Nov 30 2018
This issue of London Grip features new poems by:
* Maggie Freeman *Mary Franklin *Marisa Cappetta *Helen Burke *James Norcliffe
*Claire Crowther * Keith Nunes *Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon*Hatty Calbus *Tess Jolly
* Stuart Handysides *Abegail Morley * Carla Scarano *Stuart Pickford * Brian Docherty
* Bethany W Pope * Arthur Russell *Nicholas Lyon Gresson * Robert Nisbet
* Malcolm Carson * John-Christopher Johnson * Peter Daltrey *Edmund Prestwich
* Noel Williams * Charles D Tarlton * Katherine Gallagher *Angela France *Rodney Wood
*Ricky Garni *Thomas Calder *Frances Lombardi-Grahl *Angela Kirby *Thomas Ovans
*R G Jodah *Utsav Kaushik
Copyright of all poems remains with the contributors
Biographical notes on contributors can be found here
A printer-friendly version of London Grip New Poetry can be found at LG new poetry Winter 2018-9
London Grip New Poetry appears early in March, June, September & December
Please send submissions (up to three poems plus a brief bio) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Poems should be either in one Word attachment or included in the message body
Our preferred submission windows are: December-January, March-April,
June-July and September-October
Many years ago I saw a cartoon in which a Sunday School teacher is explaining the Christmas story.
I know it’s incredible, she tells them, but in those days there really were three wise men. Previous
generations may have had legitimate doubts about the sagacity and competence of their leaders;
but is it unfair to think that this Christmas finds the English-speaking world unusually afflicted by
displays of ignorance, inconsistency and indiscretion from its political class?
Most of the poets in this issue of LG New Poetry have ignored the political and chosen to write
about the personal – but the availability (or otherwise) of a trio of sages does provide a cue for
this year’s Christmas poem from your editor…
Let’s just agree that we were men,
inconstant in our numbers. Some
of us were more persistent
as the paths got steeper.
Was that wisdom?
Those who sighed or cursed
and went back home would not have said so.
The star? The moving one?
Myself, I didn’t see it.
But most of us met those who had
and caught their certainty
that out beyond the setting sun,
where old days always fold away,
another kind of light was waiting.
The stable? Cave? The cattle trough?
All I’m sure we saw was this:
a child honoured by the parents;
a man who could believe his wife was raised
above the common place of women.
Traditions need such twists. That’s how we found
three could intertwine as one. And no,
our chosen gifts were not too lavish.
London Grip poetry editor
Forward to first poet
Maggie Freeman: Measuring Now
Choose an instant. Eleven a.m.
on a slow train through the suburbs, say.
You’re still panting from running to catch it.
You’re happy you won’t be late
for meeting Beatrice on her way back
from Brazil. Your seat is hard.
Opposite you a girl munches a sausage roll
catching her crumbs in a white paper bag
crunched under her chin. Her dark hair
falls about her solemn face. Beyond the window
snakes a street. An old woman
stares in a charity shop window.
A child scoots. A dpd delivery driver
slams a door. A police car
blue flashing light, emergency.
Another instant. It’s late.
You are walking home. Beatrice
is beside you. Your finger feels hot
in the gold circle of the ring she has given you.
The gold was mined in Quebec
it was her grandfather’s ring.
You fumble your key in your jacket pocket.
Under the streetlight the pink cherry blossom
has turned grey. You pause, look up
say, when I was a child living in the city
I thought the stars a myth, like angels.
She says: somewhere out there
far beyond the light pollution
lies the Andromeda Galaxy. I’ve read
it’s so far off that our now, our this instant
expands there relative to us
to last two million years. You say:
our ordinary now on Earth
is as complicated as I can take.
Monday tomorrow: I’ll put the bins out.
Mary Franklin: The woman in number four Moonlight flows into the room as the woman in the flat above plays Clair de Lune. We never know what time or what day she will play – she has no schedule. Fingering keys she seems oblivious to the spooling full moon, as mysterious as she. Could it be the ghost of Debussy stands behind her, one hand on her shoulder? Each time we hear her play our breathing slows our thoughts grow calm never more than tonight in the soothing moonlight.
Marisa Cappetta: My mother weighs the rain She captures boneless muscles of water in containers translucent and marked on the side in millimeters. She takes the temperature of the sun and frowns when levels drop in the buckets. Charts humidity and mist with the precision of a nurse and says to the kitchen sink and bath Tell me the grey-water story and then rehabilitates the run off in the cistern. Rain is a stroke victim it falls on one side of the town. She gives a meteorologist The Talk. If a lock-in patient can walk again so can clouds.
Helen Burke: Only child The only child wonders What it must be like to hate Sharing a bedroom. To hit Someone just to see if they still Love you. To know that the battle You fight is known to them But only when you are almost spent Will they help you, and that’s as it Should be. The only child hums in the dark Looks around to see who isn’t listening. Plays piano, imagines another pair of hands Helping the tune along. He names the sister Charlotte and the Brother Dominic. His own name , Harry, Unchanged. In another country everyone has someone But the only child plays snap alone.
James Norcliffe: Rage After the roaring stopped, the gasping stopped, And then the coughing, and the hiccoughing. They all stopped. And then there was silence. He rubbed at his wet face and smeared his cheeks. He opened his eyes. He looked about him in that silence. The room was empty. He had driven them away: his soft mama, his papa, his confused grandparents, his little brother in his carrycot. All were gone. As was the red sofa, the easy chair, the electric piano. The table and the dining chairs. The painting on the wall of the distant mountain. The low table scattered with his books and the cabinet where he kept his toys. All gone. The curtains had disappeared and the sun was low in the west. The light crept across the carpet. It was leaving him, inching towards the window. James Norcliffe: The Knife This is the knife we bought from Ikea last trip. Beautifully designed. Swedish. The black handle sits snugly in your hand as if made for it, and the stainless blade tapers elegantly to its point like a well- crafted argument. I keep it very sharp, so don’t feel along the edge. Also from Ikea we bought a sharpener: a three- chambered, colour-coded set of emery wheels that hone the blade to a razor. I cut a lettuce at the stem for my lunch and the bitter milk starts in small globules. When I wipe the milk-stained blade on my jeans I feel like a street fighter. I carry the head to the kitchen and lay it beside red tomatoes and bell peppers. See how the knife slices through them: colour opening to colour and colour and colour.
