Vote! Time To Choose Your Pick of the Month for July 2019

There’s an energy and a restlessness that pervades the poems in our shortlist for the IS&T Pick of the Month for July! In fact, in Maxine Rose Munro‘s ‘He grows’, the narrator gives birth to a ‘Restless’ that cannot be held down, while William Stephenson refuses to hold back the ‘rising buzz’ in his ‘On the Origin of Electrofunk by Natural Selection’ and Jack Little reveals a sleeping beast in ‘The Metro after 1AM’. A tumultuous teenage past – ‘the addictive thrill of cheating/the drumming heartbeat’ – infuses Golnoosh Nour‘s ‘Blood Days’ and we feel an extreme tension, a ‘Struggling to breathe’, in ‘Seats’ by Dipo Baruwa-Etti. Finally, Chrissy Banks is on the edge of something both wounding and exhilarating with ‘If you don’t come back’.

All six works have been chosen by Helen or Kate or received the most attention on social media. They can be found below or by clicking on ‘Vote for your July 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Voting is now closed. July’s ‘Pick’ will be announced at 4pm (BST) on Tuesday 20th August.

The winner each month will be sent a £10 book giftcard or, if preferred, a donation of the same amount will be made to a chosen charity. In the event of the winner being from outside the UK mainland, we will make every effort to provide a reasonable alternative. All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. (‘Frequency Violet’ by Kate Edwards was a Pick of the Month for November 2017 and was Highly Commended by the 2018 judges. It features in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019.)

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William Stephenson

 

 

 

On the Origin of Electrofunk by Natural Selection

Our fingers sprouted claws; our foreheads, feelers.
Wires shook and gourds boomed in our hands, paws,
podia.  We danced in spirals, bees on acid house:

this rising buzz for louder, this spiral that meant solo,
this shudder of the wings that triggered a sampled
snare drum roll.  We wired our brainstems for techno.

To cut our first demo we grew tails, horns and fur.
We carved microphones from mastodon tusks.
We stretched our throats to howl the full moon down.

We humped the tribe’s recording gear into a cavern
putrid with steaming tiger dung.  The red light shone.
Nudged by magnetic coils in our skulls, we sang.

 

 

William Stephenson’s first full collection Travellers and Avatars was published by Live Canon in 2018.  His pamphlets are Rain Dancers in the Data Cloud (Templar, 2012) and Source Code (Ravenglass, 2013).

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Chrissy Banks

 

 

If you don’t come back

I will turn to the woods.
To winter woods
trees rising above
their heap of leaves.
I’ll turn to the hills that endure
rain, flood, fog, snow and storm
the worst winds and fires of full sun.
I will follow the river that keeps on
flowing, keeps on carrying
pike and trout and stickleback
despite its sinkage of stones.
I’ll turn to the garden
and watch how it dies
then grows; to the swift visits
of winking-winged brimstones
the patient journeys of ants.
And I will turn to the sea
the sea that will rumble me
slap me awake, holding
its mirror to my face.
I’ll look to the waves’ rise and fall
moon-pulled, thrown by wind
into foam. Even to the cold
deep seaspots, where I can stand
alone, till I’m blue boned.

 

 

Chrissy Banks lives in Exeter. Her last collection was Days of Fire and Flood and another, The Uninvited, is forthcoming this year from Indigo Dreams. She has had poems in many magazines and anthologies, including And Other Poems, Antiphon, the Rialto, Orbis, the North, South and Agenda.

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Jack Little

 

 

 

The Metro After 1AM

Each station marks an anonymous arrival.
Behind screens, each tunnel descent is metal cold
and hot air, cutting deeper into the Earth
bright lights blinking on the city’s last bend
before the volcanic rock, the lake bed,
the resting yard of all trains lined graffiti white,
pinked to dusk, passing stones all full of yesterday’s kisses
empty except for the dream-horses of sleeping commuters.

 

 

Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of Elsewhere (Eyewear, 2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press. @JLittleMexico

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Maxine Rose Munro

 

 

 

He grows 

I gave birth to Restless, and oh how
he prowls this house, testing, testing
the strength of my walls. Pushing
at limits to find weaknesses he
stores for future use, careful
with his words. He knows
soon will come his
time, not mine.

I gave birth to Restless
and, oh! how he grows and grows.

 

 

 

Maxine Rose Munro is a Scottish poet who writes in both English and her native Shetlandic Scots. She is widely published in the UK, in print and online, including Ink, Sweat and Tears, and her work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Find her here www.maxinerosemunro.com

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Dipo Baruwa-Etti

 

 

 

Seats

Before a table of white
People, I stand with ballet
Slippers strapped/soft soles
Head pointed towards the angels.

A dance, I commence. Pirouette
Grand adage, en point
Followed by flight as a helium
Addicted balloon.

Circling a table of white
People, I act as the Central
Line: quick/convenient/
Struggling to breathe.

A dance, I conclude. Magic
Hopefully proven
Gate optimistically opened
Handcuffs gracefully broken.

 

 

 

 

 

Dipo Baruwa-Etti is a playwright and poet. He has been published in The Good Journal, Amaryllis, and had his work showcased nationwide as part of End Hunger UK’s touring exhibition on food insecurity.

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Golnoosh Nour

 

 

 

Blood Days

Break all our delicate cups, my love
Shatter their bleeding flowers like you
shattered us. I don’t mind; because I was
that bad kid, the best student at the back of the class
sleeplessly studying stoplessly
for all the exams, writing the right
replies to those wrong questions, and yet
cheating just to make sure all my responses
were conspicuously correct. That I’d get the best grade to
appease my distressed self and expectant parents.
And of course, the addictive thrill of cheating
the drumming heartbeat, the slippery fingers, the sweaty pen
A forbidden book open, under the desk, on my trembling lap
or inked solutions on toilet papers emerging from my grey sleeves.

A retired magician making ends meet in a red circus
ten magicians chewing raw meat, blood oozing
through their teeth.
Ten thousand magicians murmuring your name, a
visceral curse in my scorching ears.

Break everything you please
just beware that loving and hurting you were the
last things I wanted to do, like those cheating days,
a treacherous teenager, trapped, in my dark school.

 

 

Golnoosh Nour is the author the poetry collection Sorrows of the Sun which was published in 2017 under her pseudonym Sogol Sur. She has performed both her prose and poetry in numerous literary events across the UK. Golnoosh just completed a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. She teaches prose and poetry at Birkbeck and The University of East London.

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