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Poem of the Week: 'Fairy Tales' by Jennifer Copley

Posted on August 01, 2016 by Liam Owens | 0 comments

Fairy Tales

In fairy tales, only the good fairy wears wings.
Others are too hump-backed
or, beautiful but wicked, appear
on frosted sleighs when no one's looking,
slide ice splinters into untrue hearts.

Even brothers and sisters get separated –
boys turned into swans,
girls put in tall towers
where they have to climb down their own hair
to escape, then wander the earth

with thorns in their eyes.
They stretch out their arms in front,
cock their heads to the music of the red shoes.
Children, smelling of gingerbread,
cry out to them from cages.

They're only fairy tales, say our mothers,
who serve us porridge that's far too hot;
and who are they that we should trust them
when they prick their fingers,
drip their blood onto snow, then die                                                                                     after telling us they'll be there for ever.


Fairy Tales is one of the unsettling poems featured in Jennifer Copley's disturbingly compelling collection, Beans in Snow. Reminiscent of Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber, Copley takes our desire for happy endings and twists it into something far more sinister. Reverting back to the classic - and more frightening - tales of Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Brothers Grimm, Copley reminds us that childhood innocence is nothing but an illusion.

There is something quite mesmorising about Copley's poetry, and readers are certain to find pleasure in the abundant references to the childhood stories we all know and love - even if they are almost unrecognisable...

Beans in Snow is published by Smokestack Books and available to purchase on our website here.

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Poem of the Week - 'Havisham à la Mode' by Kate Noakes

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Yen-Yen Lu | 0 comments

Havisham à la Mode

No one has got it, so to satisfy my critics:
it is really all about the dress.
Few brides can wear theirs thirty years on
without stinking of cedar.

Theirs lie tissued like my untouched shoe,
but I can fasten pearl buttons
every day, if I choose.

No feeding family, no babies have pushed me
out of shape and it's surprising
how lasting wedding cake can be.

It's all about my silk-and-lace cocoon,
a second skin skimming my bones.
I love its yellowed ivory
resisting time and laundry for a look,
a shimmer in narrow light beams.

Here's a tip - stay out of the sun.
Shadow and a well-draped veil
show complexion best, will give you skin
pale and papery as moon moth.

I may have overdone this.
I don't look good naked.



Featured in A Mutual Friend, a collection of poems inspired by Charles Dickens, Kate Noakes has penned an alternate take on the character of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Finding the 'bright side' in Havisham's otherwise gloomy situation, Noakes has created a lightly sarcastic tone which puts a interesting spin on the story as we know it. 

Edited by Peter Robinson and published by Two Rivers Press, A Mutual Friend is available to buy on our website.

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Poem of the Week - 'Flowers and the People' by Jack Stanley

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Yen-Yen Lu | 0 comments

Flowers and the People

Flowers are nicer than people
They come in pretty colours and
smell much better

They hardly eat at all
(Water will do, thank you)

Get them in a bunch, they won't get noisy
Bring them in the house, they won't impose

They don't complain, or argue, or fight

They're much sweeter - 
Just ask the bees



Using straightfoward, witty language, Stanley has composed a solid case for flowers and with spring in the air, this vibrant poem seems fitting this week. The one downside to beautiful flowers brightening up the day: hayfever.  

Reckoning is published by Hearing Eye Books and is available to buy on our website.

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Poem of the Week - 'The Man Who Never Was' by Tom Kelly

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Yen-Yen Lu | 0 comments

The Man Who Never Was

There's a man with aa axe 
in me bedroom. We ran to her house
in fright, night after night.

'Axe Man' was never caught
even though she described him
in perfect detail, as far as we could tell,
tall, dark, carrying an axe.



This chilling poem comes from Tom Kelly's collection, I Know Their Footsteps, which includes other similar poems on death, ageing, and regret. Available on our website

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Poem of the Week - 'My Accent' by Roddy Lumsden

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Yen-Yen Lu | 0 comments

My Accent

Ask a Geordie to say conjunctivitis;
when in Hull, make them ask for dry white wine.
Ask a teuchter where Saskatchewan is -
he'll give himself away, time after time.

For me, apricot scones are in the oven
and don't expect much difference between
Patsy, singing 'Life's Railway to Heaven'
and the red-nosed joker in the circus ring.

Roddy Lumsden's highly-skilled and playful use of language comes into light here in this concise and entertaining poem. It's full of energy and emotion and is one poem that is better read out loud. Unless you're truly terrible at accents like me, in which case, you're allowed to read it in your head. 

This poem comes from Roddy Lumsden is Dead, Lumsden's collection with Wrecking Ball Press. 


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