Poetry by Frankie McMillan

Frankie McMillan is an award-winning writer based in Christchurch. Winner of the New Zealand Poetry International competition (2009), her poems were selected for Best New Zealand Poems (2012, 2015). Her book, The Father of Octopus Wrestling and other small fictions, was listed by Spinoff as one of the 10 best New Zealand fiction books of 2019.

OUR UNCLES/US GIRLS   
For all my uncles, real and imagined, who dealt with the aftermath of war; for all us girls, remembered and forgotten, who grew up with the sound of accordions in our ears.

The uncles come in from the cold      

lay their rifles on the kitchen table 

It is Saturday night. Snow falls –

the nudging drift of horses before they break

into a canter. Snow falls –

our mother throws a sheet into the air.  Snow falls –

the war beckons through the window. 

When snow doesn’t fall the uncles 

bring out their accordions,

they stamp their feet, they roar with laughter

slam good-natured bodies together. 

Later they lie still     

as dead horses on the living room floor,   

numb to our ministrations. 

We straighten limbs, lay our ears to their chests,

listen for their heartbeats.

Snow falls, we run like soldiers when they stir. 

Now that you're here

The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

On Astráil

An Astráil editor, Denise O’Hagan

An Astráil editor, Denise O'Hagan
An Astráil editor, Denise O'Hagan on the poets she selected for this issue.

Poetry by Moya Pacey

poetry by Moya Pacey
Moya Pacey co-edits the on-line journal, 'Not Very Quiet'

2 poems by Amanda McLeod

Amanda McLeod, Animal Behaviour
Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based writer and artist. Her debut flash fiction, Animal Behaviour (Chaffinch Press, 2020), came out on July 3 2020.

Poetry by Eugen Bacon

Eugen Bacon’s work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, Australian Shadows Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.
Eugen Bacon’s work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, Australian Shadows Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.

2 poems by emerging poet Georgina Ashworth

2 poems by emerging poet Georgina Ashworth
Emerging poet Georgina Ashworth was winner of the ECU’s Talus Prize in the poetry category (2017), she was also the judging panel’s favourite for the Yarra Libraries Receipt Poetry Competition, as part of the Digital Writers Festival (2019).

Editor of An Astraíl, Denise O’Hagan selects poetry from new and established voices in Austrailia and New Zealand and is constantly searching for fresh and innovative voices in poetry from Ireland or The United Kingdom: Submit to An Astraíl.

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Poetry by Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts is a writer, critic and publisher, he co-edits the online journal Rochford Street Review and, with Linda Adair, runs Rochford Press.