Claire Crowther: Creature The shock is seeing the creature you made in clothes. If she was flesh sliced, scarring my thigh, healed over, I’d be confident she was mine. But that woman in a cabled sweater, crossing the car park, bags filled, holding a phone with her chin, opening a steel door with her remote while chatting, I made her? From supermarket to shelter, sleet beats on her and wheel splash disfigures her feet, rain’s dirty rinse slaps her from corrupt tarmac but won’t wipe her out.
Keith Nunes: Watching him Watch his cheekbones being chipped Down to the size Of when he began The salting of peppered head-of-hair How his gait bows and his clothes Drop in hangered vertical fall Out crawls the unfettered regret The sucked-in mouth In need of subtitles Telling her They could have both done better
Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon: Creative Accounting He doesn’t know, he mustn’t know. She opens it one day, feeling low as she waits in the bank. Blinded by tears that flow because of him. A simple form – a small deposit, the minimum required, says the cashier, who offers her a tissue. Back at home she feels like a thief, filching the housekeeping, paid from his wages. The next time he hits her she decides it’s compensation. And, each time he raises his voice, his hand – bruises her skin, her soul, her secret grows. Interest accrues confidence inside and soon she’ll bolt one door and open another.
Hatty Calbus: Over-Eligible Men After we were both grandly led on by the genius, we managed more solidarity than rivalry for a while. She, moving onto other men, had a brief beau who turned up once in a beige jumper. In spite of herself, in spite of everything, she found she was thinking, Sean would never wear a beige jumper. And over the years, whichever men I met, however much I liked them, sooner or later a small voice always pointed out, Sean would never wear a beige jumper. Until one night in the group of mainly women, a few men and one beautiful man. His azuline eyes, his warmed brown skin, his cheekbones made the world a better place. Had he ever looked better than he was doing that night? And though three ladies sat with him on the sofa the azuline eyes were gazing at me. Had anyone ever looked better? Could he have looked any better in what he was wearing, which was a beige jumper? Hatty Calbus: Western Nature He was not the sort of Australian who writes poetry. London was a loud succession of pubs where he got drunk and left with a loud succession of women, also Australian, none of them poets. The usual tall, strong, tanned, he found a job in the outdoors, tending communal gardens. In the tame gardens, there was no beer, no sex but there were leaf-blowers. He could grasp the roaring engine, point its great nozzle, blast his maleness out into dead leaves.
Tess Jolly: Breakfast at the Origami Cafe Blown like leaves through the open door regulars settle to the ambient music. Waitresses bring coffee, pastries, hot chocolate frothing with cream and a mother tenderly bends her daughter at the waist, demonstrates folding a crane. Her husband invites her to crease along the dotted line of his spine, butterfly-print one tattooed side of his back to the other. In her practised fingers he’s transformed to an intricate bloom, a keepsake she places in the box she’s made from her body. Scars speckle the exterior, her navel is pressed into the lid like a rose in hand-made paper. An elderly man sipping peppermint tea watches her work then slowly gathers his skin into the snapping mouth of a fox. Businessmen put away their phones, collapse to a shining fleet of airplanes. Soon turtles, stars, dragons, hats decorate vacant tables while outside the wind flays trees, warps lamp-posts, drags bins into different places. Nobody notices that the girl sitting alone by the window has vanished. She must have folded herself smaller and smaller until there was nowhere left to go: a song repeating to fade. Tess Jolly: Possible Causes Julie’s Dad walked into the sea when she was seven and didn’t come back so Julie waits all night on the dream-shore for the speck she thinks might still appear on the horizon. In the morning she angrily splatters her breakfast with the condiments he forbade and counts between every mouthful. Lucy’s mother scolded from an early age how fat you look when you stand like that how difficult can it be to hold your tummy in and how many slices of that cake have you eaten exactly? When Lucy developed breasts she was compared to her younger brother and shamed by adult eyes – why couldn’t she be that lean? Harvey finds his mother sobbing every time he visits. He’s seen her cry so often he’s developed a phobia of water and swallowed enough laxatives to squeeze his body like a sponge: he wants to be dry, to be desiccate, the sediment left when a pool evaporates and never, ever run the risk of overflowing. One leg curled around the other, arms folded to make yourself very small, you apologise again for not having a reason.
Stuart Handysides: Beachy Head Almost an embarrassment to admit coming here (the sympathetic look – you drew back, well done) even though I park at Birling Gap. I stumble over shingle slip on chalk worn smooth like mountains on a giant relief map observing recent rock falls from the sheer creamy heights. The tide is out – green weed-strewn rock segues into brown, with perching gulls before a tumbling café-au-lait sea meets a thin turquoise line that hits a grey horizon. Above me grass and gorse, parsimonious soil against shifting cloud no tumbling human form. Untroubled chat in the tea room people come here not just for the last time not only the condemned man eats a hearty breakfast.
