Anne Stewart’s poetry p f … good resource for poets and poetry lovers

annephotoAnne Stewart’s poetry p f is a wonderful go-to place when you want to expand your reading to include accomplished contemporary (mostly UK) poets. Assuming you meet the membership requirements, it can also be the means to making your own collection/s more visible on the Internet.

“Membership requirements” might seem to imply a certain elitism, but the standard is in my opinion not onerous but reasonable enough to ensure that the poets represented have refined their craft and have a serious interest in and commitment to poetry.

As I write this post, there are some 300 top-notch poets on poetry p f  and their collections might be difficult to find without this resource. I’m not a member, but I do like to make purchases from poetry p f. It’s convenient and, unlike Amazon, the poet pages are uniform and you can count on them to be there. They offer you a sample poem, a photograph and contact information as well as information about the publisher.

There’s an event page, largely London and surrounding areas, with a schedule of readings, workshops and courses. Included is a useful “Favorite” sites page offering resources that will help you connect with other poets. A convenient listing of competitions and calls for submissions makes it easier to target potential markets for your work. The home page features one poet and the poet featured is rotated.

poetry p f offers a rich collection of feature articles and Anne also has poetry cards available for purchase.  Anne welcomes commissions to produce tailor-made Poem Cards for purchases of 100 or more cards.

Since Anne is affiliated with Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN), I find it convenient to pay my SLN member fees through her site. When I wanted to gift a membership (a great gift for the women poets in your life), I just emailed Anne to let her know I purchased an SLN membership and to whom it was supposed to go.  No dealing with nameless service representatives and policy inconsistencies.

In the May 2010 issue of acumen, a literary journal, Anne was interviewed by William Oxley and explained the “p f'” in the name.

The p f was Monty Python inspired – I thought we poets needed to rage a bit and the People’s Front, Popular or otherwise, seemed to fit the bill.”

Opportunity knocks:  16 November 2016 is the deadline for the Barnet poetry competition for adults & juniors and Anne Stewart is the judge for the adult category.  Details HERE.

the-janus-hour-fullANNE STEWART is a poet, reviewer, and provider of services to poets and poetry organisations. In 2000, she began working towards a life with poetry at the centre of it, joining the Post-graduate Creative Writing programme at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2003, she was awarded an MA with Distinction and in 2005, was selected as one of the “Ten Hallam Poets” represented in the anthology published by Mews Press (eds. Sean O’Brien, Steven Earnshaw and EA Markham). The anthology attracted high praise from top-calibre poets (Don Paterson, Julia Darling, Helen Dunmore).

In 2008, she won the Bridport Prize for her sonnet, Still Water, Orange, Apple, Tea. Judge, David Harsent, said of it “…what marks it out is the way this emotional commonplace is adapted to language … no line lacked a surprise … I liked its briskness – celebratory, but never cloying – and liked too, the fine-tuning: … a tone of voice that promotes brevity … where the notes in question sing and tease and intrigue … ”

Her first collection, The Janus Hour (Oversteps Books, 2010), “is characterised by a view of the world that is quizzical, appraising, unflinching yet non-judgemental: this is how things look from here, it says; take it or leave it. Her poems address, with the same deft lightness of touch, both uncomfortable truths about our time and the surreal in the everyday, achieving a rare consistency of expression without ever being predictable.” – Jeremy Page, editor, The Frogmore Papers.

© Anne’s photo and book cover art belong to her; the bio is from her site and is also under her copyright

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

*** ANTHOLOGY “HER WINGS OF GLASS” ***
 
“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.

from LIVES OF THE POETS
ANNE CLUYSENAAR 1936-2014

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.

.
Anne

‘Wise’ comes first to mind,
then ‘kind’,
and then so many more.
Heartsore,
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
heartsore.

– 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.