TIMELINES -Carolyn O’Connell
Think of me as you fly into the blue of the night
of how I love the light, and when you land
the joy of light before me.

One of the more welcoming aspects of a well-written, newly published poetry collection by a writer hitherto unknown to me is that so invariably the inherent nature


Graham Burchell and Kate

Rebecca Gethin

The new Featured Writer is Graham Burchell whose third collection, Kate, has just been published by Indigo Dreams.  Being a member of one of Graham’s poetry groups I have  seen some of these poems grow and coalesce over time which has been a great honour and very instructive.  Extraordinary to see how a collection comes together.  I can tell you that in this book Graham has moved up yet another gear or even three as his turn of phrase and compression startles and astonishes the reader at every turn.  I can feel a gasp coming on each time I start reading just the two poems he sent me.

Written in Kate’s voice the poems follow the complexities and conflicts of modern life as seen through her eyes –  a fictional child of dysfunctional parents. You might say, ‘she never stood a chance’. When life becomes too strange to be bearable, Kate retreats like Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’ into her own fantasy world…

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Since you ask most days I can’t remember…

Abegail Morley

In a strange way, I am very much looking forward to the poems for World Suicide Prevention Day, something close to my heart. I have a stellar selection from poets kind enough to send their poems to me, and even though it is a grave subject I really feel we should mark it in some way. I have been bowled over by the poems and messages and am really honoured to share them with you in September.

I suddenly find myself at a poetic busy time. Coming up shortly is my poem at The Globe as part of The Voice and the Echo series running this summer. For those of you who haven’t quite caught up with it, they’re running a programme from 29th August to 9th September where contemporary poets have the chance to be inspired by, and respond, to other poets’ work, to “bring both the traditional canon…

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Gordon Lish’s Cess: A Spokening (OR Books, 2015)

Gordon Lish’s Cess: A Spokening (OR Books, 2015)

Tears in the Fence

In contrast to Alexandra Psaropoulou’s All The Stars, which I wrote about yesterday, Gordon Lish’s book, rich in language play, employs a loquacious first person narrative in two extended notes before and after a list of select vocabulary. It is implied that the narrator is loosely based on the author self, although this is more of a ploy to draw the reader more closely into the narrative world with its frequent call to check the factual details of the narrative online.

The first note delineates the biographical details of his mother and her sisters, Jewish immigrants from Austria, based in New York, and his own situation at Mills public high school, at Millbrae, California. Finding himself without a job and having to support a wife and three children he wrote to his winsome Aunt Adele asking for work not dissimilar to hers. Apparently, in 1963, Lish was refused tenure…

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I am not a silent poet by Reuben Woolley

I am not a silent poet

This is my introduction to I am not a silent poet together with a few poems of mine that were published on the magazine and are now in my chapbook with Erbacce Press, dying notes. The video was recorded at my reading at Culture Club at the Thrive Cafe in Totnes last Friday. The lighting wasn’t very good but here it is. Thanks to Graham Burchell for filming it.

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Adele Fraser – Two Poems

Poems to make you think

The Stare's Nest

A Half Full Begging Bowl
Welfare recipients are not supposed to make the best of things.
Being, in the eyes of society, a lesser species,
we are not permitted to smile through adversity, and
should we ever display the temerity to keep our chins up,
the media would immediately sock us in them.
Imagine Pollyanna today, unemployed and playing the glad game
on benefits, cheerful as they come to disconnect her electric:
‘It will give us more chance to really talk without the distraction
of television, and the dark can be deliciously romantic!’
Hell, they’d wipe the smile off her feckless face, make no mistake.
Us lot make a mockery of the whole system.
We lack moral fibre; that’s our problem.
For tears are owed to the taxpayers to season their pound of flesh.
And, should it prove necessary, productive society shan’t shrink from
using threats…

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The Three Ms: Mammoth, Minerva, and Merkin

gairnet provides: press of blll

Mark Doty, Deep Lane (Cape); Frances Leviston, Disinformation (Picador); Christopher Reid, The Curiosities (Faber).
(Three collections reviewed for the June issue of Literary Review, here with – slightly – critical notes restored.)
Mark Doty’s ninth collection displays his customary gifts of empathic observation, collapsing the distance between poet and subject to establish an observance of both secular and sexual mysteries. This is accomplished by an intensity of sensual imagery, and through an ecstatic syntax, as in this passage about Jackson Pollock: ‘Forget supplication,

beseechment, praise. Look down

into it, the smash-up swirl, oil and pigment and tree-shatter:

tumult in equilibrium.

His focus on the redemptive act of gardening, in the titular series of poems called ‘Deep Lane’, and the fit between this and the animalistic, exemplified by masterful descriptions of, among other creatures, his dog, a fish, a mole, a mammoth, and a goat, is driven by a Yeatsian…

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John Foggin- stocktaking

Roy Marshall

Tonight I am excited and honoured to share some thoughts and words from the poet John Foggin, who I regard as of Britain’s finest poets of landscape, a poet whose muscular and musical work has delighted, transported and educated and entranced me since I first his poem ‘Achnacloich’ in The North  some  years ago and thought ‘Who is this guy?’

It is a fantastic poem, the best I’d read for some time, and I wondered why I hadn’t seen anything else by this writer and why this poem wasn’t in that year’s Forward collection. A few years later and John’s work is unsurprisingly featured in the Forward Book of Poetry.

John has kindly agreed to showcase a few poems here, and in response to my request for him to talk about his writing we have the added bonus of his wonderful ‘stocktake’ .

I am deeply honoured that he has chosen to let me publish his previously unpublished poem

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