Myra Schneider On Grenfell

 

 

 

 

IF

Grenfell Tower a Year On

If trying to keep your head, you raced
towards the pillar of flame and smoke choking
the building, not knowing if your children, partner,
mother, brother, friend were trapped inside it;
if you lost one or many whom you loved;
if hoping to find a keepsake you made a visit
to your flat after the furnace was quelled, found
a smashed sink but nothing to take away
among the heaps of rubble, the twists of metal;
if numb, you received and offered sympathy for days
and soothing voices promised a new home
within weeks;
if living in the shadow of the Tower
you heard the reports of the corners cunning knaves
had cut in ‘ascertaining’ it was safe and a year on
you still had no place to call your own,
what trust would you have in promises, in words –
lashings of fine words which butter nothing?

 

 

Myra Schneider’s most recent poetry collections are The Door to Colour (Enitharmon) and the pamphlet Persephone in Finsbury Park, (SLN). Other publications include books about personal writing. She is consultant to the Second Light Network for women poets and tutors for The Poetry School. A new collection is due this October.

Myra also contributed to the poems for Grenfell Tower anthology (Onslaught Press), available here, which includes poems from Georges Szirtes, Medbh McGuckian and Red Watch fire fighter Ricky Nuttall. All profits go to The Grenfell Foundation being set up by Grenfell United.

Grenfell United are calling for the UK to observe 72 seconds of silence at midday to remember each life that was lost in and after the Grenfell Tower fire. On the evening of the 14th June, the group will be taking part in the Silent March and then will gather to observe “Iftar” and the breaking of bread at sunset. They hope many  fellow marchers will join them. For more details go here follow @grenfellspeaks on Twitter or Grenfell Speaks on Facebook.

Tomorrow, Friday 15th June, has been designated #GreenforGrenfell day.

💚💚💚💚💚

 

 

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Vote for your May 2018 Pick of the Month

We’ve a heady mix in our Pick of the Month shortlist for May. Perhaps it is Spring in the air that sees the subject matters range from Barbie’s indignity and Blake’s flea through ‘a man who was definitely elsewhere’, a touch of the Spanish Inquisition in a Harvey Nicks fitting room and Agnes ‘completely at home in her two hundred and six bones’!  All of it ending in a ‘Last Kiss’: ‘…interminable/questions of love’

Please make your choice from the works featured below (or see the ‘Vote for your May 2018 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 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. 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.

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And the April 2018 Pick of the Month is ‘Wildlings’ by Marie-Françoise de Saint-Quirin

 
Perhaps it was the long hot days of the bank holiday weekend and beyond when most of you placed your votes, and many ran free with their own ‘Wildlings’, but Marie-Françoise de Saint-Quirin’s poem is the IS&T Pick of the Month for April. This ‘beautiful’ ‘warm’ and ‘clever’ work resonated.

Marie-Françoise is a London based poet who was born in South Wales. Often using her mixed heritage and unconventional childhood as inspiration, she particularly enjoys writing about the mundane things that make up the fabric of who we are. Her work has previously been published by Message in a Bottle and Reach Poetry.

 

Wildlings 

My wildlings
leave tokens of love scattered
like breadcrumbs,
then shriek and howl
to scare away the birds.
He offers me bouquets of broccoli –
fistfuls of Brassica from a moss flecked giant.
She wraps me in sapling limbs and
sings me songs of answerless questions.
I am just a breeze, a whisper on a wishbone,
yet, snail trails glisten across
the sag of my skin and grant me substance.

 

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Voters comments included:

… I picked Wildlings because it wouldn’t let me go. I wanted to have snail glitter on my aging skin. I wanted to have answers to the questions my son sings to me.

A truly amazing and insightful work from one so obviously gifted. A piece so full of warmth and love that expresses the existence of a close bond between the poet and the Wildlings. The very thoughtful and thought provoking use of drawing parallels between the fleeting appearances of Nature’s little winged creatures and the Wildlings while illustrating the close bond that exists hints also at the acknowledgement ( albeit fleetingly that like Nature’s little fledglings ) of the poets transitory role in the life of her Wildlings “I am just a breeze a whisper on a wishbone “. But then just as quickly comes also the acknowledgement that however fleetingly their connection her strength is renewed in the affirmation ” yet snail trails glisten across the sag of my skin and grant me substance “. A permanent reminder of the legacy of her Wildlings’ love.

Brings it home how sweet it is to be with the ones you love

Evokes memories, reads beautifully

Resonates mothering

A beautifully written poem that made me smile and feel warm inside.

Very deep. Made me think.

Thought provoking and uses words to lull the reader in a false security. Very intelligent.

The style of writing speaks to my soul

I like the emotive use of language

Very well presented the poet uses playful language. I feel a sense of warmth when I read this poem.

I can relate, I have two wildlings of my own and here is poem that speaks their truths.

A fantastic poem that truly captures the wonderful feeling of being a parent

The imagery reminds me of my wildling.

Powerful imagery and thought provoking

 

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Vote now for your April 2018 Pick of the Month

 

It’s a bank holiday weekend (in the UK) and the sun is shining (in most of the UK) so it may be a wrench to tear yourself away from the park, the seaside, the barbecue and the Pimms. However, we have some amazing poets shortlisted for our April 2018 Pick of the Month and you can make one of their skies even brighter by voting for them.

