Friday Poem – ‘[ search ]’ by Sammy Weaver

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘[ search ]’ by Sammy Weaver from her pamphlet Angola, America which won this year’s Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize.

This cover shows a geometric image of think white lines against black stripes. A gaping white hole is cut from the middle. The text reads: Angola, America. Sammy Weaver.

Angola, America, winner of the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2021, takes its name from a prison in Louisiana in the southern United Sates. In these strikingly original, thoroughly contemporary, and deeply moving poems, we are immersed in the world the inmates must endure. From the first poem, when we witness a home-made tattoo and understand that this scarring and incision is a “map in the connective tissue of pain and loss”, we are drawn into this world in a way that is carefully observed and beautifully empathetic.

[ search ] 

In the beginning the guard’s gloved hands
pat you down, searching for weapons,
his touch is weaponized, the muted duty 
of his movements smooth along each of your arms.  
Soon the guard’s touch is the only touch 
from another 
and you think of your mother 
after bath time, the harbour of her chest 
against yours, the rough-love of her towelling 
you dry, reaching into all the nooks 
and crannies, no cabbages behind the ears 
she says.  And yes, I guess searching the body 
is another way of saying the body is a trove 
of treasure and your touch a torch.

Angola, America is available on the Seren website: £6.00

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Read Sammy’s poem ‘[ exhibit : electric chair ]’ and a comment about ‘How she did it’ on the Mslexia website.

The Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2022 is now open for entries. Find out more here.

Friday Poem – ‘On Wonder Woman’s Island’ by Alison Binney

This week our Friday Poem is ‘On Wonder Woman’s Island’ by Alison Binney from her debut pamphlet Other Women’s Kitchens which is the winner of the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet competition 2020.

This cover shows a colourful painting of a kitchen with the fain shadows of people moving through it.

Other Women’s Kitchens is Alison Binney’s debut pamphlet of poems and introduces us to a gifted new voice who writes with flair and feeling about coming out and coming of age as a gay woman in 21st century Britain. The collection explores the challenges of discovering and owning a lesbian identity in the 1980s and 1990s and the joy of finding both love and increased confidence in that identity as an adult. An adroit admixture of the heart-wrenching and the humorous, the book features shaped and ‘found’ pieces, traditional narrative and compact prose poems. Beautifully entertaining, pointedly political and often very funny, Other Women’s Kitchens is essential reading. Seren is thrilled to be presenting this author’s first collected work.

On Wonder Woman's Island
the women are all leather and deltoids, 
sword fights and whirling hair. They
call 'you are stronger than your know,'
reaching out sinewy forearms to lift
each other up off the sand. Any time
you can yell 'Shield!' just for the hell of it
and a girl will kneel, shield angled over thigh,
while another runs up, springs, fires an arrow
mid-leap, lands on a silver horse. At night
there's a cave with an underground
waterfall jacuzzi and a nook in the wall
thick with fur. And if the men come,
lugging guns up the beach, you sleep on,
cat-like: seeing only sheer cliffs and bare rock
they will soon turn tail, their flag not worth
the planting here, and the breeze long gone.

Other Women’s Kitchens is available on the Seren website: £5.00

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy from us.

The Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition is now open for entries for 2021. Find out more on the Mslexia website.

Friday Poem – ‘Weaving with Rushes’ by Sarah Wimbush

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Weaving with Rushes’ by Sarah Wimbush from her debut pamphlet Bloodlines which has just been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2020.

Bloodlines is an exploration of Sarah Wimbush’s own Gypsy/Traveller heritage, a journey made by piecing together fragments of distant stories and a scattered language. Along the way, we meet people who are ‘tethered to the seasons’; voices that reverberate with a sense of family and resilience, and always with that constant wonder of being part of something colourful, untamed and rare.

“A thrilling debut…” – Daljit Nagra

Bloodlines is available on the Seren website: £5.00

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Enjoy this filmpoem of Sarah reading the pamphlet’s title poem ‘Bloodlines’. Film made by Isobel Turner.

Friday Poem – ‘The Calling Basket’ by Sarah Wimbush

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The Calling Basket’ by Sarah Wimbush from her pamphlet Bloodlines which won the Mslexia/ PBS Women’s Poetry Pamphlet Prize 2019.

Bloodlines is an exploration of Sarah Wimbush’s own Gypsy/Traveller heritage, a journey made by piecing together fragments of distant stories and a scattered language. Along the way, we meet people who are ‘tethered to the seasons’; voices that reverberate with a sense of family and resilience, and always with that constant wonder of being part of something colourful, untamed and rare.

“A thrilling debut…” – Daljit Nagra

Bloodlines is available on the Seren website: £5.00

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

The Mslexia Women’s Poetry Prizes are currently open for entries for 2020. Find out more on their website

Sarah will be joining us for our Virtual First Thursday National Poetry Day Special next week (1 October) where she will be reading alongside Rhian Edwards and Marvin Thompson. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.co.uk

‘Late Afternoon by a Hedge’ by Sarah Wimbush, from Bloodlines

Friday Poem – ‘Armadillo’, Jane Lovell

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Armadillo’ by Jane Lovell, from her Mslexia Prize-winning pamphlet, This Tilting Earth.

Jane Lovell This Tilting EarthJ​​ane Lovell’s poems are both beautiful and disturbing. A deep feeling for the natural world is aligned with an acute lyric sensibility, as well as a profound ethical awareness of our responsibility for the planet and the devastation of its landscapes and vulnerable species.
‘Armadillo’ considers the biology and expressiveness of this curious creature: a ‘dusty jungle relic’ that upon examination raises more questions than it answers.

