Bethany W Pope, for Hallowe’en




Six Red Seeds

In Persephone’s dreams the sky is black
and ravens sing like mourning doves. Beneath the white grass,
the soil is red as pomegranate juice. She longed to go back
to her mother’s safe house, filled to the walls with stacks
of wheat and starched, white-cotton dresses.
In Persephone’s dreams the sky is black
as the eyes of her uncle, her rapist, who dragged her slack,
unconscious body into the womb of the earth through lips
of soil; red as pomegranate juice. She longed to fall back
into the white arms of her mother, where she never lacked
anything but freedom, where she could be a good, simple lass.
In Persephone’s dreams, the sky is black,
clouded with regrets. The sun is too bright, the air too rank
with slow decay. The thrum and pulse up here feels crass;
the soil red as pomegranate juice. She longs to go back
to the time before her rescue, where there was pain, and packs
of wolves, but where the truth was clear as her face in a glass.
In Persephone’s dreams the sky is black,
the soil red as pomegranate juice. She longs to go back.





Bethany W Pope has published several collections of poetry: A Radiance (Cultured Llama, 2012) Crown of Thorns, (Oneiros Books, 2013), The Gospel of Flies (Writing Knights Press 2014), and Undisturbed Circles (Lapwing, 2014). Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren this year.

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David Pollard reviews ‘dying notes’ by Reuben Woolley




In what way can it be said, or indeed written, that notes die? Reuben Woolley understands that death must be noted and it is in their dying that poetry has the notation to attempt it. Notes die into silence, into the impossibility of saying, for example, the holocaust. But death is always waiting until ‘It’s time / to die completely’ [epistle] and Woolley faces up to the impending with a bravura that is unsettling.

was silence in question? or is that simply too easy a to be simple?

In a poem entitled epistle he asks ‘was silence in questions’ (no question mark) as the dead ‘write no letters’ . Here silence is in the written rather than the heard (‘Thou shalt make no  graven images’). In order to write the poet must live beneath the surface, at the point where the letter dies, ‘it’s nerve under skin / rivers under asphalt’ […] or hidden’ [circulation]  Woolley writes:

‘I put up a sign / i said      i told you


should’ve said

nothing                          should’ve


you’d feel the air



the curly mind

inside     [strata]


Death is always one step under or ahead and it is this that makes it real, deadly.


it comes

like a still sea

whispering threats [playgrounds]


Woolley’s writing is ‘aiming at shadows’ [one down, three to go] ‘where spaces are danger’ [knife edge]

Letters are black tombs in snow on the silence of snow as Celan has noted and even they list at strange angles. Woolley knows only too well to be careful of syntax and punctuation as they speak more than the words they enclose.

This poetry is heir to Celan, with shades of Blanchot and Neruda (not to e e cummings that it so resembles). It is compact and intense but obeys Oppen’s dictum that ‘I have not and never did have any motive of poetry / But to achieve clarity’. Perserverance here will prove rewarding.

It is a pity that this chapbook leaves something to be desired in terms of typography. Woolley’s work  is meticulously crafted so that the caesurae, punctuation and lineation speak as much or more than the words themselves. The silence also needs attention. As he writes:  ‘I am […] room to breathe’ , yet this volume is too squeezed. His debut, ‘The King is Dead’ published by Oneiros  is more sympathetic to this aspect of his work.  dying notes, however, does begin to establish him as a voice to be reckoned with.



David Pollard‘s most recent collection is  Finis-terre  from Agenda Editions.


Buy your copy of dying notes by Reuben Woolley from erbacce-press, here:

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Nate Maye




coming from
somewhere, a surge
of energy or bit
of old theology

a worn out textbook
or blinking screen

we grow to become
a name, and then
rename ourselves.




Nate Maye is a rising poet.  Nate enjoys studying literature, and watches too much television.

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Brooke Nasser




Outside, A Bird

Outside, a bird, separated from the rest perched on a solitary outflung branch, staring at a bright morning moon.

The unclouded gibbous starkly visible among oceans of startling blue.

The bird stared; the old man stared and shook. He, too, was scared to leave his moon.




Brooke Nasser has been working as a freelance filmmaker and photojournalist in Honolulu, Los Angeles and Maine for over 12 years, and has written, produced and directed numerous fiction and documentary films. Her art/poetry work has been featured in Asymmetric Magazine (January 2016) and Nakid Magazine‘s Artist to Watch series (June 2015). Her fine art photography is featured in galleries in Honolulu and Los Angeles. She is a contributing writer to several national print publications, most notably Ladygunn Magazine and Rogue Magazine. Website: and Instagram: @bnibblet.

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Luigi Coppola




The Crack

The crack had spread like an art print of ants,
an angry line that seemed to grow each night.
It stepped from off the skirting board and danced
a zigzag sketch, as if in flight or fight.

Sam wasn’t sure exactly when, or how
it started, just that it was here now – black
on tea tone walls, with its brick crumbs to sow
on soggy rug, behind the music rack.

Sitting on two chipped wood planks stretched across
two upside down, warped plastic crates, Sam thought
back, trying hard to find the memory of
an earthquake, truck or broken bath, then lost
hold of his beer and cigarette. He caught
the can, but ash fell, burning rug hairs off.




Luigi Coppola’s poems have appeared in Anon, Equinox, Fourteen, Frogmore, Iota, Magma, Orbis, Other Poetry, Pennine Platform, Poetry Digest, The Rialto, THE SHOp and South. He has a website – – with some of his published poetry.

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Lew Kelly




Fairy Dell

Riverside section within Stubbylee Park, Stacksteads.
Sophie Lancaster was fatally assaulted in the park in August 2007.

The ground is digesting
the park in its underbelly.
All the things that used to shimmer

are being swallowed.
The rust dappled skate-park
does not welcome me,

the ground there is hungrier
since it happened.
It has already taken so much:

my first memories of the earth,
her blood, her last words.
I find Fairy Dell, ten years on,

find it sullen and negatively charged.
I wonder, is it still Fairy Dell
or just another riverside road?

The wooden shoe we carved at school
is licked with rot.
The witches’ cauldron is clogged

with dirt, our well of old water
we’d stir, chanting, casting.
Behind it, the stone circle hides

behind ash trees, the stones half-chewed
by the earth. It will keep devouring
until there is nothing left

but the orange sky,
tiny rotting organisms
stagnating the fringe of the pond.




Lew Kelly is a recent graduate of LJMU. He has previously been published in Cake, In The Red, 1533 and ISWrite. He’s currently publishing Lifejacket, an anthology to support refugees. His poetry aims to re-enchant adulthood.

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Sergio A. Ortiz




Sailors are the wings of love

Sailors are the wings of love,
the mirrors of love,
the sea is their companion
and their eyes are blond the same as love
which is as blond as love itself, just like his eyes.

The vivacious happiness poured into our veins
Is also blond,
identical to the skin beginning to appear:
don’t let them leave because they smile
like freedom,
blinding upright light over the sea.

Yes, a sailor is the sea,
an amorous blond sea whose presence is a chant.
I don’t want the concrete city,
I desire only the sea swarming with water,
aimless vessel,

aimless body drowning in his blond.





Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. His collections of Tanka, For the Men to Come (2014), and From Life to Life (2014) were released by Amazon.  He’s a two time Pushcart nominee and a four time Best of the Web nominee.  His poems have been publish in over four hundred journals and anthologies.

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