Issue 38, Summer 2019

Issue 38 of The Blue Nib, 15th June 2019

Anna Blasiak

Anna Blasiak – Poetry

Anna Blasiak is a poet, translator and literature co-ordinator of the European Literature Network. She has translated over 40 books from English into Polish and some fiction and poetry from Polish into English. In addition to her book-length translations, her work has been published in Best European Fiction 2015, Asymptote, The Guardian, B O D Y Literature, Modern Poetry in Translation and York Literary Review. Anna writes poetry in Polish and in English (Off_Press, Women Online Writing, Exiled Ink and Modern Poetry in Translation). She has worked in museums and a radio station, run magazines, written on art, film and theatre.


Black Car Burning by Helen Mort – Reviewed

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985, and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a ‘Next Generation Poet’, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Helen has been the Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the RSL’s 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield. Black Car Burning is her first novel.

Ruth Aylett

Celeste Aida And Other poems

Celeste Aida  The rain falls with blunt determinationbut there’s a sun behind the flat white skywhose intangible glow glosses the wet pebble edgingand in-your-face green bushesoutside the rehabilitation ward. Wetness blood-gouts the stiff red roses,  that are not allowed inside in case they harbour infection. You liked those when I wheeled you roundonly yesterday, in a windtoo cold …

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The Ekphrasis of Abstract and Monochromatic Paintings

The notion of ekphrasis as a distinctive genre of writing in relation to images arrives in the mid nineteenth century (Webb 1999). John Keats’ ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ and W.H. Auden’s ‘In the Musée des Beaux Arts’ are famous examples. A loose definition is also given by James Heffernan when he declares that ekphrasis …

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William Derge Poetry

William Derge Poetry

William Derge Poetry – Derge won the $1,000 2010 Knightsbridge Prize judged by Donald Hall and the Rainmaker Award judged by Marge Piercy. He has received honorable mentions in contests sponsored by The Bridge, Sow’s Ear, and New Millennium, among others. He has been awarded a grant by the Maryland State Arts Council.


B. Anne Adriaens -Poetry

B. ANNE ADRIAENS currently lives and writes in Somerset, Britain. Her work often reflects her interest in alienation and all things weird and dark, as well as her concerns about pollution and the environment in general. She’s written several dystopian short (and not so short) pieces and is putting together a poetry collection exploring the many places where she’s lived. She attended the Poetry Summer School at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, in June 2017 and the following July, she was awarded the title of Frome Festival Poet Laureate. Her work has previously appeared in Helios Quarterly, B.A.D. (The Bees Are Dead) and Harpur Palate, as well as on several online literary platforms.

Helen Boden

Helen Boden -Poems

Helen Boden is a Yorkshire-born, Edinburgh-based writer, educator and editor, with poems in magazines and anthologies including New Writing Scotland, Mslexia, Lighthouse and Butcher’s Dog. She also collaborates with visual artists to make responsive poems and place-specific text.

Kitty Coles

Kitty Coles -Poetry

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey and works for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been nominated for the Forward Prize and Best of the Net. She was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet Seal Wife, which was published in 2017, is available to purchase on Amazon or via Indigo Dreams

Winners of The Blue Nib Chapbook Contest 5

Poems by- Chapbook winners & commended poets

First Place: Pat Antony Judges Comment: Place and people are inextricably linked in this evocative collection of poems. They bristle with observational details that a less skilful writer might miss – a man pedals night into day, the moon is scrawled with the arpeggios of an accordion player. Each voice here is convincing and urgent. …

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Sam Smith -Poetry

Another Pause among white tussocks a sun-doped song-thrushspreads her wings  /  and opens her feathers  /  to be ant-cleaned nearby shallow ponds and pools are alive withwriggling larvae and fast                                    figure-8 beetles on the valley slopes      acres of cotton grass lie            like patches of grey frost                   fawn-white smoke heaps upwards                  into the blue-on blue sky                   …

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Patrick Wright -Poetry

Patrick Wright has a poetry pamphlet, Nullaby, published by Eyewear in 2017. A full collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, will follow in 2019. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Agenda, Wasafiri, The Reader, London Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Iota. His poem ‘The End’ was included in The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2018, judged by Maggie Smith. He has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. He currently works as a Lecturer at The Open University, where he teaches Arts and Humanities, including Creative Writing, and as Contributing Editor at Write Out Loud. He is also working on a second PhD in Creative Writing at the Open University, on the ekphrasis of abstract and monochromatic paintings, supervised by Siobhan Campbell and Jane Yeh.

