The snow falls thickly,
a strong wind moves
the white-fronted geese flying south,
grey wings out of cold,
calling in half song,
half bark.

An early moon, knife-edged,
shining indiscriminately,
cuts light on anyone.

The train takes me north,
scooping into the cold
air, sharp and clear,
where there is no sound,
not one –
the fields unravelling,
the trees running backwards
in my wake,

by Judy Kendall

From The Drier The Brighter (Cinnamon, 2007)

Like many of the poems in The Drier The Brighter, ‘-wards‘ plays around with the graphic surface of the poem, in particular the font and punctuation. The more extreme experiments with punctuation and use of space elsewhere in the collection are here more muted and mainly appear in the title which is in italics and begins with a hyphen. These typographical choices highlight the transitory state of the voice and content of the poem – left hanging, neither ‘to-wards’ or ‘back-wards’, but in transit, like the voice in the poem, disorientated, not knowing which way is forward or backward. Is the speaker moving forward or are the fields outside the train running backwards?

The poem also owes a debt to Chinese parallelism. Each idea is repeated, often in successive lines, and sometimes in the same line. ‘The snow falls thickly’ (l.1) refers to winter weather, movement, and extremity. This is followed by a parallel line containing three more indications of winter weather (wind), movement (moves) and extremity (strong). This use of parallelism also reinforces the idea of movement as lack of movement – being caught in movement, and not in arrival.

Judy Kendall is a poet and translator whose recent poetry collection The Drier The Brighter came out with Cinnamon Press in 2007. She has spent several years teaching in Japan and Africa but now works as a lecturer in Creative Writing and English at Salford University.

Cinnamon Press is a young, fast-growing small press based in North Wales and publishing writers from Wales, the UK and internationally, as well as the poetry journal Envoi. The list is mainly poetry, but also includes some fiction and cross-genre books.


There is a kind of love called maintenance,
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes, which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living; which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in the air,
As Atlas did the sky.

by U.A. Fanthorpe

from U.A. Fanthorpe & R.V. Bailey, From Me to You: Love Poems (Enitharmon, 2007)

U.A. Fanthorpe and R.V. Bailey write: ‘Wordsworth speaks of the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. This seems an apt description of these love poems. They are not important resonant pieces of writing: they simply happened when one of us felt like writing to the other other, quite often when one of us was away from home. Some of them coincided with Valentine’s Days or birthdays, but that was more a matter of good luck than foresight. Quakers, rightly, maintain that Christmas Day is only one important day of all the 365 important days of the year. It’s the same with love poems: they are appropriate at any time, and can be written, incidentally, to dogs, cats, etc., as well as humans. […] The pleasant thing about writing such poems, apart from having someone to write them for, is that there is no particular restriction as to subject matter. In Christmas Poems, UA felt the draughty awareness of the diminishing cast of subjects, from donkey to Christmas tree. With love, on the other hand, the sky’s the limit.’

U.A. Fanthorpe was born in 1929. She was Head of English at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, and then ‘became a middle-aged drop-out in order to write’, publishing her first collection, Side Effects, in 1978. Her seven volumes of poetry are all published by Peterloo Poets, and her Selected Poems was published by Penguin in 1986. In 1994 she was the first woman to be nominated for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford. She was awarded the CBE in 2001 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2003, when her Collected Poems (Peterloo) were published.

R.V. Bailey was born in Northumberland and has worked as cafeteria assistant, librarian, information officer, teacher, counsellor, and latterly as director of undergraduate courses in Humanities at the University of the West of England, Bristol.  She is the other voice in poetry recordings by U.A. Fanthorpe (Awkward Subject, Double Act, Poetry Quartets 5), and has published a pamphlet, Course Work (Culverhay Press, 1997) and a full collection with Peterloo, Marking Time (2004).

Founded in 1967, Enitharmon Press publishes fine quality literary editions. While specialising in poetry, we also publish fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, and an extensive list of artists’ books.

Let’s Think This Over

Only thing worse than dying once,
No doubt, is to get struck twice
By the mother of all muggers.
Once by bullet, once by ale;
Once by falling, once crushed.
On the other hand, you’ll get
Two funerals and two graves.
Side by side, perhaps. Here lies
Your name, who departed this life
On such an illegible date. And here lies
Your name, again, who split this life
On another illegible date. No more
Naked pigs feeding in a field for you,
No more cows merging in the mist.

by Linh Dinh

from I Haven’t Been Anywhere, Man by Linh Dinh (Landfill, 2007)
Copyright  © Linh Dinh

Linh Dinh was born in Vietnam and lives in Philadelphia. In 2005 he was David T.K. Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia. His poetry has featured in the Best American Poetry anthology.

I Haven’t Been Anywhere, Man is a sequence of poems written largely during the author’s year in East Anglia. This poem reflects Dinh’s interest in English gravestones with a characteristic mix of folk wisdom, colloquial speech, and unexpected imagery.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.

The Dress

Then it will stand alone and listen to the new silence,
feel the empty air breathe in and out and where it will,
filling old creases, blowing away warm impressions.
Itself again, chaste, regal, as if it had been waiting
for this moment to return to its mannequin form;
delicate husk, untouched, unworn, it can hang now
if it wants, swing its lonely folds behind a door.

In time it might forget the body who lived inside it,
that quick and lovely thing whose eager skin filled
to bursting every curve and seam. It might forget
the first stain, the nips and small tears, the cunning
unravelling of thread that followed as a matter of course before
the final tumble, the fumbling, the cursing and the rip
when it was thrown across the floor to lie, flayed

– perhaps ruined, as it had to be taken away,
laid out beneath an interrogation of lights
where a man in a gown, in a whirl of steam and gas, bowed
his head to the task: to remove the occasion from the dress.
And when it was done he wrapped it up and it shone
from so much attention and loss, its intimate tucks and folds
re-pressed, dry, clean and beautifully stitched up.

by Greta Stoddart

from At Home in the Dark
Anvil, 2001
Copyright © Greta Stoddart 2001

This poem is from Greta Stoddart’s debut collection, an outstanding book for which she was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for 2002. Like all her poems it bears re-reading and mulling over. Jo Shapcott wrote of her that she is ‘an unnervingly good poet. Her poems are deceptively serene, characterized by an elegiac tone under which a suggestion of unease constantly shivers . . . always musical, always true, these are poems to dwell on’. The way this poem withholds and then reveals the dress’s history in the final stanza shows Greta Stoddart’s skill in what one might call the manipulative side of dramatic poetry, if manipulative were not now a word with negative connotations.

Greta Stoddart was born in Henley-on-Thames in 1966 and grew up in Belgium and Oxford. Having lived and studied in Paris and Manchester, she now lives in London where she works as poetry tutor at Morley College.

Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and modern.