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Poetry Worth Hearing: Episode 12

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Welcome to Episode 12 of Poetry Worth Hearing. This episode features a specially recorded reading by Chaucer Cameron from her pamphlet, In an Ideal World I'd Not be Murdered. This is a challenging exploration, part fiction, part memoir, of the world of prostitution and the life of a prostitute.

In addition, there are new poems by Eva Wal, Jo Roach, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Nora Hughes and Trish Broomfield.

Finally, there is an interview with Stephen Paul Wren, who talks about poetry and science, about how they can come together, about his group Molecules Unlimited, about his own work and about poetry which he treasures or which has inspired him.

Our guest reader is Chaucer Cameron. Chaucer is a poet and the author of In an Ideal World I’d Not Be Murdered (Against The Grain 2021) She has been published in journals, magazines, including: Under the Radar, Poetry Salzburg, The North and Tears in the Fence, and was shortlisted for Live Canon 2021 International Poetry Competition. Chaucer is creator of Wild Whispers an international poetry film project, and is co-editor of the online magazine Poetry Film Live. Website:

Twitter Chaucer @ChaucerCameron


Eva Wal


You may enter here

on tiptoe

Please, leave your luggage and your

Litter, carry only what is you

Put your bare feet down

tender and firm

Like a lover caress the ground

Touch, walk!

You will step on my ancestors

that hold my roots tangled in


I move slow

Twigs and leaves speak through me so

you understand

This is your first lesson with me


You may now touch my bark

Rub your back against it like

a bear not too hungry not too weary


for this experience - Breathe

in - Breathe out

Take your time before

you leave my realm

A memory of you may stay

with me for a while

A slice of eternity with an imprint of

your voice

your mind

your soul

Miigwetch! Thank you!

The Plunge

A river runs

a canopy rustles

a skunk appears

a raccoon clings to the branch of a cedar

a spider weaves

a cocoon opens

a beetle sways on a birch leaf in the morning mist

and falls onto old trees' mulch

You take the plunge












Step onto a new path

into a new age

Keep moving at steady speed

keep moving.

In the Forest

Breathe with me

Call me a tree

Where spirits are summoned

In the forest

Balsam or pine

Maple, ash, birch, too, is fine

As long as your look is clear

In the forest

Let us commune and let us commute

I am canopy and I am root

Whisper and chant is my home

In the forest

Feel my colours glow

wandering in the flow

of time-woven beads

In the forest.

Water Fall

On top of a glacier imagine a river fall quiet quiet A ravenous river into the wild You are the embryo evolving from this moment in rainbow space A glass edge crisscrosscut splits water-covered rock from sky both fall into silence transforming roaring matter into oblivion.

Eva Wal is an visual artist and a poet who lives in Bonn and on the countryside nearby.

She published her first poetry pamphlet Marmorsee, marble lake, in 2009.

In 2017 she encountered Oxford Stanza 2 poets in Bonn on the occasion of Diana Bell’s art project as part of the Bonn-Oxford twinning. It encouraged her to write in English and woke her interest in English poetry and also in translations. As the result of an ongoing collaboration she was able to publish the pamphlet Poems In The Hourglass, Gedichte im Stundenglas, with German-English poems in 2022 through the Bonn-Oxford link.

Eva runs creative writing workshops for adults at the Arp Museum near Bonn as well as workshops for children and youth. She loves interdisciplinary collaborations with artists around the world and is up to all kind of adventures in art and poetry.

Eva wrote the Poems of the Unbroken Forest on a symposium with The Broken Forest Group, a group of international artists engaged in environmental issues, touring Northern Ontario in summer 2022.

Jo Roach

I brush my hair and find feathers

in the shadow below my ear

downy ones that pass for fluff

No comment from the family

when I tweet Do you ever feel

like perching on the backs of your chairs

scattering knives and forks

eating straight off the table ?

I avoid the cat, keep my feet together

hop downstairs chirrup along to the radio

twitch my head

towards the window again and again

open my mouth to sing

blue and yellow notes flutter out

notes I repeat re-peat re-p-eat

long tailed feather notes

arms spread, long strides faster faster

running running until

I soar over Mrs Draper’s washing line

next door’s roof

the council yard wall

over the paddling pool

the aviary,

the deer enclosure in Clissold Park

over a bus in Green lanes

glide through the alleyway

into Kelross Road

swoosh down

behind the first plane tree

walk the rest of the way

to the school gate just before the bell rings.

Years later, my mum said she always knew

it was one of hers, her girl, the small faraway black V in the sky.

Common Blue Damsel Fly

I spent only a short time in my teneral stage

of pinkish-brown softness

before the skin split

down my back

paired wings unfold

my abdomen hardens

dark water tantalises

and I fly just above the deep

becoming brilliant



for the mating wheel

to bend my body to his

but I give birth alone

too exhausted to surface again

in the text book he drops down to rescue me

Jo Roach was born and brought up in London a few miles from where her mother's family can be traced back to the Huguenots who settled in Spitalfields in the 1600s. Her father came to London from Dublin in the 1930s to work for the Dove Brothers Builders in Islington. Jo thought she'd written a poem and joined a creative writing class in Hackney to find out she then joined the Poetry School when it started and owes a big thank you to all the tutors for all the advice and opportunities she was given. Jo created and organised Poetry Street as part of the Stoke Newington Festival for 3 years running. Together with Hylda Sims, she ran Poetry &Jazz on Saturday nights at the Poetry Cafe. Her poems have been published in magazines, a pamphlet Hearing Eye and the Oxford Poets:An Anthology 2008.Most recently a pamphlet "To Darn to Mend to Interweave" was published by Anna Robinson, Thamesis publications.