Please make your choice from the poems featured below (or see the ‘Vote for your April 2018 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 will be announced late afternoon on Sunday 13th May.

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.

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Susan Richardson is the IS&T Pick of the Month poet for March 2018

 

At Ink Sweat & Tears we normally would be less than sanguine about ‘Letches’ receiving the honours but when this refers to Susan Richardson’s ‘powerful’ ‘vivid’ ‘amazing’ poem which had such ‘relevance’ and has been voted by you as the IS&T Pick of the Month for March 2018, we can understand the response.

Susan is living, writing and going blind in Los Angeles. She shares a home with an Irishman, 2 pugs and 2 cats. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002, and in addition to poetry, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness. Her work has been published in: Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal, Literary Juice, Sick Lit Magazine, Amaryllis, and The Anapest Journal, with pieces forthcoming in Eunoia Review.  She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig Winter Poetry Prize and will be featured in the Literary Juice 2018 Q&A Series.

Susan has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the RNIB.
 
 

Letches

 

The call to bright lights is a whisper,

tempting souls into the clutches of

dreams that hang on a celluloid precipice.

Los Angeles turns us into letches

who lurk under the wings of angels,

covered in soot from generations

of sweeping up discarded morals.

Decrepit men, slathered in wealth,

chase the skirts of simpering women

with molded cheek bones and noses

they weren’t born with.

Carbon copy blondes trample

over the backs of comrades, and reach

through barbed wire for a glimmer of fame.

They come in droves and shed their skins,

willing to do unthinkable things for

just a drop of starlight on their tongues.

 

 

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Voters’ comments included:

 

Susan’s words paint a raw, vivid, very real picture of a world I know all too well. She gracefully articulates a place that sparkles from the outside, covering up the darkness beneath that has the power to morph something beautiful into a hideous shell of its former self.

The imagery here is really powerful. Having lived in LA, I can totally imagine the hordes of carbon copy blondes trampling each other! Really good, cynically humorous stuff.

Pictograph of American culture beneath cellophane.

I love Susan’s writing and her beautiful soul. This poem hits on an interesting and less than beautiful view of life in LA.

This poem captures 2018 Las Angeles so perfectly!

The poem risks making us uncomfortable and yet we must admit the truth of this tragic story for so many “starlets.”

Powerful images and message.

Beautifully worded, modern and relevant

Breathtaking. Though-provoking. Wonderful.

Amazing touching brilliant

The sentences are well constructed, the words chosen just right, and that gives the poem its power to linger long in your mind.

She perfectly captured the dirty underbelly of the city.

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Time to Vote for your Pick of the Month for March 2018

 

With poems on Hollywood letches, political threats, the demolition of a family, the inability to save what is precious and a disturbing institution that is ‘The Venue’, you would be forgiven for thinking we have a dystopian thread running through our shortlist for Pick of the Month this March. But March becomes April, Good Friday takes us to Easter and the #MeToo movement has lead to a fine and important poetry anthology, as described in an essay from editor Deborah Alma.

Please make your choice from the pieces featured below (or see the ‘Vote for your March 2018 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 will be announced on Tuesday 17th April.

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.

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‘Dummies’ by Jane Salmons is our Pick of the Month for February 2018

The votes are in and the ‘Dummies’ have it for February 2018. Jane Salmons’ poem – ‘stunning’ ‘vibrant’ ‘fun’ – with its ‘brilliant’ image thoroughly appealed, occasionally disconcerted, and marks the first time a Word & Image piece has been chosen as an IS&T Pick of the Month.

Jane is a teacher living in the Black Country. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing and has previously been published in Snakeskin, I am not a Silent Poet and Creative Ink. She also spends her precious free time creating handmade photomontage collages.

She has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to Age UK.

 

 

Dummies

We ride the escalators in pairs
upwards past the plastic palms,
the static rapids. Our flawless skin
shines blue in the half-light, the smell
of palma violets hangs in the air.

We dare not speak, nor touch,
for fear of waking the blinking eye
while above us, through the criss-cross roof
of steel and glass, the planets glow.
We do not know their names,
or if we do, forgot them long ago.

The hum of neon guides us
to our gods – Gucci, Prada,
Michael Kors. Consumption courses
through our veins driving us higher
to our great design.

 

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Voters comments included:

Beautifully written and captures the manic compulsive behaviour of affluenza.

It is so current and emotive as our younger generations are riding that escalator to consumerism.

Hugely evocative of the fashion-thick world we live in.

Jane has the ability to evoke a true and understandable atmosphere – I’m transported to the very place or feeling she is describing so beautifully in her poems.

Just love it – simple

A haunting and evocation piece, illustrated to perfection by Jane’s accompanying montage.

It’s a truly original piece of writing and brings shop dummies to life!

… not only so original in its conception but because of the careful crafting and execution of the poem.

Left field subject, finely crafted

Clever, thought provoking + brilliant image is a bonus

… a vivid description of materialism. Consumerism is sometimes our god.

I love the way she adds a surreal originality to the details in the visual image, and the poise of the lines.

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