Women Poets, Here’s an update on Second Light Poetry Competition and information on ARTEMISpoetry Call for Submissions

Artemis pouring a libation, c. 460-450 BCE photo  courtesy of Jastrow and generously released into the public domain

“So many more women have found now their voice. Let’s celebrate poets who excite us, from Emily Bronte (say) to Jorie Graham (say). We can also start thinking seriously about differences and about inflated reputations. Let’s be wary about ‘celebrity status’. This tends to narrows true appreciation. Read voraciously. Include lesser known poets and dead poets. You will be impressed by how much exciting writing is on offer.” Convener (Founder) of Second Light Network of Women Poets, Dilys Wood, in an interview in The Poet by Day HERE.

SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION is open for entries of poetry by women on August 6th. The competition includes first prizes for best long length poem [no length limit] and best short length poem, as well as 2nd and 3rd prizes and commendations publication in ARTEMISpoetry magazine for all these [or extracts in the case of long poems]. Also readings to prize winners and commended poets. For full details got to Second Light Live HERE

UPDATE: I’ve published the announcement on this competition twice, once HERE and then again yesterday included in Opportunity Knocks. According to the guidelines HERE: “Poems on any subject. Must be the unaided work of the writer and must not have been previously published unless in a magazine only.” I asked for clarification and Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood confirmed that “magazine” includes Zines and personal blogs. Good news for those of us who publish online and have been included in digital publications. Note the deadline is August 4th but you may submit via email, so go for it.  Good luck.

ARTEMISpoetry is the bi-annual journal (May and November) of the Second Light Network of Women Poets, published under their Second Light Publications imprint. Members receive a copy as part of their membership benefits. Issues are available to non-members by subscription at £9 p.a. or as a one-off purchase at £5 a copy (plusp&p).

Prices with p&p:
Subscription:   UK £12,   Eur £17,   ROW £20
Single Issue:   UK £6,   Eur £9,   ROW £10

Cheque payable to “Second Light” and send to Administrator, Anne Stewart at 20 Clovelly Way, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0WD. Please use the Subscription order form and include your telephone number with your order in case of query. Or you can subscribe online here. Enquire for back copies and/or Sold Out issues as pdf for £4 (e-mail Administrator editor@poetrypf.co.uk).

See Dilys Wood’s Guest Blog on Ambitious Women Poets at Brittle Star

ARTEMISpoetry at the Poetry Library’s digital archive

ARTEMISpoery (& Myra Schneider/John Killick’s Writing Your Self at the Bluebell Books blogspot

ARTEMISpoetry at Abegail Morley blogspot

Submission Guidelines

Submission is open to women only, including non-members. We aim to publish new work, so submissions should be unpublished (by ‘published’ we mean: in print, on the internet or by way of media broadcast or on CD), and not ‘out in submission’ elsewhere, whether to magazines or competitions.

ARTEMISpoetry Issue 23, November 2019 (& Issue 24, May 2020)

Editors for Issue 23 are: General & Artwork – Dilys Wood and Myra Schneider; Poetry – Anne Stewart.

Readers’ Letters are invited. Comments on the journal’s content or anything you would like to see discussed in relation to women’s writing. (max 100 words).

All submissions: submit paper copy initially to Dilys Wood, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. Please write “ARTEMISpoetry” on your envelope. (Enquiries only: e-mail Administrator editor@poetrypf.co.uk)

Poems: Issue 23 deadline – 31st August 2019

Poems by women of any age. Poems should be typed, or if written, then very neatly. Each poem should commence on a new page, headed “Submission for ARTEMISpoetry”. Please SEND TWO COPIES. Do include your name with each poem and include your name and full contact details in your submission. Long poems are considered. Submit up to 4 poems to a maximum of 200 lines in all. Our line counts are for poem (and any footnote) text lines only, so excluding titles and breaks.

Contributors whose poetry is accepted will be notified by 31st October 2019.

Poetry Editor: Anne Stewart, whose latest collection is The Last Parent, published in April this year by Second Light Publications. She has an MA (Dist.) in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam. Awards include The Bridport Prize (2008), the Southport Poetry Prize, the Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy), and a Hawthornden Fellowship. She created and runs the poet showcase site poetry p f. More at Anne’s website.

