Di Slaney – Two Poems

Reward for winter

For the first time in her adult life,
she allowed herself to sweat, to leave
dust under her fingernails, to be
imprecise. As spring leached into
summer, heat snaked through pores
and found her chilly core that
hadn’t seen daylight or action
in years. No amount of SPF could
block her thaw once it started;
the field licked folds of her mind
with a green velvet tongue.
Every night she inhaled the sky,
tasted clouds and stars, heard
ten million blades of grass sing
for rain. She stroked the dark like
a cat, rubbed against rough wooden
fence posts till warmth spread inside
out, urging her on. And when she came
back to herself, she could smell every
animal she’d touched on her fingers,
their oils and dirt mixed with her own.
She’d never felt so loose, so unfinished



Every dawn she looks up, sucks on doing words
to break her fast, breathes in the day. So many
to roll around a mouth starved of soil; she grinds
their grit between her teeth, their loam clagging
under her tongue, a raised bed to plant the seedlings
from her mind. Words like tupping and scouring,
moulting and docking, dagging and flagging. They
make her smile, these hard sounds that taste as
they paint, no place for dainty ears now. Crutching,
fettling, suckling; leaching, pleaching, polling. More
than a syllable string, the day’s to do list pinned down
sharp, big tasks made small. In the holding, she
learns what no course can teach; the weaning from
loss, tears drenching knackerman and carcass,
a voice not her own harrowing life to the wind.





Di Slaney is a poet and smallholder who lives in Nottinghamshire. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and has co-owned Candlestick Press since 2010. Her poems have been published in various magazines including Magma, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Brittle Star, and twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her debut pamphlet Dad’s Slideshow was published by Stonewood Press in 2015.

Reward for Winter (Valley Press) was Highly Commended in the 2016 Forward Prizes



Newborn – Finola Scott


A tiny mole she snuffles
blue-white eyes look inward.
Tissue-paper skin folds and creases,
sea-anemone lips puff and purse,
fragile bars hold a hesitant heart.

This shortest day,
dark’s velvet blanket
coories her close.
She’s in no hurry
for hibernation’s end.


Glaswegian Finola Scott‘s work is widely published in zines, mags & anthologies. A seasoned performance poet she is proud to be a slam winning granny. Before retiring she was a Guidance teacher, closely involved in her pupil’s lives. Her short stories and poems have won & been placed in national competitions.

Sohini Basak wins 2016 Beverly Series – Eyewear Publishing

University of Warwick Creative Writingsohini_basak_photograph_1024x1024

University of Warwick Creative Writing alumna Sohini Basak is the winner of the 2016 Beverly Series for her debut collection of poetry, We Live in the Newness of Small Differences.

Sohini originally from Barrackpore, India studied at Warwick on the MA in Writing in 2013 and was taught by various Warwick academics including Professor David Morley, winner of the Ted Hughes Award. On hearing of Sohini’s success David said:

‘The key to making poems is surprise in language. I remember with pleasure Sohini Basak’s poetry when I was teaching her poetry at Warwick. Her use of language, line and image always surprised and delighted.

It is no surprise therefore that she has gone on to achieve great things with her poetry. The winning of this prestigious prize and the publication of her first collection is an inspiration to student-poets at Warwick.’

Since studying at Warwick, Sohini’s poetry and fiction have appeared in journals including 3: AM Magazine, Out of Print, Suburban Review, Missing Slate, Ambit, Lighthouse, Ofi Press, Helter Skelter, and Paris Lit Up, as well as in print anthologies of Emma Press and Poetrywala. She won second prize at the inaugural RædLeaf India Poetry Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Melita Hume and the Jane Martin poetry prizes in 2014. She was a 2015-2016 fellow of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

The 2016 Beverley Series awarded by Eyewear Publishing LTD was open to original manuscripts in any genre by any writer working in the English language. The series received a wide range of submissions from writers both emerging and established, in over thirteen countries, writing memoir, poetry, short stories, novels, and experimental forms.

Kelly Davio, Eyewear’s Senior Editor and the final judge for the 2016 Beverly Series, selected We Live in the Newness of Small Differences from a pool of fourteen finalists determined by Eyewear’s editorial team of judges, Oliver Jones, Rosanna Hildyard, and Todd Swift.

Davio had this to say of the selection process:
‘Sohini Basak’s We Live in the Newness of Small Differences is an impressive collection with a controlled voice, an attention to musicality, a beautiful execution of the craft, and a playful sense of the elasticity and possibility of the line.

‘I have no doubt that this book’s publication will mark the emergence of a powerful new voice in the poetry world, and I’m proud that we at Eyewear have the opportunity to bring this work to the reading public.’

Sohini is currently a social media manager for the translation journal Asymptote and currently lives in Delhi.

Eyewear will publish We Live in the Newness of Small Differences in January of 2018

I Practice a Conversation – Hannah Linden

I Practice a Conversation

Say I tell you this green time is not white enough for me
this too-warm time not cold in the way I remember.

I was a little girl when the flakes of snow threw themselves
against the windows at the time when I struggled to recall
the words of a carol being sung to me for the first time.

Say I tell you this green time is like a charade of winter
and the birds hang on the trees when they should be gone.

I was a young man, caught in the first thrill of love
holding open the door of a rusty old van to catch passing
snowflakes. I felt the cold and the cold knew my song.

Say I tell you this green time is a reminder of a spring
we have lost now. Tell me you can’t see the white in my eyes.

I was a mother who made Christmas decorations that caught
the light from whatever light surrounded them. My arms
were the magic that took cold and made it the joy of a speeding sleigh.

Say I tell you this green time is a forgetting of something
a pretence that death is not a necessary jolt, a passing place.

I was a man living in the dark of a doorway. The cold was a cold
that everyone else was protected from. There was talk of global
warming, a change in the seasons. They talked of good will for everyone.

Say I tell you this green time is not white enough
this too-warm time not warm in the way I remember.


Hannah Linden has been published in several magazines and anthologies including most recently The Interpreter’s House and Domestic Cherry, and was commended in the 2015 Prole Laureate; and with Gram Joel Davies, won the 2015 Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s Compound Competition.

Verve Poetry Festival 16th-19th February – Birmingham


I am delighted to be reading next month at the Verve Festival as part of the Nine Arches Showcase along with Robert Peake, Isobel Dixon and Roy McFarlane.

Verve is a four day festival of world class poetry and spoken word, with readings, performances, workshops, children’s events and more in the heart of Birmingham. Tickets are on sale now, with festival passes and workshops limited. The price of each of these events is remarkably low and the all-day passes a steal.

Poets include Sarah Howe, Mona Arshi, Anthony Anaxagorou, Sabrina Mahfouz, Luke Kennard, Kim Moore, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Helen Mort, Daljit Nagra, Soweto Kinch, Dean Atta, and many more brilliant poets.

I have a very tiny poster (thanks to Clive Birnie) listing all the poets (you might need to play “Guess the Poet”) and a big thank you to Jane Commane for inviting me to read.


The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Open Competition | Closing Date: 31-Jan-17


First prize: £1,000
Second prize: £300
Third prize: £100
Plus 4 x £50

The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over. Poems may be on any subject and in any form or style. They must be typed and not longer than 40 lines. The Judge is poet Catherine Smith.

Entry Fee: £5 per poem, or for 3 or more poems £4 each. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to KENT & SUSSEX POETRY SOCIETY.

Contact: kentandsussexpoetry@gmail.com for further information, rules and entry details, including online entries visit website at


Entries should be addressed to: The Competition Organiser, 13 Ruscombe Close, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 0SG

First Glimpse of Iceland – Robin Boothroyd

First Glimpse of Iceland
after William Morris

Now the eye glides
across lava plains,
peopled with cairns,

and alights on tephra cones,
lava domes, basalt columns,
plumes of steam. Beyond,

are those mountains
of cloud or mountains
wreathed in cloud?

Every inch of earth
is stark, lethal,

black. I grab my gloves,
disembark, and worry
my boots in the rubble.



Robin Boothroyd was born in Germany and grew up in England. His poems have been published online at The Bohemyth, DOG-EAR and M58, and in print with Biot and Magma. Meanwhile, a sequence of concrete poems about simultaneity, is forthcoming on Sine Wave Peak. Quintet for Wind and Light, a landscape poem in five parts, was crowdfunded over in 2016 and is available here. Robin’s website is thecoldtapsings.com and you can follow him on Twitter @rfboothroyd. His favourite word is pebble.

New year, new submissions…

The following magazines have open submission windows … or are happy to receive submissions at any time… give them a whirl.

Submissions always welcome: four poems by post:

Algebra of Owls

The Reader Magazine


Popshot Magazine



The Ofi Press

The Long Poem Magazine

Carillon Magazine

Poetry London

Poetry Salzburg

merrily a new year dancing – Reuben Woolley

merrily a new year dancing

i’m gathering
in the sight
of lost dances
……….the warm
in my full
high density
……….away so

for easy digestion
………& all the

behind lens
……..& cross

to welcome tomorrow
& a new
………dead child


Find out more about Reuben here

Wood Turning – Jill Munro and White Russian Christmas – Maggie Mackay

Wood Turning

He asks what it’s made from – the smooth, wood-turned bowl
I’ve bought for Christmas, to hold stray coins, cufflinks, fluff,
one lone ear-ring. When I say Maybe ash, he turns it over
in his mind and hands, says Too light for ash…

Then I drift to last Christmas – collecting a heavy
cardboard box that held my father, then back further,
to a light May scattering of Mother-in-Law by a pond,
when the wind blew her back

over black polished shoes. I agree with him –
Yes, it is too light for ash.

Jill Munro’s first collection ‘Man from La Paz’ was published in 2015 by Green Bottle Press. She won the Fairacre Pamphlet Competition 2015 with ‘The Quilted Multiverse’, published April 2016.



White Russian Christmas

In a studio somewhere in the city of Pushkin,
Jessie stands pale-serious
as if in a snow-lit watery dream,
of frost-muffled stillness. Sepia snap.
Her working loom hands are concealed
within sable fur, her shoulders heavy
under a night-black stole which falls in lapels.
She’s wrapped ready for a Christmas sleigh ride
across cotton wool snow – a Catherine the Great still.
Beyond, on the street, traders cry
coal for sale, echoed across frozen ground.


Maggie Mackay, a Scottish lover of jazz and a good malt, is in her final Masters year at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has work in print and online includingThe Everyday Poet edited by Deborah Alma, Amaryllis, Bare Fiction, Indigo Dreams Publishing, The Fat Damsel, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, I am Not a Silent Poet and with Three Drops Press.