Issue 26 March 2021

 Editor's Comments

Welcome to the first edition of Allegro for 2021. Needless to say the last twelve months have been extremely difficult for all of us. Unsurprisingly several poets submitting this time wrote about the pandemic and the best of these are to be found in this issue. Perhaps surprisingly many more people have submitted to Allegro over the past two issues than in the past. That has made my job as editor difficult: how to decide which poems from a very strong field will make it when there is limited space. I hope you enjoy my final selection. 

Sally Long


Entry Wounds


A recurring dream can be lunar 

in phase & candlepower, or 

a downcast gleam like the stage 

of a rocket falling away.

In the deep-set jurisdictions 

of REM I hear, as command

& refrain, ‘Under Over,’ which is followed by a plaintive wheeze 

like a field organ signing off

on entry wounds. 


When I was a readable puzzle

of bones and scars, I’d feign

happiness on waking. I was 

eight or nine, when the sky, 

at night, should have been 

infinite and filled with pilot 

lights, spirit level bubbles 

and cones of tapering brass 

on green string, not fish hooks 

and filleting knives. I’d look up 

and away as a satellite 

blinked over like a trail 

of luminal on black velvet. 

I’d stand in the hacked furrow 

my heels made as I reared 

from sleeplessness, my blood 

sounding like a tour guide 

winging it through a half-

rhymed version of Rapunzel.

 Anthony Lawrence





Viol Da Gamba Lesson


Viola perches like a waisted owl,

pretty in her tawny wood and purfling.

Tentatively I try to make her sing -

she answers me with screeches, hoots and howls.


Like a falconer, I hood and starve her.

In the dark she creaks, untested, patient.

Finally when I think she might relent

I bow before her, begin the torture.


With rosined tail hair from Russian ponies

I carefully approach her underhand

and stroke her in a way she might withstand...

to no success - she merely squeaks at me:


I’m not some simple strummable guitar:

I’m your mistress - learn here how flawed you are.

Marc Woodward




Concerning the burial of Elizabeth in woollen cloth in 1695 *

No corpse of any person shall, except
For those who die of plague, be buried in
a shirt, a shift, a sheet or shroud or any other thing
made or mingled with flax, or hemp or silk or hair
or gold or silver or any other stuff or thing,
other than that made of sheep’s wool only.
On pain of forfeiting five pounds
as mentioned hereinafter
              Dear Sister, do not lay my soul to rest
              in woollen shrouds as now the law requires.
              I beg you, Emma, honour my request
              to meet my Maker as my heart desires.
              My lace trimmed gown our father gave to me
              would serve to clothe me through eternity.
I certify hereby that Emma Hollinhurst
of Rugeley parish did this day,
affirm on oath that Elizabeth Cuting,
her sister late deceased,
was buried in a linen shroud,
contrary to the Act for burial in wool.
The informer having thus been paid, according to the law,
a sum of fifty shillings from the levied sum.
            Elizabeth, I buried in her gown,
            for she could set aside the parish fine.
            Since I have little wealth that is my own,
            then must a shroud of poverty be mine?
            For fifty pieces means I could afford
            a finer gown than hers, to meet our Lord.

 * Responding to the tombs of Elizabeth Cuting and her sister Emma at St Augustine’s Church Rugeley, Staffordshire

Roger Bloor




Irritated Muse

My muse is angered by my Covid cares -
“You worry if the shops have food and beer,
and what a Zoom attendee rightly wears!
You’re just as mortal as you were last year,
and wrote of life and death, sickness and health.
Well, now’s an actual existential crisis!
Think family and friends, the world, your self...
forget the shopping and the product prices!
You’ll die; the question’s When. The only tool
for immortality is me, that clear?
You should be writing poetry, you fool!
This is your chance. Focus on me.” (Yes, dear.)
“Respect me as your muse: I’m not your shill.
If you can’t write a poem, write your will.”

Robin Helweg-Larsen




For he who tolls the bell


Taught the ropes long ago, he’s older, more solid 

the ease of those years pulls a single bell

in a booming come-hither.


I am in Durham again at evensong, 

crammed into the cathedral’s nave. My knees ache

not with any urgency to pray 


but from the crush of bewildered tourists, 

the faithful congregation and those who, like me, 

relish plainsong and chant.


He heaves once again 

and the bell’s tongue rattles 

rooks from the trees, cracks laughter 


from every gargoyle and mason-carved devil

crouched on the roof.

Neatly rolled sleeves bunch their muscles,


face tilted, reddening, a patina of sweat, 

the whole of him wraps around 

one long, final swing.


David Harmer






“He shall not feed on either earth or pelf, but upon wisdom, and on love and virtue.” ―  Divine Comedy Inferno Canto 1

too soon they learn
how a hare
will swerve and turn

and none will bet
on something certain

now become a burden
a racing certainty
a liability


the buzz of
fretting flies

something lies
behind the fence

a cage of ribs

a bed in weeds
that prick

a sore
the gate gapes
too late, though,
to run
for escape

found, it
comes quietly
while brittle insects
scream at the sun

Dantesque the scene
yet it will give love soon,
this veltro,
the gift of agape
known, it seems, to Dante.

Glenn Hubbard




Faux Beau

Beware the man who wears a watch not set
to tell the time. He probably keeps books,
arranged on shelves, which he has never read,
and spices, racked, which he has never used.
He likely orders in, at company
expense, for lunch, for dinner also, but
goes out when opportunity presents
itself. Well-dressed, well-spoken, on the make
and for the take, he does a decent show,
until someone with substance notices
the pretense of it all, then sends him on
his way. He goes, with what he thinks is style,
yet all the while he still remains a sham,
as he confesses to the air, “I am.”

Jane Blanchard





I cut my name into a maple tree
on Ella Street, 1975,
its full coordinates in memory.
It shone for days in white wood,
as if inscribed in the Book of Life.
Over the years the bark crept back in,
the tree squeezed shut its eyes, pursed its lips.
My name became a lizard.
The tree swallowed the vowels
and left behind only a ssssss..., warning.
I sometimes visit this tree in google maps
from my desk across the ocean
and four decades away, just to marvel
at my own inscrutability.

Craig Coyle





(a Greek word referring to something that keeps you safe by chasing away evil. A small religious cloth pouch)

Stitches still clutch tightly to the yellowed cloth,
this tiny parcel never to be opened.

You show us with a mixture of amusement
and something deeper, laugh at old superstitions

but underneath memories rise
so clearly I can almost see them.

You come alive, like you did when we found
the house in Kifissia. You told me 

how much the street had changed,
and when we went to Papou’s grave 

you were so certain you'd remember
immediately where it was, surprised 

when we had to search between the rows
of pale stone, bright under vivid sun.

Wearing your coat despite the heat, your shoulders
sinking at the sight of cans and wrappers 

disturbing the quiet ground. There's no one left
in the country to care for the place now. But then

later you were singing in the restaurant
on Mitropoleus street, singing along to the music.

You hadn’t forgotten a word.

Sophia Argyris



Forty-eight hours 

Once, that was all they gave you.
Everything that could be, had been done.
Not being there, you won't remember, 
Pin-eyed and foetal again, you'd already
left the derelict building of yourself and
boarded up the windows, no further
repairs being possible or appropriate.
It was down to us to keep watch over the 
hourglass, observe how its individual grains
at last became countable, almost nameable;
how time - in the end - becomes the thief.
But miracles occur. Or perhaps the body
simply remembers itself, the way trees 
do through a winter's bruising darkness?
I see you now – defiant, alive, forgetful – 
and rehearse, in spite of myself, being there 
once again; those solemn faces delivering 
difficult news in a quiet room, the blinds 
discreetly drawn. Will grief wear a different 
disguise next time? Or will the sand just 
drizzle away to the clock's laboured ticking? 

 Robert Ford




Two Figures, Distant

 He classifies themselves travellers, not tourists who irritate him, knows, this thought suppressed, she loves normality, would prefer to settle, work, but he thrills to romantic readiness for adventure.  Paying homage to history’s cause and effect, he can’t know he shall cherish these days while she continues in the rowdy present, dubious about time wasted reminiscing.

Norwegian Customs inspection reveals his family tree he researches, dark ink patterning scrolled art paper.  Suspicious, they lay bare the battered kangaroo-decorated van for contraband to match scruffy appearance, baffled by his drug of choice: back stories motivating this calligraphy.  Honesty apparent in her clear eyes, hardened officials sigh, wave them through.

