Straid Collections Award 2014

the straid

Closing Date: 17-Mar-14

The annual Straid Collection Awards are open for submission of full collections of poetry. Poets are invited to submit between forty and sixty pages of poetry, with no more than forty lines per page, excluding title and stanza breaks.

Prize: The award is given to one poet each year and is intended for poets who have a complete new collection. The winning poet will be offered a launch reading at the 2014 Derwent Poetry Festival and a further launch reading in our Keats House events programme.
Entry Fee: £22.00 for each submission and £25.00 for each Online Submission

Contact: For further information see website
Postal Entries: Templar & Iota Poetry, PO BOX 7721, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 9DD
Email entries: submissions@templarpoetry.co.uk


The Waiting Hillside by Martin Malone

Rumpelstiltskin’s Price by Susanne Ehrhardt

Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21 by Kathleen Jones

Cry Wolf by Cristina Newton

On the Kiso Road by Jo Haslam

The Invention of Fireworks by Beatrice Garland


Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21: Kathleen Jones

  Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21 (Templar Poetry, 2011) is Kathleen Jones’ first full poetry collection. Her pamphlet, Unwritten Lives won the Redbeck Press Pamphlet Award and this collection was joint winner of the Straid Collection Award.

Jones is known to me more as a biographer of literary women – Christina Rossetti, Katherine Mansfield, Margaret Forster, Catherine Cookson and the sisters, wives and daughters of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. In Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21 Jones combines her skill as a literary historian with that of poet and pours for us poetry of time, place, departures, deaths and abandonment, in a weathered landscape that is at times a physical place, Carrock, Orton Scar or Murmansk, and at others a metaphysical one.

As a biographer Jones shows us 15th century Elsinore and tells us of Tycho de Brahe, an astronomer, who “translates the whirling heavens / to spheres of wood and brass” and has “stayed too long at court / neglecting to relieve himself / until his body had forgotten how” (Facing Elsinore). In this poem Jones writes “I have written it down / as he told me” and it is from this root that the collection spreads; from a love of storytelling, of character and situation.

What speaks to me most is the language of nature: she gives us “perpetual arctic ice” (Aiming for Archangel: Lake Onega), “snowlight hollows” (The Silence of Snow) where single “notes glitter like frost” and she invites us to listen “to the quiet significance of the moment” (Listening to Glenn Gould on Orton Scar) and watch “as the dusk / begins to smudge the trees” (Afraid of the Dark). She presents places where “the falling sun herds / us into the longest night” (Winter Light) and “cottages are fallen stone / and the roofless church / has a congregation of nettles” (Above Middleton).

Her characters are wide ranging: from her past she brings Uncle John whose hair is “crumbed with snow”, her mother whom she holds “delicately, conscious / of the thinness of skin, the brittleness of bone” and she speaks with an honesty that captivates, as she tell us of a mother/daughter relationship:

“Now the telephone’s umbilical line
is all that connects us; travelling
sound across oceans like
whale music”.             (Whale Music)

From history she brings us Elizabeth whose womb is “dry as a winter gourd” and tells us not only of de Brahe, but also of Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, Millais and Morris, of bookplates and people’s fates, of hands touching through glass and children who are left behind.

In the title poem Jones writes “I walk away with his absence”. There is loss too for the reader at the end of this collection – loss that is tangible, that fills rivers with its emptiness. Jones is a lyrical storyteller and these stories rush at the pace of a current that is strong and rapid.

Kathleen Jones

Kathleen Jones: Featured Poet

On Leaving Children

You always imagined they
would be the ones to leave
with tears and suitcases.
Not you, packing the car at night
taking only what you know
they won’t need.

Not good at leaving are you?
Tripped by that long cord
you thought was cut at birth
still pulsing with maternal blood.

Clumsy with failure
star of your own tragedy
you step out into childless silence
bereaved by your own exit.


Kathleen Jones has been described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘a powerful female voice’. She performed in Bristol with Pat VT West and Liz Loxley as part of the ‘Invisible Lipstick’ poetry group and they published two pamphlets Invisible Lipstick and Rumours of Another Sky. Her first solo pamphlet of poetry, Unwritten Lives, won the Redbeck Press pamphlet award and her first full collection, Not Saying Goodbye at Gate 21, was joint winner of the Straid Collection award, and published by Templar Poetry in November 2011. Kathleen is also a biographer and short fiction writer, author of a life of Christina Rossetti, Learning not to be First [OUP] and A Passionate Sisterhood [Virago], a group biography of the sisters, wives and daughters of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. Her most recent biography, Katherine Mansfield: The Story-Teller, was published by Penguin and EUP in 2011.

Kathleen’s home is in Cumbria, but as her partner is a sculptor working in Italy she spends a lot of time flying between the two on budget airlines! She has taught creative writing in a number of universities and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

Visit her website here
Kathleen blogs here.

Kathleen in reading at The Green Pub, Clerkenwell Green, London on the 11th April at 7.30pm