poem, poetry

The Lake

I am delighted to have a poem in the October issue of The Lake. Many thanks to the editor, John Murphy. You can read my poem here.

poem, poetry

Poet Gillian Prew — grievous canticles

Thanks, Tim Buck.

Spectral Lyre

When I encounter a poem with lines having a subtle quality of chant, I’m able to leave the ordinary behind for a little while. Ezra Pound was a master of lifting words on arcs of phrases, and this characteristic levitation of language made his poems extraordinary. That’s about form.

Pound respected poetry enough that he also wrote toward heightened substance. The quotidian — the personal fret, the plodding rumination — was brushed aside. In its place, were image-ideas floating on rarefied vapors of imagination and aesthetic delirium.

Form and substance. Lines bold beyond the dreariness of poorly disguised prose. Lines wild beyond the registration of prosaic thoughts and everyday experience.

Paul Celan was another poetic master of subtle chant and eccentric vision.

As is the poet Gillian Prew.

Here’s a link to her poem “Sequence after Celan” — Poethead Blog.

In her poem, Prew’s lines call to Celan’s, which answer…

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poem, poetry, publication

Erbacce Poetry Journal 50th Edition


I was honoured to be one of the poets invited to contribute to this 50th issue of Erbacce Poetry Journal. We were asked to send a poem about something that we are passionate about – my poem is about a dying whale. At the moment I can’t find a link to purchase a copy but it contains so my wonderful and diverse poems that I would highly recommend it. My thanks to everyone at erbacce.

poem, poetry, publication

cat eyes and the tragedy of mother

Could I marry these two sharp silences? These yellow balls
that burn in stare and purr beneath
deep where the world is simple.

Are they cat eyes or a brace of griefs fresh
from the hunter’s recreation?

Will they say, I do? Two ochre brides
with their black faces and their undercurrent of woe. Cat

eyes are everything
like newborn infants that have barely tasted the world.

How can we know without tragedy? All the broken
birds and mouse heads merely death’s decoration
like my mother’s trousseau and her years of mending only

to be lost in the stitches
and the thread falling away
her bloody thumb a jewel. She married a ductile grief

its lifeline on her palm
the law of its docile acquiescence
that lifted only to plug the hollow of my despair. The day she died

my wasted roots fell away
and I was born again like an inconsolable thunder.

From Throats Full of Graves (Lapwing Publications, 2013)

My mother would have been 75 today.

poem, poetry

Visual Verse

I have managed to write my first poem of the year thanks to Visual Verse. The poems haven’t been coming for quite a while so hopefully this is a good sign. I’m looking to read some poets new to me this year so I’d be glad to hear recommendations from anyone reading this post. You can read my poem here.

poem, poetry, publication

Zoomorphic Magazine

I’m very pleased to have a small bird poem, imaginatively titled ‘Small Bird Poem’, in issue 6 of Zoomorphic Magazine. They’ve held onto it for quite a while and can be found in my collection, A Wound’s Sound (Oneiros Books, 2014).

Many thanks to editors, Susan Richardson and James Roberts.

poem, poetry

Visual Verse

A word in my poem at this month’s Visual Verse has somehow gone missing so here is the poem in its entirety.

 Study in Black

dark as the world's mirror
fastened in a parcel of bones and velvet.

the air was winged
and the field shuffled its grasses in the wind.

Hooves tore up the shadows
until the light became a voice.

everything is a zoomed-in stillness
where all life is black-rooted/

       as one glossy sorrow.

Lesley Quayle – Two poems

I am delighted to share two environmental poems by Lesley Quayle.  These poems arose from projects she worked on alongside Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000, trying to combat the industrialisation of greenbelt and an AONB. Remember, if you appreciate a poet’s work the best support you can give is to purchase their books. You can buy Lesley’s chapbook, Children of Lesser Gods, from erbacce-press at only £3.99!


The Meeting.
They sit behind tables,
reminiscent of school-dinner times,

except the water is Evian
and there’s a finger buffet, ‘No Smoking’ signs.

They are grey and bored,
having to be there, borrowing their bonhomie

from the corporate manual,
cautious of being caught out by easy questions;

the hard ones are pre-empted,
they have designer phrases for them.

They are tired of us before we have even started,
who think fields more important than profit,

their collective fatigue
forewarns of plans already set in concrete,

this haggling’s only a token gesture
from those averse to compromise,

their ceremonies have been held,
they already know the delicate secrets.

The strip lights drone,
conditioned air scrapes our throats
till the skins of our voices are shed
and fade like worn parchment.

From her chapbook, Songs For Lesser Gods (erbacce-press) , first published at Tears in the Fence.



Frack Off.

Here are the merely humdrum hills,
with their frowse of mist, small mounds
dissolving on a rim of sky,
wind-stunted trees, picked bare,
behind stone walls.

Here on the city’s edge,
not soaring fells nor wild, untrammelled
scarps of snow – a discourse of bumps,
pulpits of grass, upturned keels
of earth and grit.

Here we walk, sit looking out
across the nesting houses, factories
and roads, while children roll
down littered slopes in the ancestral lea
of those before.

Here, the only undeveloped green
that eyes can see for miles, where shoeless
feet can press and cool, feel soil through toes
freewheel down cinder-tracks with north wind
scouring lungs and skin.

Here are the men with fences,
the inquest on freedom over and done
their lies acquitted in purple prose,
reminding us we have no say –
showing their teeth.

Here are the latecomers
wringing their hands, weeping,
crying cheat and foul – but there’s no amnesty.
Torn poster on a fence, a pennant on a grave –
“Frack Off.”


Lesley Quayle is a poet and folk/blues singer currently living in the wilds of rural Dorset. Her poems have been widely published in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, The Rialto, The North, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Prole, Angle, High Windows etc and she was a winner of the BBC Wildlife Magazine Poet of the Year. She has also written for the Yorkshire Post on rural issues and contributed poems to The Morning Star and Spectator.

poetry, publication

Three Colours Grief

I’m very pleased to say that my sales page at erbacce-press has been updated with my new chapbook, Three Colours Grief. Many thanks to editor, Alan Corkish, and to David Wheatley, Marion McCready and Angela Carr for providing the blurbs. If you would like to order a signed copy there will be a slight delay until my author copies are delivered. Postage is free in UK. If you are overseas please contact me.

PrewCover (3)gp

Gillian Prew’s sales page at erbacce-press.