Poetry Worth Hearing: Episode One
In this post, you will find the texts of the poems which you heard on the episode (https://anchor.fm/kathleen-mcphilemy) as well as some background information about the poets. You will also see the publications details of work by our two Open Mic poets, David Cooke and Lynne Wycherley as well as a list of the books and poets mentioned by Pat Winslow.
along the wood’s
edge : not
flowers , scrub
wired with stalks
and thorn , husked
no new leaf
either – instead
this saffron strobe
– a siskin – tangled
in them mingling
tilu, tilu ti— the bird’s
sprung song un-
a woken wind is up
behind Bean hill soughs seethes
the rides bellows every web
and twig twists
the silences it
drags are winter’s
bets – back on
from the ponds stung the raised cries of geese
Lucy Ingrams has won the Manchester Poetry Prize (2015) and the Magma Poetry Competition (2016). Her poems have been widely published in print and online. Her pamphlet, Light-fall, is published by Flarestack Poets.
Instructions for Naturalisation
Now is the time to bury them
at three or four times
their own depth
working in the warmth
of a long shadowed
late September day.
Place their dry papery points upwards
and ease their matted bases
into the musty earth.
Remember to space them
in random, odd numbered
under the chestnut and in the orchard
where the blackbird scuttles
around rotting apples.
Then tread back the turfs
Sarah Bryson has had poems published in print journals, anthologies and on line. She was a regular participant, during the Covid pandemic, in a weekly on-line arts event, combining photographs with haiku style poetry and has recently had several poems on the Poetry and Covid site.https://poetryandcovid.com/poems/index-of-poets-and-poems/
Blink A response to Abstract by Rita Zehrer
An image in the eye of a swift, slipped past her cornea’s curve,
funnelled from the light
of a burnt-orange land.
The colour emerges
from a dark room sink,
brazened with heat.
She drifts ten thousand feet high
so stark and strike of cliffs are smoothed
to ruffles of frayed
cloth. Desert, left waste, forsaken
as she migrates,
yet lifts to her mind
with a blink.
Richard Lister draws you into stories of intriguing people, places and cultures. His poetry is ‘a celebration of ordinary magic perceived by a keen eye’. Richard’s work is carved into the Radius sculpture, published in 7 collections and exhibited at Leith Hill Place. He works to address poverty in Africa and Asia.
One Small Step
The moon that climbs over the campsite
is sticky as marmalade.
The five, sitting round their fire, rise as one
to stare at it.
They are backlit, wearing onesies,
standing upright for the first time,
furry little bumps for tails, transfixed,
not yet aware.
A minute, maybe less, it seems to take
One by one, they sit, resume their conversation.
It’s as if
the miracle of being here, and the moon’s
and the persistence of the tide,
to do with any of it.
In a field of tents and cars where the eye is drawn
to shock-headed dandelions and fluorescent frisbees
it takes fine tuning to find one amongst plantain and clover.
Easy after that to pinpoint others, as if a wavelength
had been discovered or a humming wire that runs beneath them.
Such a tiny, pointed bud tucked under a leaf, the shade of lipstick at its tip,
1960s Coral Pink, which is more orange than its name suggests.
In its prime, five stamens, each capped sulphur-gold,
stand tight and firm inside their neighbouring petals.
Indivisible morning star, it is itself, intimate, complete.
Pat Winslow has published seven collections, most recently, Kissing Bones with Templar Poetry. A winner of several notable competitions over the years, she is currently enjoying commissioned collaborations with film-makers, composers and artists.
The first extract from an Oxford Stanza 2 Open Mic session is by David Cooke and was recorded on April 26th, 2021. Details of David's work and publications are given below.
David Cooke’s poems and reviews have appeared in many journals in the UK, Ireland and beyond: Agenda, Ambit, The Cortland Review, The Interpreter’s House, The Irish Times, The London Magazine, Magma, The Manhattan Review, The Morning Star, The North, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Stand. He has also published seven collections, the latest of which is Staring at a Hoopoe (Dempsey and Windle 2020.) He is the founder and editor of the online poetry journal The High Window. His next collection, Sicilian Elephants, is due out from Two Rivers Press towards the end of 2021. Thanks to David for the extract and permission to use his poems.
