Time to Vote for Your December 2016 Pick of the Month

Take a final glance back at what we can only summarise as an ‘interesting’ year and make the time to vote for your favourite IS&T poem from December 2016. Our shortlist of six is below (or see the ‘Vote for your Pick of the Month for December 2016’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen) and ranges from the absurd to the unsettling to the poigant, a bit like the year itself!

The works have been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media

Please VOTE HERE. Voting will close at 9pm on Monday 16th January.

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.

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Christian Wethered’s ‘Blade’ is our Pick of the Month for November

 

Maybe it was the sense of speed, the need to leave it all behind and yet remain ‘weirdly still in the centre’, but Christian Wethered’s ‘Blade’ raced home to be Ink Sweat & Tears’ Pick of the Month for November 2016.

Christian, 29, works in London as a freelance tutor and musician. He was a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Works competition and the Decanto Poetry Competition. He has also been published in The Penwood Review and The Caterpillar.

Christian has asked that his £10 prize be donated to The Samaritans and will also, in the spirit of the season, receive a complimentary copy of our Christmas anthology TWELVE: Slanted Poems for Christmas.

 

Blade

Sometimes you can ride it, like in Texas when
you put your foot down and we flew, the screen
and mirrors all enveloping, sucking and flapping
the horizons in its corners, and then just for a few
minutes we were the vanishing point as desert stretched
and bended and we were weirdly still in the centre,
the constant motion and suspense, the sheer possibility
of it all in a perfect cycle, our wheels spinning still

 

 

Voters comments included:

 

Beautiful and escapist. Atmospheric. Reads like a journey away from the cold and the dark.

Liked the idea of becoming a vanishing point and the image of the desert being distorted and wrapped around.

Love the open road! This poem was a welcome thought break during the work day.

Beautiful imagery – a real sense of movement whilst being still, very clever.

Gets my vote because it makes me cry!

Loved its sense of motion and perspective!

Haunting, I feel like it echoes

It makes me yearn for feelings I haven’t experienced yet.

 

 

 

 

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Vote for your IS&T November 2016 ‘Pick of the Month’

 

Time once more to choose your Pick of the Month, this time for November 2016. So tear yourself away from Christmas/holiday shopping and take a few moments to pick your favourite from the shortlist of six below (or see the ‘Vote for your Pick of the Month for November 2016’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen).

These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

Voting is now closed.

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.

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‘Tree Surgery’ by Sally Beets is your Pick of the Month for October 2016

 

It was a tightly fought contest and from a dark and sombre shortlist, Sally Beets’ wonderfully caustic ‘Tree Surgery’ emerged as the overall winner and Pick of the Month for October. Maybe we all just needed to vent!

Sally is a poet and Young Adult fiction writer. She is completing a Masters in Children’s Literature and Creative writing at Goldsmiths University where she has had several pieces published in student publications.  She has worked as a teacher in the past and is involved in various local literacy charities and projects based in London.

 

Tree Surgery

I was growing tired of trees, already,
before the end. Tired of going to nature reserves, forests,
woods, with your tree index book, looking up words in
Latin: Quercuis ilex, rubra, robur,
chasing after your over-excitable stinking dogs,
that muddied and laddered my tights,
or worse, when you produced that battered bat detector.

Everything comes back to trees: breath, literature, doors: the
furniture of life. Your calloused hands
always smelt and felt like bark,
your hair too – that space between your neck and
hairline, it was like that forest in Centre Parcs
where we went together, and then I alone, ‘escaping’,
(my chest tight in the healthy air)
– fresh, smelling faintly of damp sweat from
a freezing wrapped up winter walk.

Your favourite is the Oak. Like you, I thought:
classic, strong, reliable. You, the least complicated of men/
Even trees understand you –
Like the one you climbed in Epping Forest
and shouted from that you were king of the world, while
I refused to join in.
I’ve always liked willows: reflective, flexible, lazy.
Like the one where we had that perfect Indian Summer
picnic and made love next to cows in the stream, there was a
wedding just beyond the hedge.

I retain knowledge against my will, on how to
fell or pollard a tree. I know that they go into shock,
how they heal themselves, how you studied that tree
like an archaeologist, in Grace’s garden in Essex,
twisted like hair, it wormed its way in and
out of the ground, how you found a body
hanged from a tree in Hampstead Heath.

*****

Voters’ comments included:

An extraordinary poem with alarming and poignant imagery.

Painful yet beautiful.

I especially like the way, in this poem, the poet creates very painterly bucolic scenes with an economy of language. I also like the depiction of common everyday activities which are suddenly shot through with darker notes.

Brilliantly combines the allusive with the particular – the poem draws you in as it opens out.

I like trees and this poem takes a surprising way to show us what the title means with respect to a relationships – both literally & figuratively.

 

 

 

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It’s time to Vote for your October 2016 ‘Pick of the Month’

 

Our Pick of the Month shortlist for October is a sombre one. People and relationships are mourned, or not, and we’ve been drawn to the dark and macabre, perhaps befitting in a month that ends with the Day of the Dead.

You will find our shortlisted writers below (or see the ‘Vote for your Pick of the Month for October 2016’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen). These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media. (You’ll note we have an extra this month. Competition on social media was fierce!)

Voting has now closed.

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.

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Our Pick of the Month for September 2016 is ‘Leda Meets Helen’ by Angharad Walker

 

A surge in voting in the final hours saw Angharad Walker just pip her nearest rival at the post with her moving ‘Leda Meets Helen’, a superb example of how much can be said in only a few words.

Angharad graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2013. She lives and works in London.

She has asked that her £10 prize be donated to the Pembroke Unit Fund of the Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal

 

Leda Meets Helen

She is fresh on this globe from my globed belly and I am too scared to look. I dread the moment she opens her eyes. She could have his black beads.

I unwrap her. Not a feather in sight. I turn her over and over with delight, run my fingers over her human down. Her toes are angular, unwebbed. Her neck cannot hold up her head. Her lips are soft, pink, unfed.

I will never teach her to swim.

I will never dress her in white.

 

*****

Voters comments included:

The story behind the brevity is compelling – full of contradictory feelings of fear and attraction. Stunning compression of language.

A whole world, a whole myth, and what it’s like to greet your newborn, in so few words. A beautiful poem!

I like the uncertain direction of the poem.

It really spoke to my heart.

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It’s time to Vote for September’s Pick of the Month

Women of grit, determination and strength – true Queens – feature in several of the works on our shortlist for September. And then there’s the worker ants and Trotsky at a birthday party.

Intrigued? You can find our shortlisted writers below (or see the ‘Vote for your September 2016 Pick of the Month’ in the Categories list to your right on the screen). These have either been chosen by Helen and Kate or received the most attention on social media.

Voting is now closed.

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.

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