Vanessa Saunders





There is no time to appear
anything close to sentimental.
Staring out the window,
Concrete driveway, the empty light hangs.
She said it was her favorite house.
I didn’t know I was only here for a few days.
A passenger passing through on a bright white ship
maybe she saw I felt sad
and I tried to say
“Time clears all and it moves
so rapid these late days,
there is no hour to look backwards”




Vanessa Saunders is a recent graduate of the University of East Anglia. She is currently located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Enjoys: traveling, reading about traveling, reading-in-general, escapism.

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Judith Taylor



Holland Street West

We are two, but we lie folded together,
a map no longer needed.

Outside it rains:
the cars make waves

but we notice only to notice how
outside is a far-away place.

We fit
contour to contour, frame to frame;

we are a land to ourselves,
our own shelter. All night

as we lie sleeping, waking
the taxis pass like ships.




Judith Taylor lives in Aberdeen. She is the author of two pamphlet collections, Earthlight (Koo Press, 2006) and Local Colour (Calder Wood Press, 2010) and her poem “Daffodils” was a runner-up in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2013.

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Rosalind Hudis





whatever it was – the slow shutting off
of your lighted capillaries,
or the currents one by one unplugged
between us, whatever stories
we route to this aftermath –
I couldn’t disable a sense of you
alive in the mortuary, of you struggling
to know where you were, to understand
the  blue brick walls, the absolute cold.

As I rinsed beans after your funeral,
chopped the splayed chicken
for the faithful supper, it wasn’t grief I felt
but faithlessness for being voyeur
to this struggle. I wanted to reassemble you,
not as you were, the textbook remembered best,
               but mind-haul you-in-pain across every yard
of pavement, invoke us washed by drizzle,
swallowing the petroleum tonic of fog,

hearing the drum pulse of a helicopter
somewhere at the city’s edges,
name each street, feel the frontal lash
of wind on a north corner, bring
your ghost to stand, twist-locked,
at my shoulder in the kitchen and I could say
that you were here and this was death.

For several days I breathed on empty,
kept you close, spelled out your traces,
the constellated stains of tea across an atlas
you’d opened for my kids to show the yellow
of equators, until my heart settled,
found its level in the wideness filling
each page, the receding oceans, deserts.



Rosalind Hudis is an award winning Wales based poet. Widely published in journals, she is a 2013 recipient of a New Writer bursary from LiteratureWales Academi. Her debut pamphlet, Terra Ignota is available from Rack Press.   Rosalind Hudis 

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Alexandra O’Toole




Morning Glory

I thought of you this morning,
as the sky turned pink
and the light blossomed.
As the world bloomed, breathed,
and began again.
Where is she? I wondered.
What is she doing?
Right now, at this moment?
As I watch the blue shadows fade,
as a bee taps at my window.

I remembered you as you were last night,
when the clouds parted
and the moon shimmered.
The way your pale hips shook and fell,
and how you bit your lip.
And your hair,
spread like honey on the ground
was soft and all aglow.
The way a blush seeped through your milky skin,
setting you alight beside the blackened river.

I looked at you as I rose,
from the rough weeds of my bed
and brushed down my clothes.
The half smile on your lips, afterwards:
before the glory of the morning.
What were you thinking? I wondered.
What were you thinking?
Just then, at that moment,
as I caught my breath and felt my heart slow,
as the nightingale began to sing our song



Alexandra O’Toole is currently editing her first novel. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. When she’s not writing, or blogging about writing at she works with businesses to help them connect with their audiences through stories.

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12 Days of Christmas…Call for Submissions

We are currently reading submissions for our annual 12 Days of Christmas feature.  As you may have gathered, we have quite a slanted approach to the festive season, so please have a look at our previous ’12 Days’ features for guidance.  And perhaps taking a look at 12 Slanted Poems for Christmas, if you have a copy, to gain an insight into the way we think.

When sending your work to, please write ‘CHRISTMAS IS&T’ in the subject heading. The deadline for submissions is 20th December.  We look forward to receiving your winter-ish Christmas-ish  (try saying that after a glass of port) work.

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May Al-Issa




And then, I met myself
Actually no.. Not yet.
I’d like to meet her one day
In a more open way;
I saw the sea
I met the one who rescued her
I touched the palm
She ate a date

Memory flew… touched by sunray
Tickling the soul

She is there… And I long to meet her



May Al-Issa is poet, translator and fine-artist. Warm Whispers was her first Arabic poetry book which gained high reviews. Her poems, proses and articles published in respectable Arabic magazines. In spare time she paints –Haiku is hidden, or almost there.

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A Selection of ‘Slanted’ Temptations

To mark today’s official launch at The Book Hive in Norwich of IS&T Press’ first publication TWELVE Slanted Poems for Christmas we are posting first lines/excerpts from each of the fine poems featured in it.


Factory Spirit by Bobby Parker


Tell your dad you are close to the beautiful

poem, living in a makeshift moon, running from evil



Masterchristmas by Ira Lightman


This Christmas, I miss us. On the speaker

I can hear your voice. In both ears. You are not here

for me to say in person you’re precious.


Winter       by Penelope Shuttle


is its own lonely scarab

no one doubts it

as cold days


into winter-april

sheepfarm hours…


Broken by Julia Webb


At Christmas Sun Daddy started smashing glass


he started in his bedroom,

then swept tornado-like through the house…


Watch by Luke Wright


Like my Dad, my Christmas job, it seems,

is balling wrapping paper into bags.


Angels by Moniza Alvi


They fold their wings

over the wings of the house.

Over the Dementia Wing.


Finishing The Mill on the Floss on Christmas Eve by Carrie Etter


Minutes, I suppose, later, I raised my wet face,

blinked to sharpen the blurry

kaleidoscope of colour and form.


In The Bleak Midwinter by Bethany W Pope


At the ragged edge of the old year, when the dead

Thorn-spiked branches thrashed in the wind, I lived in a tree.


Spent by Andrea Holland


The days before that late day in December

are the dreadful tunings of instruments.


Room at the Inn by Tim Turnbull


Three Boxing Days in a row, scurrying across the Valley Bridge –

and this long before they put up screens to stop

the seasonal depressive lemming-fest…


Mother Goo by WN Herbert


McGueegueg smoothed the lacquered sneer of his quiff

and slid a harpoon-like forearm along the seatback,

rippling the russet leather billows of his Ford Peyote.


The Norwich Version by George Szirtes


After the dancing ladies and their ever-leaping lords

Christmas ran out of music, lost its melodies and chords…



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