Writings and Witterings

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Search is on for Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2018

Apart from the typo, which should read Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, what an ace report in the press. Here’s a link to the webpage: https://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate-competition-2018/ for aspiring Worcestershire Poets Laureate 🙂

Poet Laureate

Bromsgrove Advertiser27th February

Emily Collis Senior Reporter

Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017 Nina Lewis, from Bromsgrove

Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017 Nina Lewis, from Bromsgrove

THE search is on for Worcestershire’s next Poet Laureate, to replace last year’s Bromsgrove winner.

Nina Lewis has had a busy year since winning the title in 2017, performing at Lakefest, organising a World Poetry Day event and publishing Contour, a quarterly poetry magazine.

Nina said: “Being Poet Laureate has meant that I am in a position to be an ambassador for poetry, I have taken great pleasure in the writing commissions that have come my way.

“I feel that if you are lucky enough to be the Laureate you should invest time and energy into the role.”

“I am delighted to have discovered poets not known on the Worcester scene – one of my personal objectives.”

Nina was also responsible for curating the ‘Transatlantic Poetry Project – A Tale of Two Cities’ call and response…

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I like form in poetry and was talking about various poetry forms, at one of the writing groups that I go to, last week. We discussed Huitains, so here’s one of mine, written five years ago (!) a cheery little number.


Banish the blues with a red touch,
blend them purple for tomorrow,
boys and clinker don’t mean too much
warm debris for the wheelbarrow.
Pigeons perch on the old scarecrow,
who imagines lilacs in spring,
they watch the boy make a furrow
and prepare for life on the wing.

Polly Stretton © 2013

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Wood Garlic – Anna Saunders

Wonderful words about wood garlic—I can taste it’s fragrance, reading Anna’s poem.

Wood Garlic

In the darkness of the ancient woods
a galaxy of fragile constellations –
the spiked flowers of the ramsoms.

The bulbs once harvested for Hecate,
brushed smooth of soil
placed on rocks for the moon goddess.

Bear Leaf – its other name.

Can you imagine the furred beast – talons
like scissors, ripping the stitch of root
from the dark weave of earth?

What a plant! Those delicate blooms,
mimicking the heavens
coupled with that smell –
salty, ripe, heady as hot flesh.
The body’s incense, smouldering.

Aren’t we all wild garlic
rooted into the dark woods

offering ourselves to the gods,
cowering from rough paws,
blazing our pure stars?

Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) and Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press) and Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and the forthcoming Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring…

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Contour Issue 2 LOVE

What an exceptional and inspiring read. Wonderful poetry. If I had to select one fave, I’d have to say I love Mark Kilburn’s poem ‘The Child We Can Never Have.’

Poet Laureate

Contour Issue 2It is here! It is here! It is FINALLY here! 

The first issue of Contour was 33 pages and took 9 hours to format. I thought that experience was tough. This issue was framed before submissions closed to give me a head start on production and the poetry element has only ever needed a little tweaking – it was the rest of the pages that tumbled on top of each other through conversion. 

I gave up on new-added-page-numbers after the 7th attempt caused major rearrangement of titles and headings. 

I stopped counting after 19 hours but it has been an incredible labour of love… and here it is ^^^ as if none of this happened! 

All shiny and new and packed with over 50 pages of poetry, news, interviews and more. 

Please share it widely and thanks once again for submitting your work. 


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January’s Super Blue Blood Moon

Tomorrow the moon is in Taurus,
First Quarter,
a young lunar growing
it never falters;
tomorrow waxes gibbous
moving to Gemini,
slight sliver of disk
sexy in night skies.
Oxygen, silicon,
other traces…
we speculate, appreciate,
as phases pass faces.

But tonight…
the full moon,
a lunar eclipse,
a blue moon,
and a supermoon
all happening
at once.

Polly Stretton © 2018

With acknowledgement to www.sanhujinka.org

With acknowledgement to http://www.sanhujinka.org

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Submitting to journals: the Jo Bell method

A goodie from Jo Bell circa 2015––sound advice for poets.

The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog


[This article is now taught as part of the Open University’s Creative Writing MA, and I’ve had many many messages to tell me that people have increased their publication record, sometimes by 200% in a year. It’s also included in our new book How to Be a Poet]

I’ve spent some time lately with poetry journal editors – and also with the poor beggars who, like me, send off work to them. It’s struck me anew that many people, especially those at the beginning of their writing career, don’t have much idea of how submission works and what time span is realistic for an editor to consider a poem. Also, they’re wondering how to keep tabs on the seventeen different pieces that they’ve sent out, in order to avoid the no-no of simultaneous submission.

What follows is the Jo Bell Method; the method of an immensely, award-winningly disorganised poet who nonetheless has…

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