Much love to Jane Duran and her poetry group who have encouraged me for many years.

Lynne Hjelmgaard

I’d Like to Speak of This Memory

of hummingbirds, long ago fragrances

coconut and fig, fluttering wings next to

a hot, hot wooden deck underfoot

and trade winds blowing up the night

throwing our ship about

taut lines stretched to the limit and released

thrill of the wind working its way

through every inch of the rigging, no mercy

but to take over and blow, take over and blow

Heading East

In the shipping lanes of the Straits which even then,

more than twenty years ago,

were a graveyard for Africa, we, in our ignorance,

sailed happily for Spain – our children

peering up from the cabin at headlands,

snow-capped mountains of Morocco,

asking how much longer… mostly content

to return to a book or stare blankly

at the water, doze. Their questions echoed

my loneliness, longing for certainty,

land: stalls of fresh fish and pungent smells

of spices, early morning parakeets

gossiping in jacaranda trees, sprinkles of

a shower giving way to hot sun.

Now I try to decipher your writing in the ship’s log

for words of reassurance – I’m left with sea miles,

celestial calculations, course headings for each hour,

pencil marks on a chart, a statue of Columbus

pointing the way out to sea.

Did our happiness rely on a shared restlessness,

a search for a haven, a rope ladder for look-out,

an escape from an undertow within?

I remember the sound of a distant gong –

a channel marker, the sudden avoidance

of a freighter laden with cargo

swinging dangerously in a heavy swell.

In your company there was always safety –

in pitch darkness the sea a dreaming mind,

a soothing voice, by day a mirror, a window,

a keeper of worlds loved and lost

working their way to the surface

with yearning and sorrow.

Lynne Hjelmgaard was born in NYC and lived in Denmark; studied at Aarhus Art Academy and Frobel Seminarium. After crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her husband, she wrote her first chapbook,Distance Through the Water. Lynne has published four collections of poetry. Her last two collections,A Boat Called Annalise(2016) andA Second Whisper(2019) were published with Seren Books. Her fifth collectionThe Turpentine Treeis forthcoming from Seren in Oct. 2023,

Nora Hughes

Into the icy hall I see her go

past the waiting phone, to the room

where flames sputter on the walls, shiny

with new paint for his return.

Light bends around a tin teapot,

along the arc of liquid

poured from its spout in the morning.

On a screen in the corner, reindeer

step into shadow, stretch out

their long faces: she’s hungry

for the blue light of evening

in the north, where you know

the world is somewhere, something

you’ve been missing all along.

Muffled sounds reach her:

the dull horn of Blackstaff Mill

summoning the early shift,

a radio, a neighbour’s voice.

Ahead now, among the crowd

of spinners, weavers, stitchers, doffers

gathered at the mill door, her friends

waving and calling, and the hot life

sparks up again between them.

This poem features: a street in Belfast in the shadow of Divis mountain, iced buns known as ‘donkey’s lugs’ or ‘donkey’s ears’, and a medical procedure in which a brain is X-rayed.

Topography of a brain

Someone is here with me

in the house, I am held

in a field of vision

the room irradiated

outside and inside

as in a Bonnard painting

Looking up from my book

I see Heidi

drinking her morning milk

her grandfather at the window

keeping watch as she runs

with the goats on the mountain

When bleeding began I was

puzzled, the way we are often

left bewildered

with no view other than

what pain or its absence

can tell us, or an ultra-violet

beam, or a memory, such as

Joe the bread-server reaching into his van

with a grappling pole

to hook a bap for me

Divis dark and low at the end of the street

my brain in full view now

closer than we’ve ever been

The mountain has come into the room

the line between skin and air

permeable and the future

moves towards me and the past

comes back to me

A small baker’s van, full

row on row

of loaves, buns, baps, ‘donkeys’ lugs’

Joe is floury, motherly, a warm

thing that settles in my brain

and if ever

my old fear gets hold of me

(I’m alone, no mother,

no father, Divis

unmoved), I’ll summon

that figment, Joe and his bread van

on a sunny morning

The visit


you arrive

the way night

falls into the long

summer day

its slow



through the pores

of evening

to where the heart

holds on tight

holds its hunger


but the heart too

is porous

and in no time

I am awash

Nora Hughes grew up in Belfast and moved to London in the 1970s.

Her poems have appeared in magazines, including Envoi, The North and The Interpreter’s House, and in anthologies, most recently Storm Brain (Hippocrates Press 2021) and Washing Windows Too: Irish Women Write Poetry (Arlen House 2022).

Her pamphlet Under Divis Mountain won the Templar Poetry iOTA Shot award and was published by Templar in 2020. She is working towards a full collection.

