Featured Poets, November 2022                     home page
 

Angela Croft       Caroline Carver       Daphne Gloag       Elaine Briggs       Hilary Menos       Jenny Hamlett       Kate Foley       Maggie Norton       Merryn Williams       Patricia Helen Wooldridge       Tina Cole      

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)  

Angela Croft

Angela Croft, previously a journalist, is widely published (first 2 at South Bank Poetry, then at Poetry Kit, now over 120). 40 poems are anthologised in Caboodle by ProleBooks, and more recently, she was guest poet in South 68.

Waiting

I pour milk from the brown jug
into the bowl, like the woman
 
on the postcard you sent
from Amsterdam
 
crumble the bread to make
your favourite pudding,
 
sweeten it with sugar
stir in the fruit, grate the nutmeg
 
sunlight on my hands,
your shadow pegged to my shoulder.
 

Angela Croft

First published in South 46

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Caroline Carver

Caroline Carver: I’m not a Jamaican or a Bermudian or a Canadian or even a Cornishwoman but a curious mid-Atlantic mixture of all of these with a bit of Inuit thrown in and therefore somewhat like a coelacanth: confused about origins and the big Why?

Sedna the Sea Goddess

The bird turned into a man
so beautiful
snow lay on his shoulders
like ermine

was he petrel or fulmar?
he didn’t say
 
At first he came
only in dreams
one summer night
lay with her
 
at dawn she left her house
to marry him
 
Who could explain
her father’s rage?
His storms reached
across oceans
 
she knew full joy
only six days     before
 
he killed her husband
threw her in his umiak –
pushed her overboard
when winds frightened him
 
she wouldn’t give in
gripped the boat so hard
he had to chop her fingers off
one by one
did not know
as she sank into her new Kingdom
 
they would transform
become    whales   narwhals   seals   walruses…
 
Among those she loves best
Singing Midshipmen
fish which  like humpback whales
sing to the seabirds
 
make sailors who hear them
believe in mermaids

Caroline Carver

Poem published: Acumen.

Publications:
Three Hares, Oversteps Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906856-06-9, £8
Jigharzi An Me, Semicolon Press, 2000. ISBN 0-9533525-2-8, £6.95 (from Caroline)
Bone-Fishing, Peterloo Poets, 2005, ISBN 1-904324-32-0, £7.95

address:
Michaelmas Cottage
14 Passage Hill
Mylor
Cornwall
TR11 5SN
UK
 
web-pages on poetry p f
 
e-mail

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Daphne Gloag (1933-2024)

Daphne Gloag lives near London. Many poems have appeared in magazines etc, especially since she retired from medical publishing. A third book, Beginnings, is due in 2013. The end of the title poem won a Second Light competition first prize.

Daphne Gloag’s third poetry collection, Beginnings, was published by Cinnapress Press in 2013. The end of the title poem won a Second Light competition first prize.

Dark Matter *

That Volvo must be doing 70, I said
as we drove home from the museum. Words
as bridges, the road smooth as thought, sun low,
its brightness undone. Not so much traffic now.
Words as cushions. The engine’s so quiet, you said.
 
It was a kind of peace.
What did you like best today? I asked you. –
Well, the wise men – their huge star – on that ivory…
oh look at that,
I knew that car would pull out.
My silent agreement merged with the quiet.
 
Long as memory it seemed, the road:
it could have gone on for ever, knowing nothing
of the souls it carried.
Today, I said, won’t last for ever
but our poems will remember it.

 
Clarity of being, bright surfaces
plain to see. Nothing to explain, except the comfort
of the banality of breath, except the ease
of words and silence
smooth as our speed,
 
except the way
two beings were held together by their hidden life,
just as in the galaxies
what cannot be seen
holds together the luminous stars.
 

Daphne Gloag

*Invisible matter – dark matter – is generally thought to be the main reason for the gravity holding the galaxies together.
 

Poem published in earlier version in Ambit and, as part of the long poem sequence Beginnings, in the collection Beginnings and Other Poems.

Publications:
collection, Beginnings and Other Poems, 2013, Cinnamon Press, £8.99
collection, A Compression of Distances, 2009, Cinnamon Press, £7.99
collection, Diversities of Silence, 1995, Brentham Press, £4.50

Daphne Gloag at poetry p f
 
enquiry to Second Light

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Elaine Briggs

Elaine Briggs lives and works in France as a translator. Poems have received prizes in Segora and Hungry Hill competitions. A collection has been long-listed by Cinnamon.

The Translator and His Harp Sing the Iliad

A harp is a made thing,
the heartwood of Homer, an ode.
 
It’s a flightless wing
with speech in its keys
 
and strings taut and resonant
open for winds to frisk at sea.
 
It’s the prow of a boat
where Orpheus turned helmsman
 
set a rhythm
for oars to dip and rise
 
and the water that streamed from their blade
outsang the Sirens’ wolfish howl.
 
You stand alone, your frame
spindly as the African lyre you cradle.
 
