Featured Poets, Jun 2023                     home page
 

Anne Boileau       Liz Parkes       Hilaire        Jenny Morris       Justina Hart       Kaye Lee       Maria Jastrzębska       Moya Pacey       Rebecca Lacey       Susan Jordan      

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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Liz Parkes

Liz Parkes lives in Stourbridge, West Midlands. She writes plays, short stories and both page and performance poetry. She has been published by Offa’s Press, Grey Hen and Cannon’s Mouth.

The Coffin Works Wedding

She keeps it close, buried deep, out of sight;
the memory of a long attic room, the giggle
of girls when tight-lipped gossip fizzed hot
on the iron; the hiss of scissor blades as cloth
slid like water across the table; machines
where fat, coned bobbins jumped and jiggled;
those glossy bolts of pastel shades, lilacs, creams,
peach (for darker skins) ̵ and so much white.
 
Each night she hid guilt beneath her smile
folded satin off-cuts, ribbons, lace trims
warm as love letters tucked above her heart;
sealed her lips with a mouthful of pins
a secrecy that shrouded the artful
way death paid for her walk down the aisle.
 
 
Note: The coffin works, now a museum, is in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. Men made the metal furniture for coffins on the ground floor, women the satin linings and shrouds on the second floor.
 

Liz Parkes

Cannon’s Mouth, quarterly magazine, Issue 67, March 2018;
Sonnet or Not Competition.

Publications:
included in anthologies The Poetry of the Black Country and The Poetry of Staffordshire (both Offa’s Press, £7.95)
and in Grey Hen Press anthologies, ed. Joy Howard: Reflected Light – Responses to the Creative Arts and Lovely Dark and Deep – Poems about Woods.

Address:

 
Tel:
 
Liz Parkes website
 

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Hilaire

Hilaire is co-author with Joolz Sparkes of London Undercurrents. She was poet-in-residence at Thrive Battersea in 2017 and Highly Commended in the 2019 Live Canon International Poetry Prize. She writes and gardens in Battersea.

The Sheffield Man

Was it only our family he visited
at dead of night? Slipping bone-handled knives,
dimpled thimbles, an heirloom coffee spoon,
into his felt-lined pockets. His thefts small,
intermittent, occasionally reversed.
Look what’s turned up under the sink!
Triumphant, Dad held aloft a pewter
napkin ring, long lost. This was not
the stuff of nightmares.
 
Grown up, abroad, I found the Sheffield Man
unknown amongst my peers – a family quirk,
a joke I only got in retrospect.
 
But now he’s back and he’s greedy,
working daylight hours behind my mother’s back.
The peg tin, can opener, keys. Her reading glasses.
All magicked away out of sight.
He’s even filched the whatchamacallit
and the reason she first needed it.
 
I stab pins into a Sheffield Man doll
even though I know there’s no reversing
this final vanishing act.
 

Hilaire

Highly commended in the Red Shed Open Poetry Competition 2018 and published in The Quality of the Moment competition pamphlet, Currock Press

Publications:
indoors looking out, lower case press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5272-6319-2 £5
London Undercurrents,, Holland Park Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-907320-82-8 £10
Triptych Poets: Issue OneBlemish Books, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-9807556-1-9
Hearts on Ice, Serpent’s Tail, 2000 ISBN: 1-852426-63-2

Hilaire’s website
 
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Jenny Morris

Jenny Morris writes poems and fiction. She has taught in the UK and abroad. Her writing has won awards, been published in five collections, numerous magazines and anthologies. She has read at literary festivals, on radio and in prison.

The Ring

This circle’s rolled through many women’s lives.
This working hoop, this noose, this golden band
worn thin, so close to bone, it still survives.
This circle’s rolled through many women’s lives.
A spinning world that loses, shines and thrives
on grandma’s, mother’s, daughter’s thin left hand.
This circle’s rolled through many women’s lives.
This working hoop, this noose, this golden band.
 

Jenny Morris

Poem published in The Oldie

Publications: Domestic Damage, Cinnam on Press, 2020. ISBN 978-1-7886490-1-8 Keeping Secrets, Cinnamon Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-9090776-0-7 Lunatic Moon, Gatehouse Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9554770-0-3

The Sin Eater, National Poetry Foundation, 1993. ISBN 978-1-8705563-8-5 Urban Space, National Poetry Foundation, 1991. ISBN 978-1870556811

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Justina Hart

Justina Hart was short-listed in the 2010 Second Light competition and has been published in the Daily Poem column of the Independent. Having worked in national newspapers and online, Justina is currently writing a poetry collection and a novel.

A Wire to Grief

When you flash upon me,
yanking the voice from my throat,
I’m usually peeling potatoes
or combing my just-woken hair
 
or, worse, in bed with my not-quite-lover
who’s helped pull me clear.
And you freeze me: peeler,
hairbrush, almost-lover in hand,
 
like that giant iguana I once saw
suddenly play dead, one foot high
in the air as if it was having a laugh,
not petrified, like me.
 
You rip all sound from the room
so it slips, cliffs rise, drop away.
There’s that pause when nothing happens
before everything does; and I’m falling
 
like David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death
when his bombed Spitfire plunges, and he pleads
to be spared – he loves the radio control chick
on the line he’s never even met.
 
Through the smoke and flames
I see, for a second, a reprieve for me, too –
if I had another life, I’d never walk out again,
leaving me and you just hanging.
 

Justina Hart

Publications:
Angels: millennial messengers, 2000, Seraphim Press, ISBN 0953577902
The Rhythm of Stones, 1995, Carnival Press, ISBN 1899378014

Address: Lichfield and London
 
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Kaye Lee

An Australian living in North London. Retired from nursing – time now to pursue a love of poetry. Published in various magazines and a prize winner in several competitions.

Hand in Hand

Years ago I held your hands
to guide you on the long
walk to hospital. Beneath
their patches your eyes
oozed tears to wash away
woodchips thrown there
by the giant saw.

Your hands were large,
calloused. Black sap
emphasized lines and folds,
darkened every nail. Skin,
brown and tough from the sun,
still let splinters skewer in –
you’d prise them out with Mum’s
fattest darning needle.

Though I led you, all
the strength of our bond
lay in your hands not
in my small, anxious
eight-year-old fingers.

When I hold your hands again
to help you from your wheelchair
mine are the weathered, rough hands,
yours are Persil white, baby soft.
You do not recall the pain
of penetrating wood and your hands,
calm, delicately trusting, accept
that now the strength is mine.

Kaye Lee

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Maria Jastrzębska

Maria Jastrzębska’s fifth collection is Small Odysseys (Waterloo Press 2022). She co-edited Queer in Brighton (New Writing South 2014) and was the writer for cross-arts project “Snow Q” (2020). Her work is translated into Polish and Romanian.

Old Knives

Old knives lie still
in wooden drawers, lined
 
with shiny paper. They smell
of rust, belong to a family
 
of broken scissors, brass
tongs, tarnished platters
 
and screws stored in tobacco tins.
You could clean round them.
 
They lack conviction. Old knives
can’t cut in straight lines
 
anymore, but their handles
fit warmly into your hand.
 

Maria Jastrzębska

Poem published: Zlati Coln / Golden Boat 2006, Apokalipsa 2007 Zlati čoln/Golden Boat mednarodna prevajalska delavnica Društvo Apokalipsa

Latest collections:
Small Odysseys, Waterloo Press, 2022;
Syrena, Redbeck Press

web-pages on poetry p f
 
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Moya Pacey

I am living in Canberra Australia after spending 2009-2010 studying at Goldsmiths College for an MA in Creative and Life Writing. I am working on a second collection.

Smalls

Keep the secrets of your laundry basket
close to home; should a visitor call,
on washing day, unexpected –
your french lace knickers
forlorn & ragged as a bed
of wild silk pansies
at the end of a hot summer’s day,
& his boxer shorts, extra large now,
shirring elastic sagging like a top
heavy sunflower – seeds all gone,
can be whipped indoors
double quick.

Moya Pacey

Poem published in Women’s Work, eds Hathorn and Bailey, Pax Press, 2013;
reading on Radio National Poetica, late 2013.

Publications:
The Wardrobe, 2009, Ginninderra Press, ISBN 978-1-7402758-0-4. £7.00.

Moya Pacey on Facebook
 
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Rebecca Lacey

Rebecca Lacey is also an actor and an artist. She has received 2 highly commended awards from Hedgehog Poetry Press for her collections Wire Wood and Swimming in Bed, both with contemporary female driven subject matter.

A Composite Wife

no, not just one partner
for here and ever after;
he needs a timorous blonde here,
a ballsy brunette there
 
he cuts off pieces of each,
makes a dreamcoat wife
not a singular trouble and strife
no, he𕒱s no fool
 
he needs a redhead for fire
after all,
intelligence, compassion and poetry
from his bespectacled mouse,
 
he collects strips from them all
pins them up on the wall
gets his mother to sew these seams
into the woman of his dreams
 

Rebecca Lacey

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Susan Jordan

Susan Jordan lives in Devon. She read English at Oxford, has an MA in Creative Writing (poetry and fiction) from Bath Spa University. She won the Maytree Press Three Trees Portfolio Award. Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies.

Missing Pieces

You had your stories: how you rode
an old bike with no brakes; how you
and your friends tied door-knockers
together with string, knocked and ran away;
 
how you couldn’t solder a spectacle frame
but passed with honours anyway;
 
how students from your polytechnic
marched through the streets in rag week
with a stuffed carrot on a pole;
 
how you played practical jokes more cruel
than you understood in the telling.
 
From Mum I heard your parents
treated you unkindly, you were bullied
by other boys,
 
how your brother-in-law didn’t like you,
your misshapen legs plagued your life.
 
Before you married you’d had
a cupboard full of empty bottles.
 
You’d been a communist like your brother,
till Mum, fearing McCarthy, got rid of your books.
You were an atheist, always a Jewish one.
 
What I knew of you wasn’t the stories:
long country walks on summer Sundays,
football and cricket in the garden,
 
your eyes glazed with tears as you listened to music;
the way we kept missing each other.
 

Susan Jordan

Poem published in pamphlet Last of the Line, Maytree Press, 2021

Publications:
pamphlet, Last of the Line, 2021, Maytree Press
collection, I never think dark will come, 2021, Oversteps Books
collection, A House of Empty Rooms, 2017, Indigo Dreams

e-mail Susan Jordan

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