And the ‘Pick of the Month’ for May 2015 is Rushaa Louise Hamid

Huge congratulations to Rushaa Louise Hamid whose Another Canaan emerged as the voters’ choice for the first IS&T Pick of the Month. Rushaa wins a National Book Tokens £10 gift card and, as the first ‘Pick’, a place on a Lunar Poetry workshop at L’klectik gallery, cafe, performance and (soon to be) poetry bookshop space in Waterloo, London.



Another Canaan


There was a wasteland
and cold tire tracks in the skin of the sand.
I forgot I couldn’t breathe.

In the distance was something
I could crawl to;
flat lands – these were like the lands of my childhood,
a people that weren’t built for inclines
but to trundle on
ever looking past the haze of dust
and abandoning things that could not be carried.
In the rush of feet and vehicles
was a cry that all things must move forward,
amongst the heat and pain,
where the dust had been beaten down into a solid block.

My mother said
“You’ve got fire in your bones and
none in your blood,
and hot bones break,
and hot sand buries broken bones.”
A crib lingers out in the heat
leftover from a broken moment
and I am leftover too


Voters’ comments included:

I just love the soft colours of her words….

How the first line encapsulates the feeling of the entire poem. It all feels desolate after…

Stirs something within me

so full of images

It was evocative of the desert and brought back some personal memories.

The second verse was touching and something I could relate to.

she does an impression of a Dalek (in reference to Rushaa’s biography notes), and the poem is good



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Theodore Best




Solace in a Kiln

The fire set
to fuse your glaze,
fix your form,
was fierce
but you haven’t burst.

So you are a good pot.



Theodore Best has an MA in Poetry from UEA, and was selected to take part in ’SET’: a live literature residency (2013). He integrates poetry into leadership workshops for corporations. Poems in SSYK and Lighthouse, among others.  Blog:

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Mike Ferguson



Writing Gate

If the field gate is saturated and the garden soil too dry to
dig, my world is screwed. Having managed the day before
to lay that pen for the second raised bed just before it poured,
such a reversal of physical law would destroy the triumph in
this job – especially as I had skimmed the turf like sheets of
lasagne because of the frost. If I cannot go out and measure
for a new one or dig the earth, I will stay here writing about it.

Anything can be buried whatever the conditions if you don’t
need it to grow, and a gate still hanging will always close.
Putting all of this to a bigger test, I set the house alight and
watched it glow, flames spreading along the lawn to take out
those oak pens, scorching border camellias and heathers until
dead, and then creeping ever closer to what it licks best, a
battle with the doused marinade of a bored gardener’s gest.




Mike Ferguson taught English for 30 years, but having left this job, now writes and reads and listens to music when not examining to earn extra having left that job.

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Last day to vote for our May Pick of the Month

Today is the last day of voting for our May 2015 Pick of the Month.

The shortlist is

*Kyle Cooper ‘The Flying Monk’ (poem)
*Rushaa Louise Hamid ‘Another Canaan’ (poem)
*Rupert Loydell ‘Black Holes & Other Inconsistencies’ (poem)
*Rhona Fraser Millar ‘A tiny pot of Devon custard’ (flash fiction)
*Wendy Pratt on ‘Letting Go’ by Angela Topping (review)
*Colin Campbell Robinson ‘Noir’ (word & image)


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Patricia Walsh



Pilot Light

I drink from the well at world’s end.
Generously, to a fault, or so it seems,
so much for longevity, a sacred slumber
That catches the moon and plays with it.

An unusual toy, I find at my expense,
that any loon could be in my shoes.
A funeral departing, slow and numb
dust off the heaven’s likeness.

Haemorraging situations, like a single film shot,
together, a logic seemly coordinated
it comes together, in the end
a cause, of course, found wanting.

What if I drink and never wake up?
It is to be considered, even desirable.
To stand on the Stygian banks
A lone traveller, accompanied by my actions.


Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, but now lives in Cork.  She previously had a collection of poetry published Continuity Errors with Lapwing in 2010, and a novel, The Quest for Lost Eire published with in 2014. She has  also been published in Revival magazine, in  and the Evening Echo,  a local Cork newspaper with a wide circulation, among others

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Jack Houston





Sarah Crown interviews Alice Oswald.

the trauma of a single sleepless night
back door left open for the cat
the dog and the breeze to blow in.
the natural world seductively democratic
a tree between clauses
a tree so romantically immersive
every quarrel you pick up
looks like moonlight plant-life water.
a white-limbed flowing-haired
glamorising war of small stories.
this is a genius this is one person
which also serves a pitch-perfect description
of returning to a gleaming wishbone.



Jack Houston works for Hackney’s public library service. He is poetry editor at


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Henry King




Cash Feus

Everything is covered with dust or dustsheets.
The armchairs look like ghosts of themselves,
only suitable for ghosts to sit in.
This is no abode for the living, and we,

its late occupants, drift through what were once
solid walls, moaning softly because we can find
little more than ashes to eat, the spider
the only one here with a well-stocked larder.

Five days a week, we’re visited by people
whose blood is still warm. As they work, they listen
to the radio: its voices are far clearer
and louder than ours. Our presence hardly disturbs them.

All our possessions have been replaced
with tools we can’t use, papers we’d never normally
be seen dead reading. We’re revenants, as much in need
of renovation as the house we’re haunting.



Henry King has published poems and translations in Stand, PN Review, A Bird Is Not a Stone (Glasgow: Freight 2014) New Poetries V (Manchester: Carcanet 2011) and elsewhere. He teaches at the University of Glasgow. This is his blog:

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