Issue 30 March 2023

 Editor's Comments

Welcome to Issue 30 of Allegro Poetry Magazine. In this issue there are familiar names alongside poets new to Allegro. There are many excellent poems to be found here including Clare Best's 'Sitting with my son's first leather boots which is nominated for this year's Forward Prize.

Sally Long



The Saxophone that Moves my Soul

[After Philip Larkin]


The saxophone that moves my soul

above the dancers on the floor

reminds me of my solitude,

for we were dancing in the quite mundane

pleasant enough jigging and bop before,


with steady communal throb of engine on slick rails

of sweat and occasional rub of shoulders and hips,

glistening eyes like bubbles of light, shy or sly,

all under the retro mirror ball

and apparatus of lasers and strobes.


But ah! That silver saxophone proclaims

exquisite solitude, so gladly claimed,

and, bearing its ecstatic lash of notes, spirits lift,

like a mass of swirling foam in a solo land where we

live as individuals, full alone, divine and doomed.

Clive Donovan 

October was a Poorly Month


Disorientated, dysfunctional.

It left little patches of itself

around the kitchen and all down the stairs

It hid in cupboards.

It cleaned the bath forty times in a row

with forensic equipment.

It recorded everything I did and said.

All the pain I’d ever known

pooled into the tall shape of an adolescent.


I called out for Holy Men and Women,

the sages, rebel angels–

anyone who might have a handle on this.

I drank pitchers of Holy Water,

I knelt in several Catholic churches.

Priests exorcised me. Nuns blessed me.

I tried Exposition, Benediction,

Confession and Communion.

I tried everything.


But the world didn't seem to care.

It insisted on assessing my parental credentials 

in National Curriculum levels.

Teens in blazers spat in my face.

Teachers failed me.


October was and wasn’t.

It was recovery then relapse.

Relapse then recovery.

Each dawn I’d watch a purpose of birds

dart across an oblivious sky.

I was envious. I was broken.


November brought a sparkler fizz of light.

But the rain put it out.

The rain and the everythinggonewrong

took its toll. I spoke in code to friends

I shouted at doctors. I trusted no one.

The only good thing to come out

of all that weather was the broken fence

between my house and my neighbour's house.


That felt like change.

That meant something.

Michelle Diaz


A Month of Rain


A month of rain today, the drift of tribes

Into nation states a headshot scrabble of dead-man votes

And oil reserves


Murder-tech recon scans crowds in

Market squares—in Myanmar, Burkina Faso or Yemen

Where the killing tallies


Peacekeepers and relief workers, messaging a local warlord

How much for that girl


In the camps, refugees burn

Shoe leather against the cold, against cholera

And shrunk-skin babies


A boy in flip flops kicking through snow

Deep as Covid coughs


Between war and mission presence, border guards, their

Ray-Bans de rigueur, stare through falling skies


Estill Pollock

Road Goats


The tour required too much togetherness.

The ride inside the minibus each day

Caused both of us significant distress

Since other folks could not be kept at bay.

Some fellow travelers shouted, belched, or coughed.

One hummed or sang. Another slept and snored.

Our guide and driver on occasion scoffed

At conduct which we wished would be ignored.

We also had to share most meals with these

Same people as we went from place to place.

Too soon we used up stores of pleasantries

And wanted to withdraw to private space.

Relieved to have survived for two long weeks,

We chose not to provide online critiques.

Jane Blanchard

How I Find and Lose My Mother


Hope is what keeps her going down

the street, to the unremarkable house

that, like her, needs a new coat

of paint. To be repointed, given

an extension.


I only had twelve weeks.


She comes with a carrier bag and

a social worker. It’s a crash course

in redemption. Pass, and we can leave

together. Fail and we will be sent off

discretely in different directions.


We were never left alone. Each moment

of interaction kept in a detailed logbook.

You were to be picked up, hugged, fed, changed

into a non-risk situation. But sleep-deprived

there were two things I could not keep:

my anger at bay and you.


