Stephen Daniels

Two poems from Stephen Daniels’ forthcoming pamphlet, Tell mistakes I love them

One hand on the steering wheel

)

the screen sprung with light
the vibrate function alerted with each chant
was the message missing a colon

or was it your way of telling me that this was closed
I waited for a correction     a meaningful emoji
each second a social media minute     until I asked you

?

expecting you to lol     or haha     even correct me
with a knowing semi-colon P
reassure my twitching digits

when we first met     I warned your distracted eyes
watched every reach towards the dashboard
your fingers performing – – a silhouette from the hazard lights

)

you left me with a closed bracket
an unfinished spasm

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Surface tension

The ocean leaves me uncomfortable,
sea-sick sway, centre of a swell. Below
my family, twisted amphibians ,
snap at intimacy, check each hollow,
staunchly defend underground ancestors.

In single file they chart currents, display
their hearse fins, each coughing obligation.
I make my way to the surface and spread-
out, thin. A drifting imposter looking
up. I float and savour the nausea.

 

These poems appear in Tell mistakes I love them forthcoming from V. Press

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Stephen Daniels is the editor of Amaryllis Poetry (http://www.amaryllispoetry.co.uk/) and Strange Poetry (http://www.strange-poetry.com/) websites. His poetry has been published in numerous magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, And Other Poems, Obsessed With Pipework, The Lake. His forthcoming Pamphlet ‘Tell mistakes I love them’ will be published in 2017 by V. Press. You can find out more at http://www.stephenkirkdaniels.com/ @stephendaniels

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Pamphlet: Chat 2 with Suzanna Fitzpatrick

A quick chat with Suzanna Fitzpatrick

szWhat was it that steered you towards publishing a pamphlet?
I have been writing poetry all my life, but focussed on it more when I became a freelance writer and editor in 2006. After building up a track record of poems in magazines and anthologies, I wanted to work towards a pamphlet, and felt that a themed sequence would work best for this format. I actually have several pamphlet-length sequences; some drawing on my work as a volunteer shepherd, for example, but these poems are closest to my heart for obvious reasons.

How long did it take to build up the poems?
I began writing the poems in 2011, when pregnant with my son. This obviously coincided with a period in my life when I didn’t get much writing time! However, I scribbled down notes as ideas for poems came to me, and came back to them whenever I had a moment. Hence the sequence begins with pregnancy poems, and moves through birth, breastfeeding, and the early days of motherhood. The later poems consider experiences as my son begins to fledge out into the world and encounters all the joys and hazards that this entails. Some of these were written as recently as the end of 2015, by which time I was pregnant with my daughter, now nearly 7 months old. Here we go again…

How did you choose a press?
There are many great small presses; we seem to be having a wonderful renaissance period as far as pamphlet publication is concerned. But Sheila Wakefield does a particularly brilliant job of producing books which are both beautiful objects, and full of interesting ideas. Red Squirrel is 10 years old this year; interestingly the same amount of time as I’ve been focussing on poetry. Having long admired their work, I submitted ten poems from Fledglings to their James Kirkup Memorial Prize in 2014, and was delighted when Sheila called me last spring to say that I had been selected as the winner by judges Bob Beagrie and Stevie Ronnie.

When you first saw the publication what did you think?
I was thrilled when my box of pamphlets arrived. Things have been so hectic since my daughter was born that I did the final proofs very much on the fly and forgot even to ask what the cover would be like. But Sheila had hit upon one of my favourite colours. The typesetting is meticulous, and each poem is given plenty of space on the page. As for any poet, holding one’s debut publication in one’s hands after years of work is very moving. The pamphlet very much feels like my third child – hopefully the first of many (books, that is; no more babies, or I’ll never get any writing done!).

Fledglings

I stroke the tiny kites
of your shoulder blades,
imagine wings. Gingerly

I stretch my own.
It’s been so long
since I trusted them.

As your nestling’s down
gives place to feathers,
I’ll re-learn flight with you. Let’s stand,

teeter-happy, brink-thrilled,
taste the wind. And we’ll soar,
my darling. We will soar.

 

 

Duet

I sing to you.
My notes rise like bubbles
through a darkness warmed by breath,
telling an old, old story
like the freshest news.
You listen, stir
in time to the music,
reassure me. I move my hand
across the dome of you
your fingers tracing mine
on the other side of my belly’s glass.

