Everywhere the water’s height
surprises, a great smooth swelling
over weirs, a sheer glass welling
above the banks as skeins of light
wind around themselves in mauves
and greys, the bearded islets broken
from the shores by the red churn
chafed with the white of rock-cleaved waves,
as if it had transformed the soft
rise of the ground to liquid, the scuff
of pasture rippling on the bones
of rock like shot silk, while the rafts
of farms, roped to their mooring stones
by walls, ride on a tide of turf.

by Julian Turner

Appletreewick’ is copyright © Julian Turner, 2011. It is reprinted from Planet-Struck (2011) by permission of Anvil Press.

Notes from Anvil Press:

Much of the material in Julian Turner‘s third collection works under malign influence, which comes most often from the hand of Man, but is also haunted by elements, spirits and other forces that seem beyond our control. This compelling book also celebrates human ingenuity and heroism in the face of such weighty opponents and laments our inclination to blame others for our misfortune and unhappiness.

Time and memory, the transitory nature of human remains from the earliest man-made monuments, how nature suffers from man-made depredations, the strange states of mind that arise from extreme experience – all of these contribute to this book’s rich and multi-layered insight into the human condition. You can learn more about his work from his own website.

Julian Turner’s previous books are Crossing the Outskirts – a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Forward Prize best first collection in 2002 – and Orphan Sites (2006). Planet-Struck was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for 2011. Julian Turner was born in Cheadle Hulme, near Manchester, in 1955 and was educated at New College, Oxford and Goldsmith’s, London. He lives with his partner in Otley, West Yorkshire.

Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos. Visit Anvil’s website here, where you can sign up to their mailing list to find out about new publications and events.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.


More than I’d seen before, more
than a rabbit, skinned by the sleight
of a butcher’s hands, much more than

the deft red of his wrists. More than
a plucked bird on a hook like a capital
ess in a copperplate book and more

than a grandmother’s mouth stripped
of its keyboard, its click and grin, more
than the gloss of her chopperless gums.

More than his startled skin, its gooseflesh
and quiver, the gristle that made him boy,
more than his ears without their pink wires,

more than all that, lacking their circles
of glass, the blur and fuzz of their squint
looking back at me, more naked than Adam
after the apple: the boy in the bathroom’s eyes.

by Susan Utting

‘Naked’ is copyright © Susan Utting, 2012. It is reprinted from Fair’s Fair by permission of Two Rivers Press.

Notes from Two Rivers Press:

Fair’s Fair, the third full poetry collection from Susan Utting, has been described as ‘joyous, heartbreaking, ramm’d with life’. In these poems dead creatures (a stuffed bird, a taxidermist’s zebra) and people (a lovable, garrulous old man, a strange, moon-faced woman) come back to life. The graveyard dead join in the partying and after-hours drinking in the village pub; a lament becomes a celebration of life. Jane Draycott has described the poems in this book as ‘[e]legiac and sensuous, pressing and haunting in their almost hallucinatory narrative detail’. The founder of Reading’s acclaimed Poets’ Café, Susan Utting has won a number of awards, including a Poetry Business Prize for the pamphlet Something Small is Missing and the Peterloo Poetry Prize for Under the Blue Ball. She has been shortlisted for the Arvon Poetry Prize on two occasions, runs poetry workshops, and taught Poetry and Creative Writing at Reading University. You can read another poem from the collection at the Two Rivers site here, and find out more about the poet from her website here.

Two Rivers Press was founded in Reading in 1994 by Peter Hay (1951–2003), an artist and enthusiast for the town and its two rivers, the Kennet and the Thames. In nearly two decades of publishing and with over seventy titles since its inception, it has been described as ‘one of the most characterful small presses in the country’. It focuses on local poets and a significant part of its work explores and celebrates local history and environment. Bold illustration and striking design are important elements of its work, used to great effect in new editions of classic poems, especially ones with some Reading connection: for example, Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and in collections of contemporary poetry from local poets such as Reading Poetry: an anthology edited by Peter Robinson. It has recently published A Mutual Friend: Poems for Charles Dickens, an anthology with a very distinguished list of contributors, also edited by Peter Robinson. The Press is strongly rooted in the local community and has close links with the University, Poets’ Café, RISC, Museum of English Rural Life and other local groups. Its contribution to Reading’s culture won for it a Pride of Reading award in 2008. You can find more information at the press’s website, and on its Facebook page.


Night plummets as it does on the plain,
mist ambles through woods.
Only the tips of the mountain, grey
for a while, and the sea in the distance,
stretching its vast empty limbs.
Hiro stands and watches
the colour drain from the day.
Some will make it.
Some won’t.

Michi ni mayotte shimaimashita*

Then light from an inn trips into the street,
dancers let what comes
go. Others leave the little show,
walk towards the acid blue horizon.
She greets him with a cup of rice wine

It will be a radiant night.

You’re just one among many
who vanished.

 [* ‘I have lost my way’]

by Nancy Gaffield

‘Ishibe’ is copyright © Nancy Gaffield, 2011. It is reprinted from Tokaido Road by permission of CB editions.

Notes from CB editions:

Nancy Gaffield works as a senior lecturer at the University of Kent; she was born in the United States and lived in Japan for many years. Tokaido Road won the 2011 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize. Gaffield’s sequence of poems responds to Hiroshige’s woodcut prints (1833–4) depicting the landscapes and travellers of the Tokaido Road, which linked the Japanese eastern and western capitals of Edo and Kyoto. Submitting to the road and its relentless succession of departures and arrivals, the poems discover a freedom to move beyond the frames established by Hiroshige, not least in their voicing of regret and longing, grief and desire. You can find out more about Tokaido Road on CBe’s page, and view Hiroshige’s prints, ‘The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road’, here.

CB editions publishes no more than six books a year, mainly poetry and short fiction and including work in translation. Since 2008 its poetry titles have twice won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and have twice been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Forward First Collection Prize. In 2011 CBe put on Free Verse, a one-day book fair for poetry publishers to show their work and sell direct to the public; the event was repeated in September 2012 with over 50 publishers taking part. Find out more about the publisher from the website, where you can also sign up to the CB editions mailing list, or ‘like’ the publisher on Facebook to keep up-to-date with its activities.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.