Miss Armstrong: Invisible woman

After Maya Angelou

The after-office diners by the window
laugh and move in duplicate,
blonde highlights echoed by the glass. 

But I have no reflection, not a glimmer.
They have twins against the night
where I, who dine alone, have none.  

I search for traces of my movement,
lift my beer glass. It exists.
Its substance glints in recognition. 

None of me reveals itself.
The girls’ reflections leave with them
while I remain a silent shadow. 

I’m invisible, unseen,
uncertain as a ghost that plays
from time to time along the walls. 

by Kathy Gee

The Poetry Centre recently launched its International Poetry Competition for 2019! This year we are delighted to say that our judge is the internationally-acclaimed writer Jackie Kay! There are two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language, and the winners in each category receive £1000. The competition is open until 2 September, and full details can be found here.

We also recently announced the winners of our first PoetryFilm competition in which filmmakers responded to poetry from our ignitionpress poets. You can view the winning films – by Gabrielle Turner, Marie Craven, and Jane Glennie, here.

Finally, don’t forget about the final few events in our academic year: firstly, there’s our final reading in the current series on Wednesday 26 June at Waterstones in Oxford, which features Ilya Kaminsky and Shara Lessley. Ilya has been receiving extraordinary acclaim in the US and UK for his latest book, Deaf Republic (perhaps you heard it dramatized on BBC Radio 4 last week?), and Shara’s collection, The Explosive Expert’s Wife, has received enthusiastic reviews and award nominations. There are a few spaces left for this event here. Then join us and an international group of poets and critics for ‘Our Poetry and Our Needs’, a symposium at the University of Reading on Tuesday 9 July. More details here. Finally, we’re launching three new ignitionpress pamphlets by Jennifer Lee Tsai, Joanna Ingham, and Sarah Shapiro on 22 and 23 July. More information here!

‘Miss Armstrong: Invisible woman’ is copyright © Kathy Gee, 2019. It is reprinted from Checkout (V. Press, 2019) by permission of V. Press.

Kathy Gee studied history and archaeology, later turning this into a career in museums, heritage and leadership coaching. Having published books, articles and pamphlets on the local history of South Devon and National Trust properties in Cornwall, she now lives in Worcestershire and started writing poetry in 2011. Widely published online and in print, her first collection, Book of Boneswas published by V. Press in 2016. In the same year, she wrote the spoken word elements for a contemporary choral piece, Suite For The Fallen Soldier. You can hear Kathy read a poem from her new pamphlet, Checkouthere.

Poet Rhian Edwards writes that Kathy Gee’s new pamphlet ‘Checkout is a sequence of character portraits and vignettes based on the ephemeral characters that cross a corner shop’s bell-chiming threshold. Told from every side of the social spectrum, this is a play for voices, voices in verses, a cross between Under Milk Wood and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. This is a bold and brave collection from the distinctive voice of Kathy Gee.’ Read more about the pamphlet on the V. Press website.

V. Press publishes poetry and flash fiction that is very very, with emphasis on quality over any particular style. Established with a launch at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2013 and shortlisted in The Michael Marks Publishers’ Award 2017, V. Press poetry knows what it wants to do and does it well. For more, visit the V. Press website.

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.