Ted Sherman – The Gnome

Coming up on the podcast this week Bristol poet Ted Sherman talks about writing poetry for children and his new collection Dungeon Days for eight to 12-year-olds. Here’s the first poem from the collection, The Gnome, illustrated by Marcus Kielly and designed by Ollie Francis.

The Gnome

I wrote this book you’re here to read
a fact I’m proud of, yes indeed!

It’s true I am a tiny gnome
but the tales contained within this tome
are bigger than you’ll ever find,
these stories here will blow your mind.

I’ve written ‘bout a dungeon deep
where creatures lurk and monsters creep.
Ever since I was a lad
I’ve worked in here, it ain’t half bad

There is one thing I know is true
my tales are fun and fresh and new.
What I give is something real,
words to make you see and feel
all the struggles and the strain
of the average and mundane
the trials and tests which we all face
but set within a magic place.

So, to every girl and every boy
thanks for reading – please enjoy!

Stilton the Scribe
C/o The Dungeon

Adele Cordner – Lament of Mother Earth

Adele Cordner performs a poem from her new collection The Kitchen Sink Chronicles. The poems, written in the last year, reflect on the strangeness, fear and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. But Adele also finds moments of hope and joy in these uncertain times. Look out for Adele on the next podcast when she will be sharing more poems from the collection and talking about how to write poems of hope and perseverance.

Adele’s book is available now. Copies purchased via her website support the charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK www.adelecordner.com

Ella Duffy – Chill


Ella Duffy reads a poem from her pamphlet New Hunger. Ella draws on mythology and the natural world in her vivid and powerful poems which she will be discussing on this week’s podcast.

Bio: Ella Duffy’s poetry has appeared in Ambit, the Rialto and the North, among others. Her debut pamphlet, New Hunger, was published by Smith|Doorstop in May 2020. Her recent pamphlet, Rootstalk, was published by Hazel Press in November 2020.

Purchase Ella’s book and books by former podcast guests via the Poetry Non-Stop bookshop and help cover the running costs of this podcast.

Abbie Neale – Overwintering

The first guest of 2021 is Abbie Neale who will be talking about her debut collection Threadbare on the next podcast. Here is one of her more recent poems broadcast on BBC Radio Norfolk and recorded by BBC Voices.

Abbie Neale is a writer, actor and painter. She holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Warwick University, with an intercalated year studying Acting and Scriptwriting at Monash in Australia. In 2019, she won the international prize in the York Mix Poetry Competition and the New Poets Prize run by The Poetry Business, who published her debut pamphlet ‘Threadbare’ this June. Her poetry has appeared in The North, Strix MagazineWhirlagust, Re-side, Crannóg, Bath Magg and Abridged. 

You can find her online at Instagram: @abbie.neale, Art Instagram: @abbie.neale.art, Twitter: @AbbieeNeale

You can buy Threadbare here. Poetry Non-Stop receives a commission for purchases made via this link.

Helen Ivory – The Hanged Woman Addresses The Reverend Heinrich Kramer

The next guest on the podcast is Helen Ivory. Here she is reading a poem from her latest collection The Anatomical Venus. Helen’s readings are always captivating. The poems contain striking language and vivid imagery and her explanations about where they came from are fascinating. Helen will be sharing some more poems from The Anatomical Venus and discussing how she wrote them along with how to use primary historic texts to write poems.

www.helenivory.co.uk

Ramona Herdman – Marilyn

Ramona Herdman

Here’s a poem from upcoming podcast guest Ramona Herdman. Ramona lives in Norwich and her latest pamphlet, ‘A warm and snouting thing’, was published by The Emma Press in September 2019. It is shortlisted for the 2020 East Anglian Book Awards.

Marilyn

How can we blame you for blurring life
with alcohol and barbiturates,
when we all want to rub our faces blind
on your soft stomach, your breasts,

have you breathe sad bourbon fumes
into our mouths, sing a song
then sparkle a quip, tap a tune
in perfect syncopation?

You were born with one bit of luck (your looks)
and you used it like a mountain –
years of work, snow-blindness, crampon hooks,
and the whole of your life climbing.

They tell your marriages like a fairy tale –
the boy next door, the sports star,
the sensitive intellectual –
like counting to three means happy ever after.

Holly Golightly was written for you:
wild animal, living on change
for the restroom. The mean reds, the blues.
Poor slob, poor cat with no name.

Marilyn, you’re the ghost of trying.
Snowfield face and sequinned sheath.
Work and wanting and wanting in that white-out smile.
You make me hold my breath.

I watch you shimmy, in clothes too tight to walk in –
jello on springs, kissing Hitler – in heels that hurt,
thigh sliding round thigh, down the platform.
Hassled by steam and a wah-wah tune. Perfect.

R.Herdman

Paul Chambers – Haiku

river bridge the distance of my prayer

Paul Chambers

This week’s podcast guest is Paul Chambers. Paul is an award-winning haiku poet and the Editor of the Wales Haiku JournalTo date he has published two full-length collections of poetry, and has had work appear in some of the world’s most prestigious journals and anthologies, including Modern Haiku, Presence, Frogpond, the Heron’s Nest, the Atlanta Review, and the Red Moon Anthology. A selection of his haiku has also been published in the celebrated North American poetry series, A New Resonance.

He will be be discussing this ancient and often misunderstood poetic form and offering a simple exercise to help anyone write a haiku. Here is a selection of his work:

freeing itself
of itself
the thawing stream

magnolia scent…
sunlight in the hairs
along my son’s ear

pre-dawn stars…
plumes of breath
from a cattle truck

morning coolness
the meadow holds the shape
of a deer

convalescence…
autumn revealing
the river

blue hour…
the day’s heat lingers
in lilac scent

www.paulchambershaiku.com


Poem: Pencil Boys by Nigel Kent

Nigel Kent responds to John McCullough’s prompt to write a poem using stationery as a metaphor. For a chance to be featured, send poems inspired by one of the prompts on the podcast here.

Pencil boys

We are the pencil boys
not the posh propelling ones
but the shitty bookie’s kind
you find on our estate.

We never bring pens to lessons
yet our teachers don’t lend us theirs:
they think ink’s too permanent
and pencil’s easily rubbed out.

Nigel Kent

Pushcart Prize nominated poet, Nigel Kent, has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. In 2019 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his first collection, ‘Saudade’, following the success of his poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’. In August of this year Hedgehog Poetry Press published his pamphlet, ‘Psychopathogen’. Website: www.nigelkentpoet.wordpress.com Twitter @kent_nj 

Jonathan Davidson – Father

Picture: Lee Allen

Jonathan Davidson is the next guest on the podcast sharing poems from his latest book, A Common Place. It is a collection of Jonathan’s poetry and much more. There is a commentary, a selection of influential poems by other poets, a gazetteer with all the places mentioned in the book and footnotes – a lot of footnotes!

You can find out why Jonathan chose to publish in this unusual format on the podcast as well as hearing a few poems. He will also be offering valuable advice and inspiration from a writing career of more than 30 years.

Father

I walked with my invisible father
out into the fields on the edge
of town. But they are gone now:
new roads, new names, new people.

Dad, stay here for a while, I said,
and I’ll go and find out what
has happened to our lives.
He sat
on the newly installed bench.

And when I returned, furnished
with stories of change, I found him
utterly dead, his cold eyes
on the cold world closed. So

many years he had lived here
and then this: his roads re-named,
his fields built over, his people
now coming into view as strangers.

By Jonathan Davidson, from A Commonplace (Smith|Doorstop, 2020)