Feb 28 2019
This issue of London Grip New Poetry features:
* Angela Kirby *Kerrin P Sharpe *Jim C Wilson *Miki Byrne *Lisa Reily *Nancy Mattson
* Joan Byrne *Rosemary Norman *M E Muir *Melanie Branton * Stuart Pickford
*Amelia Hickman *Mark Carson *Wendy Klein *D S Maolalai *Jakky Bankong-Obi
*Antony Johae *Tristan Moss * Norbert Hirschhorn * Jock Stein * Keith Nunes
* Thomas Tyrrell *Teoti Jardine * Jeri Onitskansky * E A M Harris * Christopher Georgiou
*Stephen Bone *Pamela Job *Bruce Barnes *Josh Ekroy *Ian C Smith
Copyright of all poems remains with the contributors
Biographical notes on contributors can be found here
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LG new poetry Spring 2019
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We have put the EU flag at our masthead for a second time as we prepare this posting of new poetry for the first of March 2019 when we may be on the verge of Brexit. Or not. Either way, this issue includes a couple of poems which touch upon the matter which has dominated British politics for around three years.
But is it fanciful to think that quite a few of the other poems display an undercurrent of anxiety caused by (even if not explicitly attributed to) Brexit? Probably it is fanciful – not least because many of our contributors come from outside the British Isles and may well have other matters which concern them. Furthermore the richness of the human spirit is such that we are rarely so obsessed with any one thing that we cannot divert ourselves by dwelling on something else.
Poetry gives us a lens through which to look at all aspects of this complex world – and it also provides the blank sheet of paper which, like a photographic plate, allows us to record what we see, while adjusting the framing, the focus and the depth of field. This stream-of-consciousness, off-the-cuff metaphor has rather taken your editor by surprise. But it is nonetheless rather apt because it chimes with an interestingly varied group of camera poems which await the reader towards the end of this issue.
London Grip poetry editor
Forward to first poet
Angela Kirby: A Present from Wales Our first holiday, we took the train to Holyhead, then the little train. Did I dream the woman falling through that half open window, her blood across the pane? Don’t look, my mother said, and turned my face away into her lap. New luggage hung over us in brown nets, above sepia photographs of Morecambe, Rhyll, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay. We swung along the coast on single track, the long dreamed of sea a silver edge to our horizon, unbearably far away. In sheltered harbourage, the evening lay calm, dinghies and fishing boats adrift at slack tide anchorage, slap slap amongst the gulls, a black line of bladderwrack strung out along the shore marked tomorrow’s limit to my bravery. That night the dying light fell through the blue check curtains of my room, set pinpoints of light on the wall’s well charted geography. I launched myself on a waterway of dreams, impatient for landfall on the brink of morning. Outside the sea sucked in its breath, then sighing breathed again and whispering, threw itself against the land. I dipped my hand in clear water and woke to find the day at my feet, the sun swimming free between the white flecked shoals of my sky high hopes and the neat starfish in mirror pools. The week unwrapped itself before us, spilling shells, winkles, shrimps, a lucky dip of pebbles, into our waiting pails. I have some here on my window sill, A Present from Wales. And still in dreams I see the woman fall, and still the blood streams down across the glass, across the rubble and my brother’s back where the long wounds crawl. Along the bay, seaweed lies red upon the sand. It is not easy to throw souvenirs away.
Kerrin P Sharpe: she falls like no-one's there a sudden rickety step turns her heel she crashes against a brick wall as sudden as crows a curate appears his cassock a novena of buttons his biretta dark as a church porch his Latin litany free falling calling the old saints and before the sirens gush of gulls clots of rain and before the undertaker lights four angel candles in his South Street window or dusts that willow casket the curate anoints her
Jim C Wilson: The Gospel Truth I went to a cathedral, the other day, to hear a requiem. How was I to know there would be a collection? Someone put the velvet bag, smelling of old hymns, into my hands and I, staring at stone, passed it on to stranger. Should I have offered up some bits of silver, if only for appearance? I was still in doubt when the verger threw open a side door and let the cold December wind enter the building and my heart. But then I only entered in to hear a requiem, among the flickering candles.
Miki Byrne: Before I brush your lapels. You stand in your dark suit. The one you only wear for two occasions and duty sits on your shoulder. A clean shirt, a hardly-seen tie and money for the collection plate ready in a pocket. You will stand, silent, respectful. Keep your back straight, shoulders back. Won’t allow a tear and will whisper The Lord’s Prayer with them all. You know the ritual, even gain something from it. I hope it is cathartic and that saying goodbye eases your heart. In the depths of your quiet dignity, only I know you are in pain. Miki Byrne: Man in the Entry My neighbour: rheumy eyed, shabby, dustily fragrant. Dips into my bin. Takes paper rubbish and twists it through chain-link that edges the back entry. Pushes each piece half-way to hang through the fence like a blossoming bow tie. I stand intrigued, as print, cardboard, colour and ink grow like abstract art. He adds, adjusts, covers metres. Pushes and twists with grubby arthritic fingers. I think of dementia, frailties, as I watch the creation of this urban installation. Eye to a knot hole, I am uncomfortable in my voyeurism. He picks and places, tears and stuffs, obsessed and silent. I am concerned about the cold, his age. Wonder if I should call somebody.
Lisa Reily: a quiet neighbour we are disappearing; even the leftover soap we take to spare the world our waste, the last trace of us erased. sometimes we both don’t sleep on our last night, as if we are moving for the first time, excited holidaymakers; but we are used to leaving, shifting, only to start up, to make home, again. there is something clean in carrying the same two bags, finding our way around a town, the cheapest groceries, where to get a haircut; how to say good morning in a foreign tongue, to eat and drink a village, adopt new tastes, and learn to love them. we cannot find our home—we thought we would— the yin and yang of staying; a quiet neighbour becomes a building site, restaurant music in May, the blare of a nightclub in August, the stray dog we love turns into a pack that howls, keeps us awake at night. and so we begin a new cycle of love and annoyance, knowing we’ll never have to settle for any of it.
Nancy Mattson: Woman as island Creatures of erosion have kneaded these stones into loaves flat enough for her to pierce with a hand drill, string them together on old rope to make a wreath for the door she’s painted with tar Her children are spirals of reclaimed wire their feet stuck in pebble beds their scarves knitted with Chorda filum bootlaces of dead men dried by salt and wind She feeds herself on mackerel smoked in a blackened hut over shavings of scrub oak and pine waits for the March ferry to arrive Nancy Mattson: A wife’s lament My bread never rises although I knead it with fists and the heels of my hands until it is round as a stone My dishes are never clean although I wash them with my underwear and rinse them in cold water My clothes never fit me although I steal them from the overstuffed boudoir of my husband’s mistress
Joan Byrne: Hyacinth blues I dismissed the children snapped-shut the laptop switched off the news silenced my lover and listened to the hyacinth its blueness unsheathing from a pot on my table
Rosemary Norman: Striped The artist’s t-shirt is striped with the stripe of a child playing on a beach or a sailor drowning. It’s high visibility, striped, dresses the child to ward off the future, drowning and high visibility hazard. Or, something subtler, seen to warn of the future stripes get the blame for hazard or something. Subtler than good and evil, more’s the blame on artists’ stripes for all the doubt forbidden in good-and-evil wars of absolute stripe. You flags of no doubt, forbidding light, even, its play on colour, your absolute over-stripe stripes flags on artists’ t-shirts. Rosemary Norman: Blasphemy is the name I heard given in conversation – by a Catholic believer but no matter – to the 1980 shooting of Archbishop Oscar Romero serving mass (whereas 36 years on, Fr Jacques Hamel is “beheaded” – clumsy job compare Becket, 1170, disembrained). And I want the word rethought for the sake of all of us to include driving without due care, also the dropping of gum in the street – who knows what angel might find its foot adhere at every step to pavements cracked already, that now resist mending?
M E Muir: Transformation There's a new piazza outside South Ken tube where the guy in a khaki hat plays sad guitar over the blots of bird-grey gum that stick on her tired shoes and carry her depression into the high arcade as she smoothes grey hair with tentative mottled hands. On the anarchic staircase she finds the comfort of a wooden handrail fights down that crowd-dark warzone No Entry – Rightside – Leftside – tries to locate her magic Freedom Pass. At the automated barriers, her pockets shout stress till the wide gate for problem seniors opens at last and shaky elbows push through the roundabout of crowds the kids in line with high-viz teachers losing it for the dinosaurs. But hang on tight and make the final stretch down eight more pockmarked steps to platform one where sudden startling daylight sun-scattered blitz bounces its brilliance over high signage to call her past the yellow-banded sand bins and plane trees lined with singing golden leaves. Her buddleia opens purple on the high brick wall and guides her so she finds her seat under the soaring sycamore where she will spend her afternoon tranformed to the beauty she always wears in the sunshine at the end of platform one on South Kensington Underground station.
Melanie Branton: Daylight Saving My clock is still on British Summertime, one of many things I can’t be arsed to change, ticked off ahead of me into a future where my train is already pulling out, dawn already broken, while I’m lying here in the dark. I have put myself back, turned my hands widdershins, pointed in the direction of the past, forged myself a lump of dead time to eke out the day, pulled the night down, like a shutter, at five o’clock. In six months, I’ll catch my clock up, follow its luminous green fingers out of this hole, rise again, chivvied by its tick-tock harping on a spring I can’t see. Until then, I’ll remind myself I always have less than it says.
Stuart Pickford: Thomas Lux, I’m Dying I mount them on nice paper and print your name, Lux, like the soap flakes of childhood. From a blue box, I could sprinkle winter onto the lake of the twin tub. I wanted to copy your Refrigerator, 1957, those maraschino cherries still beside a sulky chicken but when they grew erotic, strippers at a church social… Instead, I print for the class the one about the mower man who’d mow snow, who mowed the baseball and chucked it back as coleslaw. I liked that. Strange it should come to me today that mowing a quarter-acre to dust would be the last poem I photocopy for my class for the hell of it. After years, the filing cabinets are stuffed. Alphabetical order ran out years ago. On my exercise books— still unmarked—sits a plant with crinkly ginger hair. Hibernating, I tell my class. Silence. Repeat till funny, I tell them. Lovely plumage, I tell myself. And so the poem is written. Spider Plant 2018
Amelia Hickman: Sonata He walks the woods arms wave, music runs in his mind’s ear thunderstorms still his soul muss es sein? Dissonance here after, sublime consonance of melody delicate triplets fate resigns him to silence es muss sein. Eyes defiant, wild silver hair ich muss sein all that is left is the moon.
Mark Carson: Bach’s Clavichord Bach curls up, hunches over the little keyboard, thick thumbs pressing into the pitch, hearing not notes played but notes conceived; feeling the shape of each key signature in the shifting sequence of his crabbing hand. The room is cosy, firelit, curtains heavy in the storm, but soon he’ll rise, cross to the church climb to the loft and when the leaky bellows wheezes into life, endure the howling wolf-notes grind his teeth, his aching teeth, in flat-infested keys. Grant me the temperament he cries demented to his tone-deaf god, but god is humming along, shifts into a remote minor without a comma’s glitch and twists the devil’s tune by tonal transubstantiation, foul temper’d tinnitus in faustian compact.
Wendy Klein: airbnb Al Haouz the mechanical owl by the clothes rack a child’s toy but vigilant the broken locks on the bathroom doors the bangles by the basin the hesitant moan in the pipes in the same key as a discarded lover calling out her name which makes her turn off the tap the better to hear before she realises each time that he’s elsewhere that his voice comes from deep inside the plumbing in some other city some other life some other airbnb
D S Maolalai: All the space you've got. its a pretty small apartment and even then there are fewer parts I use. the sofa is pure ornament or else reserved for parties and, of the two chairs at my table, why do I only ever sit at one? I come in after work and straight away it's either that or my bed. everywhere else is just a place to drop my coat and pile up the things that I just put down for a moment. last time I sat there I think I had a girl on my knees. or maybe it was when Jack came by. he tends to take the chair I like and I feel strange sitting on the bed when friends are over. we were going through his thesis, I think? and I was pointing out mistakes. only language, obviously. I don't know anything about architecture. but I can spot a clumsy phrase (dear editor, let me know if this is wrong). anyway point is it's not hard to be better at writing than an architect but it's difficult to use all the space you've got the way you are supposed to. still I sit where I sit and enjoy my evenings. this chair catches the radio just right and you can see from here to the window. not much of a view, of course. just bare yard out there but again things like that are only problems for architects.
Jakky Bankong-Obi: Muse Let me be your muse, So you can practice The mastery of your artistry On my heart. Like Rumi wrote poems And Akbar wove his carpets I want to be the art You devote a lifetime to
Antony Johae: At Byblos Bank (from Lines on Lebanon) After parking, glass confronts us, my wife, my daughter and I. It fills a space – the entrance. A part could be window another – door. I look for a crack that might show an opening, put out my palm to push and the glass slides open. My wife swipes the dispenser. No number comes out. She swipes again – the same. A guard fingers downwards – this dispenser’s not a cell phone game – presses on the button and a slip slides out. Waiting stools look like boxes in a row, some padded, others glass-topped. Wife and daughter sit. I make to be between them. They laugh, for this is no seat but a square glass table-top. Byblos seems so ancient, first words formed by Phoenicians letters incised with stylus foundation for further enterprise. This bank’s constructed to surprise doesn’t have a human touch symmetry, scale, sense – all out of the window or could it be the door? I feel my number’s up I can be dispensed with. Plato’s table may be a chair or vice versa. I might as well be standing on my head, everything’s up in the air.
Tristan Moss: Doxa Crawling on the rectangular plane, seeming to believe transparency must give way, a wasp does not stray across the four-inch plastic frame, to where an open window waits. Tristan Moss: Choice We’re like those crows on the fallow field taking flight just after the cracking of a gun – all but one reacting for no point at all.
Norbert Hirschhorn: One Thousand And One Nights Go on your way and be comforted, Child of the Faithful. He who has moulded the world in His hands Holds it and us in His hands forever. What He has written cannot be altered, What He has not written, never shall be. So go on your way and be comforted, Child of the Faithful.* Misery without dying, the toll we pay to live, the obols we store. What more to say? Go on your way and be comforted. Inside each brain, a singular universe: Cornell boxes filled with bric-a-brac [ace of spades, anemones, desiccated butterflies] by He who has moulded the world in His hands. So little time, how dare we waste? But waste is what we do best just to stay alive; our lives mere toys – He holds them and us in His hands forever. Who is this ‘He’ and by what right to give and take a plangent world to waste then withdraw as if What he has written cannot be altered? It seems so. Everything we do contingent on every instant passing. Free will? To grind your teeth! What he has not written, never shall be. When someone shuts my final hours, when my neural circuits go down, I’ll be a black mirror known to none. So, go on your way, and be comforted, Child of the Faithful. *From The Arabian Nights. An Anthology – edited by Wen-Chin Ouyang. New York: Everyman’s Library, Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Jock Stein: Postmarked Psalm 15 Innocently she smiles, placing two envelopes in my hand. She will walk down the road, busy with bills and brochures, her daily postal business. I am just opening metaphors for holy man and hypocrite, worried that they use one typeface. Two letters in the same post, one for me, one for my shadow, speaking of money, promises, gossip, neighbours, friends. Soon I shall walk down the road, hoping my holy smile reaches two corners of my mouth, and holds my face together.
Keith Nunes: Swimming with the lukewarm When living in a pool of tepid invariables Death is abstract Hunger Suffering Remain in print Are at – yes – arm’s length Whisked away on turning pages Flesh is soft Milky Arteries are hardening Words are whimsical Serious only when there’s a hint of broken rules Relating to dog walks And dessert One is well dressed when dying The grave is sculpted Scandal is buried too Unearthed only by drunken uncles And sullen teenagers There is no spectrum No opposite ends All swim at the shallow end Where the water is warm
Thomas Tyrrell: Breaking Up With The Bookshelves My last ex-girlfriend’s books were maddening, A skew-whiff row of paperbacks Propped up like drunks. My fingers itched To re-arrange them every time I went. Before that, something casual, Five set texts and a snow-globe: not A love that lasted. Then I met Francesca Whose three IKEA Billy shelves Were crammed with classic fantasy And science-fiction novels – everything A passionate reader could desire. Perceiving my admiring looks, Francesca introduced me to her loves And let me share them. Thus I spent My wilder nights and lazy mornings, And to this day, though many years have passed Since I was exiled and shut out From that particular paradise, A bright dustcover on a library shelf, Like dancing or tomato plants, Will bring her instantly to mind, Filling me with the old half-welcome ache I feel for any well-told tale That doesn’t have a happy end.
Teoti Jardine: Day Three Of My Writing Regime Day three, here I am with my Scribble Book, and pen in hand. You’re anaesthetised. Vital signs displayed on O.R. monitors. It does feel like a gift to have the time and space to do this. Scalpels, clamps, here’s the cancer, there is the vertebrae. The Presbyterian work ethic niggles, ‘Shouldn’t you be doing… ‘ Yes, vital signs all good. Who chose this music? Good thing he can’t hear it. I’ve done this before. Arthur gave me Bertrand Russell’s On Being Lazy. I’ll find that place again. Most of the malignant tissue gone. Now to secure these three, no four, vertebrae. This is my time and it’s not shirking. It’s fucking hard work, and I love it. Okay Evan old son, our job is done. The rest is up to Oncology and you. And knowing you my friend you’ll do it well. And I’ll keep writing something every day. Teoti Jardine: There Is A Time There is a time to do and once its done is when I Know that was its time. I wouldn’t mind knowing that a little sooner in order to prepare. Would preparation take the satisfaction off that affirmation? I’ll never know for I am not a planner. I do and once it’s done, its time’s its time even if it isn’t.
Jeri Onitskansky: Nets Some kids are scooping up kittens in fishing nets near the old fort and others are out on the pier lowering their nets into the sea and up on the mountain we watch hippy kids capturing a twin-spot fritillary while I wave my own net through the air, catching some precious things but mainly the day slips through as hard as I try with all my senses living it furiously, still it passes and what remains are the few things I’ve caught which is never the same as the day itself.
E A M Harris: The Wanderer Returns This is my road, my way home, pearly gold in the early sun. In the early sun I approach the places where rich people live in fine houses; houses growing among the sleek, plump-cattled meadows. The verges where we rode our portly ponies – ponies polished and coutured – still possess wild flowers and golden grass whose scents – a world of perfume – I never tried to name and, those days, took for granted. I took for granted the gates of good wood and firm fences, tended, nurtured, painted. Painted each season by home-dwelling men, like the farmer in our village who spent his money on a fine house; spent his golden winters trimming hedges. But some, like me, rub the perfume on their shoulders, inhale richness from the soil to their lungs’ brim, then jet it with them round the world.
Christopher Georgiou: Ghosts The way that I remember that last day In Rome with you is that it rained. And that your hair was wet. And that we clung together by the Spanish Steps, and wept whilst smiling tourists posed for photographs. We and our love have gone, moved on to separate lives and other places. But still I feel that somewhere in the background of somebody’s photo memories, we and our love live on, caught totally absorbed in permanent embrace. Anonymous as ghosts.
Stephen Bone: Jane Avril When the hourglass was held up to be the ideal, she went against the grain. Cane thin and flexible, she'd whip herself into a frenzy, as if Saint Vitus had devised her dance, then melt to a languid ripple. Nicknamed La Melinite in the halls, away from them: reserved, soft voiced. The wounds of her past kept hidden, until glimpsed by Lautrec, seeping through her deadpan face. Jane Avril (1868-1943) was a dancer at the Moulin Rouge Stephen Bone: Cleo de Merode The world flocked to see her, wanted living proof the vision captured by Nadar was made of flesh and blood. Women envied the heavy fall of hair, Meissen white skin, copied every trend she set, soaked up rumours of a liaison with the Belgian king. A mortal goddess, mind like a ringing till, she cashed in, lived the high life in Biarritz until age tracked her her down, dyed her grey, brought her finally to Pere Lachaise to share her mother's tomb, where across pink granite, looks and youth returned, she holds to perfection, her stone-still pose. Cleo de Merode (1875-1966) was a dancer and model of the Belle Epoque
Pamela Job: My Father’s Hand in Mine I meet you nowadays in a sepia snap stuck down on a page. You’re at army training camp. Your hands have strayed from your side, or from your khaki lap - and your touch reaches me from that rough age where men hid from one another - but you were bold it’s there to see, your hands rest casually on a fellow’s shoulders, one row down; and in another photo, you’re an officer in France, yours the swagger-stick arm linked through another’s; and you both smile, though one behind you frowns. This was later in the war, you’d already fought Johnny Foreigner in the cul de guerre of Salonika - where, once, maybe, it got too much - the flies, the stench, the sun - your fingers slipped on the trigger of your gun. You shot a bullet through your foot. I found the record of all that filed in a never-opened box at Kew. Nineteen sixteen, you’re in line to be wounded at Arras, the Second Battle; I’ve seen caves there, beneath the Mairie where I looked for your face, for your hand waving at me, in the flicker-film of troops on limestone screens; I have searched for you. And now I wear your ring, its diamond eye winks back on my same-sized finger; and my hand is held in its net of skin, freckled as a trout’s, just as I remember yours.
Bruce Barnes: Cameras 1918
(for Frederick William Ralph) The War had taken the edge off his vision; snapshots forbidden, the handy Kodak tempted from the depths of his kit bag, but the thought of time in the slammer worked like a lens cap. He couldn’t see for looking. On Snettisham Beach, there’s light and space, and his quirkiness is back: the family are bottoms up cockling, no time for upright faces to engage. Annie keeps a dignity of sorts crouching beneath, a straw boater, as her team of canvas hats burrow. There’s plenty in the Brownie for a second shot, but the mudflats give a dull squidgy foreground; he rewinds to cumbersome glass plates, a sense of occasion back then, with marooned villagers gathering themselves for a postcard view, or those pictures of the Sandringham Estate, its gardens and the House, with saloon, dining room and the Queen’s Boudoir, their excess posted through letterboxes. He recalls a royal group, the protocol of how they were to be arrayed. A splatter catches the lens, smearing the viewfinder where a friend’s face, staring eyed, is lost to mud. He shakes his head, eyes meeting the glare of tidal pools; that light slips the camera catch, erasing the shot he minded. The Victorian/Edwardian Ralph family, father and two sons, were all photographers based in Norfolk.
Both the father and oldest son were known as Frederick, and the father was responsible for many Royal
portraits including those in the National Portrait Gallery collection. The family photo referred to in the
poem does not however contain any regal personages! Bruce Barnes: ‘Indian Summer’ ‘ – such weather was more pronounced in the lands formerly occupied by the American Indians’ Brewer’s Phrase and fable Robbed of their season, but still they gloat at the drift of leaves, crunching them bonelike underfoot, crumbling the reds and browns into a shouting vivid history. Late autumn goes on, the telltale light tensing like a bow strung with vapour trails, and with clouds that struggle to know themselves. One of the group, weather smelling and streaked with warpaint, presses his face against the day’s glass, says: ‘We must take it back’.
Josh Ekroy: another decision is needed and it will utterly invalidate the previous one so those who yearned to fly to the moon will accept the reversal of the previous decision with humility or fade far away and utterly forsake their lunar ambitions and their wildest fantasies will stand naked and forlorn in the unforgiving light of day and so they will disband smiling ruefully as they go about their earthbound business sadly shaking their heads at their own folly and our space crew who have done nothing but squabble among themselves about the best way to power our fragile little rocket to the moon will suddenly forget their differences and fall on one another's necks and on their knees will supplicate the moon for forgiveness which will be graciously granted in full and a new era of harmony and prosperity shall come and we shall be at ease with ourselves once more although perhaps there may still be one or two who come from the planet xarg who must be put on a space vehicle back to their home taking their poison with them and moreover there may be some with the fatal effects still in their brains but let us not be anxious on that account for we will have developed an earth-serum with which these xarq-poisoned ones can be injected and which will course through their veins returning them to their right minds as it neutralises their toxins and extrudes the vicious effluents that have infected them
Ian C Smith: Out of the Asylum Wearing oddments of clothing like cries for help at this mingling of the sexes, medicated, made-up, hair slicked, awkward in groups or standing alone, ghosts trying to attend to courtesies forgotten aided by valiant staff, these forsaken souls’ efforts highlighted their plight. I say ‘their’, can’t bear ‘our’. One’s legs were amputated after sliding off his bike on a bend. His painkillers become addiction, we were now round the bend, his description of asylum life. No dance for him other than the one he led me on wheeling around the snooker table at speed, smashing balls into pockets, furious. Football, a loved skill of battered boyhood before desperate sadness stuck me fast, might have boosted self- esteem, so few lining up for the recreational match, lethargic legs like drunken sailors’, so much space, players spaced out, you could say, the retention of an oh so black humour a survival tactic. Stardom stymied by the organising staff member, the only one in full playing kit, charity spent, and medication’s
effect on fitness, that dance convinced me, at twenty-three, life was redeemable from the pathos of The Tennessee
Waltz’s maudlin strains at midnight when we all shuffled back to the wards.
Back to poet list…
Contributors’ biographical notes
Jakky Bankong-Obi is a Media Consultant with several years of experience in Human Resources, Publishing and Development. Jakky lives in Abuja, Nigeria, where she enjoys going on long walks, doing yoga and dabbling in Nature Photography.
Bruce Barnes, formerly of Finsbury Park N4, but now escaped to Bradford, West Yorkshire, has recently had poems in the Yorkshire magazine Strix and Pennine Platform. The pamphlet Israel-Palestine was published by the Otley Word Feast Press in 2016, and a collaboration with the artist Jun Shirasu, (an interpretation of the poems of the Japanese socialist poet, Kosuke Shirasu 1905-1943), Out of his struggles was published by the Utistugu Press in 2016.
Stephen Bone‘s work has appeared in various magazines in the U.K. and U.S. A first collection, In The Cinema ( Playdead Press 2014) was followed by a pamphlet, Plainsong, ( Indigo Dreams 2018).
Melanie Branton took up writing poetry in her forties, while caring for elderly parents. She now teaches part-time at an FE college in Somerset and works part-time as a spoken word artist. She has published two collections, Can You See Where I’m Coming From? (Burning Eye, 2018) and My Cloth-Eared Heart (Oversteps, 2017) and her work has appeared in journals including Bare Fiction, The Frogmore Papers and Atrium.
Joan Byrne was longlisted for Indigo Dream’s First Pamphlet competition, 2018; and won third prize in South Bank Poetry’s competition, judged by Mimi Khalvati, 2017. She was Poetry Shed’s Featured Poet, 2016 and was nominated by StepAway Magazine for the Pushcart Prize, 2014. Additionally she has been published by The North, New River Press, Eye Flash Poetry, Obsessed With Pipework, Orbis, Early Works Press and Ink Sweat & Tears. She performs regularly with Rye Poets, a trio of poets.
Miki Byrne has had two poetry collections and a pamphlet published, plus over 500 poems included in poetry magazines/anthologies. She was a finalist for Gloucestershire’s Poet Laureate and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. She has read on TV and on Radio many times. She also ran a poetry writing group at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury. Miki is disabled and now lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire.UK.
Mark Carson built an innovative clavichord in the 1970s, the only keyboard instrument with finger-tip control of pitch. He’s been intrigued by the conundrum of musical temperament ever since. His pamphlet Hove-to is a State of Mind is available from Wayleave Press.
Josh Ekroy’s collection, Ways To Build A Roadblock is published by Nine Arches Press.
E. A. M. Harris has been writing for some years and several of her poems and flash stories have appeared in print and online magazines and anthologies. She blogs at http://eamharris.com/and tweets as E A M Harris @Eah1E.
Amelia Hickman is a New Zealander currently living in London. She has a background in music, classics and literature. She is a mother of two small children and writes in the evenings, once the house is quiet.
Norbert Hirschhorn is an international public health physician, an American settled in the UK, and proud to follow in the tradition of physician-poets. He has published five collections of poetry. See www.bertzpoet.com.
Teoti Jardine is Maori, Irish and Scottish. His tribal affiliations: Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, Kai Tahu. He attended the Hagley Writers School in 2011. His poetry has been published in the Christchurch Press, London Grip, Te Karaka, Ora Nui, Catalyst, JAAM and Aotearotica Vol 3. He has had short stories in Flash Frontier and was guest Editor for Pasifika Issue Flash Frontier March 2018. He and his dog Amie live in Riverton on the beautiful southern coast of New Zealand.
Pamela Job’s most recent awards are Second Prize in the Magma Poetry Competition 2017/18 and First prize in the Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Competition, 2018, where she also had two poems longlisted. Previously she has twice been winner of the Suffolk Crabbe Memorial Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in several publications including The Interpreter’s House, South Bank Poetry, and Acumen. She has been involved in a four year poetry project connected with the Wilfred Owen House in Northern France, for which she co-produced two anthologies of new poetry. A poem from one of these anthologies, ‘The Parcel’, forms part of a cantata by Tom Randle to be given its first performance at Snape Maltings in April
Antony Johae is a retired academic and divides his time between Lebanon and the UK. In 2015, he came out with Poems of the East. Poetry Salzburg will publish his After-Images: Homage to Éric Rohmer in 2019. Lines on Lebanon is in progress.
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
US-born Wendy Klein has three published collections: Cuba in the Blood (2009) and Anything in Turquoise (2013) from Cinnamon Press and Mood Indigo’(2017) from Oversteps Books. She is working on a pamphlet about her great-grandfather, a Confederate soldier in the US Civil War, a painfully slow process, given intensive grand-parenting.
D S Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.
Nancy Mattson’s fourth full collection is Vision on Platform 2 (Shoestring 2018). Previous collections are Finns and Amazons (2012), Writing with Mercury (2006) and Maria Breaks Her Silence (1989). She moved from the Canadian prairies to London in 1990 and co-organises Poetry in the Crypt at St Mary Islington.
Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has recently had poems published in The Poetry Shed, Antiphon, Snakeskin, Amaryllis, Lighten Up Online, Open Mouse, Picaroon Poetry and Algebra of Owls.
M E Muir is a Scot living in London, former teacher and business consultant, who has always written poetry but only recently begun to join workshops and have some published.
Rosemary Norman was born in London and has worked mainly as a librarian. Shoestring Press published her third collection, For example, in 2016. With video artist Stuart Pound, she makes films with poems as image, soundtrack and sometimes both. See them on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/user22959458
Keith Nunes lives in tiny Pahiatua, New Zealand. He won the 2017 Flash Frontier Short Fiction Writing Award, has had poetry, haiku and short fiction published around the globe while his Foto-Poetry digital images and Asemic Poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals.
Jeri Onitskansky’s poems have appeared in a number of publications including Ambit, Long Poem Magazine, Magma, PN Review, The Rialto and The Poetry Review. She won first prize in the 2012 Ledbury competition, second prize in the 2012 Barnet Open Poetry Competition and was commended in the 2009 Geoffrey Dearmer, the 2013 Stanza and the 2017 Poetry on the Lake competitions. Her pamphlet Call them Juneberries was an IOTA shot winner and was published by Templar Poetry in 2015. Her pamphlet manuscript A Lone Poem was commended in the 2018 Magma Pamphlet Competition.
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
Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry and stories have been published in several journals, such as Panoply, Amaryllis, Riggwelter, River Teeth Journal (Beautiful Things), and Magma.Lisa is currently a full-time budget traveller. You can find out more at lisareily.wordpress.com
Kerrin Sharpe has published four collections of poetry (all with Victoria University Press). Kerrin has also had her poems published in a wide range of journals both in New Zealand and overseas including Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet Press UK) and Poetry (USA).
Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.
Jock Stein is a piper and preacher from East Lothian. He brings to his poetry experience of the Sheffield steel industry, life in East Africa, directing a conference centre, a sabbatical in Hungary, andthe politics of Scotland today. He writes poetry in many styles, serious and quirky, convenes Tyne and Esk Writers and chairs the Scottish Church Theology Society. Currently he is engaged in researchat Glasgow University on the Psalms.
Thomas Tyrrell has a PhD in English Literature from Cardiff University. He is a two-time winner of the Terry Hetherington poetry award, and his writing has appeared in Spectral Realms, Picaroon, Wales Arts Review, isacoustic, Lonesome October, The Road Less Travelled, Three Drops From A Cauldron and Words for the Wild.
Jim C Wilson lives in East Lothian. His writing has been widely published for over 35 years. His most recent poetry collection is Come Close And Listen (Greenwich Exchange). He was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow for six years and has taught his Poetry in Practice classes at Edinburgh University since 1994. More information at: www.jimcwilson.com