Abegail Morley: In between lessons If I could, I would pull your forearms from the sink, unpink the water, unsputter the hot tap’s lick, somehow bend back time so it’s twelve-thirty and we’ve just come out of English and it’s lunch and someone says they’ve got a car and we all pile in driving to The Prince of Wales and Simon Cox, who is all you love, doesn’t yet exist. And in our great non-existence, I haven’t fallen in love with Andrew Crook, lived life from a van, hand-to-mouth on a cliff top I could have fallen from because my eighteen-year-old body carried the dull ache of a strung-up rabbit. I know I will find the bloody sheen of your wrists in a bathroom at the end of this poem ? I just wish in between these lines a bit of your life lived, if only for a moment. Abegail Morley: Grief: Stage 5 I give my wrist because it is the thinnest thing I own, because sometimes, most times, bones are all we can give. Sometimes, in circumstances like these, hallucinations are so clear I swear it is today, or maybe yesterday they happened in full colour. Piccadilly’s lights are still on full blast, the whole of Blackpool’s illuminations firing bright behind my eyes. Today you say that’s not it, tell me not to mourn my past and live in the present. I wade through it knee-deep, travel in slow motion. I call back to you to tell me where to tread, how hard, how soft, but still my feet rot in the wrong soil, fibrous. In my wilderness I occasionally look up, as if afraid of sunlight. Abegail Morley: Fire ants And they don’t die, they just keep spooling like breath and even when the path is swept free of soil they still pool in damp patches. You instruct me to stamp on them, and not to think so much, but I watch the rivulets pour, their rapid-cool bodies like endless traffic serpentining cracks, bridging gaps in the earth until next door’s dog starts howling as it never has before and I know that something terrible has happened over the fence. People are dropping glasses, cutlery, running across the lawn, and paper plates fall soundlessly, as if to blend in with the grass and sky that have waited quietly all day and remain unsurprised when the woman, next door, does what she did. And earlier when we were clearing the patio, you hosed me down as a joke, and the water spewed over the wisteria and the woman next door shouted because they had tablecloths laid out and a little awning, and you showed me scribbles in your notebook, mocked “her next door”, ran your fingers across a smeared page of words, said, Things can be lost for ever. Then shrugged as if it didn’t really matter. We are playing that game you do with a hose, when each spurt of water held back by the thumb is a word you’d like to say, or a curse, and you’re aiming at next door’s fence, covering and uncovering the hose with your thumb and I’m laughing because it sounds like Morse Code, and I am laughing because I am deciphering its meaning and you’re falling backwards into the magnolia bush, as if in slow motion, and the hose is unfurling into a magnificent plume and the woman next door is shouting. But all we want to do is sort out the ants. Last year a trail of them made their way inside the house, ran around the edges of the carpet right past the TV, so today we’re here, sentries at our posts, kettle in my hand, brush in yours. And I am still holding it, when everyone next door has dropped everything they are holding, and they’re running to the patio doors and something is happening, and then there is shrieking, and you’re poking me in the ribs and I let the kettle fall, don’t hear it crash on the patio, don’t feel the lick of boiling water on my legs, don’t know they can run that fast to the front door, to next door. When I hold her I know she’s already dead, and I watch an ant crawl across my shoulder, down my arm, and I hang on to her because she once told me, just after we moved in, that she’d rather die alone, and now a whole colony of relatives are picking their way through the doors and I can’t keep them back.
Carla Scarano: Ants One summer, after digging deep in the rear garden to pave it, ants climbed up our French window poking into the living room. Did we turn their lives upside down? At first they proceeded in scattered grouping then ordered queues. We sealed the French window with silicon, washed the floor with bleach, sprayed vinegar and water, added essential oils, lemon juice, baking soda, as prescribed. They came back every night, every day, a relentless army of black things, silent invaders, reclaiming our space. They reached the kitchen in due time, found their way to the shelves and cupboards, biscuit boxes, sugar jar, flour bags; the tiniest food remains, crumbs or juicy drops attracted hundreds. Growing in confidence they settled under the floor boards. We gave up, bought a bottle of ant killer powder – fast and effective lasting up to three months – sprinkled it around their paths. They disappeared in a day, of course, their insignificant bodies dissolving under our feet.
Stuart Pickford: How to Make a Parachute Picture the path down to the river; the effort’s not his own, free-falling through umbrellas of thistledown that toy with ideas of ease. A finch opens a wing, says pick a card, any card but sun’s translating the Norse for Nidd into shining waters. The thread of the run loops Horse-Shoe Field where he imagines the abandoned zoo, the baby elephant showering its head under Yorkshire skies, zebras behind their own bars. He jogs the waterfront with its streamers of silk at the weir, past the Claro laundry, where rows of war-time women in monochrome sewed star parachutes that held up flares to examine the night. A patch of apple trees seems tacked to a wedge of crumbly castle ruins stitched into a panel of viaduct pillars— as—just then—a train sails across the sky and the day bursts into its full canopy.
Brian Docherty: On A Clear Day (After Maureen Gallace, Sandy Road, 2003)
This is not a road, it is a destination. Nobody knows, not even us or the IRS, how we got here, what we did to get here. Is this an endless highway, or a coda to the Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion? You tell me & if I believe you, I’ll marry you. Oh, you’re not . . . not what? I don’t care if you’re Other, Whatever, we are all Resident Aliens here, why do you think the houses here lie at odd angles? Did you notice a white picket fence anywhere? Don’t be shy, you’ll get to know us all real soon, appreciate our quirks, learn Love Thy Neighbour. Oh, we used up all those Bibles years ago, and any other reading material we could find, it’s all good, all goes into our daily exchanges. We talk with each other all the time, on the porch, in the Supermarket, after dinner, we have a radio station, but we have no TV or radio out here. Oh sure, laptops, tablet, they’re not illegal, neither are most other things you can persuade to work, and someone might have spares. If you join us, bring some stuff we might need, or haven’t seen in a while, be ready to barter, and learn to love having folks round for meals. So, are we friends forever? I truly hope so, these mountains behind you are 40 miles away, first snowfall might be sooner than you think.
