Victoria Pickup





Things to look out for:
If the pupil is suddenly withdrawn
If she shies away from PSHE
If you hear talk of ‘a special event’.

If the family requests an ‘authorised absence’
For just before
Or after
The summer holidays.

If she comes back and has difficulty
Walking, sitting or standing,
Takes a long time in the toilet;
Is somewhat changed.



Victoria Pickup has been the recipient of the Ernest Frost Prize and is a previous winner of the Café Writers competition. In 2018, Victoria co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group in the Hampshire village where she lives with her husband and three children.


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Sarah L Dixon




How to rebuild your life
For Allan Heaton

You do not need screwdrivers,
or the type we shall call
if they need to be named.
My ex was called Philip
and his name
does not need saying
when your flat-pack furniture is Swedish.

There will be plenty
of versatile Allan keys.
Allan is your first friend
in the valley.
He is always on your side.
He will pull you together
when you are coming apart.
If one way is not secure enough
he will have a second way to try.



Sarah L Dixon lives in Huddersfield and tours as The Quiet Compere. Her second book, Adding wax patterns to Wednesday will be released by Three Drops Press in November 2018. Sarah’s inspiration comes from adventures with eight-year-old, Frank.

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Lesley Ingram




The Rape of Diana

headline: The Daily Telegraph, 21st July 1969

It was the way she swayed
they said, the come on,
the dare.

It was how she hypnotised with
that slow blink
of her stare.

It was the way she flaunted
her distance, divinity, her own
definition of eternity.
Her cool, all-or-nothing, pull.

They branded their boot marks
in the dust of her skin, rubbed
her face in the proof of a pin,
went back in gangs, again and
again – laid claim, laid her bare.
They shrunk her, squared her,
electrified her glow, drained her
world to monochrome

and still she rises




Lesley Ingram’s first collection Scumbled (Cinnamon) was published in 2015. Her poems have appeared online and in printed journals & anthologies since 2010. She lives in Herefordshire, and is currently working on her second collection.

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K. S. Moore



The Changeling Spiders

The changeling spiders
borrow their skull-heads
from fairies, who leave them
in corners, to spin out earthly
imaginings of themselves,

haunt and drop with
bent-thorn legs, a
dance they were born to
execute softly. Their webs
are dirty grey chains,

hung at the highest points
in each room, they take
time to break, grow back,
are stubborn, hold me
unclean, ashamed.



K. S. Moore‘s poetry has recently appeared in New Welsh Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Boyne Berries, The Lonely Crowd, The Stinging Fly and Southword. Shortlists have included: Trim Poetry Competition, Americymru West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition and Blog Awards Ireland.

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Melissa Todd reviews ‘In My Arms’ by Setareh Ebrahimi




Setareh Ebrahimi is the most sensual of writers. To enter her world is to navigate a region of heightened sensation and dizzying intimacy. The mood of In My Arms is breathless, deathless, hushed, brimming with imagery that engages and intoxicates the senses.

Her subject matter lists heavily to the corporeal, the thin skeins that link body to body, male to female, life to death, mother to child. Her poetry cries of our interconnectivity, and how, despite surface differentials, we are more than united; indeed, we are invariably transubstantiated, one to the other, through our interactions. Nothing stands alone in Ebrahimi’s world, and nothing is as it seems. The trappings of culture and civilisation are decried as irrelevant illusions, distractions from the physical world which transcends and unifies. In Learning to Draw Darwin she describes how the portrayal of human figures in a childish hand moves away from truth when bodies become clothed:

a dull point disguised as politics
a self-referencing, outer membrane.
The costumes become so fantastic
they obscure the humans they contain.
Perhaps she again wants abstraction, freedom.

That urge to cast off obscuration and seek physical freedom resonates throughout the work, even explored on the cover, which shows a woman’s torso curving in on itself, lean, balletic, ready to pounce. It’s women’s bodies that grace these pages, and in particular their relation to family and motherhood. It almost feels an unwelcome intrusion when a man makes an appearance in A Ghost in Berlin, one of the finest poems in the collection; the shockingly dark down/secretly on his body/the long hair, the beard – the reader is invited to observe the writer disappear as she reflects her ghost back upon himself, and underscores how very female the book has been up to this point.

The tactile nature of this work, the vivid, familial moments it describes, offer the reader a gently voyeuristic thrill. We watch Ebrahimi caress soft flesh with a delicate, reverent touch, describing its feel, fragrance, taste, in language almost unbearably revealing and intimate. This collection is a hymn to the body, its profound truths, its heightened connectivity, and within our contemporary society, the tragedy of its limitations, the hush that must, of necessity, fall upon it.

The tremendous crafting which has generated In My Arms borders on the obsessive – there is an unashamed lack of perspective here, an intimate exploration of the minutest detail. There is only the body, and the poet’s relation to and worship of it. It’s richly intoxicating, lavish and occasionally overwhelming. I want to pass through life unnaturally undisturbed and not disturbing, she cries, and in this collection she undoubtedly accomplishes her ambition; yet –  Release me from the drama of love and let me be free, she continues, and one wonders, selfishly, what on earth Ebrahimi would find to write about if ever she got her wish.




Melissa Todd is a writer and performer from Broadstairs, Kent, and the director of Hags Ahoy Theatre Company. Currently she is writing a book with award winning poet Matt Chamberlain.

In My Arms by Setareh Ebrahimi is published by Bad Betty Press and available here:

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Jack Little




The Metro After 1AM

Each station marks an anonymous arrival.
Behind screens, each tunnel descent is metal cold
and hot air, cutting deeper into the Earth
bright lights blinking on the city’s last bend
before the volcanic rock, the lake bed,
the resting yard of all trains lined graffiti white,
pinked to dusk, passing stones all full of yesterday’s kisses
empty except for the dream-horses of sleeping commuters.



Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of Elsewhere (Eyewear, 2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press. @JLittleMexico

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Maxine Rose Munro




He grows 

I gave birth to Restless, and oh how
he prowls this house, testing, testing
the strength of my walls. Pushing
at limits to find weaknesses he
stores for future use, careful
with his words. He knows
soon will come his
time, not mine.

I gave birth to Restless
and, oh! how he grows and grows.




Maxine Rose Munro is a Scottish poet who writes in both English and her native Shetlandic Scots. She is widely published in the UK, in print and online, including Ink, Sweat and Tears, and her work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Find her here

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