Inside their thin tent in a meadow near signposted Viking graves where he pictures longboats, ritual savagery, they sleep, two spoons.  Drinking summer’s airy morning light, he crawls outside to start the day, realises tilted time this far north is only 3 a.m., tunes into the difference, the wonder of this.

Later, before they cross another border into Sweden’s scented pine forests, she fires up their meths stove, rinses smalls.  They see a cow grazing a green roof, drive through long tunnels bearing the weight of massive mountains, walls dripping wet, her, careful at the wheel, him, the voluble dreamy navigator voyaging over a magical landscape, surrendering their days to distant memories.

             Breaking the surface
             do gannets see ghostly wrecks
             haunt fjords’ silence? 

 Ian C Smith




Letters from the bank

We are contacting you about your account
it has come to our notice you are overdrawn
according to our records this is unauthorised
please get in touch at the earliest opportunity
till then the bank will charge you daily
we await your call with interest.

The smooth running of the bank is our interest
we don't want to suspend your
current account
but we have to take this kind of action daily
the danger to us cannot be overdrawn
when people use every opportunity
to take risks that are unauthorised.

I once spent time that was unauthorised       
pursued a person - I had an interest
bought them gifts every opportunity
put everything on my personal account
the misery I felt can’t be overdrawn
I regret the shame and humiliation daily

If you don’t clear this debt I will call you daily
I have means at my disposal unauthorised
to recover the money overdrawn
the bank’s reputation is my interest
pain caused you is not taken into account
I could make all this go away given the opportunity.

To meet you for coffee is an opportunity
that I hope I wish and I pray for daily

I have feelings for you take them into account
what I said is highly unauthorised
say nothing of this for our interest
the risk I have taken can’t be overdrawn.

My memories of you will be overdrawn
at the earliest opportunity
to forget you is in my interest
I will no longer think of you daily
the feelings I have for you are unauthorised
I’ll erase our correspondence from this account.

I will not be contacting you about your account
I don’t care if my action is unauthorised
but the bank will charge you daily.

Marius Grose






The dawn’s already warm, from yesterday.
Beside the path, a thousand bees insist

on lifting every final pollen grain,
may blossom transforms hedges into drifts,

while mayweed, bruised by boots, perfumes the breeze,
and foxgloves start to hint at the colours they’ll show.

Back home, our roses promise perfect leaves,
but a gap reveals where one no longer grows.

The patient tapestry of song falls still –
birds rise and chase a sparrow hawk away.

When they resume, their voices remain shrill,
in quarrel with a low propeller plane.

Is any month more beautiful than May –
or more disquieting?
I hear you say.

Phil Vernon





Plane Tree

Each leaf an elegy, a mournful cry on the wind,
a downgoing song, a descant of declining gold.

It is on the cusp of bronze that the leaf’s sadness blooms,
surpassing the roses in the final beauty of death.

Let us sing hymns to summer’s ghosts, her departing beauties
soon to be cast in traces of lace and cobwebs,

because this is the month of exhaustion, the days of leave-taking,
when the plane trees assent to shadow our moods.

Never more fragile, the autumn leaf is leaning
to the edge of being, speaking in tones of going,

but the leaf hangs on the branch, still in its green irony
while we trace our own dying in its short veins.

James Dowthwaite


Take Your Pick

 I was   a)  Poor- Mite
              b) Spoilt-Brat
              c) Muck-Underfoot
              d) Brass-Bold

 Then    a)Keeper of Secrets
              b) Artless Dodger
              c) Friend to All
              d) No-one’s Friend

 Afterwards a)Rebel-Teacher 
              b) Downfall-Woman
              c) No-Trust-Just-Might
              d) Water-Treadler

 Now, it’s a) Word-Knitter
              b) Politics- Gloomer
              c) Crone-Swimmer
              d) Garden-Wilder

Rebecca Gethin 




My father builds another wall

How long can he stand the strong June heat
at the top of the garden? His five parts sand
to one cement were once the best on the street.
How he stands now though,

straining. The stretcher bonds don’t understand
how each brick vertebrae sits less neatly
than he’d like, or what the design plans say.

I take out a builder’s tea, admit defeat
when it goes untouched, his dry rust hand
at the flaking grout of a knee joint.
But for now, he goes on standing.

