25 November 2011

final weeks for 2011 poetry submissions

Our reading period is coming to an end. Deadline for 2011 is December 15th. Materials sent after this date will not be considered until the Young British Poets staff resumes poetry reviews on February 1st, 2012.

Want to submit? Please read our guidelines here.

kevin bacon
Editor, YBP

24 November 2011

Slightly Foxed Young Writers’ Competition

If you enjoy writing about the books you love, then this is a great opportunity to get your work noticed. Slightly Foxed, "the real reader's quarterly", is calling all young writers to participate in its Young Writers’ Competition. The magazine covers all genres of fiction and non-fiction, including poetry and short story collections, and the books it features aren’t latest publications or big sellers. "We’re interested in books that have somehow slipped from notice but which have meant something to the people who write about them", they say.
Entries should be submitted in Microsoft Word format to youngwriters@foxedquarterly.com until January 15th, 2012. Read the full competition guidelines here.

First prize: winner receives £ 250 and is granted the publication of the winning article in Slightly Foxed, Summer 2012, plus a one-year subscription, a Slightly Foxed book bag and The Chambers Dictionary, 12th edition

Deadline: January 15th, 2012

22 November 2011


And I will collect your stories, Papa,
like one of your Byzantine hagiographers
And you’ll sing again with your guitar at the kitchen table.
When it’s late and everyone has had too much cognac,
your hair looking so sorry about time and illness–

In an apartment block, snowfall batters windows
Through a darkened corridor, a cat slinks along a wall
A toddler peels back wallpaper to lick at the plaster, eyes half shut
searching for calcium.

A boy runs into a water logged field, his shoes are inverse boats
And he opens his lungs and screams
for joy,

for love of open space.

varia karipoff (Melbourne, Australia, 1983)

21 November 2011

quitting cheese

My discontentment resides in Nottingham
along with some choice pubs
and a favourite day: The Tap, The Stage,
a trip to the park one afternoon
when everything was fresh; the clouds
shrugged out a little rain, the sun
huffed around them, our eyeballs
beamed, an animated white.

Picnicking was rife: foragers
raided the shrubbery, old relics
handed-out hippy wisdom and we
feasted on each other, spinning
the conversational equivalent
of a Roly-Poly; living ubiquitously,
drinking a lot - I wasn’t, even once,
an arsehole, just overused memory.

When we revisited Nottingham
the gaggle had gone and the winds
came and scraped against our bones;
we are a banquet folding
into a cheese cube too many,
bellyache, that fateful feeling
of having peaked too early.

michael pedersen (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1984)

18 November 2011

4 am poem, 2 july 2008

It is Wednesday. The taxi is outside,
Humming like a hairdryer, and you are
Yet to leave for Holland. I can still taste
Last night’s chickpeas and cuttlefish,
The Fume Blanc, the flavour of you.
I have barely aged in two days, despite
The details of my birth certificate,
And as I sleepily ponder the necessity
Of poetic license, how writing poems
Is akin to fibbing to others and particularly yourself,
Just as every musical needs a chorus line,
And in Hollywood there's a girl for every geek,
All the birds in the street suddenly burst into song
As you, going, close one door and open another,
Proving me wrong, once again.

alexander williamson (Sandbach, Cheshire, 1979)

17 November 2011


for S.E.

Waking and rising in the January darklight,
I recall the morning when we didn’t watch the dawn.
That was when I realised it was winter; now we’re past
the solstice and night’s pendulum no longer swings as
far as it did. Soon the both of us will have to grow
accustomed to light pressing on our eyelids, to light
rousing us from dreams. By the time I’ve scrubbed and lathered
the sleep from my skin, the sky’s already indigo.
(When I leave the house the world’s already there, ready
and waiting for me, but the sky is muffled up in
thick grey clouds. I wear a scarf. It’s cold).

anthony adler (St Albans, Hertfordshire, 1990)