Then, in Afghan headgear worn for a crown,
you swell – wind and breath
 
sing to me the Muse’s song
and the rage of Achilles is re-made.

Elaine Briggs

Address:
Tours, France
   
e-mail Elaine Briggs

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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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Jenny Hamlett

Jenny Hamlett has an MA in creative writing, has facilitated writing workshops and was Poet in Residence for Cassies, a garden on the Isle of Wight. She organised Penzance Poetry Society Stanza and is the current Treasurer of Moor Poets in Devon.

The Grey Mare’s Waterfall

     Kinlochleven
 
Discovered late evening
                the fall
is the colour of a woman’s hair
 
as she strides
                her last few years.
 
This sheer beauty
                offers no pulling back
 
from the uninhibited
                plunge
down vertical rock
 
a snatching of time,
                hurling it
into the pool.
 
If seconds were iron bars
                she could jam
in the cog wheels of a mill
 
she could not keep them,
                against this grey fall.
 
Better to turn away
                climb
one slow, hard step
 
after another towards
                the winter pass
at Lairigmor.
 

Jenny Hamlett

in collection Playing Alice, Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017;
previously in ARTEMISpoetry Issue 7, 2011
and Words in Air app, 2013

Publications:
Playing Alice, 2017, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-1-9108343-2-9
Talisman, 2009, Indigo Dreams Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9561991-9-5
The Sandtiger, 1994, Longman, ISBN 0-582-12169-8

e-mail Jenny Hamlett

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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

web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

more...

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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

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Merryn Williams

Merryn Williams’ life is currently divided, like ancient Gaul, into three zones – literary, family, Jeremy. She was first editor of The Interpreter’s House, which published around a thousand poets, and her own publications are too numerous to list.

P.N.D.

     post-natal depression
 
One fell off the fragile bridge,
others froze in horror.
Far below them, howling winds
and glimpse of raging water.
 
Four young women shared a house,
partied, shrieked with laughter.
All got married, scattered wide.
Three go on without her.
 
Driving rain, on clothes and skin;
you feel the great bridge shudder.
The baby knows there’s something wrong,
stares round and sees no mother.
 
Three go home. All night they weep;
why did no one save her?
while each, in fear, bears step by step,
a child across the water.
 

Merryn Williams

Poem published in Acumen and in The Fragile Bridge (see Publications)

Publications:
The Fragile Bridge: New and Selected Poems, Shoestring Press, 2019;
The First Wife’s Tale, Shoestring Press, 2007;
Jane Austen’s The Watsons, Pen Press, 2006;
The Latin Master’s Story, Rockingham Press, 2000;
The Chalet Girls Grow Up, Plas Gwyn Books, 1998

Address:
19 The Paddox
Oxford
OX2 7PN
 
tel: 01865 511259
 
Merryn Williams website
 
web-pages on poetry p f.
 
e-mail

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Patricia Helen Wooldridge

Patricia Helen Wooldridge composes much of her poetry while walking in Hampshire. She has a D.Phil in creative writing from Sussex University and her poems have been published in many poetry journals.

Obituary

     I’m nobody! Who are you?
     Are you nobody, too?    (Emily Dickinson)
 
With herring-gull grey
knitted in to her jumper,
she spent her last years
living by the sea.
 
She could be seen standing
on the shoreline staring out,
even though there was nothing there,
there could be.
 
Hardly anyone noticed,
for she liked to be up at first light
fuelled by the crying gulls,
which never made her think of death
 
but only about being alive.
 

Patricia Helen Wooldridge

Poem published in ARTEMISpoetry, May 2016

Patricia Helen Wooldridge on poetry p f
 
e-mail Patricia Helen Wooldridge

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Tina Cole

Tina Cole is a poet and reviewer who has led workshops with both adults and children. Her published poems have appeared in many U.K. magazines and collections. She is currently doing an M.A. in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Wild Weather

December and the almost scent of hyacinth is burgeoning
beneath the stairs alongside fermenting fruit. I am writing
 
a letter that fails to speak, my thoughts a hailstorm
of scraped knees and soured milk, the kindness that should
 
be mother. Time killing takes on a new meaning, my head
a snow globe, each random flake falling back and nothing
 
ending up where it used to be. Outside the wind is in a crazy
temper, roof slates embrace a new dimension, limbs of trees
 
relocate into the opaque sea of greenhouse. Its door unhinged.
Yesterday the garden was star salted, a first frost lidding
 
the earth, like you upstairs, door closed, refusing to communicate,
your grey-haired head suspended in a bowl of clouds. Silence
 
knew its place then, every morning at Sunday speed as you listened
for voices, grasped at silver fish stories, the past escaping
 
while you slept and our six white boned birches casting off leaves.
 

Tina Cole

This poem won the Phare/Lighthouse Poetry Competition 2022.

Publications:
I Almost Knew You, 2015, createspace.com
Forged, 2015, Yaffle Press

e-mail Tina Cole

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