Bethany W Pope: Date Night Part 1: The Best Parents Last night, we were eating aubergines, sautéed with chilis and ground pork. It's a famous dish, in Nanchang, and Matthew is becoming adept with his chopsticks. The waitress brought another kettle of hot water, for our health, and her haircut, age and manner must have reminded him of his mother. He said, 'I just thought about when Emma and Darren announced that they were having Seb. They bought my parents that card. The one with the ducks on it. It had that cheesy line about how the best parents are rewarded by being promoted to grandparents. I think about that card all the time.’ I feel a colic-twist in my intestines every time this subject comes up. I asked him, again, if he's sure he doesn't mind. There was chili smoke burning up my eyes. Matthew shook his head, removed a slice of pepper from my plate with delicate precision. He said, 'No. It's your body, your mind, and I'd rather have the real you than hypothetical children, but I am seriously considering buying a copy of that card my sister got and mailing it to your parents.’ For a dish prepared with so many spices, the aubergines are surprisingly sweet. I said, to Matthew, 'Good luck finding one of those in China.’ The sauce left in the bowl, after the meal was greasy, spicy; floating with a few ghost seeds. Bethany W Pope: Date Night, Part 2: In the Eye The second-tallest Ferris Wheel in the world is right here in Nanchang. To get there, you have to travel for an hour via underground (so new that it still smells of fresh-poured plastic) and then walk past two miles of construction sites. They built it far-out, by the naked red edge of the green-watered river to make room for the ripples of expansion. The city is growing, swelling like the porous trunk of a tree. Soon, the round eye of the wheel will be the centre, not the edge. We walked through the permanent funfair, dodging children who darted past, then doubled back to stare at my skin and laugh at Matthew's great blonde shrub of a beard. Matthew asked me what we should do to buy the tickets. I had never been here before, either. I did what comes naturally, to me, in such circumstances. I stood back and watched. I followed the motions of the crowd as they moved from ticket booth (hidden, discreetly, behind a screen) to the entrance of the ride which gaped behind a cage of metal detectors on the other side of the park. I watched the customers. I noted what they said, and what they showed the security guards who stood on the platform, armed, but smiling as they filed past. Matthew told me, when we were in the air, after a smooth transition, that he couldn't manage what I do. He’d just try to blunder through from the beginning. I pointed out that his method would take twice as long, more with the language barrier. As we climbed, as I resisted the urge to risk his propensity for motion sickness by rocking the gondola, Matthew said, 'You do that a lot, you know. You watch what everyone around you is doing and then you monkey after them. You can't blend in. You never manage it. But you get whatever it is that you're after.’ He looked away from me, then, as he does whenever he's about to ask me something important. The blue lights of the city danced on his face, pooled in the heavy sockets of his eyes, 'Is it because you grew up with your father?’ I slid off of the bench, rested my chin on the metal where my ass had been and watched the moon flicker in the river. 'When the rules change every day, it's dangerous not to pause and read the weather.’ There was about a foot and a half of blind space between the seats and the floor, room enough to drag Matthew down with me and sway our carriage without being caught. A ride on the second highest Ferris Wheel in the world lasts the better part of an hour. I am prone to taking advantage of silence.
Arthur Russell: Hulk Tee-Shirt I had that happen with an old girlfriend, at a party we both wound up at, in the doorway to the kitchen in this person’s house we neither of us knew very well, where I went in for a cheek kiss, and her lips half pivoted, and we met corner lip to corner lip. I think lips have fingerprints, and the other person’s lips are lip readers, like fingerprint readers, so, when two lips touch, one reads the other, inner elevator doors slide open, and libraries shoot the gap; a leaning on a light-switch kiss. We would have to move even if it was only a few feet towards the bathroom, because another kiss was coming, and that one involved our hands on the back of each other’s heads, ear touching, nose breathing, time travel, a knee becoming wedged between thighs amid the silly framed photos that some people insist on mounting the whole length of their hallways, why? because they’ve seen this overstuffed style of decoration in some English country-house magazine but they don’t have a country house, so, I was staring at a kid in a red and blue striped jersey decorated with an embroidered canoe, and after that, we went back to the party and didn’t hang out. Five whole days, I didn’t want anything: food, sex, argument, money, sleep, nothing, from one kiss in the hallway of a Sackett Street apartment, in the brownstone of people I barely knew. I didn’t want to see her, but I left the tee shirt I’d been wearing -- black, with a picture of The Hulk lunging forward behind a fist -- hanging on the doorknob of my bedroom, charged with the calmness of waters smoothed by a big boat passing, and nothing more was needed until the waves broke back, and even though I’d left it hanging there for weeks, I did finally wash it; but I wouldn’t wear it anymore, so, it kept sinking further down into the stack of tee shirts in my tee-shirt drawer, until it reached the bottom. Arthur Russell: Faces He was the brother to whom it fell to sell his parents’ house, travelling down to Charlottesville all those years, to visit both, then one of them, then just the house. In the room where he’d read books as a child, other than the oxygen tank beside the recliner that replaced the wing chair he had loved, little had changed: dried hydrangeas, brocade drapes, an oil painting of a clipper ship lunging through the sea. There were secret faces in the abstract pattern of the wallpaper. He’d recognized them first at seven, like the moon behind a scrim of trees, and after pretending to ignore them, peeked again, and saw a whole tribe of faces around the room, with crayon jaws and heavy eyes, most obscured, in part, by drapes or chairs; but the one above the radiator, like an Easter Island moai, was chief of the faces, the one with whom he’d parlayed and made peace, and acknowledged, as men do, nodding subtly when he passed through the room; the one who held his gaze to dam his tears when his parents fought; held him to account when he lied or acted mean to girls; and understood him well enough to help him draft, as he turned 18, the articles by which he left home for the world.
Nicholas Lyon Gresson: Departure What have we left behind? The pathway steps to the letterbox the rubbish bins crammed with Xmas debris those discarded books in the shed. By the wall a red flower pot cracked by time that roof drip by the gardenia we skirt the jammed window in the bathroom the hostile nail heads in the deck. No Ferrari sitting idle in the garage but the broom is there. And from the trees to the deck the birds will dive in flight their birdbath waiting for the next rain. We have left our valley in a quiet time anecdotes hold warmth for a while the neighbours will miss us or not and the tide will wash in and out across the mangrove flats. A new year begins cloud shadows loiter bold promises will wait a while old laughter leans on the skies and tireless bees will find the next flower.
Robert Nisbet: Private Crabtree’s Shed The summer we were two and three years old, the Nazi force surrendered, the cataclysm ended. And so many local boys returned. They’d been bombed, torpedoed, shot at, spat on, shat on, and we knew little of that. At eight and nine, we had Palace Cinema heroes, cleft-chinned men with dialogue of Jerry, chaps, old man, good show, while our Pembrokeshire barber, Normandy hero, gossiped at length about the local football club. The boy from two doors up had twice survived Atlantic convoys. We knew him as Don’s brother. So that was the war, postwar, in Merlin’s Lane. But as we ferried to the woods in small boy ranks we passed and derided Mrs. Crabtree’s shed, tumbling into bramble and growth and disrepair. We didn’t realise till adulthood, didn’t connect the facts of the widow and the unfinished shed. The rest of the house was neat, and Mrs. Crabtree went to whist and the W.I., but she left the shed as it was, shaped now by rain and hedgelife’s order. By the time an inheriting nephew pulled it down, the shed had become our icon, the embedded frame of Private Crabtree’s pre-war plans of home memorialised by the mass of moss and honeysuckle, and the ash tree growing and splitting wide the roof.
Malcolm Carson: Edgar and his chronicler Who are you who places me in such odd circumstance, in times incongruous to mine, allows me to speak in language I couldn’t know? And then you dare to fancy how I might feel in time’s disjuncture, let alone when family turns upon itself. Still, I’ll not spin round on chance of catching you spying behind the transept column, or playing wildfowler on Solway’s flats, for then would my adventures cease, and I’d be folded back into the pages of a play, my story just that of a grieving son, a brother wronged, who, though still victorious, is just another in a dramatis personae. Much better to let you do as you will, though the time may come when I’ll chide you for too much liberty. So, be careful how you tread, whoever you are. The Edgar of this and the other poems in my sequence is, of course, the much-maligned half-brother
of Edmund in King Lear. In this case he questions the person who has been following him from his first
appearance bait digging on Cleethorpes beach to most recently expressing his disdain for the political
class. He ranges through time and place, so I never can be sure where he might appear.
John-Christopher Johnson: Involved I held a chisel when Michelangelo prevaricated for one moment. Dipped a quill in ink guiding Shakespeare's hand whilst he was suffering from shingles. I inadvertently smudged a cloudscape in one of Turner's paintings due to my own clumsiness. I stupidly fiddled with a violin as Mozart frowned made me feel like a pariah- something expelled and forgotten. I completed the last sentence of Tolstoy's War and Peace'; a lapse in concentration, he stumbled for words. I stared at Alexander Fleming from head to toe as he spluttered over a bacillus – his expression contained a greenish hue. Einstein thought I was crazy when I stated E= mc2 was baby arithmetic. I disagreed with Galileo (on purpose) emphasizing that the sun rotated round the earth. Suggested to Charles Darwin apes were descended from trilobites. His jaws clenched like a man being electrocuted. Leonardo da Vinci almost spat at me when I said 'The Last Supper' would look better painted in acrylics. I advised Isaac Newton to think again. Joked with Michael Faraday about how each of us was living in the dark. I fenced with Goethe stabbing Faust in the heart until both of them bled crimson tears of despair. I held a sponge to Christ's lips as his final gasps echoed in the hills and fields surrounding Jerusalem.
Peter Daltrey: Saints Your saints remember you Your palatial heart And all those rooms you never used Where no music thrived Where the soft wing brush of melody died Your saints remember you All the trees that lined your parade Tended by your fallow hands Felled by clowns All the false comedic thrills that brought them down Your saints remember you Your Picasso sense of dress The colour-field of your studio walls The broken threads The landscape contours of your much abused bed Your saints remember you The wine and wafers The kneeling at roadside dives and dens The bright gold leaf The precious veneer on your self portrait of love and grief Your saints remember you The clock face that always lied The timed delay of your dishonesty Rooms of dust The years it took to erode my trust Your saints remember you All that bonhomie Your Riviera flight and spin Your deceitful dance The way you cocked your head at circumstance Your saints remember you The wealth and the disease The contracts you signed in haste The black and the blue Never forget: Your saints remember you
Edmund Prestwich: Gethsemane After “Christ in Gethsemane”, in the Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry, painted 1412 - 1416 Light and sudden as a dream, he stands in blue-grey night, under thronging stars. For all the halo round his head his face is dark with sorrow, looking down with infinite compassion. Men sprawl round his feet armoured like the dead at Agincourt. Torches burn in their hands forgotten on the ground, their eyes are all shut tight. These men have come to take and kill him if they can; yet there’s no violence in the lovely scene: a night of stars, a hill, dim sleepers; and him, his halo brightening like dawn; as if the dead could dream their redeemer.
Noel Williams: The cave Only when I cracked the paracetamol in two, to press a fragment of relief against your crumbling lip did I discover something like forgiveness. Like a child with Scarlet Fever, the curtains all but shut I brushed the web of hair from your forehead. Looking up you wanted to discover any familiar thing in me to thank. Instead you found fear, a shadow of what-was flickering like the vanguard of what-might-come. Touching the wax of your forehead put gentle horror in my fingertips. Some stranger lives in you, like a creature who has never shown herself, now crouching in the cave bewildered by herself. Noel Williams: Lifeblood Once a West Indian brickie picked me up on the Madingley Road in a rusted Austin A35. Hold the door shut, lad, it sometimes flies open. and don’t mind the glimpse of road between your feet. I’ll buy a mat to cover that first chance I get. He was between jobs since the problem with his heart but life goes on and surely you mustn’t grumble. When I told him where I headed in young despair to see my life’s love, flouting the college, absurdly given up to that December night, he detoured thirty miles to bring me close. His life once depended from a woman like dew on a thread of web. Even her pain he’d cherished, trying to draw it from her veins to his while she’d lived. When he dropped me on the ring road and I watched the single tail light rattle into dawn, at once I lost his name, running through the hinterland of woods to wake my lover, to wake the day.
