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

Honour by Finola Scott

"Finola Scott’s poem ‘Honour’ brings us the shock of a younger person’s mortality. I feel very strongly the sense of the loss of someone else’s son through the conversation with her own child. Death touches every one of us and in many ways, we never expect it in those younger than us. The poem suggests … Continue reading Honour by Finola Scott

Mercy by E.A. Charlton

"E A Charlton’s poem has hints of the biblical within its small, simple, psalm-like form. ‘Spare the rabbit heart inside/That brittle chest of mine’ carried a lot of emotion within it for me, perfectly summed up the idea of fast-beating fear. The poem ends on a note of quiet sadness that I found very affecting." … Continue reading Mercy by E.A. Charlton

Into The Sea by Dominic Berry

"Dominic Berry’s poem is a baptism for our modern age. The poem is snatched and breathless with a sense of the sea’s danger in phrases like ‘slash/sharp waves.’ The poet conjures an atmosphere of breathlessness and screams. He is fighting against the very elements for his freedom. The sea pulls him inexorably." - Jane Burn, … Continue reading Into The Sea by Dominic Berry

Protection Spell For A Lover by Cheryl Pearson

Cheryl Pearson’s poem brings us to that terrifying precipice - that utter fear, that overwhelming sensation that something is going to happen to the person/people most important to us, most crucial to our very survival. There is an air of agoraphobia, of being unable to brave the cruel outside in the line ‘I don’t want … Continue reading Protection Spell For A Lover by Cheryl Pearson

Tincture by Bob Beagrie

Bob Beagrie’s ‘Tincture’ walks us perfectly through a numb haze. It employs claustrophobia and disjointedness as he paces the familiar rooms of his home which become a parallel word of strangeness. He is ‘inhabiting her slumberlands’. The sharp dart of the words ‘parietal lobe’ are like a stone thrown into a stifled pond. It is … Continue reading Tincture by Bob Beagrie

Two poems by Sharon Black

As someone who cannot control her eating or weight and has spent years trapped in this terrible cycle, this poem resonated with me so much. Lines like ‘because it weighs her like ballast/because it fits like a straitjacket’ are so full of truth. This poem exactly replicates the feelings of shame and loneliness that I … Continue reading Two poems by Sharon Black

La Rochelle by Anne Gill

Anne Gill’s poem ‘La Rochelle’ is heartbreaking. It offers a tender, loving yet blistering snapshot into caring for someone you love during their illness. The fine-honed imagery of fish and bones is particularly affecting - I struggle with poems that seem to bounce from image to unconnected image and this poem is all the more … Continue reading La Rochelle by Anne Gill

Whistle If You Want To by Grant Tabard

‘Whistle if You Want To’ has a beautiful, heartbreaking sense of antiquity, is a hymn to an almost forgotten time with its ‘Frankie Lane’, ‘cheerio’ and ‘radio waves’. I loved this poem’s neatness and avoidance of sentimentality. It is the more affecting for that. The last three lines are so piquant with emotion. - Jane … Continue reading Whistle If You Want To by Grant Tabard

Two poems by Anathema McKenna

‘We Woke’ manages to contain much within its sparse waste-no-word form. There is the sharply distilled beauty in phases 'We turned to folk remedies,/colour theory, blue cloths' and ‘that melted ice goes somewhere,’ as well as the hissing alliteration which really does convey the seething anger of the poet. McKenna pulls no punches but still … Continue reading Two poems by Anathema McKenna

Question by Marg Roberts

Welcome to a series of weekly poems, selected by guest editor Jane Burn on the theme of Trauma. We start with Question by Marg Roberts. Jane says ‘Question’ is a snapshot into a surreal world. It has an uncomfortable air of other-worldly un-belonging, a suffocating sense of displacement. It speaks of a fate that so … Continue reading Question by Marg Roberts

Open call for submissions!

Please welcome our third and final guest editor, Jane Burn. Jane's accomplishments are too numerous to list here in full! She's a poet with multiple magazine credits. She's also an illustrator, crafter, maker, house-renovator. She's associate editor at Culture Matters Press, currently finishing up edits on an anthology with co-editor Fran Lock. She's the founder of … Continue reading Open call for submissions!