Trish Broomfield


I weigh out, strong flour, delicate, fine and white.

Bright light.

Yeast is close with sugar, salt its deadly foe.

Cheeks glow.

Olive oil fills the spoon, then lost in flour’s sift,

thoughts drift.

Tepid water measured well, stirs in daydreams,

sun streams.

Careful fingers gently gather up the dough,

so slow.

Such disparate ingredients holding hands.

Time stands.

Rolling the dough onto the floured table,


My movements automatic, smoothing, kneading,


Cover up my work and leave it warm to rise.

Cut ties.

In an hour more kneading to knock out the air.


Watching my mother’s hands moulding in her love,


I know that when I’m baking bread she is here,

so dear.

Tents and Toilets

‘Let’s get away, peace and calm, watch the sun set,’ Pam said.

‘We’ll pitch the tent opposite the Cerne Giant. He’s naked,

and has the most enormous, you know.’

‘Oh, great!’ I didn’t think of the practicalities.

Our tent, tall on tough grass,

was Pam’s dad’s, blue and dome-like.

The sun shone on the white giant,

glinting off, you know.

We boiled water in a pan on a fragile stove.

Tea and cake, we’d brought, but the rest we bought,

searching a corner shop for sausages.

Cider seemed the thing, and fish and chips,

the chips scoffed by the time we returned;

the Cerne Giant, misted, the sun setting slowly

in summer sloth.

The August heat sank, replaced by damp.

Cider, sweet, found us chilled, toilet a need.

Black skies gave us no guide. ‘Take a torch.’ Pam said.

In the toilet tent, hands full of zips and things,

the torch dropped to the grass,

beam up, highlighting for all to see,

a shadow show, of me.

Trisha Broomfield recently joined with two other poets, Sharron Green and Heather Moulson, to form The Booming Lovelies, to perform and also to teach poetry forms at The Solar Sisters in Guildford. The Booming Lovelies also hope to appear at the Guildford Fringe in the summer.

She reads monthly at the Solar Sisters and records for poetry podcast Poetry Worth hearing.

Her poems appear monthly in a local magazine and during Lockdown she had a regular slot on the local radio.

She has had three poetry pamphlets published by Dempsey and Windle and featured in many anthologies, including Poems for Ukraine, 2022 by Poetry Performance.

In 2020 she was short listed for The Arts Richmond Roger McGough Poetry Prize and 2022 long listed in the Plough Poetry Competition.


In this month's interview, poet-scientist Stephen Paul Wren talks about his ideas on the relationship between science and poetry. In particular, he talks about his involvement with Sci-Po, a project which came into being under the auspices of St. Hilda's College, Oxford and TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. This resulted in a number of conferences and three anthologies, the most recent of which is Angled by the Flood, edited by Elsa Hammond. Episode 3 of Poetry Worth Hearing, includes an interview with another SciPo poet, Sarah Watkinson. After SciPo reached its natural conclusion, Stephen, with the encouragement of of SciPo colleagues, including Sarah Watkinson and Jenny Lewis, started his own online group, Molecules Unlimited, which has the aim of fostering connections between poetry and science. The group is thriving and already has over 200 members, drawn from the ranks of poets and scientists.Below you will find a list of other poet-scientists recommended by Stephen:

Jane Hirshfield (e.g Ledger),

Mario Petrucci (e.g Flowers of Sulphur, and I particularly enjoy 'Bunshop' therein),

Philip Gross,

Tania Hershman,

the works of Erasmus Darwin,

Adam Dickinson (e.g. Anatomic),

and my good friend Sarah Watkinson (e.g. Photovoltaic).

The poems by other poets which Stephen read were:

'In the Light of the Times' by Philip Gross from The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe, 2022)

'Mama Amazonica' by Pascale Petit from Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2022)

Stephen Paul Wren studied at Cambridge (Corpus Christi College) and

worked in industry for many years. He transitioned back into academia

at Oxford (St Hilda’s College) before joining Kingston University in

2018 where he works as a Senior lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry.

Stephen's poetry can be read at and you can find him on

Twitter @Stephen34343631. His book ‘Formulations’ (co-written with Dr

Miranda Lynn Barnes) was published by Small Press in 2022. His book 'A

Celestial Crown of Sonnets' (co-written with Dr Sam Illingworth) was

published by Penteract Press in 2021. Also, Stephen's poetry has

appeared in places such as 14 magazine, Marble Broadsheet,

Consilience, Tears in the Fence, Green Ink Poetry, Fragmented Voices,

and Dreich magazine.

Stephen's Facebook group Molecules Unlimited is growing quickly and

its third online poetry event is due to take place in April 2023.


That's all for Episode 12. Episode 13 will focus on form and will include an interview with Mimi Khalvati as well as extracts from a reading by Claire Cox. In addition, we will have a host of poets reading their poems and explaining how they arrived at the forms for their poems. If you would like to be one of them, you have until 12th March to send me a recording of one of your poems, published or unpublished, with an explanation of how you worked out the poem's form. Please send your recordings,which should not be more than 4 minutes, to Comments and suggestions should be sent to the same address.

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