Artwork: Issue 23 deadline is 14th September 2019

Black/white photographs or line-art, maximum of 4 pieces. Please give a title for each work. We are looking to include a wide range of subject-matter and style. Images which work best have good definition and contrast. … Paper copy to Dilys Wood (as above)

Contributors whose artwork is accepted will be notified by 31st October 2019.

“SECOND LIGHT is affirming and creative, thoughtful and wide-ranging. It is unique in offering practical advice, support, activities geared to promoting visibility and publication outlets for older women poets.” Poet, Katherine Gallagher


Recent in digital publications: 
* Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman.

I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Second Light Network of Women Poets

“I run a network for women poets and naturally I want our members to be treated equitably, with recognition of any woman’s potential to be in the top flight of creative artists.

“Some poets feel that ‘male and female he made them’ should not be an issue. I disagree because I want to celebrate and gain personal inspiration from the last fifty years. There has been a vastly increased involvement of women as students of poetry, published poets, book purchasers and consumers of ‘products’ such as poetry festivals. I also want it debated why this has not meant equality of treatment by journals.” Dilys Wood interview with Jamie Dedes

I wasn’t there at day one but it’s a joyous thing to be an American member of  Second Light Network of Women Poets (Second Light Live) on its 25th Anniversary and to happily extend appreciation to Myra Schneider who introduced me to this extraordinary effort, to Dilys Wood for her vision and her founding of the SLN, to Anne Stewart for her many and varied contributions, and to the other members, talented, hard-working, prolific, and often courageous.

SLN hosts events, sponsores classes, including remote classes (i.e.,  distance learning), and publishes books and ARTEMISpoetry journal. The network is for women only.  The poetry is for everyone.


Dates for your diary, …


Monday to Friday 15th to 19th July, Holland House Residential, Location, location, location…

Tuesday 6th August, deadline for Second Light Poetry Competition for Long & Short Poems by Women

Friday/Saturday 22nd/23rd November, Autumn Festival, Poetry Makes Nothing Happen (booking opens August)

Saturday 31st August, deadline for poetry submissions to ARTEMISpoetry Iss 23
Saturday 14th September, deadline for artwork submissions & Members’ News to ARTEMISpoetry Iss 23

SLN 25th Anniversary Poetry Competition.


Competitions / Calls for Submissions

Second Light Poetry Competition for Long and Short Poems by Women 2019 – now open to women internationally

JUDGE KATE FOLEY‘s background includes work as a nurse, midwife, teacher and archaeological conservator. She has published ten poetry collections, most recently Electric Psalms, New and Collected Poems (Shoestring 2016) and A Gift of Rivers(Arachne, 2018). She is the in-coming President of Suffolk Poetry Society.

£300 First Prize for each of Long (no upper limit) and Short (max 50 lines) poems

£150 Second Prize (1 poem from either category)

£75 Third Prize (1 poem from either category)

Winning & Commended Poems published (in full or extract) in ARTEMISpoetry

Winners offered a London reading.

Deadline 6th August.

Entry: £6 each per long poem. Short poems: £4 each or £9 for 3, £14 for 8. Enter by post (2 copies) or online.
**Members are entitled to one free entry into the competition. Join now to be eligible.** (see About Second Light/Joining)
more: Rules & Entry

direct link to payment at poetry p f online shop

The results will be posted on the website by 30th September.

The information shared here is courtesy of SLN; the photo credit goes to George Hoden, Public Domain Pictures.net; the balloons are courtesy of PDclipart.org.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or comissions.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Second Light Network of Women Poets: Celebrating Anthologies of Women’s Poetry

They thought death was worth it, but I Have a self to recover, a queen. Is she dead, is she sleeping? Where has she been, With her lion-red body, her wings of glass?

