Featured Poets, Jun 2019                     home page
 

Anne Ryland       Carolyn Oulton (poem since removed)       Denni Turp       Gill Learner       Judith Taylor       Maggie Norton       Mary Wight       Pauline Kirk       Sue Wallace - Shaddad       Veronica Zundel      

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 Ryland

Anne Ryland’s first collection, Autumnologist, (Arrowhead Press, 2006) was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2007). Her poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where she teaches adults and runs writing workshops for community groups.

For a Daughter

My name would not be your middle name.
 
You wouldn’t inherit my listomania, I promise:
I’d renounce list-making in honour of your birth.
 
The term Muscular Dystrophy would not be sewn within you.
 
I would not pass on my stony ova
or the euphemisms stuffed up the sleeve like handkerchiefs.
 
Thank You wouldn’t be your mantra; it trapped me at the amber light.
 
You wouldn’t stare at every dog and see only its bite.
 
You would never know that ‘worry’ derives from ‘wyrgan’, to strangle:
I’d lock the door to my mother’s worrymongery
 
but I would be your guide in the storehouse of the thesaurus,
assure you there’s no such curse as being too clever.
 
I’d even show you how to blow a trumpet in a long and steady tone.
 
My desk and my blue propelling pencil would be yours.
 
I’d hand you your great-grandmother’s last letter to her daughter
from the hospital – ‘bye bye, dear’
 
All my words would be yours, so you’d observe me on the page,
learn all that I am and was and should have been.
 
And, my daughter, each night I’d hum you a lullaby.
You would remember me as a song, not an apology.
 

Anne Ryland

Poem published: Mslexia, No. 34. Runner-up, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, 2007.

Publications: Autumnologist, Arrowhead Press, 2006, ISBN 1-904852-11-4, £7.50.

Anne Ryland website
 
e-mail (via SLN)

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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

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Gill Learner

Gill Learner’s work has appeared in magazines such as Agenda, Acumen, ARTEMISpoetry, South and The High Window, and many anthologies; it has also won prizes and commendations. She has lived in Reading since 1966, is a keen gardener and fan of Radio 3.

The power of thought

     With apologies to Derren Brown
 
The illusionist says
Think of a tune and write it on this card.
Let no-one see. Place it face down.

The conductor does as he is asked.
Please put your hands behind your back.
The illusionist binds them there, explains
The orchestra will start.           They can tune up, play scales,
however they choose to make a quiet noise.
You, thinking a tune, projecting it, will conduct with just your eyes
till they all pick up the theme.

 
The players begin: a soft cacophony of strings, woodwind, brass.
Random threads stand out then blend until
one rope of notes emerges from the blurry sound.
The conductor nods, the orchestra plays on,
the audience begins to hum.
 
The music spills into the street.
Passers-by stop, add their voices, la-la-la-ing
if they don’t know Schiller’s words.
Cabs, buses, cars slow to a halt as drivers, passengers join in.
Office cleaners silence vacuums, chefs pull pans from the heat.
Out in the suburbs TVs are muted, conversation stops.
Everyone is carolling.
 
Ferries carry the song to Denmark, Belgium, France and Spain.
The chorus grows, colonising continents:
Tibetan monks chant the melody, favelas samba it,
townships kwela to the cadences, Memphis bends it blue.
 
Now the whole world is harmonising Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.
The illusionist smiles.
 

Gill Learner

Published in collection: Change, Two Rivers Press, 2021.

Publications:
Collections: The Agister’s Experiment, 2011,
Chill Factor, 2016; Change, 2021, all from Two Rivers Press.
Anthologies: Fanfare (2015) & Her Wings of Glass (2014), Second Light Publications; The Emma Press Anthology of Love, 2018; plus over eight from Grey Hen Press, plus others from competitions.

webpages at poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Judith Taylor

Judith Taylor lives in Aberdeen, where she co-organises the monthly Poetry at Books and Beans events. Her first full-length collection, Not in Nightingale Country, is published by Red Squirrel Press, and she is one of the Editors of Poetry Scotland.

Requiem

   (after a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Aberdeen City Art Gallery)
 
You want to think
it’s a human shape. It isn’t
quite.
 
You want to think it’s a bone flute
for the wind to play, but too much
is eroded out.
 
You want to think
that smooth surface resigns itself:
a ruined tree, made furniture.
 
You want to think its pierced places
fill with light, when the heart of it
is a pool of shadow.
 
You want to think.
You want some form of containment
the form itself will not give
 
for memory
for enduring grief.
You want an explanation.
 
You circle it
closer in this time.
There isn’t an explanation.
 