Now, forty years later, she tells me

her story. History scrapes me, scribing

pain onto my scrimshawed bones. Here I am.

Unbroken, whole, and as perfect to her

as the day she walked away, alone.


She only has twelve weeks.


Louise Longson


The Trouble


I told my friends, “A couple married

for ages, like you two, you’re like

a half-blackened tree. I didn’t see

the lightning strike, or how brightly

you once burned, but you’re still rooted,

shooting out brittle little twigs.”

They didn’t find this too exquisite.

He said, “A backhand compliment at best.

Ariel and Caliban crammed into wood?”

I admitted the comparison wasn’t any good.


“Isn’t that what words miss?” I said.

They only carry something halfway there;

one still has to do the heavy lifting.

It’s like the head-dip people do

pausing over a coffin. They aren’t thinking

about the actual meat-fact of the dead,

but the intangibles, how they squatted

to gather a grandchild in a party-dress;

or hefted secateurs aloft to lop the hedges.

That’s why mourners stop and pat the lid.”


They still weren’t looking too convinced.

“And a divorced couple?” she said.

I flinched. “Well, they nearly made it,

but dissolved along a legal gradient.

You’ll agree that many failed things escape

prediction, like a strong rainbow

that can’t quite double its arc above it

and yet there is the faintest pastel trace.”

A funny look relayed between their faces.

It didn’t mean “love it.” It meant “shove it.”


He said, “If you want to talk about us

you’d have to mention all the things

we never meant to keep, those

accretions heaped around us, the dishrags,

masking tape, suitcases, and old clothes;

the loyalty cards, receipts, bin-bags,

toilet scrubbers and clipped fingernails;

the light-bulbs and espresso-maker rings;

and jumble them up, make a right mess.”

“Not pretty.” “But you wouldn’t fail.”


Steve Noyes


Museum of peace


Once through the marble colonnade

and sweeping stairs, we enter rooms

so grand we almost feel afraid:

great men, great speeches, sepia views


of Strasbourg, Rome, Berlin, Versailles;

then on past endless photographs—

high collars, confidence, low guile,

diplomacy, late night cigars.


And then, behind a hidden door

we’re welcomed with an open smile

to views across a boundary wall,

tired children straggling home from school,


a woman unsure where she stands,

but standing freely where she can.

Phil Vernon 


A far sea


What a puzzle, my love

To think, how a raindrop’s course is set.

I remember, once, discussing this with you.


How one mountain breath can send it going

To one shore, or another, switch-like

As if falling atop a giant letter ‘A’.


Since then, I have grown fat

And accumulated gold.

But the falling rain? – I could only ever watch.


Golden shovel after Sylvia Plath


Jim Lloyd


The Traveller

It is always the same, or nearly so.
I am rushing to buy the last ticket
or catch the final train or ship or flight.
The slow lines at terminal windows,
or lost identity card, wallet, or glasses
make me miss the chance to step on board,
the ultimate act of will to take leave.
This never happens outside in open air,
but always under a roof or low ceiling,
sometimes with stairs or chutes leading down
and closing around me like a serpent's throat,
forcing my lungs into deeply laboring breaths.
No one speaks or makes a single sound.
My fellow travellers at different paces,
brushing past, clutching tickets, take
the last seat and gaze out the windows
at the passing landscapes over their own reflections.
They are as silent as an only child
moving toy figures without a word,
or maybe speaking for them in a flowing murmur
no one else is meant to hear or know.
Just the mute advance of small men
that ends in a sudden pile of violence.
I sense the destination of all the transport
I miss; so why do I hate being left behind?


Royal Rhodes


Mum’s hands


For years, whenever I’d 

look down and see my hands,

arranged like hers, 

I had to quickly scatter them, 

in opposite directions

like startled birds. 


I loathed the way she left them.

