Martyn Crucefix




Beside the artist’s pool

Small birds brink
the garden hedge
its glossy tall green
no shady barrier

more a plaything
to rise up and over
their gaze wedded
to the pool’s eye

where they execute
one dip-up motion
the pool crying
its lyric of white

and azure—each bird’s
pale breast takes
the reflected blue
of what its thirst

drives it to—
each dip each dive
each muscular shove
leaves a kissing-ring

one fading mark
as bills scoop clear
the flickering badge
of blue is pinned

to each white breast
then wings adjust
up—agilely away—
each bird ascending

a swerve of white
so it must appear
there’s nothing here
actually changing



Martyn Crucefix has translated Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus (both Enitharmon Press) and the Daodejing (Enitharmon, 2016). Most recent original poetry: The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017) and forthcoming from Hercules Editions, Cargo of Limbs (Autumn, 2019). More at

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Jane Frances Dunlop on ‘Bad Boy Poet’ by Scott Manley Hadley



“the ideal reader is one who is in love with the writer”
Chris Kraus, I Love Dick

the first time I read the poems I am in the library, trying to finish something that I am in the middle of the end of at that point. and we are practicing supporting each other: I remember a day when you pick me up and promise me that when I finish, you will take me somewhere to pet new animals and I cried because it seemed impossible. on a different day, you send me your poems and I think you’d been avoiding it because I had to ask more than once. and then I read them and read them all again and laughed and cried and knew I was in love with you. it is impossible to have an opinion about someone you are in love with, or at least it is obvious what that opinion is.

Hadley’s poems are about sex, depression, technology and feelings. They are about sickness and more sickness, about the shit world that a person makes for themselves and the shit the world brings. They move quick and sharp, are sometimes so smooth and sometimes tearing. You fall into the rhythm of the book, sad but distant and playful, a tone of self-mocking tragedy that lands in moments of heartbreaking clarity.

one time, we are sitting in the apartment that we have, it is a small apartment and so I am on the bed and you are at the table and we are only a few metres apart. we are drunk, have been drinking so much wine and you are performing for me. because I have asked, you perform all the poems that are about me and in between, as you flick through the pages of your book, you sing my name.

another time, you read me the poems in the middle of an arid spanish landscape, and I film you and the light is amazing and you are gorgeous and it is fun to be in the world with you.

It is the poems about his parents’ illness and old age that stand out in the collection: not as the best poems (though they are some of the best). These poems are instances of weight and severity that cannot be folded into the sometimes cruelly mischievous tone with which Hadley writes about the things that are more immediately his (his depression, his breakup, his poo, his sexuality, his dog). They ground the collection, the severity of everything is refracted through them. They remind a person that everything can be made light of, even the heaviest things.

the night you tell me you love me, we are at your friend’s house and you write a note on a piece of paper to remind yourself to take all the cunnilingus poems out. this is before I read it. in the end, the cunnilingus poems will all go back in.

I check my emails: you sent me the poems before we were in love out loud. the email subject is Poems [gulp]. i didn’t know I was in love with you then though, which is hard to believe from the present because I love you in all directions. I love you when I first met you and we are working in that bar and there is one night when you make me a sour and someone passes it into the cellar where I am organising the stock.

Hadley writes sex, technologies and drugs like a millennial. All three exist as necessary and persistent parts of life, entangled with one another and with social life while also being ambivalent forces. They bring the good, the release, the positive possibilities of another. And they bring the bad, the confirmation of our worst parts through their inevitability and persistence. Though technology gets off lighter than sex or drugs here, which seems important. And depression seems an important part of these mix, as it is cause and effect, cured and worsened by sex, drugs and technology. It is as the poems cross through these things – these things cross through the poems – that the frictions of millennial masculinity get captures and presented so perfectly. There is the toxicity, with the damage it does, and there is the possibility of being elsewise.

this time, I am reading them again in the future: we finished the endings we were in the middle of and now we are in the beginning of the future and it is scary and exciting and begins in the small apartment. I am in my new library, reading your poems in a book: it is now an object in my hand and that seems different, is different to the first time.

