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 All shortlisted poetry Picks, provided they remain unpublished and meet other eligibility criteria, will be considered as IS&T submissions for the annual Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

Read More

Anna Saunders




Blake Draws The Ghost of a Flea

Blake says the flea complains of a haunting.
He says he will draw the ghost within the flea.

From the darkness of the mahogany board,
Blake exhumes a body.

Not a pinprick creature that could be crushed under the thumb,

but a figure pulvinated with muscle,
a self- vaunting bruiser
standing between two curtain as if on stage.

it is stocky as an ox, pugnacious ,
posed menacingly under  the starry heavens
of Blake’s gold brush.

The flea’s ghost has insect eyes, piercing and hard,
a reptilian tongue
encased in a herculean form.

The ghost in the flea laps at a small bowl awash with red.

The ghost of man cannot inhabit a horse
Blake tells the critics.

Imagine the troughs of blood needed
to slake our avid thirst.

Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox ( Indigo Dreams) and the forthcoming Ghosting for Beginners ( Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018).  Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.  She has been described as a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North  and a poet of quite remarkable gifts by Bernard O’Donoghue.




After Williams Blake’s Painting The Ghost of a Flea – which depicts a monstrous man,  the spirit of whom, is trapped within an insect.


Read More

Derek Adams




(London 1955)

In the mirror
of fitting room at Harvey Nichols.
I am wearing a black sanbenito

by Tomás de Torquemada,
decorated with devils
from my past.

Outside the London streets are foggy,
in Lewes they will already
be stacking wood for bonfire night.







Derek Adams is a professional photographer. He has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths, and published three poetry collections. Currently writing a series of poems about American photographer Lee Miller.

Read More

Silas Gorin




Last Kiss

She landed,
her first hours totally floored.
Away from the nest
far away as a star.

Her wings are a lattice of straw
with lachrymal dope
binding the pale
rose-raw reed of her skin;

her eyes are a blessing of fear
thrumming the lids
as she rests.

In her sleep there’s a drone.
It is her lover buzzing for his supper,
rude and prancing in putrid.

He is dumb he is busy
He is using her trouble
dissolving the meat.

Her bill is still tender:
still parted.
He lands but to feed her

the questions he has,
not of flesh, not of death,
but of love:

they are interminable
questions of love.


Silas Gorin grew up in The Marches on the Welsh border and is now growing down, gracefully it is hoped, in Beijing. He works as an English examiner, and during his time as such he has gained an MA in linguistics. His work has appeared, apart from here, in zines such as Triggerfish Critical Review and Mad Swirl, and in magazines such as Orbis and Monkey kettle. He is currently editing a first collecton which will be published, one way or another, and pressed upon anyone he can find who does not recoil at the offer of free books of poetry. So be warned.

Read More

Holly Magill



Completely safe in Colwyn Bay

We know a man, you see – well, we don’t
know him, but we’re certain he was nowhere
in the vicinity on that January night

when the Victorian pier finally came undone,
collapsed, gave up its ghosts. We do not
speculate – aloud – on those not spotted

round town since: the buttock-dented empty barstool,
granny’s wedding ring in Cash Converters, unclaimed.

The outbound tide at dusk waltzes an unlaced left trainer,
a fag packet shedding its last sodden few to the wash.

These are the things not mentioned,
hushed by the gulls’ leering swoops.

We know a man who was definitely elsewhere.




Holly Magill has had poetry in various magazines and anthologies. She is co-editor at Atrium – Her first pamphlet is forthcoming in 2018 from Indigo Dreams Publishing.

Read More

Dani Schlosser




‘Dolls cannot stand alone’ #adollslife

You want the life of a Barbie doll—
the pink dream house,
fancy dresses, driving Ferraris,
riding My Little Ponies,
being married to a man as perfect as you,
whilst having occasional trysts with He-Man.

Those things will happen once,
perhaps twice.

Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your days
going through multiple wardrobe changes,
lolly-coated fingers, plaiting and unplaiting,
placing your body in compromises,
exposing anatomically blank nether regions.

Your travel will entail riding shotgun
under a minivan seat
next to empty Walker’s bags
and soaked-through McDonald’s cups,
forgotten until the next spring sort-out.

You’ll be retired to a Tupperware
grave amongst your kin
and their accessories,
some missing arms, legs and heads—
for some of them, those are all that’s left.

If you’re not as fortunate as the others,
your beautiful life may end
at the hands of the neighbour boy
who will hang you from a tree,
cover you and your lovely pink gown
in ketchup and lighter fluid
as a little girl’s tears burn.





Dani Schlosser received her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from University of Gloucestershire in 2016. Her poetry has been featured in anthologies such as Carnival and Fire in the UK and Journey Student Literary Magazine in the US.


Read More

Anne Ryland




In Her Bones

I discover her just off Pier Road, sitting on the bench that overlooks the river. Draped on the wooden slats, right femur resting on left, Agnes is completely at home in her two hundred and six bones. Relieved of padding and muscle, of her woman-paraphernalia (I note the handbag years have dragged her right clavicle down), her hinges and locks are exposed, her irregularities.

I lower myself onto the bench beside her. We share small hands and feet, but Agnes is now pure vertebrate; I see her spine’s ability to spring, absorb shock. Her pelvis has acquired a creamish lustre, a cradle opening to receive sunlight, but it would be impolite to place my palm in her ilium. Instead, I shift a little closer to inspect the jigsaw pieces of her skull. She carries on staring out towards the North Sea, an expression of Ah – behind her orbits. Might a bird seek refuge in her ribcage?

Agnes has no need of breath. The wind is her breath, passing through her bars, her lacunae, as if she were an instrument being tuned. Despite her loosened appearance, Agnes is incurably informative. She embodies the Greek word ‘pneuma’, meaning that which is breathed – or blown.

Agnes is reluctant to disperse or lie down. I’m unsure whether she’s a companion, or a proxy who’s been hiding in one of my recesses. For now, she settles into tide watch. I will wait. Agnes, at her most osseous, must have a voice – chalky, no … airy, like the voice of a haar.




Anne Ryland has published two collections: Autumnologist (shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2006) and The Unmothering Class (2011). Recent poems have appeared in Oxford Poetry, Agenda and Long Poem Magazine. Her website is






Read More