They thought death was worth it, but I
Have a self to recover, a queen
Is she dead, is she sleeping?
Where has she been,
With her lion-red body, her wings of glass?
excerpt from “Stings” by Sylvia Plath

“I’m completely wowed … the most important anthology for decades,” John Killick
“tremendously inspiring,” Moniza Alvi  

“an amazing anthology,” Pauline Stainer
“It’s a magnificent anthology (and I’m not just saying this because my mother’s face peers at me from the cover!),” Adam Horovitz
“I’m impressed,” Anne Stevenson

Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN) does many wonderful things for women poets of a certain age, but among the loveliest is the production of poetry anthologies. SLN’s latest anthology is Her Wings of Glass, the title taken from Sylvia Plath’s poem Stings in which she uses the life in the hive as metaphor for her own life and feelings.

When we consider all the elements of an apiary with its oddly flipped sexual structure, the momentary life of the parthenogenic queen juxtaposed against the leisurely life of drifting drones, we appreciate the brilliance of Plath’s using the apiary as an allegory for her relationship with her husband and her conflicted feelings about domesticity and motherhood.  The bee community makes for an apt illustration of Plath’s poetic self (queen), her domestic self (drudge), her distaste for other women willing to be drudges, to sacrifice themselves.  The poem is intensely personal, has elements of tenderness but ends fiercely. (FYI: You can view photographs of Plath’s worksheets HERE.)

It’s easy to appreciate just why the women of the ’60s were so enamored of Sylvia Plath, why she is still appreciated for both her observations and her craft.  It’s also easy to understand why a reference to Plath’s work would make such a good title for a collection of poetry by contemporary women poets. The anthology, like the poets, poetry and the work in ARTEMISpoetry (biannual magazine) represent a cross-section of A-list poets and a range of themes, subjects and styles.

ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 14
Issue 14

There’s a good piece by Anne Stewart on Her Wings of Glass in the May 2015 issue of ARTEMISpoetry, which focuses on anthologies. Due to the very nature of SLN, many are the poets and poems that might be overlooked by other press as not in line with mainstream literary standard. I deem this an advantage indeed and wish more publishers would take note.

Petronella Gives a Reading c Kate Folley
Petronella Gives a Reading (c) Kate Foley

In addition to celebrating poetry anthologies, the current issue also featured Alison Brackenbury, the award-winning author of eight collections, and Jemma Borg in an interesting piece by Kay Syrad: The Illuminated World, A Dialogue Between Science and Poetry.   Jemma studied evolutionary genetics and worked as a tech editor among other jobs. She stands at the intersection of science and poetry.

“I tend now to think of science and poetry in some kind opposition because they are such different systems of thought in terms of the philosophical roots and development, but essentially it is this love of what is unknown that is common to both and which forms my motivation as an individual: how can we, and indeed is it possible to, understand this world we are embedded in.”

Susan Wicks selected the poetry shared  in this issue, which included these two:

Gift from my Daughter

A pink bag with lime-green flowers
in silk floated
like a lotus as she carried it
down the ward.

We fizzed with giggles over
the contents,
cream laced with sandalwood
and lavender,
lip-salve with lemon,
little bottles steeped in mint
and nutmeg,
a Morpheus spray
to enchant the pillow with sleep.

Outside, the weather slashed its tail
of water-scales
and hail,
and we unpacked the orient,
distilled these gardens from the east.

Isobel Thrilling

Where lies the blame?

Things in their quiet think no harm,
light probes, passes, leaves unmoved
knife, whip, Kalashnikov.

Stone voices grate, shingle shifts,
things in unquiet hands drip blood
the birds no longer sing.

Shadows touch, move on, abandon
farmhouse, barn and empty field
the bees have gone.

Jenna Plewes

The homage to Anne Cluysenaar in this issue was warm and appreciative and the thoughts of several poets who knew her were included. I find this sort of acknowledgement and loyalty touching and asked for permission to include Alison Mace’s poem in this blog post. Alison said that we need to read Anne’s Diary Poems to fully appreciate her poem, but I took it at face value and warmed to it, though I haven’t read Touching Distances: Diary Poems.  I like Alison’s poem for the gentle way it shows how one poet and her work and life were valued.


Alison Mace writes: Since Anne Cluysenaar’s appalling and untimely death, I have meant to write about her, a poem if possible. Anne came, when she could, to our monthly NaCOT poetry-writing group at William and Juliet Ayot’s house near Chepstow. We were so lucky to have her. Her contributions were memorable and heart-warming, both of her own work – several of the Diary Poems that became Touching Distances – and in the help she gave the rest of us with our own poems.