16 November 2011


Funny that you are an artist because you think like one touch like one as you describe my
Chiaroscuro cheeks in awe of the light the shade around us the sheets swirl unmade a
Van Gogh night sky but we are still to better see the speed the beams bounce it all goes
Back to the body everything is for us to consume we make it that way it is all for eyes ears
Nose mouth hands guts brain heart spirit soars as you caress my contours I sense the
Sculptor in you stroking away at the stone shedding the stubbornness finding human form
Beneath suspended Woodman delicate disgusting transcendental trickery can you feel
Your blood quickening dribbling drying rich russet paint that makes sense of this blank
Canvas the way you arrange and divide my sight my attention with your skill your hands
How have you sown planted nourished these thoughts Pollock surprise heartlight shines
Brighter now I know how you see me a beauty similar to art itself not always attractive but
Always challenging the grotesque is sacred why else decorate churches with gargoyles

emily s. morgan (Cambridge, 1990)

20 October 2011

a reflective poem

What's that? The sunglasses?
Well I have to wear them,
I’m reading poetry outside
And I’m sure you know
That of all the literary forms
Poetry is the most reflective.

Why? Well that’s obvious isn’t it?
Those verses, stanzas, haikus
They take up barely any room at all.
Even epic masterpieces
Tend to be confined
To the left hand side of the page.

This slim volume of poems contains
Considerably more brilliant white surface
Than it does absorbent inky scribbles.
Hence the sunglasses.

And what about the cowboy hat?
The leather jacket? The boots? And all that
Rouge and mascara? My delicately painted nails?
What about them?
Oh well I guess that I’m just a poser.

james price (Preston, Lancashire, 1987)

18 October 2011

with divine ovation

As a resident of Brinsworth,
she enjoyed the acreage and courtesies
of the artistes’ benevolent fund;
a sixty-four-fold companionship; reciting
nightly, verbatim, alongside coupons
from occupants and the jaunted
pastiche of their loyal visitants.

Colin, a fan first and nurse after,
makes an impromptu stop
ensuing her missed appointment
with Earl Grey and buttered
crumpets - there lies Eloise,
decubitus and stone cold dead.

A more courtly passing
you couldn’t have ask for, not
tethered by wires nor sprawled
across iron, like pets on vets’ tables,
but serene, elegant, at ease.

Colin shuts the door,
lifts the rejected analgesia
– morphine, a syringe-pump –
and self-administers the full 10 mls;
on closing her eyes, mouths
Bravo Eloise – now taking his seat
for the encore.

michael pedersen (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1984)

17 October 2011

when the track divides

When the track divides,
Shall we take it upon ourselves to divide also?
Or shall we hold on,
til our arms are outstretched
And our fingers reach out,
Like hopeless tendrils for hopeless love?

martha rowsell (Camberwell, London, 1987)

12 October 2011


Silent stillness a heartbeat in the air your only
Pulse in the world at this moment in time mesmerised
By the tiny mechanical Clack clack of clockwork days
Recent surf going out and in a delicate Shh
Over thick heavy empty sand Starry
Slush in its eyes like the skies it stares at all night –
We remember driving like lunatics
Half-drunk freedom soldiers out to seduce the world
With our radioactive blood – A distant orange summer
Slick hot and golden and full of eerie practise
Of life and practising death by bottle screaming and screaming
Butterflies every now and then in some bold wonderland
With sharp enemy fronts held by our explosive eyesight
That never stopped seeing
Everything wide-eyed and in a daze no doubt
Some unwelcome Vega to come and ruin it
And you said something along the lines of:
“What’s the point?” I don’t know.
Why don’t you know? But you calmed down
We took turns going crazy sometimes
I climbed a fence and fell off, then a tree
At 2 am in the South of England: I grew up you grew up
We all grew up
Eyebrows raised and set forward
On the horizon where “stuff” was happening –
Separate ways – there and then meeting again –
If only we took serious new times: happening now.
We pass the time around like a bottle of mixed cocktails
And where are you going with that
Gun in your hand, born victims with robotic eyes:
Purple skies of vitamin appear in morning
Before work at 6:15 am, it’s a slow change you got there
Transition onto next raining slowly grinning.

michael holloway (Liverpool, 1985)

19 August 2011


keats, by emily s. morgan (Cambridge, 1990)
directed by guy smith (Blantyre, 1990)

17 August 2011

yet another ranking: poetry's most poignant lines

Stylist, the free weekly magazine aimed at "affluent career women", has just posted on its website a ranking of "the 50 most poignant lines of poetry ever written", under the embarrasing subtitle "Unforgettable quotes from the world's greatest wordsmiths".

Read it here: