Archive for August 2022

Super excited to share…

I’m really excited to finally be able to properly share the news that I won the 2020 Overton Poetry Prize and now have copies of this pamphlet/chapbook, Ten Lines or More Than Just Love Notes! More about the book is below, and I’ll be posting some sample poems on social media too. I’m extremely grateful to the judges/endorsers and pamphlet designer Emily Suzanne Leighton. I also want to say an especially big thank you to Sophie Hyde at Loughborough University for going above and beyond in getting the final printed publication sorted!

Ten Lines or More Than Just Love Notes (Loughborough University, 2022)
ISBN: 978-1-5272961-4-5
30 pages

 “These are poems in constant motion. Through experiments in form and striking imagery, the poet captures enough for us to experience them. But she also invites us to follow them, beyond their ten lines, to wherever they lead – a Chinese lantern ‘floating stronger, higher, freer’; a climber reaching for the next hold; a rabbit darting across and off the page…”
Nellie Cole

“The formal restriction of ten-line poems, prose poems or stanzas is a fruitful one here. Sarah James is also adept at knowing when to experiment: concrete poetry, lists and visual puns follow conventional stanzas. The range of subject matter and imagery flourishes in the imagination that James brings to the work. There is a sense of narrative here; of love, of motherhood, of aging; but it’s precise, telling details that speak to me: friction marks on the palm of the hand, the musical notes on a frozen windscreen. Each poem speaks of the wonder of the mundane in the face of the infinite.”
Kerry Featherstone

Author’s Note

I’m not sure whether the continuing changes in my writing approach since my first collection Into the Yell (Circaidy Gregory Press, 2010) come from age, wider reading, recognising the busyness and noise of everyday life, social media brevity or part of becoming a more experienced poet. A decade is both a long and a short time. I’d be surprised, and probably disappointed, if my writing hadn’t evolved. For me, the carving away or distilling aspect of poetry has taken on more and more significance. I have been pulled towards shorter, sparer poetry – not exclusively, but, still, importantly.

As a poet, I’ve also felt the drive to make each new collection/chapbook not just new in terms of the contents, but in terms of my development and/or the scope of what it sets out to achieve, even if ultimately it doesn’t end up managing that. (Yes, I have more unfinished and unpublished manuscripts than ones that have actually made it into print!)

I’ve admired Michael Symmons Roberts’s work ever since his Whitebread-Prize-winning collection Corpus (2004), followed by The Half-Healed (2008). One of the many aspects of his 2013 Forward Poetry Prize and Costa Poetry Award winning collection Drysalter that I especially admired was the constraint of working each poem to a 15-line form.

With all this in the background and 2020 marking the tenth anniversary of my first published poetry collection, ten lines became my personal formal constraint for putting together my Overton Poetry Prize pamphlet submission at the end of 2019. I wanted to explore what range, variety and intensity was possible within such a condensed free-verse form.

The resulting poems are ones of love and loss – yes, some of a romantic kind, but also parent-child/child-parent love, and my love for, and the losses caused to, the natural world as we face climate change and vast numbers of species at risk of extinction.


If anyone would like a review copy of Ten Lines or More Than Just Love Notes, please do email me on lifeislikeacherrytreeATyahooDOTcom.

More about the pamphlet, and a paypal link to get a copy of this chapbook included with a copy of my recent prize-winning full collection, Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic (Verve Poetry Press, 2022), can be found here.

Review News

Finding reviews of new titles is always a great joy. But it’s also really wonderful when earlier titles are still resonating with readers years later. I was delighted, and very grateful, this summer to come across a recent review of my 2018 Against The Grain Poetry Press chapbook, How to Grow Matches.

“Striking and direct, How To Grow Matches is a powerful addition to S.A. Leavesley’s impressive collection of poetic works and novellas. Her poetry commands attention through carefully crafted rhythm and assonance, and evocative imagery. […]Ultimately, Leavesley’s poetic talent is not one to be missed. An essential exploration of gender politics, this pamphlet is a spectacular, evocative read that inspires us towards a better world.” Orla DaveyDURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts), full review here

How to Grow Matches is available from Against the Grain Poetry Press here.


I’m very pleased to have a poem in episode one of Spoken Label’s Top of the Label podcast, which can be enjoyed on a range of platforms, including Anchor – Part 1, & Part 2, and Youtube – Part 1, & Part 2.

I’m also happy to have three prose poems, at the end of the year that shouldn’t have happenedYour Survival Bunker and International Swimming Pool Rules, published in POL Poetry Out Loud, Issue: 04, in July 2022.

Add comment August 12, 2022






August 2022

Posts by Month

Posts by Category