Judith Taylor

Poem published in Not in Nightingale Country (Red Squirrel Press, 2017)

Publications:
Not in Nightingale Country, Red Squirrel Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1-910437-69-8 £8.99
Local Colour, chapbook, Calder Wood Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-902629-34-6. £4.50. (out of print. contact author for copies)
Earthlight, chapbook, Koo Press, 2006, ISBN 9780955307539 £3.50 (out of print)

Judith Taylor website
 
e-mail

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Maggie Norton

Maggie is South Cumbria Poet Laureate 2007, and is having a wonderful time as Cumbria ambassador for poetry here and abroad. She is a writing tutor at Lancaster University. She adores waterways and lakes, preferably steering a 1.5hp Mariner engine on an orange inflatable.

Mrs Tennyson is Interviewed in the Morning Room at Farringford

And Life with the Great Poet?

I feel so privileged, being Alfred’s helpmeet
copying his works, for his hand is clarity itself.
All correspondence I attempt to answer in his style
and ink the pens for signatures during tea.

Interests?

Oh, yes, indeed, of course I have.
His poems I set to music on the pianoforte
and compose the hymns for family celebrations.

Between ourselves, my dear, I confess
to writing fiction of an autobiographical derivation,
but pray don’t make a note of that, for he
does not know of it but it is a comfort
that I might show it to the grandchildren.

Encouraged?

I always have, yes indeed.
Being late to marry at thirty-six
I had a very full life before and during
our long engagement, when dear Alfred
and I together made a name for him.

Family Life?

He’s built a sphere of love around us
in the houses I run both here and Aldworth.
So much to thank God and dear Alfred for,
so much, so much, and bless him,
he allows me to place upon his desk
handwritten notes (in what he charmingly
calls ‘my poetic prose’) on subjects
he might care to work up into poems.

Ah, yes – your interests?

Though not so much of late have I attended
to his needs, being easily fatigued
with a weary dragging pain that chains
me to this sofa, and dear Alfred
is so patient with what he terms
‘a womanly trouble’. He is my rock,
my fortress and my strength. What would I do without him?

Maggie Norton

Poem: Strokestown International Poetry Competition
in collection Onions and Other Intentions

Recent Pamphlets:
Onions and Other Intentions, 2012, Indigo Dreams, ISBN 978-1907401565, £7.99
Making Hay, with videopoem, commissioned for Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Sedbergh Book Town, in collaboration with videographer Kate Harrison Whiteside;
The Bundle on the Dresser, with DVD. The story of Tom, a hill farmer who wants his son to take over the farm. Then foot and mouth disease arrives;
Kurt Schwitters–in Praise of Life, a commissioned poem for radio, now with CD of two voices reading, with Maggie’s music.

web-page on wordmarket.org.uk

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

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Mary Wight

In 2017 Mary Wight returned to live in the Scottish Borders where she grew up, after spending most of her life in or around Edinburgh. She is hoping to push some of her poems into the shape of a slim publication if they will co-operate.

Feasting

She brought thoughts,
words rather than grapes,
slipped out among
laundered clothes.
 
Little offerings best
but today he wanted more
and she couldn’t deny him.
Her tongue spilled stories
 
he devoured, egged her on
until the cough again,
                            lunge
for a cardboard bowl.
 
After he risked a laugh,
as if to test
he could, it still worked.
It did …
 
that look in his eyes …
both of them wanted more.
He raised
a plastic tumbler, toasted the day.
 

Mary Wight

Poem published in Ink, Sweat & Tears, January 2020

e-mail Mary Wight

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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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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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Veronica Zundel

Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer for the Christian market, and has written poetry for over 50 years. She graduated (Dist.) in 2019 from the Poetry School/Newcastle Un. MA in Writing Poetry. Poems published in Magma, The Alchemy Spoon, Mslexia.

Violins

The Dresden Philharmonic are playing Jewish violins,
salvaged somehow – who knows? – from the ashes of camps,
force-played by the inmates for their torturers’ amusement
 
If I forget you, O Jerusalem
 
and rebuilt by this Israeli man, speaking French, in whose eyes
is the clarity of devotion. He has done this for twenty years.
On one fiddleback, a swastika and ‘Heil Hitler’ had been drawn
 
Let my right hand lose its cunning
 
but who’s to say if the music dragged from these guts
is disturbing the dead, or lament, or the dare of resurrection?
Who has the right to tell?
 
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I forget

 

Veronica Zundel

 
poem based on a YouTube video

Poem published in Magma 75, 2019

Publications:
Going Out, Hodder 1990
Faith in her Words: six centuries of women’s poetry, Lion 1991
The Time of our Lives, BRF 2007
Crying for the Light, BRF 2008
All I know about God, I’ve learned from being a parent, BRF 2013

e-mail

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

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