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Index: Poetry & Fiction

The Perturbation of Baruch.

Anthony O’Hear: ‘This linking of the cosmic with the temporal, of the elevated with the lowly and the demotic, even the sordid, and of the well-intentioned with the ill-thought out, even the evil, permeates Baruch as it does much of Hill’s later work.’

Blame It on the Rain.

Michael Buckingham Gray: ‘He sweeps his foot back and forth in the mud, and with every new blare of the horn, prods his bicycle forward until there are no more cyclists ahead. Pulls the helmet off the handlebars and puts it on his head. Throws a leg over his bike. Then stomps on the pedals. His front wheel kicks sideways on the first turn. And in the second, he slides the rear of his bicycle.’

Breakfast with Mrs Greystone.

S.D. Brown: ‘They like to be up early so they can be “in the know” should anyone have failed to survive the night. Even those who are hard of hearing seem to be able to hear an ambulance siren two miles away! Bill Williams says he is keeping a book on who will be the next to go. “You can get good odds on yourself pegging it, given your age Frank,” he says with a wink.’

The last Mantegna.

Michelene Wandor: ‘In her will, Mrs van Hopper left me her library. As I went through the books, deciding what to keep and what to give away, I accidentally dropped a copy of Petrarch. Out of it fell a typed letter, addressed to a Count Alessandro Rietti. Three words were underlined in red: the names Isabella and Andrea, and the word “pearl”. The letter referred to a lost painting by Andrea Mantegna, a portrait of Isabella d’Este, the beautiful and powerful wife to one of the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua.’


Enzo Kohara Franca: ‘In the New World the new language turned out to be the obstacle. Jichan failed to learn Brazilian Portuguese. The morphemes, phonemes, the cadence – none of it made any sense to the Japanese speaker inside his head.’

April 2019. She went to the hospital for an infection.

Thos. Smith-Daly: ‘Baby home alone for 15 hours
so she could go out with her
friends in Swansea’s Wind Street.’

Mother child.

Conor Robin Madigan: ‘The man slept. The child stared at the stars. Insects and animals made their double-faces into a pond. A lumbering giant plodded past and to the beat of the mystic’s heart. The child wanted so awfully to have a companion, a soul to enjoy, but not one that spoke so much. Too much. Often, he spoke when there was nothing to say.’


Shukburgh Ashby: ‘Richard Fitzwalden, the 18th Baron, is said to have taken a piece of chalk and drawn a line down the stairs, running S to N. The eastern apartment was built for the Baron and his mistress, and the western reserved for his wife, Emma Fitzwalden. On the ground floor, Emma Fitzwalden used the Venetian doorway to the S, and Richard Fitzwalden the door on the N front.’

Gibraltar Point.

Iain Twiddy: ‘ The river was a rag wrung out by summer.
But still, it felt like a trespass, to be
stepping her bed, assailing her nakedness,
as the unpushable-back, flash-flood worry
gathered in the highlands of the mind.’

Six quite short stories.

Simon Collings: ‘The American academic Wendell G. Beresford appeared to have solved the mystery in 1903 when he put forward the theory that Crusoe had simply made a “slip of the pen” in a moment of distraction, having no doubt intended to write “pelican”‘

Five poems from ‘Mattered by Tangents’.

Tim Allen: ‘they met under the sign of the Merry Lobster
press gangs red caps and white helmets’

Seven more.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘As the spatula scrapes away debris, an artefact emerges with its tessellation warped, the colours veiled in dust. These are not consolidations of an imagined underworld: the lid, the crust, the integument of an interior, but conservation of soul life.’

Languages: A Ghazal.

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee: ‘There’s a hole in every heart. There’s a bullet in every memory.
There’s a grave in every silence. Time is a wreath of languages.’

None of Us.

Luke Emmett, on his new poems: ‘I try to generate content by expressing my appetite. I shape a poem’s sounds independent of that, to create a pattern of abstract and concrete energy on the page. I think of this as nomadic.’

Blind man’s fog…

Patrick Williamson: (From ‘Moon-time’): ‘The gibbous one greet me coldly,
rain squeezed me int’pub but maid
tek n’gorm. Scarpered. Blasted
slippery soles. The boots is off.’