Karen Dennison

Poet and artist

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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

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The launch of our press and of Anna Kisby’s All the Naked Daughters

Against the Grain Poetry Press

SONY DSC Anna Kisby

Against the Grain launched the press and our debut pamphlet to a packed Poetry Café last Saturday. We were treated to readings from Anna Kisby, our debut and commissioned poet for 2017, and from the other talented poets whose pamphlets we’ll be publishing next year – S.A. Leavesley (How to Grow Matches), Jane Lovell (Metastatic) and Sean Magnus Martin (Flood-Junk). Anna read a selection of poems from All the Naked Daughters and also some of her other work including her poem Fireflies Unlimited which won the 2016 BBC Proms Poetry Competition. All four poets read beautifully to an enthralled audience, with a mixture of poems that were moving, heartfelt, original, and sometimes humorous. Anna’s pamphlet is available to buy from our Shop.

SONY DSC S.A. Leavesley, Anna Kisby, Sean Magnus Martin, Jessica Mookherjee, Abegail Morley, Karen Dennison, Jane Lovell

2018Poets Our 2018 poets – Jane…

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Freedom Poems – launched on National Poetry Day by Poetrywivenhoe

“This collection of new poetry by Essex poets celebrates Poetrywivenhoe’s 10th anniversary… The subject of ‘freedom’ follows the theme of this year’s National Poetry Day”. Great to get my hands on my copy, full of fab poems, and with a beautiful cover by artist Ella Johnston and design by Dunlin Press. Now available from the Wivenhoe Bookshop.


From the judges’ (Nancy Hughes and Alex Toms) comments

Freedom is woven tightly into the fabric of some of these poems – not always overtly, rather breathing quietly under the words, creating that magic we aspire to as readers and writers of poetry…

We trust you will find plenty to connect with in what follows – humour, imagery, sexiness, poignancy, pain, harshness, pace, adventures, reflections, mind-tickling cleverness of language, and freedom of creative spirit…






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Launch event – join us at the Poetry Cafe

Against the Grain Poetry Press

We are pleased to announce that we will be launching Against the Grain Poetry Press with Anna Kisby’s pamphlet All the Naked Daughters. Join us at the Poetry Cafe in London 4th November at 6pm for readings from Anna and other guest readers. Line up to follow shortly. Let us know if you can make it on our Facebook event page.

Anna Kisby Back Cover

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Against the Grain Poetry Press

Against the Grain logoAgainst the Grain Poetry Press is a new, innovative small independent poetry publisher dedicated to publishing challenging, well-crafted poetry.

Our aim is to produce beautiful works of art, with high production values and an edgy appeal, that are both provocative and moving.

We want our poets to be seen and heard, print starkly designed high-quality pamphlets and run launch events and signings.

The beat of our drum is our own and we strive to select strong, fresh, diverse voices.

We are very pleased to announce our commissioned poet, Anna Kisby, whose collection will launch the press.

We have also been reading all the fabulous submissions for next year and will be announcing the results soon.

Abegail Morley
Karen Dennison
Jessica Mookherjee