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 All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

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Karen Hodgson Pryce

 

 

 

Blind

 

Eyelids still sewn, wild kitten rabbit

dip-hopped across our path:

where mum, what eat, who there.

 

In the field, crow blew at a hankied beak,

crossed its legs, cawed bone

pretended to read the Gazette.

 

We pondered rabbit’s fate,

my reaching hands were stayed.

It’s true. Not everything is saved

by taking it home.

 

 

 

Karen Hodgson Pryce lives in the Cairngorms area of Scotland. Her poetry has been published in Landfall, an Anthology by New Voices Press, Butcher’s Dog, The Learned Pig, The Poets’ Republic, Mslexia, Open Mouse and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her short story was Commended in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2017.

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Daryl Muranaka

 

 

Politics and Other Distractions

 

wildflowers in the yard

waiting to be mowed

 

in the forest

no tree grows

too fast or too high

 

the earth moves

on the floor

the baby sleeps

 

black mulch

thrown on new snow

as if that helps

 

in the dark

the roosters crow at threats,

real and imagined

 

 

 

 

Daryl Muranaka lives in Boston with his family. In his spare time, he enjoys aikido and taijiquan and exploring his children’s dual heritages. His first book, Hanami, was released by Aldrich Press in April 2015.

 

 

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Susan Richardson

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Susan Richardson 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.

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Peter Daniels

 

 

 

The Venue

 

Could you please wait for the indicator buzzer

on the control panel: staff will be glad to oblige.

 

Though let’s be blunt, we want you as guinea pigs,

to make you feel responsible, and see you blush.

 

Sorry about the air in here, the fan’s broken

and the drains come up with an occasional belch.

 

A pleasure to be of service. Please mind your hair

in the sagging cables, if you’re sitting near the bulge.

 

The manager seems lonely up there in his cockpit

but he’s looking for new worlds to abolish.

 

We like to think the place is hygienic, the vinyl floor

is regularly scrubbed with a special bleach,

 

and the metal fixtures polished by our skivvies

gleam to charm you if you’re going to get bolshie.

 

So splash your wine where you like. On the sofa

the chocolate stains are guaranteed Belgian.

 

 

 

Peter Daniels has two collections, Counting Eggs (Mulfran, 2012) and A Season in Eden (Gatehouse, 2016). His translations of Khodasevich from Russian (Angel Classics, 2013) were shortlisted for three awards. He has also written the obscene Ballad of Captain Rigby.

 

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Hannah Linden

 
Above the Living Room Fire

Everyone had that painting, didn’t they?
Well, everyone we knew round here.
But not everyone felt as proud of it.
Not everyone’s mum looked like her

so that there was a nod, an embarrassed look down
as a man’s eye swept the painting’s cleavage;
or weighed the weight of the ponytail
in their mind’s hand. And she took

the exotic location, the brown eyes
the glisten of her perfect skin
and wore them over her stretch-marks
over the blush on her legs

from sitting too close to the open fire.
I wanted her to have that far-flung sky
the view out of the door of the painting.
I wanted her to be anywhere but here,

maybe, as a sensible child, even more
than she did. When we left, in a hurry,
missing the demolition men
by days, leaving Dad, and toys

still on the shelf above the kitchen door,
she must have stayed in the painting,
mustn’t she? She must have
felt the walls cave in on her.

I wonder if she felt where
my fingers had touched her hand once
when no one was looking. How I’d loved
her and then forgot I had.

Published widely, Hannah Linden was highly commended in the Prole Laureate competition 2015, and working with Gram Joel Davies, won the 2015 Cheltenham Poetry Festival Compound Competition. Her debut collection, ‘Wolf Daughter’, will explore the impact of parental suicide. Twitter: @hannahl1n

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Editor Deborah Alma on the #MeToo Anthology, for International Women’s Day

 

 

#UsTogether

I remember back  in October, listening to some of those many conversations that started up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations and was surprised to hear male news reporters being genuinely shocked when they asked women politicians, actors and media colleagues if they’d ever experienced anything similar, and being told ‘Of course’ and ‘Yes, many times’ and ‘Every woman’.

It prompted me to ask my women friends to add their name on my Facebook page if they hadn’t experienced any form of sexual harassment in their lives and I was surprised to find that of the 200 women that started to share some of their stories , 2 or 3 were able to say that it had never happened to them. My surprise was not that there were so few, but that there were any at all. I wasn’t even aware of the #MeToo thing happening over on Twitter at that point, but as it turned out, very many women were sharing their stories.

I’m a poet, have edited a couple of poetry anthologies, and many of the women on that thread were fellow poets and I knew that some of them had written about domestic and sexual abuse and it occurred to me to collect some of these stories as a poetry anthology.

It has been quite an extraordinary book from start to finish. I asked for submissions through FB and Twitter and received over 600 poems; some of the poems now in the book I already knew and actively sought out …Sarah Doyle’s #MeToo for example I knew from its appearance in The Morning Star and its being shared tens of thousands of times on Twitter, as well as US poet Emily Sernaker’s poem Now When I Think About Women from Poet’s Respond which was also a social media phenomena.

With almost every submission came a covering letter that was often harrowing to read; stories of rape and domestic abuse, a 17 year old girl already a victim of rape and writing about it, betrayals of trust, and declarations of extreme bravery in the sharing of the work. Many of the e-mails required long back and forth conversations as you might imagine, a hand-holding exercise and tenderness both in the saying yes, but also in the I’m so sorry but for reasons of space, or the book as a whole I can’t accept your poem… I felt the responsibility terribly.  I wanted to put the big arms of the book around each and every poet. This was so so difficult to do. I am so delighted that each poet who was long-listed for the book has been given the opportunity to publish their work courtesy of Vik Bennett of Wild Women Press and they can be found here.

Another remarkable thing has been the extraordinary generosity of other women. My good friend and publisher Nadia Kingsley (while we were swimming) offered to upload it to her publishing software and to give me an ISBN, but in the end she has been there at every step of the way, working so hard getting it right and proudly owning the book as part of her Fair Acre Press. A young artist Jessamy Hawke wanted to donate artwork for the project and her ink drawings head each of the 7 sections. My friend Sandra Salter did all of the artwork for the striking cover which she drew when she was angry!

And the final remarkable thing has been, again through a Facebook group made up from the artists and most of the 80 poets in the book, how everyone there feels so strongly about the book being theirs. It feels to me as though we are a string of paper dolls, stretched out and holding hands as we bravely put our names to our several parts of the whole.

And it is brave. We are often having conversations to support each other as we worry about reading these words in public, worry about our families discovering that there has been rape in our past, worrying what our exes might do or say, or our students, our children…
It has been the most enormous privilege to be part of bringing this book into existence. I hope that it will be received with the tenderness it deserves.

#MeToo- rallying against sexual harrassment- a women’s poetry anthology is available from all good bookshops and online

 

 

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