The Blue Nib

Issue: Issue 36, 15th December 2018

Poetry from James Finnegan

salut after Iggy McGovern from afterbirth to aftermath from beetroot to bloodroot from confusion to profusion from eye-and-ear to pioneer from fission to fusion from hippo to hip-hop from income to outcome from jobless to homeless from Ku Klux to Cuckoo from lantern to lanyard from Mandela to umbrella from overseas to under siege from …

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Poetry- Andrea Potos

My Uncle and the Undertakers They try so hard, the work that none of us would do–the embalming, casketing, the cossetting; and the person dressed in his satin bed still seems to look like some far-fetched hint of his former self. Yet in the chapel today, the body of my uncle– oldest and last son …

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Poetry- Bernie Crawford

House Work Since January stole my tongue and tied itinto knots, the house has become a blank verse.My hands repeat a cleaning rhyme in every stanza,I pack metaphors into drawers, layer themon shelves in the hot press among folded towels. Sparkling saucepans, spilling stolen poetry, hangfrom the freshly-painted bracket over the sink.The old carpet is …

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Bloodline

Buy it now “Bloodline” Michael A Griffith Michael A Griffith’s poems often start with a simple observation and then take that idea or image for an exploratory walk. His focus often falls on family relationships. Making a packed lunch in “Tetris” prompts musings on parental roles, ”       You’re off to work as …

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Weightless in the Nets

Buy it “Weightless in the Nets” Roy Liran (Blue Nib) The poems in “Weightless in the Nets” are probing observations that explore and ask questions about perceptions and preconceived views of readers. They rely on giving the reader sufficient detail to focus attention and be guided by the poet. A similar approach is taken in …

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Review of Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine

A review of the short fiction collection Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine Mimi Gladman Wendy Erskine’s excellent debut collection of short stories was published in September by The Stinging Fly Press, based in Dublin. The British publishing industry weekly The Bookseller reported in October that the international rights to the collection have since been acquired …

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Poetry- Deborah Harvey

Understorey Your father in his fawn windcheaternames the song of each bird we hearpoints out fox holes and fungi,pulls to one side an elder branchexplains how those dollops of blossombecame this darkening fruit. As he lets go the branch swings backlike the beams of cranes overheadbuilding conference halls, brand new departmentsor the CCTV in these …

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Poetry- Marcy Clarke

SUET, SUNFLOWERS AND HAY Winter is at our gateand a dozen crows, like trespassing bandits,raid our slumbering garden The sun is a hard shadow bleaching bony limbs,casting dull silhouettes on a sea of rustling leaves and corduroy trousers, tucked in boots,scatter crushed memoriesfilling the sky with gray notes whispering snow from the hills Homesteaders, roots …

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Poetry- Dana St Mary

the flag keeper he walks slowly to the placewith that solemnitythat cadavers bring, andleans the heavy ladderon the mast-like pole. a tilted head andgooseflesh showthat today is windless,breezeless,grey, anddumb. the climb is short, justtwelve foot or so. the turnbuckle holds the nightin its iron hand,and unwinding the stiffened linemakes his fingersache. he looks out at …

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Poetry- Lucy Mackarel

In Memorial  I have never been to a funeral,I have, however mourned a body.In a room with brown walls and a window to the road.It was his bedroom and the body was my own. Knees on carpet as though I were praying.This act though, was anything but holy.A position of submission, how fitting.I felt like …

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Jane Simmons reviews Claire Williamson’s Visiting the Minotaur

Claire Williamson: Visiting the Minotaur Jane Simmons continues her series of reviews of contemporary women’s poetry Published by Seren ISBN: 9781781724439 Claire Williamson has an MA in Literary Studies, (UWE), and is a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy and Programme Leader for the MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at the Metanoia Institute in …

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Poetry- Nadia Wolnisty

On “Self-Portrait” by Kay Sage To be a woman is like this now.Scrub it off as if it were a stain—all traces of your face.Use bleach if you must or dish soapif you have time to scrub.You’ll know when to stop. The lattice work where your noseused to be won’t hang vines orgo inside pianos. …

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Poetry- Bob Beagrie

Chiromancy ‘The great Sage as high as Heaven visited here.’Wu Cheng’en – Journey to the West, 1592 High staggered moorland crossroadstoo few trees, the big wide skyfresh roadkill and opportunist crowsturning turning turning turning,The Roda Cross by the roadsidescattered offerings in the grassHogtenberg’s summit beyond WesterdaleCrouched friars, Rosedale Abbey, Cockayne RidgeRoundhead recruits resting sore shanks,tarmac’s …

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Collaboration-  Caron Freeborn

An editor at Abacus once complained, reading a draft of my second novel, that it didn’t have enough flags to help the reader through.  ‘We don’t all live inside your head you know,’ he said.  Adding, ‘And thank God for that.’  Harsh, but fair. I’ve told that story against myself for years, but it’s only …

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Poetry- by Mike Griffith

Your funeral is on Friday. Today is the heart attack. Yesterday was the two meetings, dinnerwith Tony and Kat, then bed withthe wife (while thinking of Kat). Day before was that argument overspending too much time at the office, thenthat round of 9 holes snuck in before getting home.(Tony still has your golf bag, by …

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Poetry- Maxine Rose Munro

About the writer Maxine Rose Munro is a Shetlander adrift on the outskirts of Glasgow. After spending the first eighteen years of her life exclusively on the islands, without even a small break for the holidays, the culture shock experienced on eventually seeing the wider world rocked her to her core and is still rocking …

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Poetry- Vivien Jones

Allotment I just have to see those rigs,those bed-spread patches,to see my mother sewingfragments of grown-out-of clothes,to make a summer skirt. She laid the colours like plants,like rows of summer blossom,the cup of tulips, the tuck of roses,the corduroy of new turned rigs,I wore a garden in the sun. While outside, my fatherlined up wigwams for beans,telling …

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Poetry- Caron Freeborn

Red plums I bit into the unnoted plum, expecting sharpdisappointment or at best, tolerablenear-sweetness.  My thumbleft an indent which gave me some hope –bruised fruit isn’t a violentassault on the tongue.  But that bite –I’ll never forget that bite – flesh slidingagainst gum, the fruit neither resistingnor clinging – and the surprise, oh that,of a …

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Poetry- Melissa Mulvihill

Fata Morgana I am lost on the Lake deliberately at sea tossing about in moody waves raging in storms of fictive selves struggling for a critical angle ebbing in the middle of my life suffering from erratic life sources changes in speed and direction not steadfast vanishing occasionally absconding on the horizon haze a fata …

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Poetry- Mark Tarren

In Memoriam Here lies his naked body, like a baroque Christ. Long pale arms at his side, it is not Shakespeare’s Adonis. Nor is it the carved strength of Achilles that sleeps in the papyrus of the Iliad. He wanted to have his life marked upon his body. To have Homer scar him somehow with …

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Poetry- Simon Perchik

And though the stars came bywhat you hear stays wetfor your hands on the rope waiting till it’s dark –you hang the washat night, sure the clothes will dry–by morning you’ll fill the tub again with her dress and stirtill the water turns blacksmells from sleeves and the same shouldersthat were always therewith grass that …

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Poetry- Anne McMaster

Lost and Foundinspired by Robert MacFarlane’s The Lost Words You might think we lose these wordsas one may, casually, lose a small cool coinbehind the sofa – or as a sweet that meltsinto a sticky mass in the corner of that pocketof our favourite winter coat. But this is so much more. We first forget …

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David Butler Reviews Maurice Devitt’s, Growing Up in Colour

MAURICE DEVITT completed the MA in Poetry Studies at Mater Dei, won the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition and was placed or shortlisted in many other competitions including The Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Listowel Collection Competition and Cúirt New Writing Award. Selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions in 2016, he was a featured poet at the Poets in Transylvania …

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Jane Simmons reviews Anne Bevan’s first collection of poems

TESTAMENT ANNE ELIZABETH BEVAN ISBN 978-1-910855-82-9 £10.00 Lapwing Publications, Belfast. Testament, Cork based poet Anne Bevan’s first collection of poems, has already received praise from reviewers:Anne’s poetry gets straight to the heart of the matter – whatever subject matter she alights upon. Her words transport you on an inner journey of the mind and soul; …

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Poetry- Pauline Flynn

About the writer Pauline Flynn is a Visual Artist/Poet. She lives in a small village in West Wicklow. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UCD, was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2010 and is published in various literary journals in Ireland, US and UK, including Light, a journal of poetry …

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Emma Lee reviews “Afternoon Drinking in the Jolly Butchers” by Rachel Coventry

Afternoon drinking in The Jolly Butchers feels like being invited to join in a casual conversation with a group you found yourself sitting near to in a pub or café because the conversation sounded interesting and the participants noticed your curiosity. That’s not to say that the conversation doesn’t tackle darker or intricate topics but the …

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Other Voices 1: Individual Voices

Seasons of the poet Young PoetYou lick pre-gummed words;first by mistake then nightly –love letters unsent. PublicationHow to see your breathwithout a cold morning’s shock.Watching your soul fade. Visiting PoetWhen critics mugged you,all they got was a guidebookto their own city. Letting goEach poem unwindsmore fuse-wire. One day you’ll beat a safe distance.  Love is …