On the other side of your belly’s glass,
your fingers tracing mine
across the dome of you
reassure me. I move my hand
in time to the music
and you listen, stir,
like the freshest news
telling an old, old story
through a darkness warmed by breath.
My notes rise like bubbles:
I sing to you.

E.E. Nobbs

The Invisible Girl – E.E. Nobbs

Carolina Read reviews The Invisible Girl by E.E. Nobbs

Invisible.

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E.E. Nobbs’s debut collection inspires us to notice things and events in our lives that makes for poetry that sits us up.   She opens with a sensitive but defiant voice from her childhood. In a beautifully crafted sequence, the theme takes us through the wonder and intimacy of growing up.

From the start, Nobbs’s shares her love of detail and the naming of things — drawing us in with all the senses to think a little deeper about times past.  The atmosphere in the poem “Jim”, for example, takes us straight to young farm life in Prince Edward Island, Canada:

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…………….‘He’d hitch
Jet, the old gelding, to the turnip cart, go down
to the woods by the creek – hauling

spruce and white birch seedlings the whole morning.’

This collection gives us poems from a true nature lover, the type that walks the woods every day and heeds to coincidences.  They are articulated with a wonder to discovery and of wisdom that is rich in perspective.  Poems including “Childless in the City” and “The Oceans are Dying” expose a knowing of aloneness that contrasts with the yielding into relationships that “Elmira Sweetheart” and “Casablanca” speak of with uplifting, humorous sentiment.

Using a playful imagination to deal with difficult, often painful themes offers the reader a welcoming way of seeing things.   Whether this be dealing with age, garden slugs or enduring a Canadian winter – as in “Seasonal Affective Disorder”

‘Now it’s January.
I’m parched
wrinkled and
shrivelled.  Now I’m sprouting
shoots – pale, hard, red-eyed.  I’m etiolating
but I’ve nowhere to go…’

The poems keep returning us to this meeting place, where self meets other, be it ducks, sisters or universes – with the conundrum of the cohesion that lies between. There lies a tease towards a longing for things as they are and as they could be – as in the opening of “Rereading Anne of Green Gables” –

‘Anne Shirley!  Will you please come back for me?
Tragically, I missed you at the station’.

Throughout The Invisible Girl, readers are invited into this question of the ‘here and there’ and the ‘want and can’t have’ themes in their own experiences. Through observation of the natural world and our place in it, any sense of separation is cleverly dissolved without too much sentiment – a talent which Nobbs’s brings to her poems with a perspective that suggests to me how Emily Dickinson wrote about the world. This brings us to reflect upon the title of this collection, and how personal a journey we are taken on, whilst also noticing the poems she’s selected to be the first and the last –

opening with a canter into identity in “All I Want is a Pony, and”

‘Dad won’t say he doesn’t have the time
for this – a daughter he’s hoped
would manage better.
……………………………..He won’t sell
the pony, this time – and this time I will learn
to ride.’

and closing with a freedom and wonder to the Self in “Seaweed”

‘I am fronds of green-brown dulse
Plamaria plamata
— holding fast
stuck close on stone
You are flights of silver dolphins
Delpinus delphis
— swimming fast
faring out to sea

This collection is a marvel of wit and surprise. It guarantees to fill your senses with a curiosity for life from whatever age you so choose to be. It is a book which could well become a companion when I feel in need of an invisible friend.

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Midnight On The Pond

The snag tree,
old punk spruce
— an owl’s nest,
empty inside —
makes no sounds
when it crashes oddly
down like a shipwreck’s mast;
it falls on his dream’s paper birch canoe,
which disappears as if
it never were, while the two survivors
treading water [ Why don’t they dive? ] wait
and watch for the missing third —
their mother
who won’t resurface.

They forget what she
told them once:

Look up.

A bird with moon eyes turning blue
flies off.

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Buy the book here

About E.E. Nobbs: I am a poet. Born in the decade of the last century when Elvis’s career was getting underway… And I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada, which is where I’ve spent almost all of my life, as an “Islander”. The prize for winning the Doire Press Second Annual International Poetry Chapbook Contest (2013)  was the publication of my first poetry collection,  The Invisible Girl  which is available to order directly from me. It’s been a wonderful experience working with the great folks at Doire Press.

About Carolina Read: I work as a specialist Physiotherapist in learning disability in the NHS (22 years). I integrate many healing streams of influence into my work and life,  from where I find my passion for words and their meaning arises. My greatest love is of the language that lives in all Nature, beyond our understanding and marvel.