Pym Schaare

Linguist and Poet – Pym Schaare

Pym Schaare, linguist and poet, explores how language forms alter socio-sexual-cultural boundaries, as in fantasy, fairy-tales and poetry re-purposing thought and form. Author of Since Then: Poems and Commentary; The Poetry of Performance; and The Mutual Orgasm: A Clitorocentric Manifesto: Shadows under her Shoes. Robyn Mathison Poetry Award, 2017, longlisted & shortlisted: Fish Publishing.

Other Voices – Poems selected by our editors

Moon Over LižnjanBy Madeleine Beckman There’s a full moon over Ližnjanover the Adriatic, the vineyards& pomegranate treesover the rocky cliffs to the seaand bicyclists    despite unlit roadsand hills         over old women dressed in black    talking outside the bakery     closedthough the ovens continueover wild boar searching in the nightas we’re …

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Tipperary Poet Michael Durack

Michael Durack lives in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. His work has appeared in journals such as Boyne Berries, Skylight 47, The Stony Thursday Book and Poetry Ireland Review. Publications include a memoir in prose and poems, Saved to Memory: Lost to View (2016) and a poetry collection, Where It Began, published by Revival Press in 2017. With his brother Austin he collaborates on a programme of poetry and guitar music and they have produced two albums, The Secret Chord (2013) and Going Gone (2015.)

Marilena Zackheos

Marilena Zackheos Poetry

Marilena Zackheos’ debut poetry collection Carmine Lullabies a little like walking around a familiar room in the dark. The furniture is all there and the same, but the walls and floor are bent and there is a dangerous, insidious, leather-clad voice whispering at you from the shadows.

Abigail Elizabeth Rowland

Poetry from Penzance to Wales -Abigail Elizabeth Rowland (Ottley)

Confessions of a Circus Performer Poise is all – even when sleeping – there is memory in musculature. From girlhood onwards nights without ceasing I have fine-tuned my entrances. Ascending the ladder, every step a gamble, feeling the spring in the platform. When I strike my pose I hear you whisper Only remember to breathe. …

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Paul McCarrick

Young Poet – Paul McCarrick

Paul McCarrick is from Athlone, Co. Westmeath. He holds an MA in Writing from NUI Galway. His poetry can be read in the Bangor Literary Journal, Boyne Berries, Skylight 47, Crannóg, and The Stinging Fly among others, and has been longlisted for the 2018 Over the Edge New Writer competition. His novel Happy-Cry with My Brilliant Life was longlisted in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre’s Novel Fair Competition.

Ruth Gilchrist

Ruth Gilchrist -Poems

Ruth Gilchrist is a Scottish based writer. A member of EyeWrite and Dunbar’s Writing Mums. “Writer of the Year 2015” Tyne and Esk. Ruth collaborates with museums, photographers, film poems, radio and musicians. Poems published in Snakesin and Scrivens webzines and the SouthBank poetry magazine Southlight and The Eildon Tree. Also in various anthologies, including the Federation of Writers Scotland.

Sue Morgan

Poetry – By Sue Morgan

The Building of Tambo International Airport I pedal full pelt, pell-mell down the back-straight road to blue, scented gum treesand wild dens, where hordes from our migrant estate play chicken with bright liveried snakes. Even fallen branches don’t stop us, we scamper, a plague into the forbidden forest. Black beetles shine, child-fist size,diva chameleons with bulging eyes slow-strut their livid-skin switches. Then rampant fire …

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An icy wind slithered inside Mia’s coat. The ground underneath her was smothered under six inches of snow, and the black trees towering over her were hunched like ailing crones. She tried not think about the sogginess of her boots, which her mother had brought over to America from Chengdu. Folding her arms close to …

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Jeremy Nathan Marks


When my neighbor’s wife passed away last year he told me how he had boxes of her things he could not bring himself to open. Boxes stashed in his attic and in a corner of their basement, spots she had selected. He said he hardly knew what was in them though he had brought himself …

Hopper Read More »

Poem Styles

Poetry inspired by the pause between travels – Abigail S. Cull

The Mermaid There is still an ocean inside your chest, your heartbeat marks the ebb and flow, changing tides. Do you still scent the sea when you inhale deeply? Do you still dream of those murky depths? For in your sleep you sometimes move with legs entwined, as though bound with kelp, you laugh, the …

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Poems of Place: Central America and Lisbon

First, two strong drinks served to us by Kristiane Weeks-Rogers. Mexican Drinking Toast La Catrina’s teeth are tucked all over streets of Mexico; between cobblestones, vendor stands. Behind smoke-drenched sheets sweeping a breeze heavy with salt, toda la sal, rimmed glasses we lift up, arriba! her white teeth shine down from shrines, sculptures, paintings propped …

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