiniums.
He gave me grottoes of ice.
No birds sing here: only the sound
of moonlight dreaming snow at midnight.
 
I have become bone carved from ice.
I spin on a needle’s point,
watched by an angel huddled
in snow with icebound wings;
his stricken face as I twirl and twirl.
 
Those dark and subtle hands
have locked me in this kingdom,
this palace of death-white ice.
Floors are as slippery as his lies.
I wander through cubes of refracted light
 
where indigo and jade dance on my silver dress,
turn into birds of paradise.
But today a small brown bird
perched on my wrist, then
gave me a pomegranate seed
from his beak.

Elizabeth Rapp

Poem: Winner of the A.A. Sanders poetry prize, 2000
 
Publications:
Dancing on Bones, full collection, Rockingham Press, 2000.
Living Proof, The Amate Press, Oxford.
Hare and Sixpence, The Rigmal Press, Devon
A CD of Elizabeth’s poems is available, 7, direct from Elizabeth.

The Lodge
Dillington
Ilminster
Somerset
TA19 9EH
 
tel: 01460 259898
 
e-mail

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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

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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
 
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Katherine Gallagher

Katherine Gallagher (Australian-born) is widely-published; translator, tutor, committee member of SLN; London resident since 1979. The most recent of her collections is Circus-Apprentice. Formerly Writers Inc Education Officer, she also writes poetry for children and has poems in numerous anthologies.

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

Gwen John Swims the Channel

September 3, 1939. Early evening
and the sea soughs, sways –
a sketchbook washing calm,
its ribs carrying the meticulous rainy births:
portraits from her many lives.

She has always loved the coastline,
come back to it, the waves’ fringed-grip:
daily swimming the Channel, testing herself
against its heave and push.
Ahead, Dover’s scribbly-white cliffs,
and beyond, the hills of Tenby –
its beach’s curve, her childhood’s
patch of sand. She has tested this sea’s glass

and painted herself into its mirror
like a cloud passing over. She has more
interiors to match and place, place and match
as again she gives herself to the water,
its moody mountains surging,
pacing her – the archetypal swimmer
planing darkness, with the coast
clearing and Paris-Meudon behind her.

Katherine Gallagher

Poem published: Mslexia; Circus-Apprentice

Publications:
Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems, Arc Publications, 2010, ISBN 978-1-906570-42-2. pbk £11.99;
Circus Apprentice, Arc Publications, 2006, ISBN No. 1-904614-02-7. £8.99;
After Kandinsky, Vagabond Press (Rare Objects Series), 2005, (details from Katherine);
Tigers on the Silk Road, Arc Publications, 2000, ISBN No. 1 900072 47 5. £6.95;
Fish-Rings on Water, Forest Books, 1989, ISBN No. 0 948259 75 2. £6.95 incl p&p(UK);
Passengers to the City, Hale & Iremonger, 1985, Sydney, 1985, ISBN No. 0 86806 212 x. Hardback. £9.00 incl p&p(UK);
more on Katherine’s web-site... and poetry p f Poem Cards.

Address:
49 Myddleton Road
Wood Green
London
N22 8LZ
 
tel: Tel: 020 8881 1418
 
web-site
 
e-mail

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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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Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati is the founder of The Poetry School, is on the Council of Management of the Arvon Foundation, the Editorial Board of Wasafiri and is a PBS selector. Her latest collection is The Meanest Flower (Carcanet 2007, PBS Recommendation).

The Valley


Through a thin spray of flowers from the valley
(and frailer for the shyness you gave them with),
through sprigs of blue, their minute suns, many
and angled to many corners of the earth,
I saw, not the valley or even the hill
that rose in front of me, but half-imagined
plateaux that lay beyond these disused mills:
meadows waist-high, horizons mountain-rimmed.

Wildflowers grow there in abundance, so many
you could reap armfuls of them, cauldrons
of colour stoked with their dyes, cornflowers, teasels
snarling your hair and on your headscarf, apron,
shirt and shawl, the whole sky would spill a pinny
studded with seeds. But thank you, thank you for these.

Mimi Khalvati

Poem published in collection, The Meanest Flower

Most Recent Publications, all from Carcanet:
The Meanest Flower, 2007. PBS Recommendation. Short-listed for TS Eliot Prize.
The Chine, 2002.
Mimi Khalvati: Selected Poems, 2000.
Entries on Light, 1997.
Mirrorwork, 1995, ACE Writer's Award.

web-site

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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
 
e-mail Pat Francis

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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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Viv Fogel

Viv Fogel is an integrative psychotherapist and an artist. Her poems have been published in anthologies and magazines since the mid-70’s. From 1980-82 she was one of the Evettes, a performing poetry quartet. First collection: Without Question, (Mandaras Publishing 2006).

Notebook

My daughter enjoys the safety of lines,
but I prefer the blank page, to dive

and spiral bird free in a cloudless sky.
She cuts paper into delicate shapes,
 
pastes petals, turns butterflies into collages,
begins again if there is one mistake.
 
I splatter words like Pollock onto clear canvas
and smudge, rub holes in paper, stain and tear.
 
My daughter bathes in milk, soaks in Carrib sun,
paints her nails as bright as her imagined future.
 
She perfects her dress, her look, takes time,
whereas I, careless, will wear the same for days.
 
She emerges at last, silky in a swirl
of turquoise, pink ipod, humming out of tune,
 
as I wait for her in the afternoon’s heat,
my hand’s shadow on the filling page.

Viv Fogel

Publications: Without Question, Mandaras, 2006. ISBN 0-9544730-5-1. £10

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