John Rogers


A Quiver of Cobras  

I guessed right on the trivia quiz:
A group of cobras is a quiver. A quiver is
a shiver, shake, or shudder. I’ve never
seen a group of cobras. I’ve never seen 
a cobra. Perhaps they quiver. I think
I might quiver, shake or shudder
in the presence of a cobra. 
A quiver is also a holder of arrows. 
Arrows and cobras—both 
deadly if encountered. Both 
peaceful if emptied of all
aggression. I know I would not shudder 
gazing at a sleeping cobra or an arrow 
fallen in the grass.

Judy Clarence




Great Uncle Ernie

The Manse
June 1936

he’d sit in his study
retailing Presbyterian
               & keeping

 an eye on the pedigree
Labrador puppies
he was rearing
to make ends meet.

he constructed a
pen of wire netting to
keep them in.

they’d escape, then
he’d jump up from
his moral tracts and

rush swearing down
the Garden path &
beat the little beasts
back within the Pale.

In sepia tints he stands
still smiling —
tall, bronzed, blond & very
attractive to women.

Think how much worse
I’d be, June, if I
weren’t a minister, in
the bosom of the family.

Great Uncle Ernie wrote
sermons for children —
when she was fourteen
he nearly raped my mother.

Helen May Williams





Working 2020
For Claire Bartram

We come to a stop 
on the tarmac 
of the Park and Ride,
tripping opposite ways.

Blue! For a moment
she registers sound – 
I see she hasn’t
recognised the name
(her tea and cake name
that’s gardens in summer,
not the Dear - Best wishes,
formal email name). 

There’s time for words, but not 
enough to recalculate distance or do
ridiculous things with our elbows.
Already the bus is grinding its teeth.
I will sit at the top like a masthead 
and munch my own breath. 

I have extracts from Wuthering Heights
last handled on Friday, for handing out 
with gloves (though I briefly considered 
a superfluous clothes peg), so
they can annotate the margins
in Cathy mode – damn… 

I’ve forgotten to ask how this feels. 
Or to talk about the woman 
in Fenwick’s window, crawling
past an unmasked mannequin.
And I’m not sure why 
that was funny any more. 

Carolyn Oulton





Razing the Stakes

A gold coin flickers its worth
in reflections between branches—
washing across the windows
of the bus that carries me
home towards this glimmering sun.

Looking down at the grazing
sheep; owned and spray-painted,
marked by another copper coin.
The sheep have long forgotten,
unaware of the stain that claims. 

Through wide front seat windows
piercing the narrow country lanes
I see a chandelier of wasps
glow and twinkle in amber light,
making their home in a gazebo 

of arched boughs, directly on course
for tragedy I await their response.
So smoothly they slipstream, evading
by inches the shattering of lives—and the bus
continues on in its claim for space. 

Sean Chapman


this certainty

nineteen crows fly over - eerily silent -
as the fire rages to the south

some of the few remaining birds,
they are heading to their roosting area early,
somewhere beyond the clearcut to the north -
hardy, year-round residents,
sticking it out for the long haul

we stand with masks on
in ashfall that settles in layers like dirty snow
on packed cars ready for evacuation,
on trees, roses, woodpiles and buildings,
everything transformed to grayscale

as mid-afternoon poses as dusk,
what I thought was a cinder -
but darker, larger -
lands on my leg, then flutters off

a wood nymph butterfly
looking for nectar -
wild marjoram, butterfly bush,
or a piece of rotting fruit -
her only compass
is the certainty of survival
that emerged with her from the chrysalis -
and sends her dusty wings into this half light

Barbara Parchim





Coming Down


The full Moon up all night,
yellow-faced, like a light left on
at a party with all asleep,

hangs in its descent now
in the clear dawning sky, above
the knife-edge of the iced roof.

I slit the blinds, timid, an aged neighbour 
to observe its restless, solitary act; preserving
faintly, all the jaundiced fire of youth. 

John McKeown




Trecco Bay

When rainy days in caravans were holidays,
I'd lie awake for gulls to land; that thud of feet
on roof, those rusted voices, beaks to quickly fray
a fishy eye. I sank beneath the cotton sheet
and heard the whoosh of wings and tasted salted air.
I dreamt a feathered God. I mouthed a pagan prayer.