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Consciousness and Control – Room Little Darker by June Caldwell reviewed by Brian Kirk

Consciousness and Control Room Little Darker by June Caldwell 978-1788542906 Apollo (11 Jan. 2018) When Room Little Darker was published last year it immediately grabbed public attention because of the dark subject matter of some of the stories. Some reviews hailed it as a book which pushed the boundaries of the form, seeing it as …

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Poetry- Susan Castillo Street

TEST MATCH We watch the cricket.Clueless American, British man.Tomay-to Tomah-to doesn’t even come close.I blink at the screen, hesitatebut think, what the heck, asksorry, but, er, what is a wicket?He smiles back, tells me gently,explains the meaning ofleg in front, googly.  I remind myself that after all,he has passed the Elvis Test,cunningly designed to root …

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Poetry- Harold Ackerman

Three Poems Starting with ‘W’ Written on a Torn Package for Eric and Chris That time I stepped to the blackboardto draw a shape with chalk as I spoke,trying to illustrate some notion of unityamong a race of humans who were no moreto raise up children that their words might holdagainst the spatter not of …

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The Contemporary Short Story by Fiction Editor Mimi Gladman

A Pick of the Best Contemporary English-language Short Story Collections Short stories appear widely in literary magazines, as well as in the relatively small number of mainstream publications that publish literary short stories, notably The New Yorker. There are also plenty of anthologies and single-author collections of short fiction published, and the form seems to …

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Poetry- Jean Taylor

About the writer Jean Taylor belongs to Words on Canvas – a group of writers who work in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland. Her poetry has been published in a range of publications including Orbis, Northwords Now, Eildon Tree, and Envoi as well as online on Snakeskin, Amaryllis and Ink, Sweat and Tears. …

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Poetry- Kieran Egan

About the writer Kieran Egan lives in Vancouver. He was shortlisted for the Times Literary Supplement (UK) Mick Imlah prize in 2017, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Canadian magazines Quills, Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review, Qwerty, Antigonish Review, Canadian Quarterly, and, in the US in Tenth Muse, Foxglove Journal, …

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Emma Lee Reviews Bind by Christine Murray SB

Bind Christine Murray Turas Press https://turaspress.ie/shop/bind-by-christine-murray/ ISBN: 978-0-9957916-4-0, 72pp, €12 Christine Murray uses minimal, impressionistic language to convey images from the natural world.  bind is split into sections,  bind ,  a hierarchy of halls ,  babel,  wintering and Dawn, the name of the last section rocks convention by having an initial capital. The lack of capitals signals to the reader …

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Other Voices 2 : Individual Poems Selected by Shirley Bell

STREET MINUTE You’ll remember their faceswhen you looknot glance, not fixed-forward starestiff lipped lying about having no change You’ll notice their gaunt stubble,smiles with careless teethingrained handson curled dogspressed pack-tighton weary blankets You’ll see them huddled, mutewithin a depression as heavy as the anchor-weightof the streetssubmerged in a bleak world of knees, legs, feetpassing in …

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Poetry- Cathy Bryant

Unasked, He Teaches Me Photography Keep your horizons level, he says.And not in the middle. Upper thirdor lower.But I don’t want a postcard, nor art.I just – that is – I mean – to catchthat moment when I looked upfrom the sleeping sand, warmon my back, and saw, and saw,and saw, angles dancing in waterand …

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Poetry- Chris Hardy

Pass A strip of linen with my name,sewn into a shirt by my motherwho was no seamstress. Taking care but not enoughto stop her thinkingwhy she had to do this –so when I was gone and someone who was not herwashed my shirt I’d find itironed and folded on the bed. To be without a …

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Poetry- Kirsty A. Niven

Murderer Dead poems ooze from my pen,my bloodstained fingers refusingto drop the weapon, this implementthat has inflicted so much damage,drained so much life-force. Inspiration mutilated and disfigured,beautiful moments slaughteredin my rough butcher’s hands.Their corpses litter the floor,expressions pallid and vacant. What a waste of life. The Old Bar Midsummer, and the steam of the day’s …

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Poetry- Megan Stratford

buriedshe’s just where you said i’d find herhalf-way buriedunderneath the pendulous trapezeto hang off of on afternoons that couldn’t move days likethis one when i smelled these collapsed parts before befuddlingonto sleep which was kept tidy &in the shape of comfort without cushionblessing misplaced in evenings umbra my name is christened in a far off …

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Poetry – John Short

AQUARIUM I dreamed of an aquarium fixed into my back a miniature box with tetras and an angel fish, its glass sunk deep instead of memories, I had to ask each day if they were still alive framed there in that wall of flesh. It was necessary to watch out for these delicate creatures, cradle …

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