I read the poems, to write a review about them like I promised, but all I come up with are moments when I read them before which are all just moments when I loved you. even though I know these poems are not about me or you, they are fiction. it says so in the cover.


Jane Frances Dunlop (CA) is an artist and writer whose work explores the overlapping politics of emotion and technology via the internet. Her work is online at:


Bad Boy Poet by Scott Manlet Hadley is available here:

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Colin Crewdson




The Road to Kars

Mevlana, or Rumi, Sufi poet and mystic, 1207-1273 spent much of his life in Turkey,
where his tomb is still revered. Mevlana’s poems are also set to music.

We’ve tried every trick.
Gathered around the guts, black tubing,
glistening containers of mystery:
the engine won’t run, won’t

pull its busload of passengers
up the pass any further.
Choked, grit in its fuel
dust in its filters, fatigue in its heart.

There is no wind,
no movement, one voice.
in the solitude of emptiness, in the quiet
of eternity…

The air is eviscerated,
too weak to hold life:
the mountains are folded corpses, bent
and yellow, racked up

towards a plain blue sepulchre.
The sun, fat with heat in the lowlands,
is thin as a blade in these heights,
sharpening  the linocut shadows.

The portly singer in his white shirt
croons, beseeches, commands,
ends with a flourish of prayer beads:
he is the Seeker and the Sought, the Beginning and the Destination…

We slump back into our sweat-damp seats.
The bus roars off
on its way up to Kars,
Mevlana’s joy in its pistons.




Colin Crewdson (mostly retired)  lives in Devon, England. He spends most of his waking hours trying to keep a puppy from wrecking the vegetable garden.

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‘Because’ from Clementine E. Burnley is our Pick of the Month for May 2019.

When sifting through all the comments on our shortlist for May’s Pick of the Month, in amongst the ‘beautifuls’, ‘powerfuls’, ‘movings’ and ‘evocatives’, one comment in particular stood out. In response to Clementine E. Burnley’s poem which looks at the injustice and indignity associated with deportation, someone had written ‘relevant to me’. And at that point, ‘Because’ became more than just a poem. It is therefore fitting in this chaotic time, when it feels like the wolves are at the door, that it is our Pick of the Month for May 2019.

Clementine is a mother, writer, and community worker. In 2018 she was published in the the Emma Press Second Place Rosette: Poems about Britain, loss lit magazine, and die Neue Rundschau. You can find her on twitter @decolonialheart.

Clementine has asked that her £10 ‘prize’ be donated to the Hackney Migrant Centre.




we have few means,
of dealing
with the night,
a door crashes open.
with a woman standing barefoot at the airport,
in pajamas and handcuffs
with isolated instances. Rogue police officers
have never been isolated,
or dealt with
in any systematic way.


Voters comments included:

A beautiful poem about deportation, an image we try to unsee but that needs to be shared again and again

It’s so graphic BECAUSE the few sentences remind me of so many shoeless differently clad women behind closed doors.

Good visual through writing . Punchy .

Love the topic, the expression of the author

Poignant imagery through few words

Democracy did neva stands for DEMON-stration the CRAZYness.

because of the airports ; )

Beautiful and timely

Because it moved me to tears.

It says, showing mostly, a lot in so few lines.


It’s poetic, tells an important story and doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of the West.

Injustice on so many levels

Stark imagery, laid bare and stripped. Tells a whole story in few words. Beautiful!

…Her books, poets, short stories although fiction, takes the reader into a world of hidden reality where events and practices are not much talked about or recounted for the future generations to know about…

It deals with a very PERTINENT and CURRENT issue.

Brings an image of immigration in simple way

The theme is relatable worldwide.

Inspiring, original and soul searching writing!

