Witch ghosts, duas and damaged women win this year’s Poetry London Clore Prize

Poetry London have announced the Poetry London Clore Prize winners for 2019.


1st Prize: Roger Bloor

‘The Ghost of Molly Leigh Pleads, Yes Cries for Exemplaire Justice Against The Arbitrary, Un-exampled Injustice of Her Accusers’

2nd Prize: Amaan Hyder


3rd Prize: Anita Pati


Highly Commended

Catherine Higgins-Moore: ‘I’d been waiting months’

Nicholas Murray: ‘WODGE’

Winners will be published in the Autumn issue of Poetry London, and on 23 October Judge Sasha Dugdale will present the Poetry London Clore Prize at Kings Place in Kings Cross N1, with readings from the prizewinners. More details and judge’s report at: http://poetrylondon.co.uk/.

Roger Bloor is a retired consultant psychiatrist, currently a student on the MA in Poetry Writing from Newcastle University studying at the Poetry School in London. He has been published in MagmaThe Hippocrates Prize Anthology 2017 and 2019, Affect Publications StillBorn and several anthologies. His pamphlet A Less Clear Dream was shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Book Prize 2018, and his poetry book Aldgedeslegh was shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Book Prize 2019. He is Poet in Residence 2018/19 at the historic award winning Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire.

Amaan Hyder‘s first collection of poems is At Hajj (Penned in the Margins, 2017). His pamphlet when it is beyond was shortlisted in The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2018.

Anita Pati was born and raised in the North West of England but now lives in London. She has won the Wasafiri Prize for Poetry and most recently was a winner of the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize. Her forthcoming pamphlet is Dodo Provocateur, published by The Rialto later this year.

Catherine Higgins-Moore is a Northern Irish writer based in New York. She was commended in BBC’s International Playwriting Award 2018 is nominated for the inaugural Harper Collins Comedy Women in Print Prize. She writes for The Times Literary Supplement and is founding editor of The Irish Literary Review. Her poetry collection Strange Roof was published by Finishing Line Press in the United States as part of their New Women’s Voices Series. Catherine is a journalist who has worked in the newsrooms of BBC Oxford and BBC Belfast.

Nicholas Murray is a biographer and poet living in the Welsh Marches where he runs the award-winning poetry pamphlet press Rack Press. He won the Basil Bunting Prize in 2015. His new collection The Yellow Wheelbarrow will be published later this year by Melos and he is the author of the hard-hitting pamphlet-length verse satire A Dog’s Brexit. His most recent collection is The Museum of Truth.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Sincere thank to Sheila Wakefield at Red Squirrel Press, who will be publishing my poetry pamphlet, Honesty Mirror, in Summer of 2020! When it won the New Writer Magazine prize in 2013, judged by Helen Mort, I was just setting up tell it slant poetry bookshop, and had not long finished my Clydebuilt Poetry Apprenticeship with Sandy Hutchison, now sadly no longer with us. Sandy asked how much the prize money was, then said I should use it to publish the pamphlet straight away, as publication (expect in the magazine) was not part of the deal. I was unsure about self-publishing and didn’t take his advice. His other advice was to slow down, and I found that easier to take!

Between the mad events of Glasgow, Aldeburgh, Beccles and London, and the loss of my Mum, I did not actually get round to sending it to a publisher till 2018, when I was lucky enough to get a job with Poetry London, and moved here, finding a great new poetry group at the Southbank Centre to replace (as much as it could) the wonderful group in Suffolk to which I belonged, along with Beth Soule, Kaaren Witney, Sue Wallace-Shaddad and Sue Mobbs, and to whom, together with my friend, Gutter Magazine editor Henry Bell,  I have to credit the improvement since of many of the poems in the pamphlet. Meanwhile, Helen Mort had published me in One for the Road and kindly wrote a very nice review of the pamphlet that I was able to send out to publishers. In the end I only sent it to one – Red Squirrel, as recommended by a lifelong poetry mentor, Gerry Loose. They said yes!

I try not to berate myself for the delay in sending it out, and think instead of the improvements and additions I have been able to make, and the delightful fact that Red Squirrel now has Gerry Cambridge of Dark Horse fame doing the typesetting, making for even more beautiful books. I can’t wait to see what they do with mine.

Meanwhile, here is a note on the roots of the title, which came from an actual mirror, designed by Frances Macdonald, Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s sister-in-law, decorated with a representation of the honesty plant. Entertainingly (to me anyway) inside the beautiful frame, it is a small, obscure, aged mirror now lodged behind a glass screen in the museum, making it very hard to see a reflection at all! The first I saw of it was actually a black and white photograph, also of course unreflective.

The eponymous poem, which came out of a Clydebuilt workshop, can be read here, where it was first published. Sincere thanks to Gutter Magazine, The North, Aesthetica, New Writing Scotland, New Writer Magazine, and in the anthologies One for the Road (2018), Dove Tales (2018), Glasgow Women Writers (2017) and The Skye Reading Room Anthology 2013 (for the Baker Prize), where many of the poems in this pamphlet were previously published. The poem ‘Found in Translation’ won the 2017 Waterstones Norwich Refugee Week Poetry Prize. ‘Mourning in Arduaine’ was translated into Dutch for the magazine Awater. 

I look forward to the launch in July 2020 – hoping to come full circle and launch it at tell it slant, now managed by the wonderful Shetlandic poet Christie Williamson.

‘Landscape becomes a character in the taut poems of ‘Honesty Mirror’, poems which chart both the inevitable – ‘water pulling sky to sea’ – and the surprising - ghosts glimpsed in the mirror, supernatural glimmers on a city street – with precision and grace. We find ourselves in a strange, familiar place where ‘our faces are the only language we have’.’ Helen Mort.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In a Circle

I am very pleased to have two poems in this great anthology put together by poet Derek Parkes to honour the great influence Donny O’Rourke has had on contemporary Scottish poetry. Love the intro: ‘Throw a brick into the air in Glasgow, chances are it will land on a poet.’ Aye, ah widnae try it though, mate…

In other news, I have been asked to be on the board of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop as it becomes an official entity under Christie Williamson‘s wise stewardship. I was so touched to be asked. TIS was started as a popup in 2013 by myself and Mat, and it refuses to pop down, with poets Kathryn Sowerby, Gerry Loose and Christie all putting their love into it. Glasgow loves poetry. Poets love Glasgow. Despite the danger of falling bricks.

No photo description available.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Dark Museum – A Poetry Film

Fantastic poem, and a truly elegant film.

Suzannah Evans

I’m really pleased to be sharing this poetry film of my poem ‘The Dark Museum’ from Near FutureThe film was made by Helen from Elephant’s Footprint and the process of making it was really interesting too.

When Helen initially told me that she wanted to use this poem, I was a bit worried because it’s actually about the absence of the visual. The poem’s subject is a museum where visitors can experience different kinds of darkness, the idea being that we rarely experience true darkness in our world of light pollution.  I was therefore really interested to see where it would go. I tend to describe myself as ‘not having a very visual imagination’ and tend to be quite focussed on sounds and smells in my own creative thinking, so I was really keen to give someone free rein to work in dimensions that I had perhaps not…

View original post 51 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Romalyn Ante WINS 2018 Poetry London Clore Prize!


I am delighted to be able to reveal the Poetry London Clore Prize winners for 2018.

FIRST PRIZE: ‘Names’ by Romalyn Ante
SECOND PRIZE: ‘Children of the Revolution’ by S.K. Kim
THIRD PRIZE: ‘Heaven’ by Selima Hill
COMMENDED POEMS: ‘Under London’ by Victor Tapner, ‘Tiger Gran’ by Pascale Petit, ‘A Rumble in Vina del Mar’ by Jenny McCartney, ‘After Zhao Mengfu’s Bathing Horses‘ by Tarn MacArthur

Winners will be published in the Autumn issue of Poetry London, and on 1 November Judge Kwame Dawes will present the Poetry London Clore Prize at Kings Place in Kings Cross N1, with readings from the prizewinners. More details at: http://poetrylondon.co.uk/.

Image result for kwame dawes

The distinguished poet Kwame Dawes is the judge of its new 2018 Poetry London Clore Prize. He is the author or twenty-one books of poetry, and numerous other works of fiction, criticism and essays. His most recent collection, City of Bones: A Testament appeared from Northwestern University Press in 2017.

His awards include the Forward Prize, The Musgrave Silver Medal, several Pushcart Prizes, The Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, and an Emmy. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, Associate Poetry Editor for Peepal Tree Books, and Director of the African Poetry Book Fund. He also serves as Chancellor Professor of English at the University of Nebraska.

Twitter@Poetry_London @RomalynAnte, @kwamedawes

Sign up to the mailing list for publication and event updates.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poetry London Summer 2018 Readings: 21 June at Kings Place

Join us to celebrate the publication of the 2018 summer issue of Poetry London – offering the opportunity to hear some of the magazine’s most distinguished contributors reading their poems.

With one of America’s greatest living poets, Alice Notley, in a rare UK appearance, plus National Poetry Prizewinner Dom Bury, ‘Occult poetic entity’ Rebecca Tamás and Natasha Trethewey, who has been United States Poet Laureate not once but twice.

You can find out more about the readers and book tickets here.