Here is where June is, tumultuous summer
staunchly upright to the sky’s blunt rule
blooms uplifted, palms raised like a child
explaining how a plant is. Assured ancestry
of flowers being flowers, being oblivious
to all calamity, assembled in their currencies
of colour. Blue with bluer still, silver
exalting the white. We wander the avenues
of pleached limes. You tell me trees this close
will meld their limbs together. We reach
to part the foliage touching hands, searching
for the invisible or the scar. This place
teems with the elderly in pairs. Cheerfully
they background our vantages, in visors
and drip dry slacks. Who on God’s earth
will be left to love us when we’re them?
Vanessa Lampert has an MA in Writing Poetry from Poetry School London and Newcastle University. Since graduating in 2019, she has won the Café Writers and Edward Cawston Thomas prizes and the Ver poetry Prize twice. She came second in The Fish, Yeovil, Oxford Brookes and Kent and Sussex prizes. She has been commended in the Bridport and Troubadour competitions and she was commended in the National Poetry Competition this year.
Vanessa’s work has been widely published, most recently in Magma, The Moth, The Oxford Times and Poetry News. She writes for and co-edits the online and print magazine The Alchemy Spoon and teaches on the Learn with Leaders programme in India and runs workshops for Hive Young Poets in South Yorkshire. Her pamphlet ‘On Long Loan’ is published by Live Canon. Her first full collection will be published later this year.
Vanessa is from Wallingford Oxfordshire where she works as an acupuncturist.
(via Google translate)
Your husband cannot fall over,
but he needs to be aired.
His heart was imprisoned.
Was your home temperature high?
He is now ready to donate.
Your child is sleeping early,
but her state is not life stopping.
Your other child is dead. Your husband is stable
but he needs to be ventilated.
He had a cardiac arrest.
Did he have a high fever at home?
He has the opportunity to donate his organs.
Your child will be born prematurely,
but her condition is not life threatening.
Your other child is fitting.
(Doctor’s in the NHS are increasingly having to turn to google translate as translation services are expensive and cumbersome, BMJ, 2014. Google Translate has only 57.7% accuracy when used for medical phrase translations, BMJ 2019).
I stand at the edge of the Lethe,
clinging to a short frayed rope.
Calling your name.
Let me moor you.
Stop the burbles and drift,
calm the choppy syntax,
stop the vowels tumbling
into a spray of words.
You are fishing for basics,
the who, what, who of life.
Laying night lines for familiar faces
and day poles for rainbow trout.
Turning Taf, Towy and Teifi
over and over with your paddle.
Your hours slow as pond weed,
your own reflection forgotten.
You sit, cradled by lichen and willow
in your tarred bulrush boat-for-one.
Going Away Outfit
I drop off your clothes, in a bag for life,
washed, shaken and pressed.
Your favourite green jumper, checked shirt,
neat mole-coloured cords.
And a pair of pure new wool socks,
¾ you can’t bear cold feet.
When I arrive the next morning to say goodbye,
there is a loose thread on your jumper,
as I lean down to kiss you one last time, I pull it,
unsure whether it will draw me closer or unravel.
Jane Thomas is currently working on her first pamphlet on the subject of Alzheimer’s.
This year she has had poems published in magazines including; Stand, Envoi, ASH, Oxford Review of Books, ORbits, The Oakland Arts Review and The Oxford Magazine. She was also commended in The Poetry Society Stanza Competition and shortlisted in the Rialto pamphlet competition.
March I am walking with trees my feet entangled in foliage cracking through early morning dew I am talking in tree tongues my fountain wide open I shout and laugh while white blossom clouds float and sink Haze above the landing place which is my bed - but I am outside in the snowdropbath stark naked I crawl into my delicate tree brocade my dress and home sky blue silk snowbells tickle toes I am walking in trees where to where to where to?
Bäume - Trees
Ich gehe mit Bäumen Seite an Seite aneinander- geschmiegt Meine Füße in Lianen krachend durch den Morgentau Auf meinem Kopf Kerzen ein vieldochtiger Vogel mit brennender Krone Ich lache und rufe weit offen die Fontäne Der Himmel blau blau blau Schneebälle fallen Blütenwolken schweben Dunst über der Landestelle die mein Bett ist - Ich aber bin draußen im Schneetropfenbad Splitternackt krabble ich in meinen feinen Baum Mein Kleid mein Heim Brokat Schneeglöckchen kitzeln Baumsohlen Ich gehe in meinem Baum wohin wohin wohin?
Eva Wal is a visual and multimedia artist as well as a poet and writer of short prose.
In 2009 she published her first poetry collection “Marmorsee” (marble lake).
