from Gilles de Rais

the magician television show which isn’t true to life.

This is the best of all says prelati
mixing tobacco
too many fish in the sea apparently
to keep
the quench clenched
oh well no use in crying
now 30 years or 300 years later unless there’s
some hard money involved
but I am not able
to forget, Gilles in drowing
in his dreaming
of the happy society kissed as a king

shot in the ribs in revenge.

my organs like this, two ribs, rhymes
and emily’s
racist baby workout
is a future collected book
like this a postcard sized box that is completely
empty as a hospital bed
can be empty soon
enough if you don’t watch you mouth & if so
I’ll be on quick as a flash
evidence for it in my past

by SJ Fowler

Two news items: Hannah Lowe, Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing, andJennifer Wong, PhD student in English and Creative Writing,will be taking part in the Reading Poetry Festival on Saturday 8 November 2014 in a special Poetry Centre reading. You can find out more about the festival, and book tickets, on the dedicated website.

From St Aldates Church in Oxford: This winter sees the publication of an Advent Poetry Anthology and we are currently accepting submissions towards this project. This is open to all ages, and although poems don’t have to be overtly Christian, they should reflect the themes of the advent season. The closing date for poetry submissions is Sunday 9 November. For more information or to submit a poem please email

This excerpt from ‘Gilles de Rais’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from Enemies (Penned in the Margins, 2013).

Notes from Penned in the Margins:

‘Gilles de Rais’ is a collaborative work with poems by SJ Fowler and artwork from David Kelly, and comes from the anthology, Enemies . This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary collection is the result of collaborations between SJ Fowler and over thirty artists, photographers and writers. Diary entries mingle with a partially-redacted email exchange; texts slip and fragment, finding new contexts alongside prints, paintings, diagrams, Rorschach blots, YouTube clips and behind-the-scenes photographs at the museum. Find out more from the Penned in the Margins website, watch SJ Fowler read from the poem, and follow his work on his website and on Twitter.

SJ Fowler is a poet and artist living in London. He has published four collections of poetry, most recently the limited-edition Recipes (Red Ceilings, 2012). He has produced poetry, sonic art, installation and performance artworks for Tate, the Voiceworks project and the London Sinfonietta. He is the poetry editor of 3:AM Magazine and also works as a martial arts instructor, and as an employee of the British Museum.

Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond. The company is currently touring two productions: Shlock!, a powerful feminist satire for the cut and paste generation, and The Shipwrecked House, a one-woman performance that blends poetry with theatre, in which Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien navigates a shifting maritime landscape. You can find out more about these productions on the Penned in the Margins website.

Penned in the Margins’s recent anthology, Adventures in Form, was awarded a Special Commendation by the Poetry Book Society and was chosen as one of 50 Best Summer Reads by The Independent. You can visit the Penned in the Margins website here to sign up to the mailing list, and follow the publisher on Facebook and Twitter.

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.



An olive-wood fire and the local
pre-phylloxera survival red against
the cold wind outside, which is enough
of being, as if it were so grand.

Night folds its corners down
the terraced hillsides and
walks upright on the
wandering streams, but

No sound, of stream or wind, reaches here
or almost, and the fire darkens. Breathe words
across my ear, breathe a fear, second by
second, jar by jar, fear of war and world, be explicit.

Let a resistance grow here, far
from world but close to mind, how
close it lies, to hear its breath
against the inner ear,

A breath to banish fear.
Then the streams flow on
and the air follow,
down the valley towards the world.


Thought that distils
against my ear a tear
for the time and
a silent belief in peace. Our cargoes

Were sunk in the seas and now
lie calm under tumult. Our dead
recede behind the night clouds.
Remind me of what I once knew,

Breathe the truth back faintly across
my ear in this walled shelter and hear
the plants shake, the earth tumble.
There is only one peace, a lot further out.

by Peter Riley

‘Milia’ is copyright © Peter Riley, 2014. It was published by Two Rivers Press in the anthology The Arts of Peace in 2014, and is reprinted here by permission.