Charles D Tarlton: Ekphrastic Tanka Prose on, The Bridge by Egon Schiele 1913, oil on canvas, 89.7 x 90.5 cm., private collection. . 1 Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it
cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they
transcend every faculty of the mind. – Immanuel Kant She was so beautiful; how could he not love her? She sat across the table, looking down into her tea, and said nothing. He was afraid to talk, but the moment called for him to say something. “I love you,” he said, suddenly, but she knew no English. He reached across the table and took hold of her hand. “No! no! Yo no puedo. Soy casado,” she said. they put up a bridge where the river ran between the Mexican town of Ojinaga and Presidio Texas. People come and go on the Mexican side they speak Spanish quickly on the Texas side there’s the hint of a drawl a little bit of y’all but that’s what a bridge does, create the illusion of synthesis we cross over and come back a river runs between us . 2 This I say is the present moment; this is the first day of the summer holidays. This is part of the emerging monster to whom we are attached. - Virginia Woolf If they were alive, and they were all agreed they were, why wasn’t that enough, why
did they have to push and probe, asking all the time what being alive meant? No one
remembers coming into the world, but they do remember when the others did, when
children were born, for example. No one knows nothing of dying, but they have all
seen others die, seen the erasure in that. All we know for sure is that we are here
now, we know the moment of being here. Remember the old man who always
dreamed about running, but had no legs? the answer to the question of life might be found on the other side. But first we have to cross over; but then who would we tell? bridges in the mind lead you to something better but you climb into the beams and trusses and find so much is unsupported we are all hoping for a bridge, for the road not to end in mid air were you never, sometimes, most of the time, or always fair? . 3 The very thing that makes you rich makes me poor... — Ry Cooder The young Egon Schiele erased the houses and boulevards that could actually be seen
on the opposite shore and replaced them with this row of stark telegraph poles
leading into the barren hills. He made this a bridge to nowhere in particular, and
then added the prow of an antique fluvial barge just coming into view in the muddy
river. This is the old wooden bridge the locals nicknamed Kecskemebad, the “goat-
legged” bridge that joined Belváros, the touristic “old town” section of Györ, and
Révfalut, a more fashionable district. But this is just the ghost of that actual bridge, a
bridge long since destroyed, a bridge no one crosses any more. when a bridge comes down then the distant shore marches away, familiar landmarks lose their consequence we turn back nonchalantly then we lust to cross whatever river stands between us and the distant shore, the trees all bedazzled we imagine golden trees it’s in the essence of a bridge that it connects separated things but, still, you can only ever be in one place at a time
Katherine Gallagher: Sky-dancer a clear lolly moon keeping counsel over our road she sashays slowly focusing the sky tide-maker heavenly waltzer serene in the moment with no pirouettes tango no cake-walk she’s an old face at home in her skin
Angela France: Blind I would see in the dark if I could channel stone-light through my feet granite’s smoky glow the changing shades of sandstone but the roads and carparks weep fake rainbows to block pores and baffle sound The trees know there is still light they can draw through vein and branch which strengthens roots to crack and lift paving slabs they talk in stone-words under earth to whisper of breath and survival and they know we can’t see in the dark
Rodney Wood: Francis And Mary Ipisbhe And the last rites were essential in a time of religion in which the fear of hell and the purgatory were huge. People had to be collected and thrown into mass graves; ditches, that were filled to the top with dead bodies. www.deathblack.wordpress.com a rescue boat sparkling on the horizon / then something went wrong an august afternoon / the dinghy leaves Tripoli / a rescue boat sparkling on the horizon an august afternoon / the dinghy leaves Tripoli / then something went wrong then I no longer feel her arms round my neck / she loses herself in the lunatic sea her braids copper over my shoulders / then I no longer feel her arms round my neck her braids copper over my shoulders / she loses herself in the lunatic sea a cathedral of migrants lost since 2013 / only 1 in 10 rancid bodies make the sun
where are the poems that survive past pain / a cathedral of migrants lost since 2013 where are the poems that survive past pain / only 1 in 10 rancid bodies make the sun the government doesn’t identify the bodies / the DA is only interested in the traffickers Francis needs to wake Mary with a cup of tea / the government doesn’t identify the bodies Francis needs to wake Mary with a cup of tea / the DA is only interested In the traffickers https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/03/migrant-love-story-voyage-sicily-ended-in-tragedy-drowned-grave
Ricky Garni: The Pounding Resumé BOOM BOOM BOOM goes the music to that TV show. And the hefty detective, a real boozer, gives chase to the small-time mafioso with the rug. The rug is upon his head. The detective does not fail to mention that as he pounds him in a ceremonious fashion not once, nor twice, but thrice with his bruisèd fists and in a way devoid of affection, situated in front of the old deli Which they tore down, what, over twenty years ago I reckon. My, but their pastrami was to die for. Their egg creams – a little taste of heaven. Forgive me for this aside: I am a sentimental old fool and I miss this melody of sweetness. Permit me to digress and hold onto a deli gone by, if only for a moment – and then, please, let the pounding resume.
Thomas Calder: Stature The small policeman is always alert. Making use of his stature To outsmart the taller ones. “Something for everyone” He is known to say, of an evening At after work drinks. Only, The words come from too far down To reach anyone. They mistake him For a sad man. Must be, At a height like that. But They are half the man He is, And he is at least twice The half man, he appears. He picks up the laughs That fall on the ground, And tries again.
Frances Lombardi-Grahl: Where Are the Grownups Now? Not him with the spiked yellow hair and nose ring who automatically discounts my movie ticket rather than ask for my ID. Or that new doctor who writes me a prescription without having touched my body, assuming (though correctly) that I’m only here for the pills. When my dental hygienist tells me she picks the bubble gum flavor each time she has a cleaning, I feel that the era of grownups has come to an end. What has become of those stately, bespectacled figures who we used to look up to with awe? The less they said, the more we believed they knew, grownups who wore their roles from head to toe and never mistook us for equals.
Angela Kirby: Ten Things I Knew When I Was Young Jesus , Our Lady and my Guardian Angel loved me. Mr Churchill and the Home Guard would save me. My four brothers might not come home My friends Amos and Enoch drowned in the mill pool Cuts between finger and thumb can cause lockjaw. Standing by open manholes could give me typhoid. Bilberries will make the best Summer Pudding. Horlicks at bedtime cures Night Starvation. If I prayed hard enough the bombs might miss me. Denis Owen the fisherman was absolutely perfect.
Thomas Ovans: Leaving Europe I don’t know why I took the middle lane but when I did so I got caught behind a lorry
at a red light and that was when they started putting cones across the road I'd planned
to take and then I had to make a U-turn, find another way of getting out of Paris – which
meant escaping from this grubby arrondissement and its bleak grey streets which kept on
ending up in car parks till I met two English girls with DPhils earned in Sussex and got
directions from them while I let my phone ring unreplied-to in my brief case. My problem now was that I had been hired as an assassin and, since my plans had all been
changed, I’d have to catch my victim/client at his hotel near the ferry port and in the middle
of his farewell party; but I rapidly decided I would stab him through the window curtains
from the balcony and afterwards escape by simply walking calmly through the room -- a
harmless stranger among guests – which I’d surely get away with since no one ever really
knows who’ll turn up at a leaving do. Well, do they?
