Two poems from Michael Brown


It crops up in some out-of-date stuff
and I want to give it the time of day.
Year 9. Lesson 5. A word writhes

and fidgets to be up and off the page,
mothballed to some vague, undefined space.
They don’t want to know.

I contextualise, draw a diagram.
They watch the clock from half-closed eyes.
I try to catch myself in full flight,

hold on to that sepia note,
its stifled Greek root,
something out of mind.


Beginner’s Lore
After Nimue

She’s learned a thing or two from him.
I wonder at her self-absorption, her lack
of tact . But now she’s got a taste for this.

I want her wildfire spell, her body’s
dialect. That flow. She’s quick
but not quite yet on top of it —

a child still to think her skill apart.
She’s got Merlin where she wants him:
mesmerised. Takes in what she can’t analyse.

I want that art she does not know.


Michael’s work has been published widely including The Rialto, Butchers Dog, Lighthouse Journal, Other Poetry, Crannog, South Bank Poetry, Envoi, The North, Brittle Star, New Walk and The Interpreter’s House.

He was shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Collection prize Judged by Andrew Mcmillan in 2015

In 2014 he won the Untold London Brazen Valentine Competition with his poem, From Hungerford Bridge, Looking East.

He was placed third in the York Poetry Prize, 2015, with the poem Water Lilies and he recently collaborated with the Liverpool poet Maria Isakova Bennett in projects at the Walker Gallery as part of Light Night.

The pamphlet, Undersong (2014) is available from Eyewear Publishing. Michael is currently working towards a first collection.

Saboteur Awards shortlist… why hello Alice!

 Thrilled to have reached the shortlist!


“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”




Saboteur Awards 2016

Important dates for your calendar:

Nominations: 1-24th April

Voting: 1-24th May

Awards: 27th May at Vout-O-Reenees, London

Best Anthology

Hungerford Bridge by Valerie Morton

Hungerford Bridge

A summer night –
we traipse our suitcases
to the bridge, park ourselves

amongst an assortment
of street sleepers,
squint towards

Westminster Bridge
and the lights carousing
on the Thames. Uncanny,

the lump rising in my throat
as Wordsworth rebirths
through your lips,

word perfect.
Even the drunk soldier
lowers his bottle, applauds.

Do we sleep,
like those very houses?
When the sun wakes,

we trace our way
to Charing Cross and the milk train.
Huddling close, churns

clanking behind us,
we have no further use
for words.


Since achieving an OU Degree in 2010, which included Creative Writing, Valerie has taught CW at a mental health charity. A member of Ver Poets, she hosts occasional workshops at her home and since January 2016 has been Poet in Residence at the Clinton-Baker Pinetum in Hertfordshire. As well as being published in a number of magazines, anthologies and online, she is the author of two collections – Mango Tree and Handprints, both published by Indigo Dreams Publications –

Ronnie Goodyer – Lerryn Creek and Dartmoor Song


Lerryn Creek


We listen to the midsummer quiet,
no lap, no rustle, no talk, no breeze –
just the two of us perched on granite boulders,
away from the bank, as the tidal creek slowly fills.

This silent green-black water is inching over mud
creating circular ripples, like invisible rain
falling on this hottest of June days,
buried life responding to its liquid dressing.

A circular shape of glass-light,
streaked with dark from Ethy Woods,
drifts across the surface, bank to bank,
glinting the sky back to its source.

The summer sound of an indistinct bird
meets two people mapping out words
in their heads, a dog treading lightly
over gradually darkening gravel.

The stepping stones are covered now,
so we cross over by the old bridge,
stand to take a last look at the watercolour
creation, now kayaked and reflective.

The world has left us for a while, all we need
is here. In this remote place between Cornwall’s
high hedges, we become new shadows
in the silent serenity of Lerryn Creek.


Dartmoor Song

The cloudburst by ancient Pizwell
had failed to muddy the track enough
to stop our boots and paws progressing
and the wind rustled just long enough
to flutter the lungta style prayer flags
colouring the trees in the Lower Merripit vale,
communing with the hidden shrines
and ceremonial round houses.

