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The High Window: Issue 14 Summer 2019

Another stunning issue of The High Window. Delighted to have three poems in here: Woodland Walk, Bark and Wearing Real Mist.

The High Window

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Add comment June 3, 2019

Tomorrow – Vanguard Readings, London

Vanguard Readings May 19

Add comment May 15, 2019

Editing, Workshopping, Eventing

The next few months I’ll be running round with even more hats than usual, having taken on an exciting new role as Ledbury Poetry Festival Guest Editor for Versopolis Review. Part of the role is commissioning new work for publication on Versopolis Review in the run-up to this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival at the start of July. As usual the festival is packed with great events – meaning I’m almost too spoiled for choice in choosing what to feature!!!

With a different hat on, this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival also includes three V. Press poets Margaret Adkins, John Lawrence and Brenda Read-Brown giving free 20-minute readings on Sunday, July 14. (Thanks to Herefordshire Libraries who are supporting these readings.) You can check out the full festival programme here with public booking opening next Saturday (May 18).

On then with the party hat for my own writing. Life has been busy but I’m delighted to have a few personal publications to celebrate, and workshops and readings coming up this week. So…

Extracts From His Wives’ Diaries a photo flash combination sequence (photo flash cartoon strip) published in Riggwelter issue 21, May 2019.
Catch‘gets a ‘special mention’ in Five Aspects of Me Poetry Competition 2018 (theme ‘the spirit of childhood’).

broadstsheldonianblog pictrinitychapel


Tuesday, May 14, 2019 – Trinity Arts Week poetry workshop – Trinity College, Oxford, 3.45pm-5pm

Trinity Arts week presents a poetry workshop with Sarah James and Sophia Thakur. Sarah James is a prolific and award-winning artist, editor of, has been shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Awards, and won the Overton Poetry Prize. Sophia Thakur is a spoken word poet who has performed at Glastonbury, has collaborated with Nike, and recently headlined a sold-out show in London. Expect a range of exercises on the Arts Week theme of ‘Tension’ and don’t forget to bring pen/paper/laptop or whatever you write with. The workshop is free (and open to the public as well as students) but places are limited, so please reserve a place through the tickets/booking link here. Facebook page here.

At: Trinity College, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BH

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 – Trinity Arts Week Jazz and Poetry – Trinity College Chapel, Oxford, 8pm

An evening of Jazz and Poetry in the beautiful and intimate space of Trinity chapel. Poetry readings by Sarah James and Sophia Thakur. Music Line-up TBA. Venue: Trinity College Chapel, Trinity College, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BH. Facebook event page here.

Thursday, 16 May 2019 – Vanguard Readings, Peckham

Vanguard Readings May 19


Last month, I was delighted to be invited to run two workshops with the wonderful Creative Group at St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester.The theme was light (and darkness), taking inspiration from and responding to the group’s own photos of Worcester Cathedral on the theme of ‘Finding Light’, which will be the title of the group’s next booklet. Towards the end of this month and the start of June, I’m delighted to be able to share some of the beautiful poems created during these workshops. So look out for those – and the group’s exhibition – soon!

May 12, 2019

Issue Twenty-One

Another stunning issue of Riggwelter! And I’m super pleased on a personal level to have Extracts From His Wives’ Diaries, a photo flash combination sequence (photo flash cartoon strip) in this issue!


Welcome to the twenty-first issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work from: Adedayo Agarau, Amber Aspinall, Ben Banyard, Hiedi Bauer, Ammaar Butt, Hannah Calkin, Kitty Coles, Jude Cowan Montague, Jeni De La O, Emma De Vito, Darren C. Demaree, Deirdre Fagan, Sophie Flynn, Rosie Garland, Lisa J. Hardy, Alicia Hoffman, Kathryn Hummel, Keira James, Donald Jenkins, Judith Kingston, Aytan Laleh, S.A. Leavesley, Gabriel Lee, Minyoung Lee, Spencer Litman, Kaja Rae Lucas, Thomas McColl, Rabban, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Adam Sear, Zac Smith, Christine Taylor and Bill Wolack, and is edited by Amy Kinsman.

