Martyn Crucefix

Featured Poet: Martyn Crucefix



The lovely disciplines

See Ginny’s son and Ginny’s daughter-in-law
rest useless hands on the raised bed-rail

stare down to where Ginny writhes and squirms
her slender left arm reaching O so high

while her bare right calf lies crooked across
the cold retaining bar as lucky Jane all day

scuts with her bird-like legs folded under
to clear the turning wheels of her chair

while she roams the ward her working shoulders
pump each shove as if she’d tear herself clear

of the purple seat while Michaela’s throat
goes sucking great holes in the hospital air

and rubs itself raw till she’s like a bull-seal
honking on a distant shore she may have once

defended open-eyed though no-one here
believes Michaela will stir—no brighter hope

any more for Linda where she settles quiet
in her purple dressing-gown beside her bed

neat as a serviette her eyes fixed on a man
from her V of hands while he stares at her

from his V of hands the woman who he moved
for years coterminous with who now prefers

distance and darkness and being dumb . . .
O no more those lovely disciplines

we reassure ourselves it’s human to pursue
and no more those sweet acts of will

we treasure briefly or we take for granted
consoling ourselves that we will be spared

the horror of long blue rooms like these—
the slack and supine and all the twaddle

of decay and we persuade ourselves
that the truth need not be so bleak

as it seems for these who hold the floor today
who turn barely more than one leaf turns

in being blown to the gutter who seem
as nothing to themselves if more to others

who come with names they cannot let go
murmuring Ginny Michaela darling Linda Jane



Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 5 collections, including An English Nazareth (Enitharmon, 2004) and Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies was shortlisted for the 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus was published in 2012. Information can be found at Poetrypf also see Enitharmon.


Clare Pollard: Featured Poet

Clare Pollard


Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe

The Wren is cunning.  Soul of the Oak, the Druid-bird.
He trills: steal my eggs and there’ll be lightning.

The Crow is known as Badb Catha, the Phantom Queen
who tends to warriors, gland and liver.  She is the Terror.

The Swan hisses, hisses.  Even her neck is a twisted S.
She’s resident, common, depressed.  She was once a princess.

The Nightingale has a buff eye-ring, she’s tiny and brown
to hide from Tereus the hawk, who cuts out tongues.

And the white-headed, silver-cloaked Heron by the canal
is a wizard scrying in glass – there’s a fish he cannot catch

but she’s something else. Because of this, he loves her.



Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and lives in London.  Her first collection of poetry, The Heavy-Petting Zoo was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award. It was followed by Bedtime and Look, Clare! Look!, which was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus.  Her fourth collection Changeling (Bloodaxe, 2011) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Clare’s play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premiered at the Royal Court Theatre.  Her radio documentary ‘My Male Muse’(2007) was a Radio 4 Pick of the Year, and she recently co-wrote the radio play Surface to Air with WN Herbert. Clare’s new version of the Heroides by Ovid will be published as Ovid’s Heroines by Bloodaxe in May 2013.


Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory: Featured Poet

Hospital Visit

The waiting room is full
of all sorts, pretending
to be awake.

The bad mother,
deaf ear cocked
to the incubator;

the bogey man,
painted eyeballs on his hands,
wedged upright in the corner.

Even the alchemist
has discovered a way
to shoe horses in his sleep.


Helen Ivory was born in Luton in 1969 and lives in Norwich.  She has worked in shops, behind bars, on building sites and with several thousand free-range hens. She has studied painting and photography and has a Degree from Norwich School of Art.

In 1999 she won a major Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her third Bloodaxe Books collection is The Breakfast Machine. She has taught creative writing for Continuing Education at UEA for ten years and has been Academic Director there for six. She is an Editor for the Poetry Archive, Editor of Ink Sweat and Tears and is currently working towards an exhibition of her visual art.  Find out more here: