Padraig Rooney




Making is finding, troubadours know

Making is finding, troubadours know, and all
that comes to hand is an oarlock socket worn
by salt, its oar somewhere freely parting water
and a pilgrim soul finding rhythm. Have him push
the boat ashore at World’s End and make landfall.
Will he map the territory and spread a language?
Found a nation? Bring on mass slaughter?
Or will I make him in the nick of time salvage
a tin of watercolours, a sketchbook packed in oilcloth
and two small brushes of Kolinsky sable?
Let me show you a new world as it was born
in his eyes, the finding and the making both.
Open your paint box, pilgrim, make an indelible
mark on this blank page with the tip of your brush.



Padraig Rooney’s The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland was described in the TLS as “Brilliant. Thoroughly absorbing.” Rooney has published three books of poetry. A bilingual selection appeared from Wolfbach (Zurich) titled Angelandet / Landing Craft in 2017. He lives in Basel, Switzerland. Website:

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Michael Bartholomew-Biggs




Workshop exercise
For Kate Foley

The river twinkles on my right. I’m walking
briskly past a pair of disused shipyards
whose noisy histories have been condensed
to fit on plaques as neat as boiler-plates.

The river’s banks are fidgety with ripples
tilting floating grass this way and that
while little breezes tease the orange poppies.

A launch breathes easy at its midstream mooring.
Beyond, a quarry’s grading drum is munching
mouthfuls, spitting out the coarser morsels
like Hardy’s yokels gnawing gritty bacon.

The sand’s been used to level paving stones
in Wivenhoe; the gravel’s gone as ballast
in empty coal boats back to Newcastle.

A swinging chain against a barrier
beats out a steady bell-tone chime, a kind
of angelus above the chattering
of gangs of taut excited dinghy sheets.

It helps to know the words harmonic motion
if I want to make my poetry
avoid imposing humanising notions
like excited, chattering and gangs.

On the dock a sprocket and a pinion
mesh without considering if fingers
or a butterfly get caught between them.



Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a semi-retired mathematician who is now poetry editor of the on-line magazine London Grip.  He has published four collections and five chapbooks, the latest of which are, respectively, Poems in the Case (Shoestring 2018) – which combines poetry with a murder mystery – and The Man Who Wasn’t Ever Here (Wayleave 2017) – which speculates about the life of his Irish grandfather.  With Nancy Mattson he organises the Poetry in the Crypt reading series in North London.

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Philip Rush




The Last Carthusian

The large metal bell
with which I call myself
to prayer is wanted
by a museum.

I sing
in an affected accent
the responses
to the psalms

but the jackdaws
which laugh at me
from the roof
are not fooled.

In a refectory
which is chilly
and brown
I eat in silence.

In the afternoon
I put about me
a rougher
and larger cassock

and tend
my small garden,
its seedlings
and its slow herbs.

I sit on a wooden chair
and contemplate
the chitting
of potatoes.

On clear days
the sunset
will set the stone



Having led a largely peripatetic life for several years, playing the violin and exploring foreign lands on foot and by bus, Philip Rush now lives in a small Cotswold cottage in a small hillside village.  He runs a small publishing enterprise which helps local poets both to see their work in print and to share it at readings and elsewhere.  Every now and again, when he is able to do so, he catches a train for the continent or for the more remote parts of Great Britain. Some of his poems are in Carcanet’s New Poetries IV, Bloodaxe’s Hwaet! and in various pamphlets from Yew Tree Press.

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Julia Stothard





I am growing grass
inside my ribs;
fluted blades
twisting their leading edge
in meadows of flesh.

There are fields of this.
Where the lark has left,
the wind gusts through –
I have become
its hollow short-cut and you

are corridors distant,
marked up and waiting
to become the gates
they enter through
to meet you.

They graft new branches
onto the heart,
cut paths into scars
that I will follow
to find you.

The nettles rise and fall
yet the pain
is still green by spring
when the flowers begin
to bloom in the heartland.



Julia Stothard lives in Middlesex and works as a data analyst within the retail industry, currently finding inspiration for poetry in an industrial landscape. Her micropoetry can be found @TerzaVerse on twitter.


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Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana




Realisation about a friend

and deliberately
you draw
information out of me

the way my son
eats a strawberry
holding firmly
onto the green stem
sucking it down
to the pulp



Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana lived in Japan for 10 years. She holds an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University, was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize 2018, and read at the American Writer’s Program Conference, in Portland Oregon this year.

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Liz Lefroy





Inside, it’s containment: a smooth shell curving
away into itself, taut around a thin membrane
which closes on its viscous, one-celled strength;

and it’s a silent circling of mass, unused to air,
unexposed to the risk of strange heats,
to the feel and pulse of whatever might change it.

It asks for the sure tap tap against a bowl,
for the press in and parting of thumbs,
for brokenness.



Liz Lefroy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Care at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. She was winner of the 2011 Roy Fisher Prize and 2016 Café Writers Prize and published three pamphlets, most recently Mending The Ordinary.

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