 

 

Armadillo Friday Poem Jane Lovell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Tilting Earth is available from the Seren website: £5.00

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Friday Poem – ‘Arcades’, Paul Henry

Our new quartet of regional poetry pamphlets have just arrived, with each celebrating a special place in Wales: its people, landscape, wildlife, and vibrant goings-on. This week our Friday Poem comes from Poems from Cardiff, our tribute to the Capital.

Paul Henry’s ‘Arcades’ inhabits the busy and eclectic Victorian arcades that wind around the city centre, telling a private tale of sadness, love, and hope. The poem was first published in The Brittle Sea, Henry’s bestselling New and Selected Poems.

 

Friday Poem Arcades Paul Henry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All four regional pamphlets, including Poems from Cardiff, are available on the Seren website: £5.00 (each)

 

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Friday Poem – ‘Upright’, Mara Bergman

Friday Poem Mara Bergman Upright

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Upright’ by Mara Bergman, from her Mslexia Prize-winning pamphlet, The Tailor’s Three Sons.

Tailor's Three Sons Mara BergmanThe Tailor’s Three Sons is the fruit of Bergman’s rich memories of her childhood on Long Island and Manhattan. Now living in the UK, she looks back and assembles vivid scenes and an appealing cast of characters for us. The title poem is inspired by the author’s visit to the Tenement Museum in New York’s Lower East Side, where she vividly imagines the lives of immigrants when many thousands docked in ships at Ellis Island and the Lower East Side was ‘the most crowded place on the planet’.

Attend the Mslexia Pamphlet Prizewinners event at the Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival –  Mara Bergman will be reading alongside Polly Atkin, Cath Drake, Mara Bergman, Ilse Pedlar, Yvonne Reddick and Bryony Littlefair. There will be music from poet/singer-songwriter Rhian Edwards, and tickets include a lavish 3-course Sunday Lunch (vegetarian options available). Book now.

 

Friday Poem Upright Mara Bergman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tailor’s Three Sons is available from the Seren website: £5.00

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy from us.

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’, Yvonne Reddick

Yvonne Reddick Friday Poem Alaska

This week our Friday Poem is ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’ by Yvonne Reddick, from her debut pamphlet Translating Mountains.

Yvonne Reddick Translating MountainsChosen recently as one of Leaf Arnuthnot’s favourite twenty poetry pamphlets in The TLS, Translating Mountains is an emotionally rich and memorable selection of poems that recount the disappearance and death of a beloved father, and the grief felt for a close friend, who both died in mountaineering accidents. These poems are also hymns to stunning scenery, with mountains and place names often in a craggy, atmospheric Gaelic. Full of tension, emotion and action, the poems grip our attention. The author searches for ways to grieve and come to terms with the trauma of her father’s death, whilst echoing his love for adventure, and imprinting his memory upon newly discovered or imagined landscapes, as in ‘On the Alaskan Peak We’ve Never Climbed’.

 

 

Yvonne Reddick Alaska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translating Mountains is available from the Seren website: £5.00

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A glittering new festive pamphlet: Twelve Poems for Christmas

Twelve Poems for Christmas festive pamphlet

‘It’s not Christmas, it’s only November!’ we hear you cry. Well, we can’t help but feel a little festive as the new Twelve Poems for Christmas pamphlet is now available to pre-order.

Last year’s Christmas Poetry Competition was a huge success. Judge Amy Wack, Seren’s Poetry Editor, states:

The challenge of a successful Christmas poem is the same as a challenge of a ‘regular’ poem: both to embrace tradition and subvert it, to resist cliché.  I was looking for variation of tone, manner and address, for brevity, and for a certain sparkling something, suitable for the season.

The submissions certainly didn’t disappoint. From the entries Amy compiled a shortlist of twelve outstanding festive poems, and we have combined these to create the Twelve Poems for Christmas poetry pamphlet:

Pippa Little
‘St. Leonore and the Robin’
Winner

Helen Overell
‘Camel’

Cathy Bryant
‘Noticing Cards While Eating Stuffing’

Alexandra Davis
‘Offering’

Will Johnson
‘What Wish’

Sarah Rowland Jones
‘Gabriel’s Greeting’

Gina Wilson
‘A Child for Our World’

Nancy Charley
‘On Losing my Voice at Christmas’

Nicola Healey
‘Two Pheasants’

Philip Rush
‘Daylight is in Short Supply’

Sarah Westcott
‘Guardians’

Wendy Klein
‘The Usual Suspects’

 

The Twelve Poems for Christmas pamphlet is publishing on 01 December, but you can pre-order your copy now. Why not post it to someone you love instead of a card? That is, if you can bear to part with it…

Don’t forget: you can claim 20% off when you become a registered user on our website.

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Blood Testing Piglets’, Ilse Pedler

Friday Poem Blood Testing Piglets Ilse Pedler

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Blood Testing Piglets’ from Ilse Pedler’s debut poetry pamphlet, The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels.

The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels Ilse Pedler Friday PoemWinner of the 2015 Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition, poet Ilse Pedler often writes from her perspective as a working Veterinary Surgeon. From her earliest days as a student of Applied Zoology at Bangor University, where she worked with hill sheep and had to visit an abattoir in Caernarfon, she has been involved at close-quarters with animals. Her deep knowledge and genuine love of them informs this art. A secondary theme is secrets: those we keep from others, those we keep from ourselves, those nature keeps from us.
Sometimes poignant, often comic, the poems in The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels display a keen intelligence and dynamism.

 

Isle Pedler Blood Testing Piglets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dogs that Chase Bicycle Wheels is available from the Seren website: £5.00

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.

 

 

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