 Phil Wood




The arrival

The trunk sways like a coffin
down the corridors. I hover behind it,
my parents heave it up the stairs,
drop it onto the dormitory floor.
It is a crater between us.

Retracing our steps, I see them off
at the school entrance – turn back
to unpack my loss, stuff it into drawers
under my allotted bed, hang it limp
in the dark of communal wardrobes.

That night I lie in a row of girls
with no walls on either side to stop me
from falling

Hélène Demetriades


Some things he won’t say

How the woodsmoke of stoves
on a chilly morning catches
in cobwebs of fog
fluffing redwood and fir
to be split by hawks
or stirred by swarming crows,
then shattered by blue jays
who scold, who disapprove of silence,
who in fact disapprove of him, her, everything.

How she would thrill to the call of thrush
like folksongs of the forest
and she would squeeze his hand a little tighter
sharing the delight. No need to say
but he’s sure somehow she’s near,
she’s watching.

Joe Cottonwood 





November V 

 The day is beautiful, cold and clear.
            Painfully beautiful.
Like that girl from seventh grade
            So distant, mysterious. 

 But the day is here
            And available
                        Kind but cold
                                    Clear but distant.

Marc Janssen






Filemot; the colour of dead leaves,
also spelt folimort, or fuil-de-mort.
But autumn leaves die in so many shades,
the yellow fades of birch, the paler willow,
matt tans of oak, the shining golds of beech,
the blood-red deaths of ornamental maples,
so many ways of dying. Just the one
cold truth of being dead. French feuillemorte.

Mark Totterdell

Naming the Magpie Collective

‘A conventicle’ seems wrong for the collective:
the elision of convent and canticle
has too much religious resonance
for the raucous squawks of this congregation –
some thirty magpies in the crown of a plane.

They’re said to be ‘a mischief’ but, just rackety,
are more a crowd of football fans than thieves.

‘A chattering’? That’s for jackdaws and, anyway,
it doesn’t fit the yacketing rattling down the street.
‘A tittering’? Like ‘chattering’, insufficient noise
and far from catching the cacophony of caws.

Something more like bedlam might be preferred –
let’s say ‘a parliament’. Though used for rooks,
it fits well the discordances of PMQs
where members, egging on their sides,
yatter derision across the parliamentary divide.

PMQs: Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK Parliament

Mantz Yorke


[Terza Rima Sonnet]

To live to hide another day,
I give up going to work – and gym –  
And burrow down within the grey

Cold light of winter. Hope is slim
That I will get abroad this year.
The headlines on the news are grim,

The people that I pass show fear,
And, shrinking, try to move away,
If on the pavement I draw near.

Still, here we are and here we stay,
And wear our masks and wash our hands,
And hope to hide another day,

In shuttered homes throughout these lands.
And so, we wash and wash our hands.

Paula Aamli

I didn’t know what to make of it

when I saw Death walk down the high street
scythe tucked in elbow
a few bags on the arm –
there’s a job to do
but yknow
there’s also a clearance sale at Primark.
and there’s Time on the corner
with a cardboard sign
– will give you ten extra minutes

for booze 
and I’m not sure
but that might be Fear
busking by an open guitar case
with a handful of change
(that I’m pretty sure he put in there).
but it’s Chaos I remember,
it’s hard to forget,
because she’s screaming
at three men at once
red lipstick on her teeth
a half-full bottle of Merlot in one hand
and spitting on the feet
of passers-by.

Elizabeth Train-Brown





What they don’t tell you about friendship

is that you’ll grow used to hosting sleepovers
for a family of furniture, whilst their mother hula hoops the years,
unable to balance life’s offspring on swinging hips. 

You’ve been Godmother and Favourite Aunt
to this limp bath mat sprawled beneath your feet.
You squeeze its purple mohawk with your toes, 

ooze visions of toothbrush hakas
and prayer meetings, confessionals,
tears, hair and blood.

Mrs Kimono, a silken superstar
who once twirled Kabuki into the kitchen,
waits to be cued from the back of the door. 

You squat on an unfamiliar toilet seat. Downstairs,
cookies bake in a new double oven,
a choir in Hitchin boasts a new member.  

You return to Seven Sisters,
pots and pans crave attention from the drying rack.
There’s no point learning their names.  