Because it tells a powerful story in such a small space of justice and of looking beyond what we see to the truth.

Clementine’s Because will get my vote anytime. Because, this piece resonates with me. It reminds me. I don’t get that lately! I really hope it wins.

It’s simple and beautiful with a message that’s particularly relevant at this time.

Very well written and topical

It’s simply beautiful.

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UEA FLY Festival 2019 Competition Winner 15-18 yr olds and Norfolk Prize Winner – Maud Webster

The 15-18 yr old group winner for the 2019 writing competition at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY) is Maud Webster from City of Norwich School. The theme for this year’s competition was a poem of any length beginning with the word ‘Afterwards’.

As the winner of the Norfolk Prize, Maud wins the opportunity for her poem to be made into an animated film, courtesy of sponsors Somo Global.





afterwards, we perch
baked by the sun, legs swing
laughing at the exploits of summer

this time, that time, and
the murmur of names bring
back the lazy, hazy faces
frame our existence in the minds of places

the soulless winter heralds
a crawling spring
long-awaited rays of gold
of which our memories told
to us, would be worth waiting for

beach riots and sandals slapping
the sandcastle king.
boardwalk encounters and
dune disasters, we missed this land.
land of being present and
land of sandwiches and swimming and

that ‘sweltering’ sun.


The runner up in this category is Jessica Holmes from Turing House School, Hampton.

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UEA FLY Festival 2019 Competition Winner 12-14 yr olds and Overall Winner – Rebekah Bongers

Ink Sweat & Tears is, once again, the proud supporter of today’s Poetry Day at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY)  and we are also very pleased to be able to bring you the winners of 2019’s writing competition which this year was exclusively devoted to Poetry.  The theme was a poem of any length beginning with the word ‘Afterwards’.

Judges Jeremy Noel-Tod, Lewis Buxton and Jos Smith received so many poems that they had long discussions before deciding the final winners.

The winner of the 12–14 category and the overall winner is: Rebekah Bongers from Reigate Grammar School.




After the party.
Cups shoved into plastic bags.
Balloons let down, discarded.
Empty packets line the swelling bin.

The next morning.
Rubbish truck shunts into view.
Bags swung in.
Drives off to next collection.

Truck overloaded.
So much waste for one area.
Pulling into temporary home.

Seagulls screech in excitement.
Rubbish pours onto the heap.
Soon torn apart by crazed birds.
Mountains of waste.

Plastic bottles crushed together.
Small packets roll around.
Plastic bags blow everywhere.
Straining to be free.

Several bags escape.
Spread everywhere.
One is caught by a crying gull.
Another is blown into a forest.

One falls into the sea.
Tossed by large waves.
Travels far and wide.
A painful trap.

Shoals of fish swerve in unison.
Sharks avoid the bright plastic..
Turtle swims to it cautiously.

What happens afterwards?
We kill animals.
We put that bag in the bin.
Think twice.


The runner up in the 12-14 yr old category is Megan Valerie-Cooke from Wymondham High Academy.

The winning poem for the 15-18 yr old group will be featured on IS&T tomorrow and the runner up announced.

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Edward Alport





I once grew old,
And my senses vanished one by one.
The day came
When I could not taste pomegranates,
The next, I could not hear
The wind clonking in the rigging.
The seashore felt like a surging slug.
Pylons lost their fascination.

Take me to the city.
Feed me its electric shadows.
Give me spikes.
Wire my ribcage to a generator.
I am living in a fog,
And my only signposts
Are the craving for the taste of chocolate
And the tang of spicy sausage.

It must be the sun,
The colours in the market place.
The scent of peaches,
The chillies glowing like Christmas lights.
Where sausages are the symbol
Of a rich, ripe old age,
And chocolate is the elixir of youth.



Edward Alport is a teacher and occasional writer who occasionally gets published. When he has nothing better to do he posts snarky micropoems on Twitter as @cross_mouse.

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