Vote for the Ink Sweat & Tears Pick of the Month for January 2018


The month goes by so quickly and here we are asking you again to consider who to propel forward as IS&T’s Pick of the Month. It’s very eclectic fare for January and with poems in so many different forms, the only similarities about this group are that they have none, except in their quality. Make your choice from the selection below (or see the ‘Vote for your Pick of the Month for January 2018′ 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. All winning poetry Picks, provided they the meet the eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

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Emily Wilkinson



Emily Wilkinson is an interdisciplinary artist and poet based in Shrewsbury. She works with collage, words, writing, paint, textiles and bookmaking. Emily has exhibited in Shropshire and Scotland, and was artist in residence at Wenlock Books in 2014.  Website:


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David Riley




Bit Parts

I want to ask you,
do you think we’re in a film?
If we get our lines wrong
will someone step out from the Golden Mile,
put us back on track –
though they haven’t done yet –
the director’s a secretive sod.

You smile.
I like it when you touch my face
I don’t say, just wait
for your fingers to move from my skin.
Like all the other takes, you begin again
look out to sea, wait for your cue.
I remember what you haven’t said yet.



David Riley is studying for an MA at the Seamus Heaney centre, Queen’s University Belfast. He has had several poems printed and in shop windows,


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Roddy Williams



in the hospital 

the fish man told me secrets 

of life and catfish 


we watched malawis 

in a brief feeding battle 

while the catfish lazed 


nonchalant fin frond 

easing like giants through 

the desperate young crowd 


the catfish grow big 

from eating the malawi eggs 

and dead malawis 


malawis grow big 

and have to compete for food 

with their greedy babes 


eventually they starve 

the catfish perform their role 

deal with the remains 


that is how it is 

it’s a self contained system 

then he was silent 


we exchanged a look 

before turning back to glass 

watching the frenzy



Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams lives and works in London. His poetry has appeared in Magma, The North, The Frogmore Paper, The Rialto, Envoi and most recently in the Great Weather for Media anthology  The Other Side of Violet. 

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Dan MacIsaac





Dumtella carolinensis


Gray pretender

samples beats


from spring peepers

and circus jays.


Coy poacher

salts its song


with crow ratchets

and blackbird rasps.


Droll plagiarist

cribs calls


from silken oriole

and spring bobolink,


even thieving

the wildcat’s


wounded mew.





Dan MacIsaac writes from Vancouver Island. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Magma, Avis and Agenda, and is forthcoming in Stand.  Brick Books published his debut collection Cries from the Ark in September 2017.  His writer website is 

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Santino Prinzi


When Stranded on an Iceberg

When stranded on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean, do not squint while the sun screams at you. Remember that somewhere it is raining, that there’s a tempest swirling, a tsunami rising. Even though your clothes are wet, stand up and straighten your back. Exercise. Breathe deep. The air is what you’d expect: cold, refreshing, lonely. When stranded on an iceberg, talk to yourself. Remind yourself of who you are, of why you are, or else the disembodied voices will try to convince you otherwise. Listen to what you have to say because no-one else does. When they discover you stranded on an iceberg, you won’t be a body but a somebody. Don’t tell them where you were running from, tell them where you want to go. Look to the horizon, and don’t turn around.


Santino Prinzi is the Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, the Senior Editor for New Flash Fiction Review, and an Associate Editor for Vestal Review. To find out more follow him on Twitter (@tinoprinzi) or visit:

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Susan Castillo Street




Under the Volcano, 23 June 2016

In the distance, Mt. Etna rises,
summit veiled in smoke
and clouds.  Below, fields ripple out,
fold into deep blue valley.

I sit at a café on the square.
Passegiata crowds surge and swirl.
Two men strum plaintive mandolins.
At a nearby table, a tourist reads his news.

Bold headlines blare and blast,
boast of regained sovereignty.
It all seems so remote here
on this island in the sun.

I look to the horizon,
feel beneath my feet
the trembling  ground ,
the coming rain of liquid fire.




Susan Castillo Street is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emerita, King’s College, University of London.  She has published three collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003), Abiding Chemistry,  (Aldrich Press, 2015), and Constellations (Three Drops Press, 2016), as well as several scholarly monographs and edited anthologies. Her poems have appeared in Southern Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears, Messages in a Bottle, The Missing Slate, Clear Poetry, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Foliate Oak, The Yellow Chair Review, and other journals and anthologies.

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