Louise Goodfield




solar eclipse

its arrival is imminent!
atmospheric harbingers display
the signs
everyone is invited;
but some are left
out. others, partially invited.
glad we will get the full package
it happens once in a blue

it will arrive in the
day and clad in a dark shiny
tuxedo. it will stand before the limelight
and gift us a fleeting night experience
at noon.

the limelight will beam on its apparition
and transmit to us-- the invitees,
the mysterious shadow
of its dominion.

can't wait for the party to start!

Abdulrahman M. Abu-Yaman





Paula Aamli is a Humanities graduate with a Masters in Sustainability. She is finalising her doctoral dissertation, "Working through Climate Grief”. Paula works in governance in financial services. Her greatest concern is the degraded condition in which human beings will hand over the Earth to future generations.

Abdulrahman M. Abu-Yaman writes poems from north-central of Nigeria. He has a major in Economics from IBB University, Lapai. He paints and draws calligraphy as an art enthusiast. His poem was a finalist in the Hysteria Writing Competition 2020. Reach him on twitter @abuu_yaman

Sophia Argyris was born in Belgium, to English and Greek parents. She spent much of her childhood in Scotland, and currently lives in Oxford. Her poetry has been published in various magazines, including The Agenda Broadsheet, Magma, Prole, Structo and Under the Radar. Her short collection was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2014. 

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia (USA).  Her poetry has appeared previously in Allegro and recently in The French Literary Review, The Lyric, and The Seventh Quarry.  Her fourth collection is In or Out of Season (2020).

Roger Bloor has an MA in Poetry Writing. He founded Clayhanger Press and is co-editor of The Alchemy Spoon poetry magazine. His work is published in Magma, Poetry London and a number of Anthologies. He was the winner of the 2019 Poetry London Clore Prize. www.roger

Sean Chapman is a British writer living in Cornwall beside the Atlantic and amongst the blur of a Whippet and a Labrador. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Marble Poetry, Raceme, Squawk Back, Prole, Dreich, The Pomegranate London, Fenland Poetry Journal, Quince, The Opiate and Anti-Heroin Chic.

Judy Clarence, a retired academic librarian, currently lives with her daughter, grandchildren, three cats and two dogs in the Sierra foothills after many years in Berkeley. She plays violin (baroque and modern) in several orchestras and chamber groups, sang in two classical choruses in pre-COVID days, and writes poetry constantly.

Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book of poetry is Random Saints.

Craig Coyle lives in Wishaw, and currently works as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Mental Health with NHS Lanarkshire. He has published in various magazines: Stand, Fire, Obsessed with Pipework, The English Chicago Review, Gutter, and Verse, and has work pending in Poetry Salzburg and Time Haiku. He was a mentee with the Clydebuilt Apprenticeship program in 2017. He has recently contributed to These Are The Hands, an anthology of poems celebrating the NHS, published by Fair Acre Press, proceeds from which go towards the Covid-19 emergency fund, and thereafter to NHS supported charities.  His poem ‘The Drive Home’, selected from the anthology, was featured in The Guardian as Poem of the Month for April 2020.

Hélène Demetriades recently joint won the Hedgehog Press Full Fat Poetry Collection competition 2020, and will have her debut collection The Plumb Line published in 2022.  Her poetry can be found in numerous magazines and webzines, including Allegro. She was highly commended by Patience Agbabi in Marsden The Poetry Village Competition 2019.

James Dowthwaite teaches English literature at the University of Jena. His first book, Ezra 
Pound and 20th Century Theories of Language, was published in 2019. His poetry is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review and Acumen. He lives with his wife and young son in Heidelberg.

Robert Ford's poetry has appeared in print and online publications in the UK, US and elsewhere, including Under the RadarBrittle StarDime Show Review, The Interpreter's House and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at

Rebecca Gethin has written 5 poetry publications and has been a Hawthornden Fellow and a Poetry School tutor. Messages was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition.  Vanishings has just been published by Palewell Press. She blogs at

Louise Goodfield is a poet, writer & theatre-maker collecting stories from far-flung places via Alumni of Apples & Snakes emerging writers program and recipient of an Arts Council England grant using poetry as a tool for social action and positive change. Her poems have been published in Lapidus International.