One held like a dainty purse in

the other. Prim keeper of some dance 

card that I felt did not include me.


But now age is letting us both go

I read a different palm

and see them more as gauntlets,

stone crossed upon a knight’s tomb.

One hand, reaching for the sword,

the other holding it 

forever to its quest.


Paul Fenn




You can find him if you know where to look;

on the edge of the horizon, under the cover of trees

silhouetted against the sun.


With UV light, pooter, queen sized bed sheet

he surrounds himself with the dazzling and the drab

the divine and the mythical;

created because all the gods get lonely.


Ones that span the width of a hand

or the width of a matchstick.

Ones that feed on the tears of sleeping birds.


He wonders how they make silk out of nothing;

how they listen to the moon.

He loves their consistency most of all; dabs them

as they skitter and skate across a floodlit screen.


They’re his pulse, the touchstone

by which his own life is measured

knowing the dust that falls from crumpled wings.


What was it she used to say?

That’s not the work of a creative.

A skewer through the middle.


But he was just dormant in her presence

camouflaged against the dining room wall.


Now, he’s a translator for other beings

converting one form of beauty into another

their customs and cultures; like forms of energy.

But they will never know him.


Perhaps tonight he’ll see males of Rileyiana fovea

serenading females with their mandolin wings

or the young caterpillars of Heterogynis penella

that eat their mother as soon as they hatch.


More personalities than a room full of people;

inhabiting the twilight like no one can.


He puts on sunglasses, careful not to look at the light;

knows that if he did, he’d drift away

caught in its trap.


Christopher Palmer


Pianist, Interrupted


I can't remember the notes tonight

It returns in waves, the melody.

Cracks appear. I can't get it right.


Memorising was easy at the height

of my concerto days. Now back to the keys,

I can't remember the notes tonight


but later, mid-dream, they come into sight

just as you visit me, real as day. By dawn I see

cracks appear. I can't get it right.


The semi-quavers float on, take flight

whilst I rest during minims, a silent plea.

I can't remember the notes tonight,


the ones you wrote to me, often after a fight.

I piece together what I can, try not to see

cracks appear. I can't get it right


except in dreams. Taut skin, a flash of light,

younger fingers gliding over keys, you and me.

I can't remember the notes tonight.

Cracks appear. Can't forget it. I write.


Beliz McKenzie


Quantum Villanelle                                                                        


My cat and Schrödinger’s, are they the same?

His loves carboard boxes, so does mine.

But I’m not sure I understand this game.


There’s known unknowns: for instance, his cat’s name.

- My cat’s called Leo, and he’s very fine -

My cat and Schrödinger’s, are they the same?


If his cat’s probabilistic, that’s a shame -

I’d like more certainty with his feline.

I’m not so sure I understand this game.


If his cat’s in a quantum state, then who’s to blame?

The physicists, not Einstein’s dice divine?

My cat and Schrödinger’s, are they the same,


Composed of flesh and blood, both somewhat tame?

Or trapped in multiverses more than nine?

I’m not so sure I understand this game.


It’s all a web of interactions, claim

Nāgārjuna, and Rovelli, down the line.

The cats must be related, if not quite the same.

I’m still not sure I understand this game.


Jane Spray


Sitting with my son’s first leather boots


It’s not the memories they evoke –

there are plenty, but I won’t list them here,

they might escape. It’s not the number 25


stamped on the instep next to a little box

that says Start-rite, nor the crusts of mud

stuck in the treads twenty-four years.


It’s not scuffed toes, heels worn down

in one particular place. Not deep creases

at the ankles where brown polish lingers.


Even if I cherish details, it’s not those.

It’s this: I have to close my door, sit quietly

and alone with so much love and mystery.


Clare Best

Still Life With Onions


Sunday wind sends half a woman’s letter over our old fence,

written for Rening, or is it Penny?  

Our days are slipping by and in many ways I’m glad.

It will be nice to be home. 

Blue, curvy letters on lined paper.  


Inside our warm kitchen, I imagine a woman 

alone in a room,  folding the paper one way

and then the other, 

tucking it inside the envelope and sending it off -

to the place where, today, the wind grabs hold 


and sends it to my hands.  My mother calls - 

she has just finished a book, 

a memory of exile, of refugee camps after the war, 

my mother’s story, the same country, and I am 

suddenly aware of our small yellow house, 


the old wallpaper in the bedroom, the tiny room 

off the kitchen we turned into the nursery, 

windows in the front with the view of Simpson’s Rest, 

the old sign at the top that names this town.

Such good fortune, to have everything we need.  


My mother, two thousand miles away, sends her love, 

says to kiss the children.  Soon it will be night, 

the children will eat peaches and biscuits before bed.

Out the kitchen window, Jupiter will glow 

in the winter sky.  Perhaps I’ll write my old friend a letter: 


how the days are slipping by, but we still live here, 

same flickering streetlight across from the yard, 

the kitchen at the back of the house, 

yesterday’s onion scent.


Laura Tate


I can’t tell you anything about that

After Mila Haugova


but can tell you little egrets have yellow feet

that the red shank is sentinel of the marsh

that a golden eagle can see a rabbit three miles away

and that you often feel a tremor of light

as a bird crosses the sun’s path.


I can also tell you that trees are tall mild beings

of root, trunk, branch, leaf

they know dark earth, soft sun, wet winds.

We, however are restless and rootless

we need to look up, listen

stand near, gain strength

feel their old tested presence.

Sacha Hutchinson


WebMD told me I have an avoidant attachment style…

… but i'm not sure that is even possible for someone with
borderline personality disorder. -  or if it even makes any sense.
you see, people like me, we stick too easily.
it could be trauma or the way our parents raised us - actually,
I fail to see the difference. What I mean is that
it's rare for someone like me, to not get attached too quickly.

on the first day I met my last love, I knew we’d end up together
because her honeysuckle hazel eyes melted into an ocean blue
once they aligned with mine. Our hands touched and teaspoons
clinked, in sync and i knew, if anyone was to stop us, I'd drown them,
in saltwater waves. I was manic when I met her so she fell in love with the vibrancy

but when the batteries soon started to die, the sapphire in her eyes
turned saxe and soon all the azure had abandoned her irises
and travelled to her lips in lieu. I’d clasped my teeth to her cardiovascular
system and wrung it out, tight. And after she left, she took them with her.

so I came home, alone, to talk to all of my friends and they told me
to start by picking up a pair of scissors, snipping off my hair, strand by strand.
my fingertips apparitions swiping these mistakes into every surface, so I sit
in the uncomfortable in-between of knowing solitary confinement
bathes a soul softer than dipping my toes into the possibility

of such desertion. or rather, the knowledge that if there’s a next time
that someone scintillates something within me, I would turn off the power
at its source.  I think, now I know It’s better to live without their light than to be
too bright for anyone else to hold for too long.

I guess that’s what they meant by avoidant.

Oli Ellis


Mistle Thrush 


The way she chose an amber traffic light 

to build her nest, 

under the visor, up against the lens, 

so her speckled breast 


was lit up when the signal changed; 

a shining bird. 

The way they let her be there, though 

the light was obscured. 


The way I was one of thousands, 

each in our own safe place, 

to see her on a screen and wish her well; 

a web, a net, a nest, a kind of grace. 