She self-edited several books with poetry, short stories and documentaries of art work as well as artist's books and editions and was published in some literary magazines and online platforms in Germany, England and the USA.
For 20 years she has given workshops and made multimedia projects with children and young people.
In 2017 she founded the group „Dada was all good“ with participants of the workshops at the Arp Museum to meet members of Oxford Stanza 2 in Bonn.
Since the collaboration and friendship with members of Oxford Stanza 2 Eva has started to write poems in English as well as translating poems.
In 2019 she edited a booklet with English-German poems, “Oxford Stanza 2 meets Dada war alles gut”, together with Bill Jenkinson and, more recently, she has just published a pamphlet of poems in German and English, Poems in the Hourglass - Gedichte im Stundenglas.
Here are some of the poets and poetry collections recommended by Pat Winslow.
2012: Everything Speaks in its Own Way
2013: Brand New Ancients
2014: Hold Your Own
2016: Let Them Eat Chaos
2016: “ Pictures on a Screen”
2018: Running Upon The Wires
David Morley: The Fury
Ilya Kaminsky: Deaf Republic
Raymond Antrobus: The Perseverance
Fiona Benson: Vertigo & Ghost
Jay Barnard: Surge
Joe Dunthorne: O Positive
Claudia Rankine: Citizen
Kei Miller: In Nearby Bushes; The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
Inu Ellam: The Actual
Magazines which Pat reads: Magma , Poetry London, Stand, Poetry Review, Rattle, Butcher’s Dog, Alchemy Spoon
Stretches of sheer drops then spaced out over grassy tops.
A sign confidently points us toward peril!
Still, others have skirted the high cliffs, and so must we.
Granite leanings hide secret bays where village streets corner-cringe.
Plate-tectonics honed perfect feet, to spill white splashes all along.
Gull sound aches the vicinity; some like child cries.
Others, sears of assertion all sounding off,
heaven swarming, to dive for the catch.
Weathering a storm
A tight line horizoning high blue and deep grey,
draws my gaze, stirs me to march ahead - but doesn’t shift boots.
Both are mud-implanted, and the search for safe stone holds sway.
I look up again and the sky has grimed.
Warm, wet mist weakens my resolve. Skin-soak smothers me.
But just as I boot-step my retreat - a cloud break,
and a smile of sun urges me up for another go.
Above my head wind seeps through plaster cracks.
Slight shifting of beams and a century of angled drafts,
deliver a toneless tune - leaving me with a worry to ponder.
When will a final crescendo dash the roof to the street below?
Underneath my usual steps a wobbled rhythm of floor boards
tells me it is the season for wood to suck up moisture;
expanding and shifting to scrape and rattle through the night,
sometimes with a ghostly bang - theming my dreams.
Once such creaks configured shipping toward the unexplored,
or marked the final steps up to the gallows.
Measured noise that spoke through time,
until iron and steel tore it down.
Then plastic form delivered a final silence.
Steering my steps along a forest path.
I catch the sound of canopy creak.
Nature’s perfect sway leaves me with the hope
axes and saws are kept away.
David Burridge has been a member of the Backroom Poets for many years.
He has published several collections of poetry, Pausing for breath along my way exploring his love of walking, and Making Sense focusing on his interest in philosophy. His third collection, Child’s Play exploring his early years growing up in North London has recently been published by Albion Beatnik Press and he has a new collection, Streetwise, which has just appeared from Cinnamon Press. David is a fluent German speaker, a keen walker and traveller, and a passionate European.
Taking stock In the last hour of sleep, mountain sheep cast aside all thoughts of safety, rush down into the valley, sure-footed, wool-white backs
jostling, eyes bright, stammered throats calling –
ragged fragments of wisped bleats mingling,
catching on heather, rising on birdsong –
every path leads to the river – from there to the gate, and here they wait, for they know
that wakefulness startles, alters, thins bone to skim of air, undoes fleece, leaves only star dust, stuttered souls on a silent screen
fading to sprocket-fuelled splashes of light.
Sheepskin Gloves for JW
Before arthritis, forgetfulness,
memory whittled to filigree —
her mother would, if old gloves wore out,
buy new ones and wear them in for her,
take on the as-yet-unyielding grip,
ease fingers into the fleece embrace,
knuckles, held tight by the stiff stitched seams,
finding blissful warmth, each flex of thumb
crinkled the palm, strengthened character,
resilience, added fine lifelines,
until by Christmas day, the gift, wrapped,
waited for her, ready to hold hands. * Years on, the last pair of gloves treasured
all the more for holding those old days,
her two girls, growing fast, almost tall,
in the rushed fluster of the school play,
one glove drops unseen into the night,
once home, dismay at the loss, distraught,
every cupboard turned out, not a clue, then found, next morning, in the car park —
fox-mauled within an inch of its life,
torn tufts of its former self scattered,
the memory of her mother’s hand in hers, still in one piece, shaken free.