This is the second of two poems from The Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems, edited by Adrian Blamires and Peter Robinson. There will be a special event at the upcoming Reading Poetry Festival on Sunday 9 November featuring a number of poets whose work is included in the anthology. You can find out more about it and the rest of the events on the festival’s website.

If you are a student or member of staff at Oxford Brookes, enter our poetry competition on the themes of mental health and well-being. The deadline is Friday 13 February 2015, and poems should be submitted via email to: Find out more on the Poetry Centre website.

Peter Riley was born into an environment of working people in the Manchester area in 1940 and now lives in retirement in Hebden Bridge, having previously lived in Cambridge for many years. He has been a teacher, bookseller, and a few other things and is the author of some fifteen books of poetry, and two of prose concerning travel and music. His most recent book is The Glacial Stairway (Carcanet 2011). He contributes reviews of new poetry to the website The Fortnightly Review regularly. Peter Riley’s own website is April Eye, where you can find out more about his work, and you can also read an interview with him by Keith Tuma in an issue of Jacket magazine from April 2000.

This poem is taken from The Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poems, edited by Adrian Blamires and Peter Robinson, and published by Two Rivers Press. The first of August 1914 saw the beginning of the war that was to end all wars and which, instead, ushered in a century of armed conflicts, two of them described as global. This anthology’s title is borrowed from Andrew Marvell’s ‘Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland’, in which he deprecates ‘the inglorious arts of peace’. With this gathering of newly composed poems, and against that grain, this anthology looks to celebrate all that is left behind in times of conflict and which conflict is so often evoked to defend. The more than fifty contributors include Fleur Adcock, Fred D’Aguiar, Gerald Dawe, Jane Draycott, Elaine Feinstein, Roy Fisher, Philip Gross, Allison McVety, Bill Manhire, John Matthias, and Carol Rumens.

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.

Coral Island

To our surprise the island was well watered.
The fishes were strangely easy to catch
And the little pigs that gambolled around
In the interior provided nourishment,
As well as fun for my fellow castaways.

The weather was persistently benign,
Stroking our hair and murmuring white noise.
Though my spyglass had suffered from the sea
I could still use it for scanning the waves,
Hoping for a sail or even a monster.

Meantime I memorised our days in paradise
And the little that happened, looking forward
To the book I should write when we were rescued –
A more or less truthful tally of events,
Spiced up or embroidered as need might be.

At night the land crabs rattled round the palms
And the waves were bored by the same old beach.
Peterkin snored guilelessly in our hut
While Jack dreamed in silence about his pig-sticking
And I stared out to sea with an empty mind.

That was before the coming of the cannibals
And our unforeseen arrival at manhood,
When things that should not be seen were seen
And could not be unseen, and our green Eden
Receded into a book for small boys.

by Fergus Allen

Together with the Institute of English Studies in London, the Poetry Centre is organizing a conference from 13-14 March 2015 at the IES to address the three initiatives: New Generation Poets (1994), Next Generation Poets (2004), and Next Generation Poets 2014. It aims to examine important concerns of contemporary poetry arising from these projects, such as the relationship between poetry and the public, the promotion of poetry through initiatives such as these, and what the selection of the particular poets on these lists can tell us about the state and direction of British poetry at various stages over the past twenty years. For more information and the call for papers, please visit the IES website.

‘Coral Island’ is copyright © Fergus Allen, 2013, and is reprinted from New & Selected Poems, introduced by Christopher Reid (CBeditions, 2013).

Fergus Allen was born in 1921; his father was Irish, his mother English. After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, he moved to England during the Second World War. He was Director of the Hydraulics Research Station and ended his professional career as First Civil Service Commissioner. In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He published his first book (with Faber) at the age of seventy-two; the poem here is one of several recent poems that comprise the first section of his New& Selected Poems, which also includes work from five previous collections. You can read more poems from the book on the CBe website, read more about Allen’s work from the CBe blog, and hear him read at the Poetry Archive.

CB editions, founded in 2007, publishes poetry alongside short fiction and other writing, including work in translation. Its poetry titles have won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize three times (in 2009, 2011 and 2013), and have been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Forward First Collection Prize.

In 2011 CBe inaugurated 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 2012, 2013, and this year too, with over 60 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.