Mark Totterdell


The Theatre[1]
a cento

Imagine a stone building, white pillars, classical frieze
‘CHILDREN’ written on the pavement outside
opened as a bomb shelter
crammed into the building, sleeping in offices
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside


The airstrike hit the stage
six hundred people killed that night
bodies strewn everywhere
pulverised into the dust
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside


A little girl lay motionless
in a huge pool of blood
others still under the rubble
the wounded screamed
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside


A woman stood in her bathrobe
she had to step on the dead to escape
she ran blindly towards the sea
escaping the smell of death
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside

They came to destroy it
How many bodies?
blackened by fire
one big mass grave
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside


Haunted by memories,
memories blurred by trauma
egregious violation
the deadliest civilian attack
‘CHILDREN’ was written on the pavement outside


[1] Coda: Times Newspaper coverage of the Siege of Mariupol 7 May 2022


Clair Chilvers



To the

home of wise

Ælred I come for salve

and salvation. Look on my feet,

 these ulcerous slabs and pity me. I

offer a shoe in soft lead. A lay-brother,

I tipped up the crucible roughly, mistook

myself the butt of young Brother Thomas’

teasing. My blunder burned him, my own

feet too, blistered in the molten spread.

He is whole once more, but my ulcers

gnaw deeper with heat of my anger

unforgiven. A simple man, no

citizen of the metaphysical

world, I beg a simple

 forgiveness. And a

simple Earth physic

 to help me too; the

plant that shrieks

echoes my mewling

as my stained bindings

are unwound.  With the

blessing of healed  flesh

I shall walk with a new 

purpose, transfigured

 from my base

lead life.


A small shoe-shaped lead model is on display at Rievaulx Abbey, perhaps brought there by a pilgrim. 

Fiona Theokritoff


For my daughter

Nothing but stillness, the breath
rising and falling, the unfailing
adherence to the score,
bar after bar

Barely to be heard

There she is, with your ear
to sleep,
her sleep

The other side from you,
beyond your apprehension,
your fears

In the cradle of dreams

Beyond belonging


Ray Malone


Sonnet Found in a Deserted Madhouse
(fantasy of an alternative future)

The winds of winter wind through empty halls,
scraps of abandoned paper blow like leaves
to settle in odd corners of old walls.
Once a community lived here, but no one grieves:
the place was nothing but a wasteful home
for the sick, sad, psychotic and insane
who, locked in rooms or left alone to roam,
babbled their lives away, inept, inane.
All funding for the loonies has dried up;
guards, nurses, admin, tea ladies: dismissed.
And all because Brussels came out on top
and closed this home of British mental mist.
Now Big Ben chimes, tolling a final knell.
Farewell, old Houses; Westminster, farewell.


Robin Helweg-Larsen




A Galway winter

sings outside.

In this bar of students and hospital workers,

families of patients with worried faces,

we inhabit a corner,

where you wince,

with a hand pressed to your stomach.


We’ve come from a clinical room

littered with leaflets that answered questions

like “what is miscarriage?”

It all seems premature,

since they couldn’t even label your pain,

speaking of how the signs suggested

our child was “not ongoing”.


I have no practice

in these situations,

can only speak of easing your pain,

of trying again

– after a tactful period –

already consigning our nameless child

to the past,



another doctor with a gentler hand

will reveal your discomfort

as a child announcing its presence

like a drunken guest

stumbling into the furniture

of a new environment.


We’ll give her names

– Nicole, Veruna –

the latter sutured from both our mothers,

and a year from now,

all our pensive inertia will seem like potential energy

sprung into kinetic form

– nightfeeds, nappies, buttoning vests –

as we dote on milk-morphined eyes.


We’ll watch her together

as she takes a step,

and smile to each other

as she keeps on going.


Trevor Conway


Seaside sparrows


Full of chatter and incessant gossip

of seed-head fennel, hollyhocks, 

the busyness of raising their young

where the air is always on the move


and dust baths, water, sunniest spots, 

the happy chance of scattered crumbs

or groundsel, a chirrup of poppies,

and nothing as good as a south-facing garden.




Cú Chulainn’s Leap

Loop Head, Co. Clare


Mal didn’t make it back. Unlike Cú Chulainn

she hit the chasm’s wall, fell, and drowned,

freeing him from pursuit and the threat

of her love-enslaving touch. So legend has it,

though I can’t imagine a demigod leaping

that gap – some sixty feet from stack to head.


Geology, not legend, drew me to this spot:

rocks on the stack and head lie horizontally,

yet further south I’d observed strata

confounding expectation, curving like plasticine

before steeping into the sea – a postscript

to the relentless squeeze of tectonic plates.

But I’m not wanted here: swallows are diving

stuka-like towards my head, wings whirring

as they pull up sharply for another swoop.

I yield the heathery ground around the lighthouse

and head to Kilbaha for a Guinness and more

in the friendlier ambience of Keating’s Bar.


Mantz Yorke


My Mother Eats My Flesh


when she’s hungry.

She takes bites out of me

when she thinks my head is turned.

I let her nibble at my forearm

and lick at blood-soaked

sorbet between courses.

I’m fading.  But it’s fine.

I feel cold all the time;

legs constantly aching

like I haven’t uncurled

from a cocoon for years

and years and years.


I bake my mother cakes;

Victoria sandwiches

filled with fresh cream

and fat strawberries.

She says thank you

but leaves them

on the kitchen counter

for days until they go stale.

She doesn’t eat anything

that won’t go by my name.

Won’t drink tea or coffee

or try a bite of toast.

Refuses cereal, slices of apple,

and even pours cold glasses

of water over my head.

I am my mother’s

when she’s hungry.  It’s okay.


Ava Patel




We only meet in churches now, move on

to village halls, the back room of a pub

on weekday lunchtimes.


The locals at an anxious distance note

the decency of a best suit, black leather

shoes waxed to a reverent shine.


The food we share, bland sandwiches,

wedges of pork pie too large to handle

with respect. We drain our glasses,


do you remembers suspended

like a chorus. That game of Murder in the Dark

when John got scared and cried.


At closing time we linger, unwilling

to be the one to say goodbye; head home

along the motorway alone.


Julia White


Life support


After seventy two hours on the unit

praying, hoping, watching test after test,

waiting on results; we had bad news.


The machines that supported him

would be removed: a switch from

‘intensive’ to ‘tender, loving’ care.


He could feel no pain, wouldn’t move

by himself, would never wake up,

might breathe on his own.


It could mean the end of life for him,

or the start of a new life for us

looking after a helpless child.


In the parents’ room filled with family,

mismatched chairs, a lumpy futon,

too many sockets, we repeated the news.


I looked up at a thin, blue ribbon of sky – 

all I could see between buildings – wished

I could stop the clock, use a crystal ball,


turn back time, have easier endings,

run away, fly! I really didn’t know

which outcome to wish for.

Verity Baldry


Milka Trnina Falls


Perhaps the falling water resembled her voice.

More likely Milka Trnina chinks

like the coins she donated to preserve

the magnificence of Plitvice Lakes

safeguarded for prosperity.


Sadly, there are no recordings of Milka,

nerve pain paralysed her face

before 78s became popular,

I imagine her soprano voice

dominating roles, Tosca, Isolde, Brunhilde.


Without this waterfall named after her,

she’d have no voice at all,

A tune a long time silent.

another century, another country

remembers her success.


The constancy of sounds—

each outdoing the other

birdsong, cascading water.

The chemistry of precipitation

converting all which remains to stone.


Clint Wastling


For Jo

I think of the paths we walked, when you

still could walk. Skirting that skittish horse

in a wet Mendip field. November fog

in Venice, when the Acqua Alta flooded

St Mark’s square. Waiters in waders shifting

tables. Our backstreet routes impassable.

In the glooming dusk I teased you

with Don’t Look Now. We laughed.

And I think of Iceland: the glacial

water electric blue. And Almannagjá.

Walking that dark path through the rift

between continental plates as they drift

apart. In the photograph I’m a pixie

in my woolly hat. And you somehow distant,

translucent round the edges, gazing

to the left. Already heading for that 

other continent.