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Add comment May 1, 2019

Sunshine & Rain: Poetry Inspiration, Influences & Impressions

spring haiku for Nine Arches smaller size

The photo-poem above features a spring haiku written for Nine Arches Press last month.

I’m very pleased to have ‘Like a bird‘ published in Unbroken journal for prose poems and poetic prose issue 21.

I’m also delighted to have a photo and poem, ‘Sparkle’, included on The Writing Manchester Map just launched by Manchester Metropolitan University and WordLife. ‘Sparkle’ is set at The Midland hotel and features Ada, the main character of my Overton Poetry Prize 2015 pamphlet Lampshades & Glass Rivers. The map can be explored here. (And the direct link for my poem and photo here – though I’d really recommend enjoying exploring the full map.)

Balancing Acts: My Writing Day‘ article with photos on Rob McLennan’s my (small press) writing day blog in March 2019.

Sunshine and Rain: Photo-poems inspired by Jacques Prévert‘ published on The High Window in March 2019.


The Europeans David ClarkeEven an ostrich with its head under several Saharas’ worth of sand couldn’t avoid Brexit. David Clarke’s new Nine Arches Press collection The Europeans does what British politicians currently seem to be failing to do – it cuts through the chaos to highlight what things really look and feel like in, and beyond, Britain and Europe. Clarke’s poems combine strong and striking imagery with beautifully crafted lines to retain a deceptively light touch yet dig deep. His poems here examine and re-imagine “this awkward age” and sometimes “cold rage” in light of the past, world uncertainty now and the implications on what may come next. A thought- and admiration-provoking collection!

9781911587163 Inside the Blue House cover imageIt’s been a good fortnight for me when it comes to enjoying new poetry. Inside the Blue House by Sonia Jarema (Palewell Press) is a striking selection of evocative and moving poems encompassing grief, growing up and going home, as well as migration, multi-cultural influences and more. The pamphlet opens with a short, interesting introduction to the background setting – both family history and the history of the Ukraine. The two are closely intertwined in the pamphlet where the past is inseparable from the present, however much life also throws new changes and challenges. Suffering is matched by resilience, striking details reinforced by memorable phrasing. Here:

“only the river is never swept away” (‘the earth holds secrets’);

“The ghost is a village of itself,” (‘Mariyka’s song’);

“I take my friend to a funeral and watch
as a detached blue and yellow car bonnet
is carried into church. Its edges
are shaped like Ukraine’s borders
but one part is missing…”

(‘Ukraine you come to me in dreams’.)

The Sticklebacks from The Hedgehog Poetry Press are one-of-a-kind. These ultra-slim booklets have ISSNs rather than ISBNs and feel like a cross between typical poetry magazine format and a solo-poet poetry card. As a cult member/ press subscriber, the six recent Sticklebacks arrived together – as if in a journal, and yet each poet’s work is actually presented in a stylish individual poetry-card style booklet with cover, endpapers and 4-6 pages of poems.
The recent set of sticklebacks includes:
Kate Garrett (The fifth and final – striking and moving poems of motherhood, nature, the generations before and behind us)
Martin Malone (Shetland Lyrics – evocative and beguiling poems of time, place and people)
Jeremy Reed (Spotlight on Jeremy Reed – imaginative, characterful, energetic and linguistically sizzling poems of celebrity, culture, society, politics)
C. R. Smith (Quiet Conversations With The Dead – a wide-encompassing, evocative and thought-provoking selection of poems of individual and ecological death, loss and memory)
Penelope Shuttle (Poems from Lyonesse – beguiling, atmospheric and characterful poems of legend and place)
Melissa Fu (String & Circumstance – beautifully choreographed and beguiling prose poetry, featuring childhood, family and life)

I could easily write more about all of these titles, but time being in constant deficit, I’m going to concentrate on one by a writer I’ve not micro-reviewed before. String & Circumstance by Melissa Fu is a beguiling series of second-person snapshots, combining narrative elements, strong characterisation and striking imagery, language and metaphor. They’re evocative and crafted, thought-provoking and emotion-stirring. But the closing lines of the ‘Kaleidoscope’ actually sums up this selection by Fu better than I could. “Their beauty falls through your vision, like water through your fingers. A dance choreographed from equal measures of chance and gravity.” Like these kaleidoscopic shapes, Fu’s words are beautifully choreographed, illuminating each insight or snippet of life from varied intricate slants.