R G Jodah: The Army Song (or Reassurance and Comfort) It's a ploy of pure genius, none thought this could happen. Now listen to the cheers, from the Army of Gammon. Aroused, they are chanting: "Be silent, deniers!" On their march from the provinces, boroughs and shires. From the counties, the hundreds, the ridings, the coasts, from the Fens to the Levels – a Bellicose Host. Their full forms dilating, their wide eyes a-glisten, their small, swollen hearts and round, burning bosoms. All choler and colour, indignant, demanding, they've grown most impatient, they're lumbering, chuntering: "Right there, it's so close, it's almost in reach, it's our crowning achievement. Lads 'unto the breach'!'' It's a ploy of rare genius, none thought it could happen, but listen to the cheers from the Army of Gammon. Good Old Master Minford, our craftsman of choice, he can make what we need, a strong platform. Rejoice! With those red, white and blue prints, their dot-dotted lines, who is there who won't wonder at this, so sublime? So we work day and night, though our sinews may burst, we'll be finished by Christmas – (end of March at the worst). We shall stockpile and pile stock, amass, heap, collect us a canned cornucopia, we hoard, stack, erect. Every one shall be processed, tinned, brined or sealed, durable, buildable, cured or congealed: that we might come together to molehill a mountain, to out ben Ben Nevis. A Stairway to Heaven 's a ploy, one of genius, none thought it could happen, come listen to the cheers from the Army of Gammon. Hike the pot-noodle foothills, the scree of sardines, past the slabs of fish-fingers, the bollards of Brie, up the arête of spaghetti, the grated cheese fields, to that big wall of Walls with its flash frozen meals. You may merkel a hamper if you find you are famished, by the buttress of butter, have an M&S sandwich. Fulfilled, don't remain, pick a route, choose a line find a spur in the crowds, shouting, "climb Gammon, climb!" It's a ploy, one of genius, none thought it could happen, just listen to the cheers from the Army of Gammon. It's our elevated access, this exalted peak. See us rise, how we'll thrive, with our hi-tech techniques. take the upside, no downsides, just make the ascent, blaze a trail, all may follow, our noble intent! Yet the question persists, can you answer it true, are you willing or wanting? – 'Does this country need you?' Right then, gird up your loins, you be lions my lambs, belay not delay, scale the Summit of Spam! There at last, d'you see it? Yes you do! Make it known, it's the bright sunlit uplands, where the unicorns roam. What a ploy, what a genius, none thought it would happen, now listen to the cheers - Cheers! Cheers! - from the Army of Gammon.
Utsav Kaushik: Paper rolling I feel perplexed, bewildered, flabbergasted, ironically, When the quotidian Express is delivered without Prime; No concerns regarding getting things done on time. Well, what time is it? Eight o’clock already, look what the Chef did, He’s sliced onions before now, though we’re yet away And I have no intention of eating without the paper Carrying all the spices that my mind needs to digest the whole day As well as those essential calories that happen to burn while reading “2+2”. In the meantime, Mattis and Pompeo would add virgin oil to my salad. O phew! The Smell, unsavoury, obnoxious, disgusting like crude oil. O hell no! Not from a chary Sheikh living in the deserts, a Mussulman. No Sir! Our Chef doesn’t like my doing business with such people. To tell you frankly, I can’t even afford the Chef’s company. But the doctor says: To remove the friction out of your living, bear a smiling face And do not refuse the Chef if he sprinkles a little strategy on to your plate. We can’t muddle through this kinship you know! But we need to stay in the town
And then there’s our community. What face do you think we could make By refusing to dine in his restaurant; definitely a Chinese or Russian made. So much for friendship, so much for onions. They bring tears to my eyes, So does the “Masala” and this Indian rupee note rolling out of my pocket. Somebody catch it! My notes are rolling away, fallen by mischance out of my pocket Flown by the strong wind of the table fan standing next to me. These little commitments, To customer-oriented services; a drop of sweat rolling down my forehead. In anticipation, smiling like a full-blown devil, the Chef said: U.S made. Notes This poem refers to The Indian Express newspaper the Amazon Prime delivery company,
the US Defence Secretary James Mattis and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “2+2” refers to a meeting between ministers from different countries Masala bonds are issued outside India but denominated in Rupees, not the local currency.
Back to poet list…
Helen Burke has written poetry for 45 years, widley published all her three main collections with Valley Press and with www.krazyphils.co.uk. She writes children’s books, is a visual artist and hosts a poetry and music radio show for East Leeds fm radio
Hatty Calbus has had poems in “the usual poetry magazines” and also in The Morning Star and The Tablet. She lives in West London and also does some writing for the Church press.
Thomas Calder is a young creative from Australia, with a career in songwriting under the moniker “Daggy Man” and a background in film-making.
Marisa Cappetta’s first collection How to tour the world on a flying fox was published by Steele Roberts in 2016. In 2013 Marisa received a mentorship from the New Zealand Society of Authors, with mentor James Norcliffe. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Hagley Writers’ Institute and is the winner of the Hagley Writers’ Institute Margaret Mahy prize. She has been published in Takah?, The Press, International Literary Quarterly, Enamel, Shot Glass Journal, Snorkel, Blackmail Press, Turbine, Landfall, as well as several anthologies. She has had two poem posters made by Phantom Bill Stickers.
Malcolm Carson was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. He moved to Belfast withhis family before returning to Lincolnshire, becoming an auctioneer and then a farm labourer. He studied English at Nottingham University, and then taught in colleges and universities. He now lives in Carlisle, Cumbria. He has had three full collections published by Shoestring Press: Breccia (2006), Rangi Changi and other poems (2011), and Route Choice (2016), as well as a pamphlet, Cleethorpes Comes to Paris (2014). A fourth collection is due out in 2019
Claire Crowther has published four pamphlets and three poetry collections with Shearsman. The first, Stretch of Closures, was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Prize. Her latest collection is On Narrowness. She is co-editor of Long Poem Magazine
Peter Daltrey was born in Bow, but now live in Wiltshire. He has been writing all his life. He is a musician and songwriter. He won fourth prize in the Eileen Berry Poetry Awards at the Winchester Poetry Festival and first prize in an over-eighteen section of a national poetry competition run by Oxfam with over eight hundred entries. He has had several poems and prose pieces published in the little magazines.
Brian Docherty lives in East sussex as part of a growing community of writers, artists and musicians. He has published six books, most recently In My Dreams, Again (Penniless Press, 2017) and Only in St. Leonards:A Year on the Marina (Special Sorts Press, 2017).
Angela France’s publications include ‘Occupation’ (2009), ‘Lessons in Mallemaroking’ (2011) and ‘Hide’ (2013). Her latest collection, The Hill came out in July 2017 with Nine Arches Press. Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings. She runs a reading series in Cheltenham, ‘Buzzwords’.
Mary Franklin has had poetry published in numerous print and online magazines and anthologies including Ink Sweat and Tears, Iota, London Grip, Message in a Bottle, The Open Mouse and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Born in Canada, her adult life has been divided between London, Birmingham, Calgary and Vancouver, where she currently lives.
Maggie Freeman’s poems have been published in Stand and Acumen. Her historical novel Daughter of the Sea is due to be republished by Sapere Books this November. She lives in East London.
Katherine Gallagher is an Australian-born North London poet. Her 6 th full collection, Acres of Light. (Arc Publications, 2016) follows her Carnival Edge: New & Selected Poems (Arc, 2010). Candlestick Press recently commissioned a Christmas Lights poem for their 2018 Christmas publication.www.katherine-gallagher.com
Ricky Garni grew up in Florida and Maine, was educated at Exeter and Duke, and has lived off and on in the Triangle since 1977. Over the years he has worked as a teacher, wine merchant, studio musician, composer and graphic designer. He began writing poetry in 1978, and has produced over forty volumes of prose and poetry since 1995. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize on seven occasions.
Nicholas Lyon Gresson QSM was born in 1939 in Christchurch, New Zealand, into one of New Zealand’s foremost legal families. He has produced four books of poetry, A Life In Poetry 2011, Walking With Time 2013, A Gathering 2015, The Writing Point 2018, all published by Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne. As well, he has recently completed a large auto-ethnographic saga, On Family Ground traversing the lives of five generations of the Gresson family in Ireland and New Zealand—and notably the four Supreme Court Judges in his family. His QSM awarded in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II was for his work with the police against illegal drugs and his community work in mental health.
Stuart Handysides’ poems have appeared in Presence, London Grip New Poetry, Pennine Platform and South. He has run the Ware Poets competition for several years.
Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voices counts
R.G. Jodah lives in London, enjoying metropolitan anonymity. Most recently: The Lampeter Review, Typishly, Dream Catcher, Southlight, LightenUp Online, London Grip.
John-Christopher Johnson’s poems have appeared in Agenda, The North, Orbis, Other Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, Iota, and shortly in ‘ The Journal’ and many other poetry magazines over the years. He is also writing a novel at the moment which he is about a third way through.
Tess Jolly has been widely published in UK magazines and commended or placed in several competitions, including the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition and the Stanza Poetry Competition. She has won the Hamish Canham Prize and the Anne Born Prize, both run by the Poetry Society, and has published two pamphlets: Touchpapers with Eyewear and Thus the Blue Hour Comes with Indigo Dreams.
Utsav Kaushik’s voice is deep set in the grey shades of North India. His poetry boldly speaks for those voices that have been silenced,. His poems have been published in London Grip, The Paragon Journal, The Anapest, Indian Review, Hawaii Review, Ashvamegh, The Literary Flight, Ink Sweat & Tears, Indian Ruminations, Linden Avenue Literary, etc.
Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire, has also lived in France and spend time in Spain and the USA. She now lives in London. Her widely published poems have been translated into Romanian and won several prizes and commendations including BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year twice. Her 5th collection comes out in 2019
Frances Lombardi-Grahl is a member of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets in Rutherford, New Jersey. She has published in several Red Wheelbarrow anthologies, as well as in the publications Lips, The Paterson Review, and Italian Americana.
Abegail Morley’s most recent collection is The Skin Diary (Nine Arches). Her debut was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. She was “One of the Five British Poets to Watch in 2017” (Huffington Post), edits The Poetry Shed and is co-editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has been published in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA, in the latter case quite regularly in San Pedro River Review, Red River Review and Panoply, which made him one of its Featured Poets in their Fall 2017 issue.
James Norcliffe has published nine collections of poetry including Shadow Play 2013 and Dark Days at the Oxygen Café 2016. Recent work has appeared in Acumen, Landfall, Spillway, The Cincinnati Review, Salamander, and Flash Fiction International (Norton, 2015) . In 2010 he took part in the XX International Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia and in 2011 the Trois Rivieres International Poetry Festival in Quebec. He was a guest poet at the Crypt, St Mary’s Islington, in 2017.
Keith Nunes lives in tiny Pahiatua, New Zealand. He won the 2017 Flash Frontier Short Fiction Writing Award and has been published around the globe. His Foto-Poetry has appeared in many literary journals and his book of poetry/short fiction, “catching a ride on a paradox”, is out there.
Thomas Ovans is Irish and came to London in the mid 1990s. He has been a serious reader of poetry for many years and is now a regular reviewer for London Grip. He sometimes publishes poems of his own.
Stuart Pickford is the recipient of an Eric Gregory award. His first collection, The Basics, was published by Redbeck Press (2002) and shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection prize. His second collection, Swimming with Jellyfish (2016), was published by smith/doorstop. Stuart lives in Harrogate and teaches in a local comprehensive school.
Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as ‘poetry as salvation’…..’This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.’ Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016.
Edmund Prestwich has published two collections, Through the Window with Rockingham Press and Their Mountain Mother with Hearing Eye. He grew up in South Africa, but finished his education in England and has spent his working life teaching English at the Manchester Grammar School.
Arthur Russell lives in Nutley, New Jersey. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Wilderness House Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, Yellow Chair Review, Red Wheelbarrow #9, #10 and #11 and many other publications.
Carla Scarano D’Antonio obtained her MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She self-published a poetry pamphlet, A Winding Road, and is working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood at the university of Reading. She and Keith Lander won the first prize of the Dryden Translation Competition 2016 with translations of Eugenio Montale’s poems. http://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/
Charles D. Tarlton is a retired university professor who has been writing poetry since 2006. A collection of his ekphrastic prosimetra, Touching Fire, will appear from Kyso Flash Books in 2019.
Noel Williams is the author of Out of Breath (Cinnamon, 2014) and Point Me at the Stars (Indigo Dreams, 2017). He’s published quite widely. He’s co-editor of Antiphon (antiphon.org.uk), Associate Editor for Orbis (www.orbisjournal.com), reviewer for The North and Envoi and an occasional writing mentor. Blog: https://noelwilliams.wordpress.com
Rodney Wood published his first pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice (Red Ceiling Press), last year. He has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. He jointly runs an open mic at The Lightbox in Woking.