Writings and Witterings


Remembrance Anthology


Poet Laureate


Letters from the Great War

Dunham Massey 2014

Mother, we have plenty of good food here
was his first lie, though parcels came sometimes
with cake, fags, dry socks.

I hope I will get leave soon, so I can
come and meet our daughter for the first time,
wrote the officer when leave was withdrawn.

I am not afraid, mum, not with all my mates
going over the top with me in the morning.
He was killed soon after, his body never found.

We sing songs in our trench every night, dad.
Glad I took my mouth organ like you said.
It keeps our spirits up a treat.

I could not be in a better place, darling,
wrote the officer from hospital, keeping
the amputation quiet for now.

These letters displayed a hundred years on,
as fresh as when first scratched out in ink,
still lie to readers, as we…

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Good News For A Squirrel!

Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis has blogged about the event at Hanbury Hall at which I was asked to read my poem ‘Curves’. ‘Curves’ was selected by Peter Hawkins of Droitwich Arts Network (DAN) to be read at the close of the art exhibition. If you’d like to see the painting that inspired it, click here.

There will be readings from the Hanbury Hall poets at Park’s Cafe, 4 Victoria Square, Droitwich WR9 8DS on Tuesday 14th November 7.30 to 8.15pm – come along if you can 🙂


She owns it:
the branch.
She’s ready for summer
in a lighter coat.
Her curves tell
of coppery kittens
to be born later today,
two, three, or four will arrive
to inhabit the drey.

The painter’s sable brush,
soft as a blush
to define the narrow
smart face in a tuft-eared embrace.
A picture to enhance the repeated romance
of a cheeky red squirrel
in Norfolk.

The artist describes,
in faint, refined strokes,
sharp arced claws
curved in applause,
and a tail, balanced to guide
a talent that tints
the nut connoisseur,
against the bark
and spiky cones of the conifer.

Polly Stretton © 2017

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Trick or Treat? TREAT!

Poetry and some flash fiction for Hallowe’en – plus a film to watch!

Poet Laureate

monster-2644324_1920Happy Halloween! 

Earlier this month I opened a call for submissions. I need to add a timed deadline, I am guilty myself of making last minute submissions, however this project inspired me to make a surprise poetry film which was a wrap by teatime.

The original deadline was extended to get work in – and then, well it flew down the chimney like a scene from Harry Potter! 

Halloween Prose PoetryWith this in mind and the fact that I did something crazy, as a poet laureate (enthused by a brilliant lively and brimming with story, 42) – I invited Flash Fiction to join the ranks. So those of you who love a spooky tale will love this.

It was never my intention to produce a film with the Flashes, so they are published here along with accepted poetry that I pipped to the post in cutting room! 

Huge thanks, as always for…

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INKSPILL Guest Poet Interview 2 with Antony Owen

I appreciated reading more about Antony Owens as I find his poetry iengaging and thought-provoking. Read this interview, I think you’ll see why I rate him. Thanks Inkspill 👏



Now you have met Antony and heard about his latest collection The Nagasaki Elder, we hear more from him on poetry in this second part of the interview.

BL RH AntonyAntony Owen reading at the Restless Bones Book Launch 2014 © Rang-Zeb

1. What are your plans for 2018?

To rest, to spend more time with loved ones who I have avoided over the years. Five poetry collections in 8 years on gruelling subjects take a toll. So, to rest then and find some joy again.

2. What advice would you give to poets writing about conflict?

Write about it but be aware of the impact it will have on you. I hope all writers pen even one poem because poetry has to say something or it says nothing. What will our future generations say if artists are silent? In many cases propaganda and art were bedfellows in WW1 and WW2 but we…

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Remembrance Poetry Open Submissions

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The Worcestershire Poet Laureate is looking for previously unpublished poems for Remembrance Day—deadline 10 November 2017

Poet Laureate

poppies-2585930_1920To mark Remembrance Sunday I would like to compile a collection of poetry focusing on WW1 & WW2.

Many of you write about war and as long as poems have not been previously published these can be submitted. 

For those of you looking for a prompt I am using the Royal Mail stamp collection as stimuli.


Although we cannot accept poems with these direct quotations we can allow you to use them as a starting point.


Send poems in the body of an email, single spaced to worcspl[at]gmail[dot]com

send 1-3 poems, maximum 40 lines, previously unpublished poems

DEADLINE 10th November

poppy-741342_1920PLEASE NOTE due to the fast turn around of this project successful submissions will be notified with a link.

Poems will be LIVE on the 12th November to mark Remembrance Sunday.

poppy-2550279_1920Many thanks.

remembrance-sunday-banner.jpg© The Royal British Legion 2017. Registered Charity No 219279


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Worcestershire Poet Laureate wants YOUR writing this Halloween!

Spookiness from the Worcestershire Poet Laureate!

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

Halloween Prose Poetry

Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis, has put out an open call for all things gruesome and ghoulish this Halloween, and she is asking for your best poetry or prose, written in celebration of this spooky holiday.

The deadline for this open call is October 30th, and Nina will announce the poets chosen in time for your Halloween celebrations!

All submissions should be sent in the body of an email to worcspl@gmail.com. Please send a maximum of THREE pieces of work in your email; each poem should be NO MORE than 40 lines and each piece of prose NO MORE than 1000 words. All work must be unpublished, too.

For further information on this – and a general catch up with our lovely laureate – you can find Nina’s personal blog here: https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/wanted-halloween-poems/

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