Summer 2018: Issue 90

The Summer 2018 issue features new poems from Alice Notley, described by the Poetry Foundation as ‘one of America’s greatest living poets’, alongside poems from Colette Bryce, Karen Solie, Mark Waldron, Kwame Dawes and John McCullough. Newcomers to the magazine include Meryl Pugh, Crispin Best, Lottie Howson, George Ayres, Fiona Moore and Dominic Leonard. Plus new translations from Ciaran Carson and Chenxin Jiang.

This issue’s Essay features Kathryn Maris writing on painting, poetry and the female gaze and introducing the exhibition Slatterns, which she is curating at the APT Gallery in Deptford. It is followed by new poems commissioned for the exhibition including work by Rachael AllenNatasha Tretheway and Karen McCarthy Woolf.
In Reviews and Features, Emily Hasler interviews Dylan Thomas prize-winner Kayo Chingonyi and André Naffis-Sahely considers the reputation of Aimé Césaire. New collections reviewed include books by Danez Smith, Kaveh Akbar, Oli Hazzard, Sophie Collins, James Brookes, Jenna Clake and Hannah Sullivan.

You can read a selection of poems and reviews from the Summer issue.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beccles Acoustic Music Day



The second act in this opening session are British folk and roots inspired duo, HONEY & THE BEARwho combine delicately interweaving vocal harmonies with powerful guitar riffs, foot stomping rhythms and catchy melodies. The multi – instrumentalist pair, comprised of songwriters Jon Hart (guitar, bass, mandolin) and Lucy Sampson (guitar, ukulele, bass, banjo & percussion), have been writing together since early 2014, having met at a songwriting event two years previously.

Since then, they have played many venues across East Anglia as well as travelling to Germany for their first European tour. Together they have played an array of fantastic UK festivals including Ely Folk, FolkEast and Maverick. 2016 saw the release of their debut EP ‘About Time’, which received airplay on BBC Radio Suffolk, as well as Cambridge Radio & Norfolk Radio. They are now putting the finishing touches to their first full album and you can see them perform in a range of videos athttp://www.honeyandthebear.co.uk/music-videos/  

They will be on stage at 13.45  for an hour, following which there will be a break of approx. 55 minutes.

The BURKITT FAMILY –  a four piece family band hailing from the Bawdsey Peninsula in Suffolk. They offer a beguiling mix of contemporary and traditional acoustic music, featuring tight vocal harmonies and beautifully played arrangements of well – chosen songs.

Ross is an accomplished guitarist and singer and his partner Ali adds vocals and ethereal flute.  They are joined by their daughter Eliza, who wins new admirers wherever she plays with her fluent, assured violin playing and strong vocals and their son Sam, a talented cellist and guitarist. They are regular performers in East Anglia and played at last year’s Bury Folk Festival. You can see their performance of “Running Up That Hill” filmed at Folk At The Froize here:https://vimeo.com/185222243

They will be the first act, on stage at 12.45 for 45 minutes.


Tickets for the whole event are just £20 for the day and can be purchased in person from Beccles Books, I Exchange Square Beccles or online at  www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/459147





Tickets are already on sale for the highly talented singer/songwriter Edwina Hayes. Edwina spends a lot of time in Nashville USA, gigging and recording with the likes of Nanci Griffith and Gretchen Peters. She will be at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield on Monday 28 January 2019. Tickets can be obtained in person from the box office, by phone (01502 589726) or online at http://www.theseagull.co.uk/event/edwina-hayes/ and you can see a great video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBHqMDutZEs . Tickets are £12 (concessions £11).


Finally, I can now reveal that our first show in the new season will feature Winter Wilson. This will be an intimate, entirely acoustic, performance from this very talented duo at Hungate Church, Hungate, Beccles on Saturday 22 September at 8.00 p.m.  Tickets are very limited and are now on sale at www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/486912. They will not be available at Beccles Books for over the counter sales until 28 April.

More info about Winter Wilson in the next newsletter, but in the meantime you can see them perform here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoTo9zzTQGg&feature=youtu.be



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Martello March News

Firstly, many thanks to all who came to see Fara at the Cut at Halesworth on 11 February. 84 people were treated to a truly memorable evening, having braved the strong winds and freezing temperature – the band said it was colder in Halesworth than it was when they left Scotland! Great singing and playing with a very satisfied audience and we also got some more names on our growing mailing list.

If you missed the band, treat yourself to their great debut CD “Crossing The Line” which is currently on offer at Coda Music in Edinburgh for just £7.99 (www.codamusic.co.uk ), who by the way have the best, friendliest and most reliable online mailorder service for CDs and Vinyl (folk, acoustic and otherwise). Check out their extensive catalogue online and if you should find yourself in Edinburgh be sure to visit their shop on the Mound. You may even be lucky enough to coincide your visit with one of their regular free instore gigs.

Next up is Miranda Sykes on Thursday 8th March at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield. Miranda has been a member of Show of Hands for many years, playing double bass and singing with Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, but all 3 members are currently concentrating on solo tours. This is actually Miranda’s first solo tour in 20 years and she has been drawing large audiences and great reviews over the last few months. Tickets are £12 and can be obtained in person from the box office (open 11.00 – 15.00 Monday to Friday and on all show nights), by phone (01502 589726) or online (www.theseagull.co.uk/event/miranda-sykes/ ).

On 28 April we will be holding our first Acoustic Music Day, based at the Canopy Theatre, Hungate Church, Beccles, featuring 7 top quality Acoustic artists including headliners Gilmore & Roberts, Alden, Patterson & Dashwood from Norwich, Doghouse Roses from Glasgow, Joseph Parsons from the USA, Honey & The Bear from Woodbridge, The Burkitt Family form South East Suffolk and Penny & Stuart Mack from Northamptonshire . The priority tickets have now come to an end, but at the moment you can still purchase tickets in person from Beccles Books, 1 Exchange Square Beccles or online from Ticketsource http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/459147 . Just £20 for an inclusive ticket to see all 7 artists (tickets for individual sessions are not available). Much more info on all the featured artists in next month’s newsletter.

Our last gig before a summer recess will be Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock on Saturday 19 May, also at the Canopy Theatre in Beccles. Tickets priced at £10 are on sale to personal callers at 1 Beccles Books and online from ticketsource at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/448907

Martin is now starting to put together the programme for autumn 2018 – Spring 2019 and is in negotiations with some more big names to bring to North Suffolk. Much more about that later, but just to whet your appetite we can tell you that Phil Beer will be bringing his solo show to the Canopy Theatre in Beccles in February 2019! We will let you know when the tickets are ready to go on sale, although this will not be until early autumn.

Posted in Songs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Martello – February News

First of all, thanks to everyone who came to the Seagull Theatre to see the brilliant Megson –  a truly memorable evening which they thoroughly enjoyed as well. So much so that they have already asked for a return visit!

Our February gig is on Sunday 11th at the Cut in Halesworth when we will be presenting the brilliant young all female band from the Orkneys, Fara. If you are unfamiliar with them have a look at the Cut’s website where you will find a video of their performance at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The link is www.newcut.org/events/entry/6424.

On March 8th we are back at the Seagull for Miranda Sykes (singer and double bass player with Show Of Hands) embarking on her first solo tour for many years. Tickets at www.theseagull.co.uk/event/miranda-sykes/

The period of exclusive priority ticketing for local people for our Acoustic Music Day on 28 April at the Canopy Theatre in Beccles has expired, although you will still be able to buy tickets in person from Beccles Books. Tickets are now available to the general public online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/459147 (small booking fee applies). Details will also be going up on the websites of all the acts  performing on the day which includes Gilmore & RobertsAlden, Patterson & DashwoodHoney & The BearDoghouse RosesPenny & Stuart MackJoseph Parsons and The Burkitt Family – all for the amazing inclusive price of £20.

Lastly, a lot of people have been asking about tickets for Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock, who are at the Canopy Theatre on Saturday 19th May. I am pleased to say that these are finally going on sale this week. They will be available online from www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/448907 from 9.00 a.m. on 1st February (small booking fee applies) and they can be purchased in person from Beccles Books, I Exchange Square (cash only please) from Friday 2nd February.

After that, we will be taking a break for the summer (too much competition from festivals, big sporting events etc!) and picking up again in September. There may be the odd fully acoustic show in the meantime, but we will keep you posted about any that might arise. Remember to check out our website www.martellopromotions.wordpress.com, and follow our Facebook page MartelloPro and our twitter feed @MartelloFolk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peace, pubs and poetry!

I have several poems coming out in a new peace anthology by Scottish writers, published by Dove Tales. There is a fundraiser for the anthology here. Dove Tales’ Jean Rafferty hosted a great event at Celtic Connections. It involved a discussion about the Human Cost of War, featuring David Pratt, foreign affairs editor of The Herald and Sunday Herald; Mary Smith, author of Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni, a book about the lives of ordinary Afghan women; and Billy Briggs, director of The Ferret online investigative newspaper and an award-winning freelance writer who has worked in many war zones. I was very touched to see that some of my poems (linking Iraq, Kurdistan and Belfast) open the anthology. A poem of mine also pops up first in an anthology on pubs, another of my passions! One for the Road, edited by Helen Mort and Stuart Maconie, is published by Smith/Doorstop. Here it is below. It’s keeping great company, with poems by Alan Buckley, Catherine Smith, Ian Duhig, Simon Armitage, Collette Bryce and Zaffar Kunial.


One for the Road and Dove Tales, with an amazing cover photo by Angela Catlin.

Posted in Poems, Uncategorized | 1 Comment