Bel Wallace







Verity Baldry is a poet from London who explores baby loss and the impact it has on family life and living children. Verity recently completed an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths. Her work has featured in Cerasus Magazine.

Clare Best has published a memoir, The Missing List, two collections of poetry (Excisions, 2011, finalist for the Seamus Heaney Award 2012; Each Other, 2019), plus several collaborative works. In 2021 she was a Fellow at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Her latest publication is End of Season / Fine di stagione (Frogmore 2022).

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).

Clair Chilvers’s published collections are: Out of the Darkness (Frosted Fire, 2021); and Island (Impspired Press, 2022). Her poems have been published in journals including Acumen, Agenda, Allegro, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Live Encounters. She was a cancer scientist and lives in Gloucestershire, UK.   twitter@cedc13


Trevor Conway writes mainly poems, stories and songs. His first collection of poems, Evidence of Freewheeling, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2015; his second, Breeding Monsters, was self-published via Amazon in 2018. Website:


Michelle Diaz has been widely published both in print and online; e.g Under the Radar, Poetry Wales, Lighthouse and Live Canon. Her debut pamphlet The Dancing Boy was published in 2019 by 'Against the Grain' Poetry press. She is currently working on her first collection.

Clive Donovan 
is the author of two poetry collections, The Taste of Glass [Cinnamon Press] and Wound Up With Love [Lapwing] and is published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Allegro, Crannog, Prole, Sentinel and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, UK. He is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee for 2022’s best individual poems. 

Oli Ellis is a poet based in Brighton, UK. As an artist she represents many different minority group experiences as a queer, disabled artist. She presents a fresh take on healing through creative arts and focuses on creating a community through shared experience and feeling in her writing. 

Paul Fenn’s poem’s have been longlisted twice in the UK National poetry competition and this year in the The Plough poetry prize and he has most recently had poems published in Allegro, Dreich Magazine, Ink, sweat and tears, The Frogmore papers, One Hand clapping, Obsessed with pipework and Dodging the rain.


Robin Helweg-Larsen, Anglo-Danish by birth but raised in the Bahamas, has been published in the Alabama Literary Review, Allegro, Ambit, Amsterdam Quarterly and other international journals. The Series Editor for Sampson Low's 'Potcake Chapbooks - Form in Formless Times', he blogs at from his hometown of Governor's Harbour.

Sacha Hutchinson won Poems for Patience competition  2022 as part of Cuirt Art Festival Galway. Her poetry has appeared in Ropes, Skylight 47, The Curlew, Live Encounters, Drawn to the Light Press, How to Heal the Earth . She was a featured reader in Over The Edge Open Reading 2021.


Jim Lloyd is a winner in the Rialto ‘Nature and Place’ poetry competition. His poems have appeared in, The Rialto, Stand, bind, Green Ink Poetry, One Hand ClappingPresence Haiku Journal, and Wales Haiku Journal. He is studying for an arts practice-based PhD, considering avian perception.

Louise Longson started writing poetry during isolation in lockdown 2020. She is widely published in print and online, and is the author of the chapbooks Hanging Fire (Dreich Publications, 2021) and Songs from the Witch Bottle: cytoplasmic variations (Alien Buddha Press, 2022).  Twitter @LouisePoetical


Beliz McKenzie is a poet and solicitor living in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters. Her poetry has previously been published in Dream Catcher magazine, short-listed in competitions of Candlestick Press and The Emma Press, and published in anthologies of Ver Poets, Barnet Competition and Poetry Space.


Ray Malone is an Irish writer and artist living in Berlin, working on a series of projects exploring the lyric potential of minimal forms based on various musical and/or literary modes/models. His work has been published in numerous print & online journals in the US, UK and Ireland.


Steve Noyes has published six poetry collections. His long poem, ‘The Conveyor’, will appear as a pamphlet from the Alfred Gustav Press in 2023. He is from Vancouver Island and lives in Sheffield.