PaperHouse cover image

The Paper House by Karen Dennison is a very enjoyable full collection from The Hedgehog Poetry Press. The poems are full of evocative and sensual details, with wonderful, beautiful, striking lines that made me gasp time and time again. Loss threads through all four parts – be it death, childhood memories or the lives, possibilities and relationships now behind the poet-narrator(s). But they’re crafted in a way that also brings insight and wonder: “Time stacks up behind us, a realisation that we’ve gone | too far, that turning back will bring only dark” (‘In the Mountains’). Family, place (London), artistic inspiration and a sense of home and not-home are other themes that hook me in. The imagery, narratives and characters are so vivid that I can see and feel them. But Dennison layers deftly as well as deeply, retaining light touches of mystery/the unexplained that leave space for reader interpretation and make for beguiling and haunting poetry. A beautiful, moving and spell-binding collection.

Karen is also sending any profits from sales to St Mungo’s Charity working to support the homeless and prevent homelessness. Copies can be purchased from here


Sunday, June 30 – Publishing with an Indie Press, Flash Fiction Festival
Trinity College Bristol, Stoke Hill, Stoke Bishop, 2.45-3.45pm. This event is part of the weekend festival – full details on booking can be found on the festival website at

‘Publishing with an Indie Press’
Diane Simmons, whose debut flash fiction collection Finding A Way was published by Ad Hoc Fiction in February 2019, and Damhnait Monaghan, whose debut flash fiction chapbook The Neverlands was published in April 2019 by V.Press, will talk about their journeys to publication and what has happened in the few months since, with publishers Jude Higgins from Ad Hoc Fiction and Sarah Leavesley from V Press. Diane and Damhnait will read samples from their collections and there will be Q and A.

April 14, 2019

Bonnie’s Crew #2 – April 2019

Bonnie's Crew

Welcome to the second issue of Bonnie’s Crew!

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Add comment April 9, 2019

Editorial. Spring 2019, final instalment.

via Editorial. Spring 2019, final instalment.

Add comment March 20, 2019

Sunshine and Raindrops: Photo-poems by S.A. Leavesley inspired by Jacques Prévert

via Sunshine and Raindrops: Photo-poems by S.A. Leavesley inspired by Jacques Prévert

Add comment March 20, 2019

Against the Grain Press 2019

The Poetry Shed


As Against the Grain Press is over one year old it is popping up on various indie press lists – Happenstance creates a well-compiled list and Mslexia has just been in touch to add up to theirs. So what have we been doing during this time?

Our first publication was Anna Kisby’s, All the Naked Daughters, that came out in November 2017. Anna is a Devon-based poet and archivist. After growing up in London, she studied Literature and Film at the universities of East Anglia, Sussex and Paris-Sorbonne, taught English in Prague and sold cowboy boots in Massachusetts, then training as an archivist and working with women’s history collections.

Read Emma Lee’s review HERE


Following on Kisby’s heels, we were delighted to publish S. A. Leavesley’s, How to Grow Matches in spring 2018.


S.A. Leavesley is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Author of seven poetry titles, two…

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Add comment February 10, 2019

The Animals in Us: a review of Humanagerie by Sarah James

The Poetry Shed

cover_humanagerie_thHumanagerie, An anthology of poetry and short fiction edited by Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley. Eibonvale Press, 2018.


As the title Humanagerie might suggest, this anthology has aspects of ‘menagerie’, a collection of wild animals/humans kept in captivity for exhibition. The first poem ‘Animal Apology’ by Paul Stephenson opens with ‘Sorry if I fling zoos at you…’ The poem, like others here, brims with vibrant imagery and striking metaphor. This includes ‘lobbed elephants swirl | through the living-room’s low-watt sky, Zeppelins deflating,’ and ends with a fabulous twist.

This anthology isn’t just zoo or exhibition though, in fact, far from it. There are also many elements of an ark about it: quieter poems in reverence, wonder and protection of various animals, and the gentler animalistic qualities that humans share with creatures, as in the second poem, Elaine Ewart’s beautiful ‘Beginnings’.

Likewise with the short fiction. In the first…

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Add comment January 11, 2019

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