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The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society

Today we celebrate the launch of our first anthology, The Cotton Grass Appreciation Society. Published by Maytree Press, the collection features forty seven poems inspired by the South Pennine landscapes, towns and people. The book features poems by Simon Armitage, Tom Weir, Hannah Stone, Jo Haslam, Gaia Holmes and many more. We’ll be celebrating the launch today with editors, David Coldwell and Mark Kelley at the Marsden Walking Festival where an array of poets featured in the collection will be joining us at Marsden Library from 6pm. Join us if you can.

You can order your copy now direct from our on-line shop – dare we say; it makes a perfect stocking filler.

At the Kitchen Table

The late spring snow
catches us off-guard,
drifts against the henhouse wall,
blots out the distant moors.

And here, in this borrowed house,
we watch, transfixed,
brave the blizzard
to throw scraps for the birds,
half-wishing it could always be like this.

Just you and I
at the kitchen table—
your crossword, my novel,
the weekend papers,
the last bottle of oak-aged red
waiting on the shelf.

Yet we know
the snow will thaw by morning,
and we’ll drive down the lane
for bread and logs,
ice-melt from the trees
pattering on the bonnet.

Then, too soon,
the workday grind will call us back
to the small house in the town,
where everything is a little less bright
and a little less kind.

As we leave,
the weather will change again,
the brilliant shine of it
making us smile,
and I’ll point out a newborn lamb,
his ears luminous, backlit by the sun,
as he watches us drive away.

Amanda Huggins

 

9781916038141

Joe Williams

Revolution 78

He slips the record from its sleeve,
flips it in his palms,
and with a flick of the wrist
sends it spinning through the air.

Goodbye, Pat Boone,
Tommy Steele,
Rosemary Clooney.

At well above seventy-eight rpm,
disc after disc goes flying to its death.
In each explosion, a shellac memory,
freed.

So long, Lonnie Donegan,
the Shadows,
Anthony Newley.

Make way for the Beatles,
the Animals,
the Kinks,
the future.

 

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. His verse novella, ‘An Otley Run’, was shortlisted for the Best Novella category in the 2019 Saboteur Awards. It was published by Half Moon Books, who also published his pamphlet ‘Killing the Piano’ in 2017.

http://www.joewilliams.co.uk
http://www.anotleyrun.com
Twitter @JoeWilliamsPoet
http://www.facebook.com/haikuhole

Joshua Medsker

Yeats, Remembering

Ah yes, the Rhymers. We were
dissipated, given to drink
and wild pronouncements.

We were bold, but
doomed poetically, personally
for adherence to reverie
and self-destruction

Though our verses were democratic
our lives… anarchic

and as I have written before
the center could not hold.

 

Josh Medsker is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska. He is the author of five chapbooks of poetry, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including: Contemporary American Voices, The Brooklyn Rail, The Review Review, Haiku Journal, and Red Savina Review. For a complete list of Josh Medsker’s publications, please visit his website. (www.joshmedsker.com)

Terry Wheeler

wilde

an eagle
in her youth

oscar inherited
his mother’s facility

to swoop

and unnerve with
the swiftest wit

an expert on
ear and eye

his father too

was troubled by
a court case

but oscar had
much more to lose

Terry lives in Brisbane, Australia when not travelling. He worked in the public service for decades and was inspired to write after seeing Michael Dransfield poems in The Australian newspaper when a teenager. He has been published in Australia and abroad since retiring.

Kayleigh Campbell

Today we celebrate the launch of the Maytree pamphlet Keepsake from Leeds based writer Kayleigh Campbell. Described as a haunting debut, the poems in Keepsake vividly illustrate the journey of a young women into parenthood. Themes of loss, love, anxiety and transition are underscored by the brutality of post-natal depression and family break-up. Written with heartbreaking honesty, this is a collection that will stay with you long after the last page.

You can purchase a copy of Keepsake from the Maytree shop here

There will be a special launch event in Leeds on the 12 September – details here

Kayleigh will also be at Waterstones in Huddersfield to celebrate National Poetry Day on October 3 2019 where she will be reading and signing copies of Keepsake and discussing some of the themes and issues raised in the book.

 

Baptism

People asked if we were going to Christen you.
Though my father believes in redemption to get to heaven

and that temptation keeps the path straight to hell
and though I can see the appeal of bodies

huddled together in pews each longing
for the same kind of belonging

and in turn belonging together,
I sin and I’m peaceful for that.

There is no man in my sky, only clouds
that darken then scatter like clockwork.

But here in this bath, as your dad
holds you to my breast

I almost go to sprinkle water
upon your newborn head.

 

Nathanael O’Reilly

Twilight

In the twilight of the morning
lovers come to embrace reality
in the twilight of eveninglovers ripen with new-born yearning
drawn together by desire’s gravity
in the twilight of the morning

kept apart by harsh light’s warning
waiting for night-time’s obscurity
in the twilight of evening

hours away from dark loving
surrendering to brute humanity
in the twilight of the morning

escaping time through kissing
attempting to embrace infinity
in the twilight of evening

lovers dwelling in-between eluding
roles defined by others for eternity
in the twilight of the morning
in the twilight of evening

 

Note: The lines “In the twilight of the morning” and “In the twilight of evening” are both taken from Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Nathanael O’Reilly is an Irish-Australian residing in Texas. His books include Preparations for Departure, Distance, Cult, Suburban Exile and Symptoms of Homesickness. His poetry has appeared in publications from twelve countries, including Antipodes, Cordite, Headstuff, Mascara, Skylight 47, Snorkel, Verity La and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 2017.

Twitter: nathanael_o
Instagram: nathanael_73
Facebook: Nat O’Reilly

Simon Cockle

Morning White Dove

Elvis’ great-great-great
grandmother
was a Cherokee

you can see her
in the cheekbones
the wilderness eyes

and hear the plains
echo in every line
of Mystery Train

together they listen
for the wind riding
through Graceland

and the rattle
of carriages
returning

 

Simon Cockle is a poet from Aston, Hertfordshire.  His first collection, River Lane (Arenig Press), was published in 2018. His poems have appeared in Envoi, iOTA, Dreamcatcher, The Lampeter Review and Prole Poetry. He has read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2016. 2017 and 2019.
Visit Simon’s website here
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