‘Wise’ comes first to mind,
then ‘kind’,
and then so many more.
we count the ways she was:
capable, nurturing,
loving her cob, her cat,
at home with hens and hay,
Mozart and Henry Vaughan;
happy to teach, to learn –
learned indeed – at ease
combining earth with wit,
abstruse with everyday –
and ours: muse, mentor, friend,
bringing her poetry
for us, wanting our own:
probing, encouraging –
all with her gentle smile.

And so it shatters sense
that such a life should end
with terror, suddenness
and wanton violence –
a bleak atrocity.
The distance we would touch
that our intensest thoughts
might wing to her
has widened beyond reach,
leaving us at a loss,
empty, and blank, and still

– Alison Mace

So, another altogether enjoyable read. Another issue to return to with pleasure.

All things SLN may be found HERE including gatherings and classes, remote – or as we in the U.S. would say “distance” – classes, coaching, contests, books, magazine, samplings of poetry and introductions to poets.  Much appreciation to SLN Founder Dilys Wood and to Myra Schneider and Anne Stewart and all the other women for their work, their poetry, and their commitment to women and poetry. Second Light Network of Women Poets is based in London and most of the members are in the UK, but membership is not geographically restricted. Of note: Anne Stewart has a site – poetry p f – which makes it easy to pay membership fees and to order books, ARTEMISpoetry, poem cards and other goodies.

Congratulations to Myra Schneider: Goulash from her collection Circling the Core (Enitharmon Press, 2008) was recently featured on Anthony Wilson‘s Famous Lifesaving Poems. We’ve featured it in The BeZine and are all fans.  Bravo, Myra! Here it is on the Lifesaving Poems site. Contact Myra for Circling the Core and other books.

Poems, cartoon, cover art are published here with permission of the publishers and authors.

© 2015, article, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; cover art, Second Light Live; poems and cartoon as indicated above.

ARTEMISpoetry: remember, sift, weigh, estimate … total …

“And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total?” Tillie Olsen (1912-2007), American writer and first-generation American feminist


I never pick up my copy of Second Light Network’s 2006 anthology, Images of Womenor open the pages of its magazine, ARTEMISpoetry, without thinking of Tillie Olsen and her book, Silences.  Olsen, an intelligent and hugely talented woman, produced a rather modest opus by some estimates.

Ms. Olsen’s nonfiction book, Silences, was published “in 1978, an examination of the impediments that writers face because of sex, race or social class. Reviewing the book in The New York Times Book Review, Margaret Atwood attributed Ms. Olsen’s relatively small output to her full life as a wife and mother, a “grueling obstacle course” experienced by many writers.

[The book] “‘begins with an account, first drafted in 1962, of her own long, circumstantially enforced silence,’ Ms. Atwood wrote. ‘She did not write for a very simple reason: A day has 24 hours. For 20 years she had no time, no energy and none of the money that would have bought both.'” Julie Bosmen, Tillie Olsen, Feminist Writer, Dies at 94

Second Light is about just the opposite of silence. It’s about women getting a second chance to have their say. It offers older women of a certain generation and those women over forty coming up behind them a “room of their own,” if you will; a place to remember, sift, weigh, estimate and – perhaps – to total. (This is not to negate men or to deny that men are often also silenced by their circumstances, but that would be a subject for another day. Among other things, the heart aches for all the voices being silenced by wars and other violence, by starvation and by social and economic inequities.)


artemisIssue 12 of ARTEMISpoetry (May 2014) arrived as I was transitioning into senior digs and immediately took its place at the top of the stack of books and magazines waiting for calmer moments and a close read. Reading through the pages, it’s hard to say what is best or better because it’s all good from the featured poets and even to the ad on the back cover that offers a sample of two poems from Hilary Davies‘ poetry collection ImperiumEnitharmon Press.

It’s a difficult thing to pick just a few poems from the wealth of this issue, but here they are … you may chuckle at the first and dab at your tears when you read the other two. They are shared here with the generous permission of the poets and publisher.

