Archive for May, 2016

Two poems from Maria Isakova Bennett

May 22, 2016

Abegail Morley

Love Letter

The colour of you at the station today
is nothing I know the shade of –
you are a green myth;
the clothes you bought for me still hold our scent.
Your skin buzzes in my hands –
I can always see water-stars when I’m close to you.
Remember our first bed –
maroon and cream
and how the sheets made us feel Bedouin?
Stills of every place we slept silver through me –
there are lights flickering at midnight windows.
Do you see the stars darling: the way we keep striving?

First published in Crannog 39, June 2015


leans in close –
strikes his breast like a confession
offers his open hand to me
strikes his breast
offers his open hand

big love, he says
shakes his head
presses his lips like a prayer
closes his eyes, and I close mine
and feel a shift

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Lifesaving Poems: Tomas Tranströmer’s ‘Alone’

May 21, 2016

Anthony Wilson


It was a real treat to read Paul Batchelor’s concise and enthusiastic review of Tomas Tranströmer’sNew Collected Poems in last Saturday’s Guardian Review.

It reminded me of what I value about Tranströmer’s poetry: the very odd sensation of witnessing experience as though from an altogether new perspective.

The poem I have included in my Lifesaving Poems series is one I have written about elsewhere on this site, the famous poem ‘Alone’, about a car accident and its aftermath in the writer’s life.

I was drawn to this poem long before the opening line ‘One evening in February I came near to dying here’ took on a special resonance when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on Valentine’s Day, 2006. On first reading it reminded me of the time that our family car similarly skidded sideways on ice in the Jura mountains after we had spent Christmas with…

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Lost poem

May 21, 2016

Anthony Wilson


I had begun the poem after work one day, on a pad of work-related notes. Get in, get out, I thought, before they come to get you, before you are found out. Not much of a poem, and not much of a start, but a start nevertheless. I almost never remember anything about writing poems. This one was slightly different, in that I knew I was saying something I ‘shouldn’t’, which other people might not like. For its tone. Maybe its content. It was not (is not) a nice poem. Which is why I knew I needed to begin writing it, to see where that not-niceness might take me. I did and did not like writing it. And then life and work intervened and I forgot all about the poem until the other day when the content -that’s not the right word- I mean the tone of the poem entered…

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He Didn’t Beat Me by Barbara O’Donnell

May 19, 2016

Thank you Fledglings!

May 18, 2016

The Stare's Nest

The Fledgling Award submission window is now closed. Thank you all for sending your work. I took a bunch of lovely books out to the coffee shop today where I wouldn’t be distracted. A couple of proper contenders already!  I will be conferring with Martin Figura soon about next steps – but he has promised us a reading event at Cafe Writers in Norwich, in October. More news soon…

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Mourning is the most radical thing we can do these days by Monika Kostera

May 11, 2016

I am not a silent poet

(for YG)

Daedalus lost his head, not his
wings. Master craftsman – I found
the headless body lying
in a street
of Warsaw. It’s spring

and the city
is filled with fragrance,
the sublime
lilac smell of weddings and funerals.

Someone has to bury all those dreams.

The roles we were playing with zeal,
the work, well intentioned, the
dependable guts, the ways
we were good against
the dark background, the hope and the hopefulness
against hope. The ghosts
imprisoned beneath the victor’s tale.

I must
– we need to –

his tight, splintered body
fallen, in the kindness of dust.

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May 10, 2016

Roy Marshall

I’ve been asked to supply a couple of poems to be displayed at a festival where I’m reading in the summer. I’ll also be delivering a workshop and presenting the prizes for the children’s poetry competition I’m judging. Which poems should I choose to represent the me?

Poets get put into categories – this one is urban and gritty,


this is a nature poet, this one a feminist poet, this one political, this one funny. Or this poet is like that poet.


I like to think that I’m not consistently one ‘type’ of poet. The mundanity of most people’s everyday lives are constricting, and so to be constricted in the scope of your creativity is surely to be avoided. The artists I admire in all mediums were or are always changing and exploring, experimenting. But I’m taking this small choice too seriously.

I ask my wife which poems she thinks I…

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It’s the Blue Lightning Hour

May 10, 2016

Melancholy Hyperbole

Nancy’s calling after ten again,
which means she is not fine,
after being largely copacetic through last year.
I can’t come running like I used to. No good.
I’m sorted out, I like this milieu
and those evenings
produced confusing mornings
when I didn’t have someone special,
when Nancy was a single phase
electric breaker, poised
to trip off on a jolt of voltage.
She says, Now I’m voicemail?
on the voicemail, like it’s raining
always where she’s calling from,
like she’s caught conducting lightning,
and thought I’d be the ground
to pass the charge on to,
stray blue spark
past my self-imposed curfew.

Todd Mercer won the first Woodstock Writers Festival’s Flash Fiction contest. His chapbook, Box of Echoes, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press contest and his digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, is forthcoming from RHP Books. Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in journals such as The…

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Two excellent online poetry Magazines

May 9, 2016

Roy Marshall

A certain amount of income is required to subscribe to poetry magazines. In the last year one of my charity subscriptions regrettably had to go, and I also had to stop  subscriptions to Poetry London, The North, and I think, though I’m not sure, my beloved Rialto.   My subscription to the wonderful New Walk hasn’t run out, so I’m not a complete modern poetry exile just yet.

Thank goodness there are excellent internet magazines which carry poetry. The great Chicago based Poetry of course,  and two more modest and recent British outfits,  The Lampeter Review and Anthipon.

The former is based in Wales and you can read from its generous and well produced copy here. I’ve a short poem in there, (page 90 if you are interested,) alongside work by poets and prose writers like Edward Bond, Alison Moore and Hannah Lowe.

Antiphon is another exceptionally well set out magazine. Its full of…

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May 9, 2016

Roy Marshall

Sundry- from the old English for syndig- distinct, separate; related to ‘sunder’ .

I’ve just been up to the Newcastle, neighbour to Sunderland, for the fabulous poetry festival. The festival included the launch of the new issue of the Butchers Dog poetry magazine, and I was fortunate to have been invited to read my contribution. I’d been to the northeast of England once before, to visit a friend some thirty years ago, and needed little excuse to return.


I love the geography and architecture of Newcastle and the surrounding country, and find the people to be extremely friendly. If you haven’t bought the Butcher’s Dog, I recommend you check it out. It’s a beautifully produced magazine packed with an eclectic range of fine contemporary poetry.

Angel by Phil Pounder

Angel of the North, photo by Phil Pounder  

Another brilliant, albeit much older British poetry magazine, The Rialto, has arrived, and continues to surprise…

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