Karen Dennison

Poet and artist


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Karen Dennison reviews Andy Armitage’s Letters to a First Love from the Future

The Poetry Shed

aaaaaaLetters to a first love from the future by Andy Armitage charts the birth, life, death and aftermath of this first relationship that begins at school and is a heartfelt, honest and moving memorial of words.

The speaker’s love is portrayed as a form of religious worship which is betrayed by doubt and throughout the poems there is a foreshadowing of the relationship’s end and its psychological wounds.

The collection begins with Snapshot, a blurred image of which is also included before the contents page, where the couple are in the playground “heads leant together in idiot hope”. The speaker describes his hands at his sides “like the hands of a stopped clock”. Here is a longing to stop time and preserve this moment, not just its image.

The next poem, Sally, begins “on the last day I didn’t love you” and takes us to a specific moment of…

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Annoucing our third poet for 2019

Against the Grain Poetry Press

Really pleased to be publishing Graham Clifford in 2019

Graham

Graham studied Fine Art at the Swindon College of Art and Design, then at Middlesex University. At the University of East Anglia, he was awarded a Masters in Creative Writing.

His first, pamphlet collection was Welcome Back to the Country, published by Seren. A full length collection, The Hitting Game, was published in 2014 (Seren). In January 2017, the Black Light Engine Room published his collection, Computer Generated Crash Test Dummies.

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Delighted to announce our second poet for 2019

Against the Grain Poetry Press

Huge welcome on board to Claire Walker. Claire is a Worcestershire-based poet and editor.

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Her work has appeared in a range of publications, including print magazines such as The Interpreter’s House, Prole and Obsessed with Pipework, webzines such as Ink Sweat and Tears, The Poetry Shed, And Other Poems and Clear Poetry, and in anthologies such as The Chronicles of Eve (Paper Swans Press), The Pocket Poetry Book of Love (Paper Swans Press) and Bonnie’s Crew.

She is the author of two pamphlets published by V. Press – The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile (2015), and Somewhere Between Rose and Black (2017). Somewhere Between Rose and Black was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the 2018 Saboteur Awards.

Claire is on the editorial team of Three Drops Press as a reader for their seasonal anthologies, and is co-editor of Atrium poetry webzine.

Her website is https://clairewalkerpoetry.com

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The endless possibilities of ash

Against the Grain Poetry Press

The endless possibilities of ash is a review by Valerie Morton of Sean Magnus Martin’s Flood-Junk at Sphinx Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features.

The pamphlet reviews that feature on the Sphinx site, co-ordinated by Helena Nelson, are One Point Of Interest (OPOI) reviews. “OPOI are short responses (up to 350 words) to pamphlets of poetry. A kind of a review, but not the usual kind.” “They just pick up on a single aspect that the reviewer found interesting.”

As Valerie notes “The wood of the ash tree, in different forms, runs through these poems” where “‘Ash’ becomes the boy forever trying to find a place in the world..”.

Help Flood-Junk find its place in the world by buying a copy at our Shop.

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Announcing the first of our 2019 poets

Against the Grain Poetry Press

We’re pleased to welcome Michelle Diaz to the Against the Grain stable and will be publishing her pamphlet, The Dancing Boy, next year.

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Michelle has been writing poetry since the late 90s. She started performing her poems in 1998 at Covent Garden’s Poetry Café. She has been published by Prole, Strix, Live Canon, Amaryllis, the ‘Please Hear What I’m not Saying’ Mind anthology and was awarded 3rd prize in the Mere Literary Competition 2017.

She has a son with Tourette Syndrome and had a very unusual upbringing—both of which have been huge inspirations for her writing. She lives in the colourful and strange town of Glastonbury. Without poetry her soul would be incredibly hungry.

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3 links (poem-artwork-poem) from an ekphrasis chain – excerpts from “free-fall”

Thanks to Elly Nobbs for featuring free-fall on her blog. Here’s a snapshot of her thoughts –

It’s fascinating how effectively the chain thing works. Themes, settings and characters keep transforming — reminding me of the stories of Ovid’s Metamorphosis . Because each artist or author  has only the previous work to respond to, the progressions feel like life itself, in some aspects … in the ways that each of us are limited in what we know and limited in what we can control (or indeed how much free will, if any we have),  but nevertheless we keep making decisions,  moment to moment.

And in our lives, things keep happening, one thing leads to another …  but what happens and why, is the result of  innumerable variables. And as I enjoy and interpret the works in free-fall, I also think about how we humans yearn for some sense of coherence and patterns and meaning … and how these things can emerge in our communal stories and art.

There are just two copies left to buy at free-fall.


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Free-fall – proceeds to charity

For any new orders of Free-fall, I will donate £4 to a charity for the homeless. Another artwork and poem below to whet your appetite..

30 Tara Pandey Bell Tree

Bell Tree by Tara Pandey

This tree

This tree’s branches are curtains to part,
to unpeel the day, reveal a secret night.

This tree is woven with moonlight,
memory of sun dropping as gold-leaf.

This tree has the freedom of sky.
The only weight it knows is snow.

This tree is a collage on a wall of air.
Its boughs sway in your sight.

This tree surrounds you, listens
for your breath as it breathes.

This tree has bells for leaves that ring
in your ears long after the breeze.

This tree roots itself in your feet,
grows into your arms.

This tree turns your eyes to bark
teaches your fingers to read the light.

Karen Dennison

In response to Bell Tree by Tara Pandey