Landlocked by Oz Hardwick

Landlocked The wood is polished walnut, warped by wind and waves, polished by sun, then jerry-rigged into place to make a built-in bunk, a low bench, a fold-down table, and bookshelves filled with paperbacks bought in newsagents and railway stations. A circular mirror reflects brass-rimmed portholes onto suburban shrubbery, and a gilded cage holds a … Continue reading Landlocked by Oz Hardwick

Messages of hope from Ally O’Neill

Hello! In addition to our Friday poems selected by Jane Burn, we're delighted to bring you a few poems and messages from the participants of our monthly digital storytelling workshops. Ally O'Neill is a mum of two teenagers, born and raised in Middlesbrough. She says I started off writing songs after learning the guitar at … Continue reading Messages of hope from Ally O’Neill

The Chrysalis by Chris Boyland

Words of advice for all of us hoping to survive and thrive in the days ahead - thank you Chris! The Chrysalis Change. Shift yourself, grow dragon tail, sport feathers. Change. Inherit new ways of thinking, borrow sharp new teeth, gaze cautiously into the shadowy corners of your own capacity. Change. Learn to come back … Continue reading The Chrysalis by Chris Boyland

Change by Catherine Faulkner

This week we welcome the work of Scotland-based poet Catherine Faulkner. Chosen by guest editor Jess Green for our series on 'Difference & Defiance', Jess Says "I enjoy the power and the confidence of this poem with some beautiful lines and a rare effective use of alliteration - 'scattering it Samson strong' and 'cuticles and … Continue reading Change by Catherine Faulkner

13 Wallside by Sara Hirsch

In selecting this short prose-poem by Sara Hirsch, our guest editor Clive Birnie says "another editor once said to me that it can be the smallest detail in a poem that makes it stand out. Here, that detail is 'a little plastic voice'." 13 Wallside The first time we visit it is vacant except for … Continue reading 13 Wallside by Sara Hirsch

Yorkshire by Kathryn Metcalfe

Guest editor Degna Stone chose this poem saying "I like the way the changes that occur to the speaker in this poem are caused by the landscape and by a reaction to or against the generation that came before."  Kathryn herself says "the poem is about how identity can be shaped by our background and where … Continue reading Yorkshire by Kathryn Metcalfe

Drawing out the stories

As we head towards our winter break, I'd like to thank everyone who came out to our second workshop, including a few new faces - so wonderful to have a roomful of people making memory maps! I first used memory mapping as a writing prompt at a workshop run by the fabulous Wolf At The … Continue reading Drawing out the stories

Guest editor alert!!

Hello folks, please join me in welcoming the first of three guest editors for this blog! Jessie Joe Jacobs is an amazing women - activist, campaigner, charity leader, writer and passionate Teessider! Please visit her website to find out more about the amazing things she's been involved with, including founding A Way Out charity, and … Continue reading Guest editor alert!!

Moving On by Fran Edwards

I need a change of scenery he said, looking through me at something more appealing and desirable.   I changed the sheets but the bed still smelt of him.   Three months later he changed his mind he said he'd had a change of heart.   So had I, and I'd changed the locks. Thanks … Continue reading Moving On by Fran Edwards

Chantress by Susie McComb

Chantress Snaking briar Kiss the ground Make a root Where you’re found   Snick and snag Kitten claws Do your worst Little thorns   Overgrow Overthrow Nature’s way Hammer home   He is gone He who strimmed Beat you back Lopped your limbs   Dragged you forth Burnt your dead Boiled your young Smeared his … Continue reading Chantress by Susie McComb

Nationality by Valerie Pate

Nationality The TV presenters are shouting. Every line they deliver is accentuated by dramatic pauses and rising crescendos. I scan the jammed airport terminal, attempting to spy a man under forty not clad in a cap. The voices are too loud; jarring. I have returned once more to the U. S. of A.   “Welcome … Continue reading Nationality by Valerie Pate

Change At Basingstoke by Peter Fereday

Change at Basingstoke Last week I went to Wokingham I travelled on the train They told me “Change at Basingstoke” I murmured “What a pain!” So when we got to Basingstoke I went into the loo And changed into a leopard Who’d escaped from London Zoo.   I leapt across the platform In a rather … Continue reading Change At Basingstoke by Peter Fereday