Featured Poets, May 2024                     home page
 

Anna Avebury       Carolyn O’Connell       Elizabeth Rapp       Hilary Menos       Jo Peters       Kaye Lee       Marie Papier       Myra Schneider       Sarah Westcott       Zoe Brooks      

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)  

Anna Avebury

Anna Avebury was born of Ukrainian parents in Bradford. She now lives in St Albans where she is a member of Ver Poets. She writes on a variety of subjects including nature, memory, and art.

Love’s Refuge

    A corner of the artist’s room     Gwen John
 
Here, the air is cool and still,
curtains motionless at the window
as sunlight flares through,
stirs the scented posy on the table.
 
A wicker chair holds out
its arms, pink parasol folded
like her heart by its side;
blue dress, her abandoned pride.
 
Drowsy in mid-summer heat
Paris hums beneath.
 

Anna Avebury

poem selected for John Cotton’s Ten Liners 2023, published by Ver Poets, St Albans

Publications:
Dress Rehearsal, self-published, £2.50 (proceeds to Open Door – local charity)
Ver Poets anniversary anthologies; Locked Down, Poetry Space, 2021

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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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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
 
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Hilary Menos

Hilary Menos was born in Luton, read PPE at Oxford, took an MA in poetry at MMU, & has worked as a student organiser, journalist, food & arts reviewer, organic farmer, dramaturge & builder’s mate. She lives in France and is editor of The Friday Poem.

Auction

Here I am, again, in these auction rooms
browsing the silverware section for old spoons.
 
Jam spoons, salt spoons, teaspoons with wrythen knops
(a mint boxed set complete with sugar nips),
 
a George III shell-bowled sauce ladle,
a silver christening spoon with nail-head finial,
 
a dozen apostle spoons, each saint with his emblem
finely wrought at the tip of a grooved stem,
 
even repoussé berry spoons – Victorian bling –
each one a perfect treasure. All these darlings
 
laid out like pale corpses on velvet or silk
or rubber-banded tightly, shank to shank,
 
begging me to buy them, no matter how dear,
and tuck them up at home in my cutlery drawer.  

Hilary Menos

Poem published in Fear of Forks, 2022, HappenStance

Publications:
full collections:
Red Devon, 2013, Seren
Berg, 2009, Seren
pamphlets:
Fear of Forks, 2022, HappenStance
Human Tissue, 2020, Smith|Doorstop
Wheelbarrow Farm, 2010, Templar

Hilary Menos website
 
The Friday Poem
 
e-mail Hilary Menos

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Jo Peters

Jo Peters lives in Yorkshire and has been published in various magazines and anthologies and has been successful in several competitions. Her pamphlet Play was published in 2015 by Otley Word Feast Press.

Goddess

Driving, I caught a glimpse
of Botticelli’s Venus
wearing blue jeans
walking over Otley bridge
where the swift Wharfe
had swirled her ashore.
 
She knows the mill girl
who dawdles by the forge
as the muscled smith
leans his back against
a massive flank to tip
up the feathered fetlock.
 
She smiles at the lad
herding his flustered sheep
across the bridge
who will take his thirst
to the barmaid at the Black Bull
when the selling is done.
 
She sees the nursemaid
in Tittybottle Park turn,
push her charge up the hill
to New Hall where
the gardener’s boy once
threw her a rose.
 
The goddess steps
aside as the young folk,
now uniformed, homework
downloaded, throng up
to Prince Henry’s School where
the desire lines of courtship abide.
 
The invisible wind strews no roses,
but it whips her hair,
her glorious corn-coloured hair
that lifts, streams away
from the perfection
of her oval tilted face.
 

Jo Peters

Poem published in Surprise View, Poems About Otley, Otley Word feast Press, 2015

Publications:
Play, 2015, Otley Word Feast Press, ISBN, 978-0-9927616-5-3

e-mail Jo Peters

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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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Marie Papier

Marie Papier is a French-Swiss novelist and poet. Author of three novels including the Prix Schiller. She studied English Poetry with London Poetry School. Published in several magazines, anthologies, online.

Woman Cutting an Apple

   For Dana Smith-Littlepage
 
She has a way with apples
as mothers have with babies
 
How she looks at them
silently smiling, as if about to
 
peck their flesh, relish
the smooth grain of their skin
 
and how tenderly she brings
her knife into play
 
the blade slicing through
the pulp, deftly sparing
 
the core – the fruit’s
intimacy unscathed –
 
as mothers hold the integrity
of their child until self breaks free.
 

Marie Papier

first published in The Lighthouse poetry magazine issue 23

Publications:

 
English, as Marie Papier
in anthology Voices for the Silent, 2022, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-912876-74-7
The Weather Indoors, 2020, Pandemic Poetry, Tangent Books, Bristol, ISBN 9781914345005
Calyx, 2019, Bristol Stanza anthology, Tangent Books, Bristol, ISBN 978-1-64606-889-0  

French, as Marie-José Piguet:
Petits Contes d’Outre-Manche, 1990, Editions de l’Aire, Lausanne, ISBN 2-88108-055-3
Une Demoiselle Eblouissante, 1987, Editions de l’Aire, Lausanne
Jean Fantoche, Portrait bouffon d’une auguste famille,, 1981, Ed. Bertil Galland, Prix Schiller 1982, ISBN ISBN 2-88015-064-7


 
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Myra Schneider

Myra Schneider has many collections of poetry. Other publications include novels for young people and books about personal writing. One is Writing My Way Through Cancer (Jessica Kingsley 2003). She tutors for the Poetry School in London.

Myra is a Consultant to Second Light Network, a previous competition judge, and is on the Tutor list. (see ‘More’ link below)

Lifting the Sky

Plant yourself in the quiet on a familiar floor
or on an uncut summer lawn
 
and, thinking of seabirds, stretch out your arms,
let them ascend through the unresisting air.
 
With palms facing upwards, travel your hands
till your fingertips almost meet,
 
then release your breath, begin to separate yourself
from the weight of all that lies on you.
 
Allow your mind to open to this moment and your arms
to rise as they lift the palpable blue
 
high above the crown of your head.
Your wings will fold away
 
but raise them slowly to the blue again, maybe
a lightness like liquid amber will flow through you.

Myra Schneider

Poem published: Lifting the Sky, Ward Wood Publishing, 2018

Publications:
Siege and Symphony, Second Light Publications, 2021, ISBN 978-0-9927088-2-5, £9.95
Lifting the Sky, Ward Wood Publishing, 2018, ISBN 978-1-9087426-8-1, £9.99
Persephone in Finsbury Park (pamphlet), Second Light Publications, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9927088-2-5, £7.95
The Door to Colour, Enitharmon, 2014, ISBN 978-1-9075875-1-1, £9.99
Writing Your Self (with John Killick), Continuum, 2008, 978-1-8470625-2-9, £17.99
Writing Your Way Through Cancer, Jessica Kingsley, 2003, 1-843101-13-0, £19.95

Myra Schneider website
 
See Maitreyabandhu 2012 interview with Myra (40 minutes): Poetry East Interview
 
and Basil Clarke interview with Myra on her collection Siege and Symphony: Feb 2022, Poetry in Palmers Green
 
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Sarah Westcott

Sarah has an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway and has been widely published. She won the Awel Aman Tawe poetry competition and has been a runner-up in the Mslexia competition three times. Her debut pamphlet, Inklings, is out now.

Pool

I wait, quickening,
reflecting light,
holding darkness.
Will a hand break my skin,
rise out, bearing a knife?
 
Feel the fingers of a child,
stirring. Dog tongue;
ticklish, urgent.
Indents of rain
or tears –
a wish-bone, drifting.
 
Look down
to see my bed
ribbed with light,
soft and rich -
all the bright coins.
 
When the moon is high
lie on the bank,
come close,
smell wet clay,
breath, returned.
 
Sense your unborn
coming up,
her daughter
and her daughter,
each ripple
clear as plainsong.
 

Sarah Westcott

Votive wombs were offered to the gods to help with fertility problems in Etruscan times. They were left by sacred pools, much like coins are thrown into wishing wells today.
 

Publications:
Inklings, 2013, Flipped Eye, ISBN-10: 1-905233-39-6 £4

Sarah Westcott blog
 
e-mail Sarah Westcott

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Zoe Brooks

Zoe Brooks worked with disadvantaged inner-city communities before returning to her native Gloucestershire. ‘Fool’s Paradise’ won best poetry ebook EPIC 2013 awards. Collection ‘Owl Unbound’ (IDP) published 2020. Director at Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

My Grandfather and Uncle

My grandfather and uncle
both returned to the earth
with untimely haste.
Although they worked it,
broke its back
for snow to bite into,
dragged sedge from ditches,
clawed back
lambs from snowheaps,
they did not inherit it,
unless it was
in the length and width
of a man’s form.
And it claimed them
early,
reaching up through the chest,
pain filling the arms,
which had gathered harvests.
And still they loved it
and still they cursed
on cold wet mornings,
as it worked
like ringworm into their hands.
In death
they shall inherit the earth.
Until this time
they have been living
on borrowed land.
 

Zoe Brooks

Poem published in Owl Unbound,2020, Indigo Dreams Publishing

Publications:
Owl Unbound, 2020, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-912876-36-5
Fool’s Paradise, 2012, White Fox Books, ISBN 978-09572341-0-9
Grandchildren of Albion, anthology, New Departures, ISBN 978-0902689145

Zoe Brooks blog
 

e-mail Zoe Brooks

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