Helen Overell has work in several magazines and some of her poems were highly commended or placed in competitions including the Poetry Society Stanza Competition 2018 and the Poetry News Members' poems Summer 2020. Her first collection Inscapes & Horizons was published by St Albert's Press in 2008 and her second collection Thumbprints was published by Oversteps in 2015. A booklet of her poems Measures for lute was published by The Lute Society in 2020.
The last time I called in I was so nervous
‘Welcome anytime,’ you’d said, ‘whenever you have time.’
But how was I to know how you - so volatile - would be today,
what welcome I would get - or not.
It took some courage, let me say, to press my finger on your bell
to wait outside while slippered feet came shuffling to the door.
Too late now to run, to turn away
for I was there and so were you,
only your door between us.
Then there you were, opening the door a crack as always,
checking who was there then, seeing it was me:
‘It’s you !’ you cried and opened wide your door
‘I feared you’d never come but here you are. Come in, come in.’
You opened wide your door, I opened wide my heart
and all was well as it had ever been and ever would be.
Bridget Fraser is a published (SOUTH magazine) and prizewinning poet and a finalist in the Asham Award for short stories. Prizewinner in Berkshire Festival of Music & the Arts (short story) 2017 Founded and hosts monthly poetry workshop - The Free Range Poets - every month near Henley on Thames & performed for the Chelsea Fringe Festival 2017, 2018, 2019 plus Henley Literary Festival various years.
The knife cuts deep and clean, to free the flesh from skin. I slice it into cubes, check the heat
add some spice, chuck out the seeds and crack on with my recipe for soup.
The pumpkins have done well this year. I do not choose to say if this is down to expert propagation, or due propitiation which I offered unaware.
I do know this: that when we lifted them
and barrowed wormy muck to spread on beds now laid to winter’s rest
we were working side-by-side with all the ripening and fall that’s gone before.
Tonight, my sacrifice is slices of peel tipped on the compost heap.
Carl Tomlinson lives on a smallholding in the North Oxfordshire countryside. His poems have been published in South, Orbis, and in competition anthologies. Known to many for his hosting of reading in the Aboingdon Arms and Live in the Time of Coronavirus, he has just published his first book, Changing Places, with Fair Acre Press.
“I’ll be a long time dead” I said
as I left the half full, half empty dishwasher
gaping open in surprise.
I went outside
in the dying evening
to plant out bizzy lizzies.
Red and white and not quite sure
where to plant in their best interest,
I opted for the front garden,
so my neighbours could see them
as they passed by.
The next door neighbour’s dog, Mollie,
who is fourteen years old,
stops for me to pet in the evenings.
She sits, her coat rough in parts,
whilst I pat her fur,
avoiding the bald patch
on the tumours.
I take her paw every time
as if it is the first time I have seen it,
and she warrants a round of applause
for being so clever.
I wonder if she guesses
this is not forever.
Her owner stops and we discuss
the planting of the new flowers.
We both know the dog is dying.
So we chat about the direction
of the sun and where the shade is
and share tips on how best
to keep plants alive.
Mollie sits quietly
on the warm path,
-glad of the rest.
At most the buzy lizzies
will last a season.
I wonder if the real reason
we ever plant anything,
is to communicate with each other
at our metaphysical garden gates,
over light and shade
and blots of colour.
“I’ll be a long time dead” I said,
As I pass the kitchen sink,
full of half-washed pots
and pans in equal measure.
Mollie feels my hand on her silken head,
a touch I never take for granted
a touch I treasure.
