August 2019 Pick of the Month. Vote Now!

The shortlist for August’s Pick of the Month is a feast for the senses. Breathe in Gregory Kearns‘ ‘Perfume’, feel the touch of cold in Aishwarya Raghu‘s ‘A Poem about Frost’ and learn ‘When to stop eating chalk’ from Paul Grant. Taste supper with Ashleigh Davies‘ ‘Apollo’; hold Stephanie Limb‘s ‘Pearl’ tight; listen into a ‘Wake up call’ from Finola Scott and note its aftertaste.

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 August 2019 Pick of the Month′ in the Categories list to your right on the screen.

Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced at 4pm on Monday 23rd September.

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 All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.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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Finola Scott




Wake up call

you haul me from dream drifting
snug in your tangled bed
I hear your early-rise kitchen clatter

I’m a lay-a-bed, day waster, sloth
you remark
dark dressed in the doorway

I want our mornings to release
day’s perfume not this peat,
earth-soiled Pu’erh tea you proffer

aged, brackish, it slaps my mouth
you say I’m drinking time
I taste rot



Finola Scott is published in many magazines & anthologies including Gutter, Ofi Press, The Fenland Reed and Firth. Red Squirrel are publishing her pamphlet this autumn. Some work can be read at the FB page Finola Scott Poems

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Aishwarya Raghu




A Poem about Frost

Swan resting
on an empty lake: white
but for the lake. Blue
but for the swan.
Winter will set in
from the
corner of the lake.
Eagle swan.
I can no longer
tell bird from bird.
When winter sets in,
the swan will be trapped
left foot down.
Things will change. Moss
under snow. Earth
under moss. A scuba diver
would be trapped underwater
if the lake were the sea.
Lonely diver
with the left foot
of the swan for company.
The swan will fly. Bird
will turn into bird.



Aishwarya Raghu is a 26-year-old content writer from Bangalore, India. Her work has previously appeared in magazines such as the Louisville Review, Glass Mountain Magazine, aaduna, and Vayavya.

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Ashleigh Davies





In the leaner times it was
a bread and butter supper,
slaked with milk, perhaps
on the cusp of the turn,
the tang fizzing on the tongue-tip.

In the fatter times,
beef and dripping, the latter
glossy, chalk-white and viscous
as tart emulsion,
the beef crumbling to scuttle dregs.

And in the leanest times
we fed on the hot lick
of blunted candlelight,
even then there was always fire;
my father, Apollo, throat a lyre.




Ashleigh Davies is a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University. His poetry has appeared in Envoi, The New Welsh Reader and Poetry Wales among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ashleighrdavies

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Stephanie Limb




You say, ‘Hold on to me,
I don’t want to lose you
in the night.
I keep waking up on my own.’

You push your feet
between my knees,
cling to my neck.

My body doesn’t know
a different shape to sleep in.
I fold around you. Grit in my shell –
wrapped in my soft belly.

Neither of us understands what? –
who? – operates when we’re under.
We both suspect your dad.



Stephanie Limb graduated in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003. She worked as an English teacher in secondary schools for several years. She is now working towards an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two sons.

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Gregory Kearns





Stranger, you smell like my dead dad. I have a cloud of weepy nostalgia for whatever perfume you have bought and wear.

Stranger, what is this scent called?

If I’d had to guess I would say it smells of lilies, but I don’t know what lilies smell like.

Stranger your perfume gives me puckish dreams.

You could be anyone in this line – the smell rising above the burnt coffee beans and cigarette smoke wafting through the restless door.

Or perhaps its all of you- where did you buy it from? Somewhere around the corner from the undertakers I suppose. Do you know the embalmed?

Stranger I feel like I have loved you in all the ways a son can.



Gregory Kearns is a poet who lives in Liverpool. Gregory is currently finishing his MFA in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been published in anthologies like Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets.

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Paul Grant




When to stop eating chalk

I am watching my niece
Draw on the back door step
With chalk

Almost shapes
Almost something

Going forward
I will have no advice
To give her
About all of this
About anything really

Hopefully she’ll have the good sense
Not to ask
Some chicken-dicked fool like me

But if she did I would tell her
That the dark thoughts
Will come,
My god they will

They pass,

Like thunder
Slowly leaving
The field.



Paul Grant lives and works in Milton Keynes, a place where very little happens. This is perfect.

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