Marius Grose was born in 1957 in the city of Bath and had a career in broadcast television as a video editor. He began writing poetry in 2016 and has had poems published in the literary arts journal Dream Catcher and in the Ezine 192.

David Harmer was born in 1952 and lives in Doncaster. He is best known as a children's writer, with collections from Macmillans Children's Books and Frances Lincoln. He regularly reviews for Orbis and is once again seeing his work appear in poetry magazines.


Robin Helweg-Larsen's poems, largely formal, are widely published in the UK, US and Canada. Some favourites are in The HyperTexts. He is Series Editor for Sampson Low's Potcake Chapbooks - Form in Formless Times, and blogs at from his hometown of Governor's Harbour in the Bahamas.

Glenn Hubbard, a Londoner by birth, has lived in Madrid for over 30 years. He began writing in 2013 and has had over 80 poems published in magazines. He won this year's 40 Word Poem competition in the Bangor Literary Journal. He listens to W. S.Graham's ‘The Nightfishing’ obsessively.

Marc Janssen lives in a house with a wife who likes him and a cat who loathes him. Regardless of that turmoil, his poetry can be found scattered around the world in places like Penumbra, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, the annual Salem Poetry Festival, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate. 

Anthony Lawrence’s poems have been published in, or are due to appear in, The Rialto, The Moth, Black Box Manifold, Magma, Poetry, as well as many journals in the US and Australia. He lives on Moreton Bay, Queensland.

John McKeown is a freelance arts journalist, a former theatre critic for the Irish Daily Mail and Irish Independent.  He has three poetry collections in print: Night Walk (Salmon Press 2011), Sea of Leaves (Waterloo Press, 2009) and Looking Toward Inis Oirr (South Tipperary Arts 2003). He lives and works in Prague.

Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature and Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is the project lead for in collaboration with JSTOR Labs. Her most recent collection is Accidental Fruit (Worple). 

Barbara Parchim lives on a small farm in southwest Oregon.  She enjoys gardening, hiking and volunteered for several years at a wildlife rehabilitation facility.  Her poems have appeared in Ariel Chart, Isacoustic, Turtle Island Quarterly, Windfall, Trouvaille Review and others.  Her first chapbook, selected by Flowstone Press, will appear in 2021.

John Rogers studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University where he was awarded the Carcanet/PN Review Prize. He was published as part of the Critical Poetics’ Dial-a-Poem competition and has appeared in Ink, Sweat and Tears. He enjoys providing English tuition for secondary school students.

Ian C Smith’s work has been published in Antipodes, BBC Radio 4 Sounds, cordite, The Dalhousie Review, Griffith Review ,Poetry Salzburg Review, The Stony Thursday Book, & Two Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island.

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines in the UK and have occasionally won prizes. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014) and Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018).

Elizabeth Train-Brown, editor of Flash Literary Journal, won the 2020 Literary Lancashire Award and has been shortlisted in competitions by Creative Writing Ink, Voices, and Beyond Borders Scotland. Her work appears in Planet in PerilFuture of Text, Tastzine, Qutub Minar Review, Cake, Horla, Wax Poetry & Art, and Crossways.

Phil Vernon lives in Kent, in the UK. A micro pamphlet, This Quiet Shore, was published by Hedgehog Poetry in 2019, and a full collection Poetry After Auschwitz, by Sentinel in 2020. More of his poems can be read at

Helen May Williams formerly taught at the Warwick University. She is the author of Catstrawe (2019), The Princess of Vix (2017), and a parallel text translation of Michel Onfray’s Before Silence (2020). ). Her debut novel, June, is published by Cinnamon Press/Leaf by Leaf. She is a Cinnamon Pencil mentor.

Phil Wood was born in Wales. He has worked in education, shipping, statistics and a biscuit factory. His writing can be found in various publications, including: Snakeskin Poetry Magazine, Fly on the Wall (issue 6), Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip, The Bangor Literary Journal.

Marc Woodward, poet and musician, writes from rural Devon. He has been widely published, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and commended for the Acumen and Aesthetica prizes. His collections include A Fright of Jays (Maquette 2015), Hide Songs (Green Bottle Press 2018), and The Tin Lodes - a collaboration with Andy Brown (Indigo Dreams 2020).

Mantz Yorke is a former science teacher and researcher living in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong. His collection ‘Voyager’ is published by Dempsey & Windle.