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 All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

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Jo Dingle




Noticing how

The snow has changed us, softened our faces, a glint in our eyes.  We perceive other differently; perhaps because of the way we drove more slowly, appreciating the need to take more care on the corners, or use the gears instead of the brakes. I stand at the reception desk enjoying this quality of ‘something more’, a brighter admiration for our mutual presence, a playful yet unspoken acknowledgement of the journeys effort mixed with thrill. It infuses our exchange, making us more novel to the other, somehow bolder. We animate each other while you search for my appointment. The day is extra ordinary and the nurse sees me early, drawing red blood as more snow starts to fall outside the window. She is guiding a trainee, talking about what is needed and I rest in the calm perfect efficiency of the moment. It too has the feeling of falling snow. I thank you as I leave, imagining you at the end of your day taking care on the corners on your journey home.





Jo Dingle lives and works in Norfolk. Her poems have appeared in The Interpreters House, Obsessed with pipework and Ink Sweat and Tears.


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Joseph Carrigan




China fragments sank into the ceiling pond.
Drifts of weaponised magazines rose
from the grass. Ochre splashed
with primary blocks,
exclamation marks

the outline sharp, even through the brume.
An upturned caravan echoes
a tombstone. Pulped
paper flowers.

condolences surrounded the shrine. Jagged
window holes gaped. I heard the
shot splintered one pane
after it left the skull
half empty.




Joseph Carrigan studied in Oxford and received a BA (hons) in Critical Practice and Creative Writing. He has lived in America and Japan, and currently lives in the UK, where he works as a teacher of English as a foreign language. 

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Bridget Khursheed




Standing on top of the National Museum of Scotland

We find the roof garden.
Its little patch of moorland, birches,
heather so perfect it might hide
grouse turd, quartz, even Tunnock wrappers.
A mountain peak handkerchief
picnic-pack pooled
until the air all around is streaked with dry
leaves and the ghost of pollen.

And the sky opens out above all the glass
inaccessible VIP pathways.
How did we get here like this?
And the face of volcanos: did I mention
Arthur’s Seat with its buzz cut of tourists?
Will one of them fly?
Fighting vertigo with talk and tin cans,
the children snail the big rocks,
impossible here, and the glinty light
changes. And I feel happy
lifting off slightly over to Blackford Hill
and Salisbury Crags, bigger than
anything this family thing.

And as we trooped down to the café;
the blank plastic clock below
cried out the hour like birdsong
telling me later
that was the moment that you died.





Bridget Khursheed is a poet and geek based in the Borders; a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipient, her work is widely published in magazines including Ambit, Butcher’s Dog, New Writing Scotland, Zoomorphic and Gutter; @khursheb

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Brian China




Coral Mother

She was hard and soft,
beach and rock, kids passed
through like subatomic
particles channelling
dolphins, whales, sharks,
tiddlers, tropical
colours, grey and sombre,
skin cut and skin kept in
trauma; hair and loneliness
sucked into corners
caulking floorboards
this barrier reef
for those caught
and tossed back in.




Brian China lives in Leicester and performs open-mic at Word! and Leicester Shindig!



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Belinda Rimmer





No more greenfinch,
no more treecreeper,
no more sparrow hawk;

hedgerows slashed
to make way for roads.
Orchards torn up for houses –
confused woodpeckers
still seek dead-wood and bug.

On a single patch of grass
in the midst of brick and slate
two apple trees remain.
One scarred black as dried blood,
the other, gnarly eyed
for staring into windows.




Belinda Rimmer has worked as a psychiatric nurse, lecturer and creative arts practitioner. Her poems have appeared in magazines, on-line and in anthologies. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition to turn her poem into a film and has read at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

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Marie-Françoise de Saint-Quirin

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.




Marie-Françoise de Saint-Quirin 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.


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