The East Dart continued its story
through Bellever and sprayed the old
clapper bridge, designed for carts,
now beloved by catalogues and cameras.
And here I stand, knee-deep in September,
the sun now high and trees dripping apples.
Here you can swallow me whole
or place me with others frozen in time.

Walk me to the rise of King’s Tor
then drop me deep in the Walkham Valley.
Trace me the tracks of the Devonport Leat
to the heart of Foxtor Mires and let the call
of the meadow pipit be my only alarm cry.
Leave me here with the silence that haunts,
the heartbeat that feeds my serenity
and the wind that brushes over these words.




Ronnie Goodyer runs the successful poetry publishers Indigo Dreams with partner Dawn Bauling. Ronnie has six previous poetry collections and appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines.

He was on the BBC area Judging Panel for their Off By Heart competition and in 2015 he won (with Dawn) The Ted Slade Award for Service to Poetry for “endeavour and dedication in the promotion of poetry.”

His publishing commitments mean he has very little time to write his own poetry, and tends to become inordinately pleased when accepted for publication. He’s inordinately pleased right now.

Helianthus by Margaret Holbrook


These bright, brash plants standing
tall have no pretence.
They are what they are,
and don’t deny it.

Fields of them line the
French roadsides. Striking and
purposeful, they are not to be
meddled with.

Even their small siblings,
the ones bought in pots from
florists and garden-centres
have attitude.

These plants are not shrinking-
violets. You will not find them
cowering in shade or damp woodland;
they are showy, proud, in your face,
demanding to be seen.

If sunflowers could speak,
They would be loud, outspoken,
heard above the crowd,
unable to help themselves.

sunflowers are silent, intent
on following the sun,
looking for love; and
all the while in that beautiful head,
Fibonacci numbers are calculated,
seeds plotting their spiral patterns.

Margaret Holbrook lives in Cheshire, where she grew up. Her poetry has been published in several journals including, Orbis, The Journal, The SHOp, SLQ and The Caterpillar, and in poetry anthologies, most recently Schooldays from Paper Swans Press.

Her collection, Hobby Horses Will Dance (based on myth, nature and folklore) was published in 2014.

Margaret leads the Creative Writing Group for Chapel Arts, in Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire and is the host for Readings at Rems, also in Chapel en le Frith.


A good night of readings in Lewes

Thanks to Robin for inviting me to read alongside Telltale poets Sarah Barnsley and Robin Houghton as well as upcoming poet Rebecca White. All readings bounced off each other well… oddly fire engines featured in three poets’ readings and lichen seemed to be peeling in two. Great audience – it is a really chilled, intimate space…

Here’s Robin’s article – find more about her here:

The upstairs room at the Lewes Arms is great for poetry readings – intimate, so need for a mic, but with a small stage. It’s also pretty quiet, unless the windows are open, in which case there’s inevitably a bit of noise from outside. If there are 30 people there it’s packed.

Anyway, the point is we had a super-relaxed Telltale Press & Friends night there on Wednesday, with a full room and attentive audience. Great to see so many poet friends and supporters.

The poets reading were Telltales Sarah Barnsley and Robin Houghton, newcomer Rebecca White and special guest Abegail Morley, with Siegfried Baber doing the introductions.

Thank you to everyone who came, and see you at the next one – date and venue tbc but probably in the summer – make sure you join our mailing list if you’re not already on it, and we’ll keep you posted.

Poets reading at Telltale Press & Friends, Lewes, April 2016

Dylan’s Great Poem



Celebrate International Dylan Thomas Day

Dylan’s Great Poem opens for submissions on Thursday 28 April at 9.00 am and invites anyone aged between 7 and 25 years old, living anywhere in the world, to submit up to four lines of poetry written in English or Welsh. From these, 100 lines will be chosen to create the Great Poem.

