Tuesday 30 January 2018

"Sometimes": Poem by Karen Powell

Karen Powell is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and magazines including Welcome to Leicester: Poems About the City, The Interpreter’s House and Silver Birch Press. Here is one of her poems.


I believe my mother is still alive
and alone in her flat
sitting in her nest
of magazines, a forgotten coffee,
a half-eaten meal, photographs,
an empty sherry glass
and misunderstandings.
She survives on twice-weekly visits
from Age Concern, and a mini-spring clean
each month by Molly Maids. 

The only difference is I no longer phone or visit.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying

A new poetry anthology tackling mental health issues, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, edited by Isabelle Kenyon, is to be published in February. Proceeds will go to the charity MIND.

Isabelle Kenyon is a Surrey based poet and a graduate in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from the University of York. She is the author of poetry anthology, This is not a Spectacle and micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered, published by Origami Poetry Press. She is also the editor of MIND Poetry Anthology Please Hear What I'm Not Saying. You can read more about Isabelle and see her work at www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk.

Isabelle writes: "I wanted to spread the word about the MIND Poetry Anthology which I have compiled and edited. Please Hear What I’m Not Saying will be available as an e-book and paperback on 8th February 2018. The anthology consists of poems from 116 poets and the book details a whole range of mental health experiences. The profits of the book with go to UK charity, MIND. The book came about through my desire to do a collaborative project with other poets and my desire to raise money for a charity desperately seeking donations to cope with the rising need for its work. I received over 600 poems and have narrowed this down to 180. As an editor, I have not been afraid to shy away from the ugly or the abstract, but I believe that the anthology as a whole is a journey – with each section the perspective changes. I hope that the end of the book reflects the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for mental health and that the outcome of these last sections express positivity and hope."

The anthology includes poems by Leicestershire-based writers, including Emma Lee, Sue Mackrell and Jonathan Taylor, as well as writers from the UK, US and elsewhere. 

For more information about the anthology, visit Isabelle's website, www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk.

Featured below is one of the poems from the anthology, by the editor herself:

Social Media invented Self Love

I’m not very good at this self love thing.

I always look for strangers,
thinking they could do it better,
and I don’t post about it online,
I forget,
I’m no use,
that girl with the juice blender and the personal trainer is far ahead of me –
that’s why people pay her
to promote beauty products
so other people can buy them
and love themselves too.

Isabelle Kenyon

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Pattie McCarthy

Pattie McCarthy is the author of six books of poetry: Quiet Book, Marybones, Table Alphabetical of Hard Words, Verso, and bk of (h)rs from Apogee Press, and nulls from Horse Less Press. She is also the author of a dozen chapbooks, most recently margerykempething and qweyne wifthing from eth press. A former Pew Fellow in the Arts, McCarthy teaches literature and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Here are four of her sonnets from a longer sequence. 


this year aged me twenty it's stupid

to say but it's true           it's them pills I took
&c      whatever     at forty-
five lady mary carey wrote her
meditation it's as good a time as any
I think you should know I walk the long way
home      circumambulate the seminary
when I was a kid my friends would sled there
hold on tight         but I said I don't jump
fences to get closer to priests
there are different categories of loss
don't confuse my sadness for guilt or regret
I count counted backwards to it     I hope
you like how I'm wearing my effort now


mercy      a midden or a crown       mercy
the witches come in silks with manbuns
reckless with optimism we go on
my father's body is probably gone
in truth I rarely think of it that way
good wyvern       my daughterthing says      she said
this year is twenty years maybe next time
I get to be the one who falls apart
depictions of the body as bloodless
weightless      anemic   plastic      couldn't be
more distant from me I don't know how to
read them      I cannot helpe peoples talking
of me       of course I'm wrong about his body
but I'm horrorstruck thinking about it


mercy only      goodwyfs from the other
side of town are witches that's obvious
in my tongue of wool & flax is the law
in my autumnal teaching costume I
exercise the etymology of
gossamer for fifty minutes
once there was a daughterthing she watched
her cobwebs    mercy  a midden or crown
her back to the hill her face to the sea
& which is still to be seen to this day
note     she is impassable at high tide
unexpected catalogue      archive of
the flood     a large accumulation of small
things chalky softwhite left on my fingers


mercy you have to relearn hunger you
have to learn to be hungry for days so
hungry that lights go out as you pass so
hungry steps disappear just do the work
unnatural november weather
easing up for year-end erasure
mercy     only goodwyfs from the impassable
tide the other side         archive of the flood
these days need crows & so they come we put
glittering things out to draw them near     not
near enough        when my son can't sleep we day
dream the dazzle of sunlight on water
different bodies all the time       it's the dazzle
that soothes him       he stores fragments for later