Tag Archives: Mary Anne Smith Sellen

Julie Anne Gilligan – View from Dystopia

Inspired by the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012)

With practice I can say her name, pronounce it
carefully, like the whisper it is

though probably not as she would,
even on her own island of possibilities,
even where nothing might happen twice.

She had so many ways to use the same odd words,
turned them from meaning to experience

from form to feeling.

First met in essence inside a New York poem,
she leaped from page to understanding.

Photograph from September 11 it was,
stuck within the core of me
all she could do (she said) was to describe this flight,
leave the last line to others,
those who queue at the door of closure.

But her all was just enough

for me to take a different leap,
to dive into the sea of her mind.

I carry in my pockets a loose change of words,
oddities and others that are far from odd.

I shall use them carefully
though probably not as she would
as nothing might be written twice.

‘View from Dystopia’ won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

JULIE ANNE GILLIGAN’s poems have appeared in several anthologies, e-zines, journals and readings. Her debut collection ‘The Thickness of Blood’ was published in 2012. She holds several qualifications, most recently The Open University.MA in Creative Writing (2018). She firmly believes in a positive outlook and a sense of the ridiculous. She is an active member of The Open University Poetry Society and Poets Abroad, a collective of poets mostly from Ireland, UK, USA and Australia. She lives in semi-rural Essex.

Trevor Breedon – Chatsworth Street

Chatsworth Street

Not one memory of the place contains rain,
yet here it is now, siling it down, windscreen
runnels melting the house front’s worn brick,
its unmatched windows and the door
with the high letter box, from which news,
good and bad, drifted down for 18 years.
Odd that rain is not remembered, while snow
builds miniature ranges in gutters
and sun bakes gravelled tar into dinner smells,
fag smoke and sawn-off woodyard scents.

Today the strongest stink is said to be of weed
from dealing dens, the talk is of fireworks
launched into neighbours’ homes. But only
at the top end of the street, a resident proclaims,
the end that was for night-time gatherings
under the iron lamp in games of growing up,
baked bean kisses and long drags on rescued nubs,
before seeking, hiding, then vanishing inside
to listen to adult voices wonder
how they might escape this place.

Trevor Breedon

Trevor Breedon lives near Canterbury in Kent. He started writing poetry in 2014 after a career spent working as a sub-editor on newspapers in Sheffield, Nottingham and London. He is a member of two poetry groups, SaveAs Writers in Canterbury and SoundLines in the Sandwich/Deal area.

Chatsworth Street by Trevor Breedon was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

Ama Bolton – Sumburgh Head 2020

Sumburgh Head 2020

I’ve been coming here
daytime dusk and dark
since early spring

I have watched
fulmar and puffin
seen tufts of thrift
bloom and wither
on the cliff edge

I’ve known the camera’s eye
blurred with rain
seen the gaze turn
from sunlit fields
to steel-grey cumulonimbus
behind the lighthouse

I have seen sunset
flame-yellow or palest peach
the sun’s last blink
under a blanket of stratus
a lit window on a spit of land
dazzle of airport lights

I’ve walked the cliffs
stared out to sea
watched ships pass
heard surge and backwash
and the clamour of birds

I’ve found a way
to outwit gravity’s drag
spread black-tipped wings
skimmed the waves
braved the wind
dived and snatched
flown back to my mate
to our nook in the high-rise
moss-green rockface

in the early hours
I have tuned in
     Shetland Isles
southeast four to six
becoming cyclonic

Ama Bolton

Ama Bolton convenes a Stanza group in Somerset, where she lives with a sculptor and two hens. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, from Bridport Prize (2008) to Horses of a Different Colour (2021), in journals including Magma, Mslexia, Coast to Coast to Coast, Obsessed with Pipework, Brittle Star, The Alchemy Spoon and Far-Off Places, online at Right Hand Pointing, Unlost, Places of Poetry, The Poetry Map of Scotland and The Stare’s Nest, and on Radio 3’s The Verb.

Sumburgh Head 2020 was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.