Anne McDonald is an author, poet and spoken word artist who works as a creative writing coach and facilitator. Her debut poetry collection, Crow's Books, is available on Amazon. She lives in Dublin.
in his right hand a rope
ready to pull
in his left
holding the water
he sits at ease
in his currach
no sweat on his face
his life made for boats
the first days of spring
the treacherous he makes
sunlight a living
picks out a button night-fishing
he has no gloves lobster and crab
no life-saving gear
how far his catch
can he swim finds its way
better not think to the mainland
a sudden gust
a harsh wave He serves
in the islands
you had done it before, what do you see?
from boy talent What do you think
to flinty professional. of their chances?
for ten thousand hours Do they remind you
you hit the spot of Welshmen
six times out of six. who became
Day after day, when they took
back arched and side braced, brides?
you perfected your action,
thumb and two fingers: Such similar settings level and raw
wrist-cocked, Patagonian pampas the islands
you spun the ball raked by wind and sea
until your analysis where families live
played in the press. on whatever will fruit
on their fish,
You did it again their cattle;
with rifle and shotgun, trading with merchants
from near and far
from islands of the Gaeltacht
eye, hands, and shoulders
in firing position;
cleaning and oiling,
setting up sights,
you made yourself expert
in field-craft and shooting.
Then you were tall
and rode trails
in Tierra del Fuego,
you knew beasts
fowl and game:
you were determined
on a name
through action and words.
Watching your hosts,
the islander fishermen,
his young, streamlined face
breaks the skyline.
he sits on a beach
the shore’s impermanence.
He looks straight to camera – his camera-
as the Stranger takes the photograph
with a seal
in the foreground.
Their torpedo shapes
their vestigial paws
limp at their sides
their un-closable eyes
tucked out of sight.
the spring light
and the head
cushioned on driftwood.
In his turn
back with his camera
he snaps his companion
The successful hunter
cradling his Mauser.
Bill Jenkinson started writing around 2010, after one of Giles Goodland’s Writing Poetry classes, partly because he was leaving full-time work. He is greatly inspired and assisted by the poets he has met in Oxford Stanza 2. He is currently working on a set of poems under the working title, The Islands. Original photos taken by Alfred James Jenkinson, 1877-1928, on a visit to Iniskea North and Inisglora, March 26 – April 6 1902
On my mind
Some may think me rude
think me thoughtless,
though in fact, I think too much
leaving nothing more to say.
Warriors invade my mind in longboats
in armoured cars,
weaving in, swooping out.
So, you see, I keep you safe,
protected from demons
what my mouth may emit.
I throw a blanket around you
save you from exposure
to a fogged mind
where a multitude of voices
echo around a tiny part
of my size seven head.
Occasional thoughts excite
though hardly make the page
for fear of failure.
Philip Larkin salutes Dylan Thomas
between sips of brandy;
Thomas peers back
over a flagon of ale
with underhand praise…
My eyes close and more appear
legions of writers,
none stepping aside
all of a muddle
and then you ask,
are you listening to me?
Thoughts plunge into darkness.
I'm the unenviable proprietor
of the house of overthinking,
as they filter into loss.
Once they leave, they seldom return
overtaken by a line from Ted Hughes,
or a verse to be woven.
You are the treasure buried deep
beneath all of this,
But enough of this…
‘Sorry love, did you say something?’
David Ratcliffe is a poet, playwright, short story writer from the North West of England.
He has been published in a number of magazines both on-line and in print.
In 2016 his poem ‘Home Straight’ featured at the Fermoy International Festival.
The stage play ‘Intervention’ was produced for World Peace Day.
His poetry has been published in the following publications… Poetry Pacific Magazine, TRR Poetry, Sixteen Magazine, Mad Swirl
Tulip Tree Review (Print Version) Oddball Magazine, Poem Hunter, THE BeZINE, Creative Talents Unleashed, Drawn to the Light Press, Live Encounters & The Galway Review. His poem ‘He Crawled’ was placed third for the Pushcart Prize in the Blue Nib magazine in 2018. Also, in 2018 his poem ‘Pour me a Vision’ featured in VatsalaRadhakeesoon.wordpress.com for Dylan Thomas Day.
His debut collection ‘Through an Open Window’ was released in August 2021.
The extract which concludes this episode is taken from a reading by Lynne Wycherley in a Zoom Open Mic event on July 26th. She read from her latest book, Brooksong and Shadows, Shoestring press, 2021, as well as from other collections. Details are given below.
Lynne Wycherley is a prize-winning and much respected poet. When Listening to Light, new & selected poems was published in 2014, the Agenda reviewer wrote: "Many of these poems deserve to be anthologised forever". Since she migrated from Oxford to a windswept headland in the West Country, her lyrical voice has continued to sing.
Publications include: The Testimony of the Trees, Shoestring, 2018; Listening to the Light, new& selected poems, 2014, Poppy in a Storm-tossed Field,2009,The North Flight, 2006, At the Edge of Light,2003. Thanks to Lynne for permission to use this extract and include her poems.