The Substitute Sky

Each day we stare at screens,
a sly fluorescence, a not-quite sky
where swarms of data
aggregate and fly

while unseen cloud-and-sunlight
walks the grass, gold shoes
then grey, and aspen, oak,
the green-leaved spirits, pray.

Pilots of pixel storms
what do we bring? Less talk,
less laughter, less sun on our skins;
our lives on hold, our children wired in.

Core addiction, captive eyes.
Outside the real world breathes and dies.

– © Lynne Wycherley


In the shower you cling to me, your new grab-handle.
Ignoring my shakes, we both pretend you’re in safe hands.
Ninety years of fair usage, Mum, and your scrap of a body

is shrunken against a cage of chrome bars. Buttocks swing,
their skin an overhang of ragged sack; dugs hang
like empty toothpaste tubes; hip bones jut like garden stakes.

As if flicking a switch, before I can distance or disown them,
wartime images flash on my inner eye, a film-reel
of Pathe horrors. I feel the panic in your grip pinch

when I regulate the shower temperature, causing overflow.
I sense a warder’s buzz of control
knowing you are lost in a huddle of hurt and helplessness.

Though eager for the rush of water to relax your greying skin,
you’re fearful of falls, bruises, broken bones. Should you now
be fearful of me too? Frailty lays a hand on both of us,

each clutching at her hopes. Under the metallic power jets,
I scrub myself to clean my shame away and find the love that,
tight as a rosebud un-blossoming in winter, refused to flower today.

– © June Hall

‘Dear God, all the children can run except me’

Most children come out right. They come with all
their arms and legs, ten fingers and ten toes,
their brains wired up the ordinary way.
They go to Brownies and have sleepovers,
they learn piano, ballet and Tae Kwon Do,
they do the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.
No one avoids them, or their mothers
in the playground. When they grow up
they have good jobs, and partners
and get on the property ladder, climbing steadily.

But you were never most children, and
never will be, your whole life long
my damaged, precious boy,
my baton passed to the future, my fear, my joy.

– © Veronica Zundel


To my delight this issue featured  Myra Schneider’s The Real Mrs. Beeton HERE, speculating on the life of Isabella Beeton, the 19th century writer known as the first and “best” cookery writer. Mrs. Beeton wrote about more than cooking though and might be considered the Martha Stewart of her day. Her life, however, was nothing like the glamorous, wealthy and independent Ms. Stewart as you will see when you read the poem.

Further on, Anne Stewart asks:

Why do you take the dark path, knowing
its silences and hiding place?”
excerpt, Making for Home, which will post on The Bardo Group blog this Friday …

Anne handles some of the administration for Second Light, as well as being the administrator for the website. She also developed and maintains poetry p f for poets.Myra Schneider and Anne have been a great helpers, getting permissions to share the work of other poets here on The Poet by Day and on The Bardo Group blog and also sharing information, education and updates with me so that I might share with you. I appreciate these two women and Dilys Wood – the founder of Second Light – for their poetry and for their committment to encouraging other poets and the love of poetry. You can sample some of Anne’s work HERE, Dilys work HERE, and Myra’s work HERE.

Anne Stewart is an accomplished poet. Most recently her poem Snow snow more cold lonely snow won the 2014 Poetry on the Lake “Silver Wyverm” award. Her poem Tiger was long-listed for the Plough Prize. Grief’s Trick and This Stone are included in an upcoming anthology, Love and Loss edited by R. V. Bailey and June Hall.

There were two pieces by publisher, Adele Ward (Ward Wood Publishing). One on Pascale Petit, which I discuss HERE and another on Why Small Is Still Beautiful, which discusses the ins-and-outs of chapbooks from the poet and the publisher perspective. Myra Schneider examines The Rewards of Reading Poetry and there’s the second part to A C Clarke’Lies Like Truth, which is about “fictionalizing” real events. Kay Syrad discusses the radical landscape of poetry and Lavinia Singer the young woman-poet’s view of the poetry world. The issue rounds out as always with a a calendar of events and announcements of members’ new publications and latest awards … an altogether neat, stimulating and rewarding read. Recommended. 

© 2014, review, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved