Tuesday 13 April 2021

Maggie Butt, "everlove"

By Maggie Butt

A year when bookshops are closed is not the best for a writer, but it has been busy for me. My sixth poetry collection, everlove is published in April 2021 by The London Magazine Editions and my novel The Prisoner’s Wife was published by Penguin Random House imprints across the world in 2020, under my maiden name Maggie Brookes.

My poetry appears widely in international magazines and anthologies, and has escaped the page into a mobile phone app, choreography, BBC Radio 4, readings and festivals. I have judged a number of international poetry competitions.

My previous collections are the pamphlet Quintana Roo (2003) and my first full collection, Lipstick (2007). In 2010 a collection of  pocket-sized poems, petite, came out and in 2011, Oversteps Books published Ally Pally Prison Camp, the story of 3,000 civilians imprisoned at Alexandra Palace during the First World War told through a historical collage of poems, photos, paintings and extracts from memoirs and letters. Sancti Clandestini – Undercover Saints, a fully illustrated poetry collection, was published in 2012 and an exhibition to accompany the book was held at The Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. My fifth collection of poetry Degrees of Twilight was published by The London Magazine in July 2015.

Poetry was my first love, but my career has spanned other forms of writing. After an English degree at Cardiff University I became a newspaper reporter, moving to BBC TV as a documentary writer / producer / director. I have a PhD in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and was a University Teaching Fellow and University Orator at Middlesex University, where I taught Creative Writing for 30 years. 

Poetry website: www.maggiebutt.co.uk

Fiction website: www.maggiebrookes.uk

You can read more about The Prisoner's Wife on Creative Writing at Leicester here

About everlove

everlove brings together poems written over a six year period. The first section is a sequence of poems about the refugee crisis, inspired by the artworks of American artist Mary Behrens.  The second examines other issues close to many of our hearts including the climate emergency and personal loss. The third part celebrates the joys of the natural world and the adventures of life and love. 

Below, you can read three poems from the collection

From everlove


someone took your life
your life and tore it down the middle
down the middle then crossways into smaller
smaller pieces as if it was a letter
a letter from an unfaithful lover. 

So now you know that the gods, the fates
the fates, the gods
care less for you than a scrap of paper
a scrap of paper. 

And though you run about
run about and catch them all
all blowing and raining about you like ticker-tape
you can’t see how
how you could begin
begin to stick them together 
stick them together
to make a life again. 

So you tuck them carefully 
carefully into your pocket
and walk
and walk
and walk. 


ha, ha, ya-di-ya,
hoikin’ up the heaterin’
till all yer little froggies
start grippin’ and slitherin’ 
broilin’ up a pondstorm 
spewin’ out frogspawn;
an all yer soppysilly buds
simpering curtseylike
la,la,la daffydowndillys,
an all the stoopid sheepies 
bleatin’ well birthin’ 
slopperin’ out their mewlin’ 
lambikins on the grassygreen; 
an all the neverlearn peeps
optimisted, hopeblinkered
cheerfool an’ headsoft
let liddle chidderlins
disvest unglove 
castclout slipscarf 
sayin’ in like a lion
out like a lamb 
an me snickerin’ 
ha,ha, this’ll learn ya 
tempdrop icenose
sleetslash hailhurt
flakefall freezeball, 
snowstormin’ blizzardin’ 
hidin’ up the lambkins
an the daffydillys

Now I must be 

both motherandfather 
to myself 

scatter wisdom over myownhead 
like an upturned bowl of rose-petals 

name myself with sprinkled water
offer pie-and-mash advice 

pour out coldclean glassfuls 
of forgiveness 

remember to lovemyself
pridepuff at my small achievements 

love mostfiercely
my flocks of imperfections 

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