The theme for this year’s competition is ‘hands’, after the Dylan Thomas poem ‘The Hand That Signed The Paper.’

Entries need to be sent via the Developing Dylan 100 website before 12.00 noon on Thursday 5 May.

This year, we have joined forces with Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Selected entrants to Dylan’s Great Poem, who are between 11 and 17 years of age, and living in Wales, will be invited to a poetry writing masterclass to work on entries to the Poetry Society competition.

Dylan’s Great Poem will be edited by Rufus Mufasa and clare e. potter, and will be published online and performed on #DylanDay.

For more information contact Literature Wales:
07846484274 /

Follow online #GreatPoem #DylanDay

John Davies aka Shedman is the featured poet

John Davies Shedman

Ian’s cousin’s grandad’s shed

The moon came out. By its yellow witness
small shadows could be seen moving items
from the shed – Nazi paraphernalia,
unexploded ordnance, stuff granddad stashed
on completion of his Home Guard duties,
denied he’d ever had, though some knew better.
Access was achieved through a broken corner
breathlessly, with that great delight of trespass.
History was stolen in the night, the war
trickling away while what remained fused
together. Tunnelling, the little sappers caused
the shed’s collapse. Grandad, in a state,
torched it, forgetting the ammunition.
The little buggers came back the following day
sifting through the ashes.

With acknowledgements to Ian Duhig for the first line taken from The Lamas Hireling

Two in one

Is a shed a substitute for something never had,
a replacement mother, or a kind of flat-pack dad?
Was it where we tasted our first amazing kiss,
or where our obsessions culminate in bliss?

In his shed, as sensible as creosote, is Dave,
busy as a bee with his lawn mower and his lathe.
Here the businessman ponders his projections;
this knot-holed retreat is his favourite erection.

Then someone else appears in this nutbush-coloured home,
with his malt, his Private Eye, his little band of gnomes.
This alter ego keeps no careful eye on time,
the hours simply vanish exploring the sublime.

The two come together in their little wooden house
and find their consummation with the spider and the mouse.
Triple-hinged the door reveals a different world within
smelling of beeswax, petrol, tarpaulin.

How I should like to be a woodlouse in the dark
and see the private man in the shed’s generous heart,
feel the hand- stroked weather board, every splinter’s prick;
hear the tenderness of silence, the roof felt’s gentle creak.

A shed’s the secret mistress every man desires
in its dark interior they’re forgiven all their cares.
Safe in the embrace of moonlit tongue and groove
a shed is the nearest thing many find to love.



John Davies is Shedman, the original poet in a shed. Since his inception in 2002 as an installation at the Booth Museum of Natural History in Brighton,
Shedman has engaged, intrigued and entertained young and old alike at festivals and events, in schools and institutions.

With visual artist Sue Ridge he has worked on a number of major healthcare projects using the shed as an attractor and a poetic engagement space. They’ll be talking about their latest project at the European Healthcare Design Congress at the end of June, when Shedman will be setting up his shed in the library at the Royal College of Physicians.

You can find more of John’s poems in the pamphlet, The Nutter in the Shrubbery, in a full collection Shedman, and in the anthology Our Storeys – Art and Poetry in Healthcare (all from Pighog). A new pamphlet Glove Poems will be published in May 2016 by Editions Fuscus.


Date: Wednesday 13 April, 2016
Time: 7:30 AM
Price: £8 advance | £5 concs | £10 otd
Venue address:
Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ

Publicity material for this event says:

Apples and Snakes Presents
Curated by Charlie Dark & Roger Robinson

Boasting an exceptional line-up of artists from poets to musicians, writers to DJs, Straight Out the Box offers up a fresh series of new events in pioneering space Pop Brixton. Whether you’re a music fan, spoken word enthusiast, or simply seeking out a new creative experience, Straight Out The Box is guaranteed to surprise and satisfy even the most eclectic of tastes. Curated by Run Dem Crew founder, DJ, and poet Charlie Dark, and musician, dub-poet and writer Roger Robinson.


Event website