Christopher Palmer is a poet and visual artist based in Canberra, Australia. He’s been published worldwide, including in the Australian Poetry JournalThe Brasilia reviewThe Galway ReviewLondon Grip and takahē, among others. His first collection, Afterlives, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2016.


Ava Patel won Prole Magazine’s 2021 pamphlet competition with her debut pamphlet ‘Dusk in Bloom’.  She’s been published in webzines (London Grip; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Atrium; Porridge) and magazines (South Bank Poetry; Orbis; SOUTH; Dream Catcher; New Welsh Reader, The Seventh Quarry, DREICH).


Estill Pollock's publications include Constructing the Human (Poetry Salzburg) and Relic Environments Trilogy (Cinnamon Press, Wales). His latest poetry collections Entropy, Time Signatures and the forthcoming Ark, are published by Broadstone Books. He lives in Norfolk, England.

D.A.Prince lives in Leicestershire and London. Her third collection from HappenStance Press, The Bigger Picture, was published in 2022.


Royal Rhodes taught courses in global religions for almost 40 years. His poems have appeared in various journals, online and in print, including: Last Stanza, Abandoned Mine, Snakeskin, The Lyric, and The Montreal Review, among others.  His art and poetry collaborations were published by The Catbird  [on the Yadkin] Press.


Jane Spray’s poems, several prize-winning, have appeared in Fourteen Magazine, Madrigal, Wildfire Words, Blithe Spirit, and New Chan Forum as well as in many anthologies and other publications. She belongs to three writing groups in the Forest of Dean, and sometimes also writes in her wood in Gwent.

Laura Tate’s work has appeared most recently in Halfway Down the Stairs, Anti-Heroin Chic, and has work forthcoming in The Stray Branch. For many years, she was an elementary school remedial reading teacher in rural central New York.  Now she’s a retired grandmother living in the northern Virginia/D.C. area with her writer husband and a small orange cat.  

Fiona Theokritoff lives in Nottinghamshire. She completed her Creative Writing MA at Nottingham Trent University in 2019. Her work has appeared in Mslexia, The Interpreter’s House and Under the Radar. A long time ago, Fiona studied ecology: these days she writes poems about scientific ideas, as well as shoes.  

Mark Totterdell’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and have occasionally won prizes. His collections are This Patter of Traces (Oversteps Books, 2014), Mapping (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2018), and Mollusc (The High Window Press, 2021). 

Phil Vernon returned to the UK in 2004 after spending two decades in different parts of Africa. He works in the international humanitarian and peacebuilding field. His version of Stabat Mater with music by Nicola Burnett Smith has been performed internationally. This Quieter Shore, a micro-collection, was published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2018, and a full collection Poetry After Auschwitz was published by Sentinel in 2020. Another collection, Watching the Moon Landing, was published by Hedgehog in 2022. He recently completed a new cycle of poems that explore the link between peace, conflict and place: Guerrilla Country Twitter: @philvernon2

Bel Wallace has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Last year she was awarded Highly Commended in the Writers’ Weekend Flash Fiction competition for ‘Mist’ and her poem 'Prayer to the Octopus' was short-listed for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2022. Two other poems,' Extinction Lament’ and ‘The Avenue’ will appear in Raceme Issue 14 in March.

Clint Wastling has a new collection out with Stairwell Books, called quiet Flows the Hull. He’s had poetry published in Dream Catcher, Orbis Strix and Popshot Quarterly. You can catch Clint on Twitter @clint0000


Julia White has been interested in words for most of her life but has concentrated on poetry in recent years.  She gained an MA in Creative Writing in 2019. Her poems have previously been included in East Midlands Poetry, Captured Creativity, Nine Muses and Allegro. 

Mantz Yorke – a scientist by training – lives in Manchester, England. His poems have been published internationally. His collections ‘Voyager’ and ‘Dark Matters’ are published by Dempsey and Windle.