Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A poem by Maria Isakova Bennett

The Malin Jug

pitted inside, scarred, two leaf stains,
a scroll of copper flowers;
its dulled note, pouting lip,
and handle that can’t be grasped, just held,
a body –
marbled with hairline cracks
you want to touch –
 is a white form for white flowers

and a reminder of a cut glass vase with plastic dahlias
before the Holy Mary Mother of God statue
on the mantelpiece at home;
of the fire screen                                
shielding the rarely lit fire; of the way light rolled in
through your bedroom –
the surprise of walking barefoot
finding the lino warm, testing patch after patch
saying, I will remember this.

'The Malin Jug' was first published in The Interpreter's House (2015)

Maria lives in Liverpool where she teaches, works for a number of charities, and collaborates with poet Michael Brown reading and running workshops in art galleries on Merseyside. In the past two years Maria has had poetry and reviews published in the UK, Ireland, and the U.S. Including poetry in Antiphon, Envoi, Crannóg, Manchester Review, Prole, The Interpreter’s House, Southword, and in Anthologies by Cinnamon Press.

Her first pamphlet, Caveat, was published by Poetry Bus Press last year.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A poem by Louisa Adjoa Parker

Rag Doll

How they throw her to one another
these men she goes to,
laugh as she soars between them
like a rag doll,
all long cotton arms
and woolly braids trying
to stream gracefully in the air.

As she lands at their feet
they prod life into her, these men.
When they call her a beauty she smiles,
her painted dolly-pink mouth
not quite reaching
her black spider-lashed eyes.

She tries to suck
drops of love from them, this doll-girl,
like a baby sucks milk,
tries to fill the hole in her cotton-wool heart,
wants the smell of sea-salt sweat
to take the place of her tears.

How prettily she flits between them
this woman-doll, a butterfly basking
in a sun of admiration
though she wakes each lonely morning
with all her stuffing gone.

(published in Salt-sweat and Tears 2007 and the Forward Book of Poetry 2008)

Louisa Adjoa Parker is a writer of Ghanaian/English heritage who has lived in the West Country since she was 13. She writes poetry, fiction and black history, and began writing to explore feelings of difference. Her first poetry collection, Salt-sweat and Tears was published in 2007, and she has recently had her pamphlet, Blinking in the Light, published by Cinnamon Press. Her work has appeared in various publications including Envoi, Wasafiri, Ink Sweat and Tears, Ouroboros, Closure (Peepal Tree) and Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe). She was highly commended by the Forward Prize. Louisa is currently working on two novels.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A poem by Michael Brown


that frail h is the first to go
and so I catch the vowels’ reel
into native wit
but your Mersey tongue knows it’s late
must also obliterate
that t to just its tacit hint,
a glottal stop:
After ardour whispers across your lips
like the fluency of love
it goes with the territory:
Wit me. Say it again.
Watch it become
Wi me — you know what I mean?
Half way between the words we speak
is where we kiss
is where we meet.

Michael’s work has been published widely including The Rialto, Lighthouse Journal, Other Poetry, Crannog, South Bank Poetry, Envoi, The North, Brittle Star, New Walk and The Interpreter's House.

In 2014 he won the Untold London Brazen Valentine Competition with his poem, From Hungerford Bridge, Looking East.

He was placed third in the York Poetry Prize, 2015, with the poem Water Lilies and he recently collaborated with the Liverpool poet Maria Isakova Bennett in a project at the Walker Gallery as part of Light Night.

The pamphlet, Undersong (2014) is available from Eyewear Publishing. Michael is currently working towards a first collection.